“In the ritual, the first thing we have heard is the name, Arpee Urquico,” said Winnipeg Archbishop Emeritus James Weisgerber as he began his homily. “That is so significant and that’s just not to make sure that he is here, it is God calling him by name. The Church in the name of Jesus has determined that Arpee should be ordained a deacon.” And so on September 2 in Holy Rosary Cathedral began the second last step for Urquico to become a priest. That is expected sometime in 2017 after he completes another year of studies at St. Joseph Seminary, Edmonton, Alberta.
The new Deacon arrived in Canada from Philippines about five years ago after his cousin, Father Gerard Joy Montiague, living in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan convinced him to come to Canada as a missionary He completed some studies in Philippines then came to Canada and entered St. Joseph Seminary. He spent year of internship at St. George’s Parish, Assiniboia, Saskatchewan where Archbishop Weisgerber, on April 3 officially accepted him as a candidate for priesthood.
Weisgerber explained in his homily two daily reminders of God’s call to love; recitation of the breviary, and the observation of celibacy. The breviary is “the prayer of the Church creates a framework in our life for prayer” and is read every day. Celibacy gives freedom from family responsibilities, “so he can completely give himself to this life of prayer and service.”
Urquico responded in a loud voice to each question posed by Archbishop Weisgerber during the examination of the candidate part of the ordination ceremony; to be obedient to his bishop, observe celibacy, preach the gospel adding at the end of questions, “with the help of God.” That was followed by recitation of the Litany of Saints with everyone kneeling and Urquico face-down prostrate on a rug just below the Sanctuary. Fathers Montiague and one of his teachers Father Robert Gauthier vested Urquico with a stole and the dalmatic (a loose sleeved robe) after which Weisgerber presented him with the Book of the Gospels.
In recognition of his Philippine heritage the second reading for the day was read in Tagalog, the Philippine language. The Regina Filipino choir provided some of the music ministry along with the Archdiocesan Women’s Schola with Valery Hall as organist.
Several of his fellow seminarians and teachers journeyed to Regina for the ordination ceremony. His mother, who was unable to obtain a visa, watched the service through live streaming.
Following the service, Urquico thanked his teachers and friends for their support and particularly the people of St. George’s Parish, Assiniboia for allowing to be part of their lives.
A reception, featuring several Filipino foods, was held in the Cathedral Auditorium immediately following the ceremony.