GOOSE CREEK — Father Liam M. Panganiban and Deacon Melvin I. Avilla shared an important day for the Adorno religious order June 23.
Bishop Emeritus David B. Thompson, of the Diocese of Charleston, ordained Father Panganiban to the priesthood and Deacon Avilla to the transitional diaconate at Immaculate Conception Church. Both men are members of the Clerics Regular Minor, also known as the Adorno Fathers and Brothers, who serve at Immaculate Conception.
During the ceremony the bishop encouraged the two men to live a life of devotion to God and to the sacraments, and offered them a simple phrase to live by: “Believe what you teach, and teach what you believe.”
The ordination Mass was attended by hundreds of parishioners, friends and family members of the two men, some who traveled from as far away as the Philippines.
Father Panganiban celebrated his first Mass June 24 and then he and Deacon Avilla were guests of honor at a luncheon for more than 300 in the parish hall.
Father Panganiban, 28, was born in Ahwaz, Iran, and raised in the city of Bayombong in the province of Nueva Vizcaya, in the Philippines. He is the son of William Panganiban and Elena Moscoso, and is a graduate of Christ the King Seminary in the Philippines, and the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University. He spent his diaconate at Immaculate Conception.
Deacon Avilla, 32, was born and raised in Indang in the province of Cavite, Philippines. He is the son of Filomeno Avilla and Anita Gomez Ilagan. He is also a graduate of Christ the King Seminary and Seton Hall University. Deacon Avilla spent the first half of his pastoral year at Immaculate Conception and is temporarily assigned to St. Joseph Church in Lodi, N.J., where he will study until he is ordained a priest.
“It feels really great to be a deacon now, to become a servant of God,” he said. “It’s what I’ve been working for all these years, and there’s no turning back from here.”
During the Mass, soloists Renato Ancheta and Nick Arcalas sang, “You are a Priest Forever,” which was written by Deacon Avilla.
After celebrating his first Mass, Father Panganiban said it was a wonderful feeling to be a priest.
“Right now I’m still trying to take it all in,” he said. “It only happens once in a lifetime, and I’m just enjoying it and looking forward to my ministry.”
More than 30 members of his family came from around the United States and the Philippines for the ceremony, and many of Deacon Avilla’s friends and family also attended.
“I can’t express myself; I am so happy,” said Moscoso, who fought back tears. “I can’t believe that I have a son who is a priest.”
Many priests and seminarians from the Adorno Fathers attended the ordination and Father Hector DiNardo, CRM, a delegate superior, offered blessings and congratulations to both men.
Father Panganiban will spend the rest of the summer in Goose Creek before learning where his next assignment will take him.
“He is a wonderful person,” said Gail Hunt, a parishioner of Immaculate Conception. “We’re so blessed to have him at our parish. He’s been helping to train our altar servers, and he’s very good with the kids because he has lots of patience. He’s going to be a great priest.”
St. Francis Caracciolo and Fathers Augustine Adorno and Fabrizio Caracciolo founded the Adorno Fathers and Brothers in the 16th century. The order is dedicated to divine worship centered around Eucharistic devotion.
The Adorno Fathers serve in Italy, the United States, Germany, Africa, India and the Philippines. The order’s main house of formation in the United States is in Ramsey, N.J.
To learn more visit www.adornofathers.org.