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Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with

Fr. Aniceto Morales Rodriguez

helps you in your leadership.

Fr. Aniceto Morales Rodriguez

Fr. Aniceto Morales Rodriguez

Name: Fr. Aniceto Morales Rodriguez III, O. Carm.

Title: Parochial Vicar

Organisation: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Escalante City, Negros Occidental, Philippines

A Solemn Professed Carmelite Friar of the Order of Carmelites in the Philippine Province of Saint Titus Brandsma. I am working in a pastoral setting in parish ministry in the Philippines. As a missionary, I worked with farmers, indigenous people, fisherfolks, and people living in the outskirts of the Philippine community. I also worked with People Living with HIV and AIDS. I have founded an organization and being governmentally recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission as Gabay sa Pulang Laso, Inc. (The Spiritual Guide of the Red Ribbons) - a Spiritual organization catering the needs of PLHIV. At present, I am assigned in the rural community of Escalante City as Parochial Vicar (Assistant Parish Priest)

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

The most challenging part of leadership in our society today is Servant-Leadership.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

Being a leader is not an overnight job. Leadership is a life of sacrifice. As a leader, I have been through a lot of sacrifices - criticisms, persecutions, insults, and even misunderstood as a person. But these sacrifices never gave me the reason to give up. I have taken the time to help and serve the community. Now, one of the hardest part of leadership nowadays is letting go of the things you have innovated.

It is clear to me that I will never ever hold on to what I have organized because someday, the community which we build will ultimately become independent. They need to walk by their own after helping them to walk. As a missionary, it is clear to me that I come to build community and then I will go if they become independent. This is a kind of servant leadership that I have realized. A type of Servant leadership wherein we need to produce more servant leaders after the example of Jesus and the first Christian community in order to perpetuate love and service in the community.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I woke up at 3 in the morning reflecting and praying with Jesus in the Gospel. It’s my coffee time with God. I need to reflect on what I need to share with the community in celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a priest. I need to be prepared always so as to give justice to what I am called for. Priesthood for me is never a life of enjoying the perks of being a priest where special treatments abound. Priesthood needs to be patterned to the Royal Priesthood of Christ - a priesthood of service and sacrifice for the sake of the people who are hungry to hear God’s Word. I need to cook my reflections well after reading the Gospel to feed the people. And finally, the feeding of the Word is not the end itself, I see to it that I have challenged the people to put the Word of God into action.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

I have been reminded everyday to be a Servant Leader. A leader who always thinks what’s better for God’s people and how can I better serve them in the community. A type of Servant Leadership wherein we do not just give people fish to eat but most importantly teaching them how to Fish.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

The Sacred Scriptures is the best book and guide for me to exercise an effective type of servant leadership. Reading the Gospels gives me an inspiration of how God works with His people. God makes leaders through the faithfulness of His Word. Leaders are effective active listeners in the Bible. They do not just listen but they have acted what they have heard. Servant Leadership in this collection of books in the Bible teaches me the most important element of leadership - to love and serve humanity.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

The one thing that I could give as a gift to young leaders in today’s age is to persevere in our love and service to humanity. In leadership, we may encounter different trial and temptations. Trials where we will be tested by Satan how strong we are to endure the sacrifice of leadership. Satan will also tempt us to exploit us in our leadership principles, we need to be watchful and vigilant not to abuse the power of leadership but rather power should be used to inspire and to serve!

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

One of the meaningful story as a leader is facing heavy burdens of persecutions in the name of service to the PLHIV community. I have came to a point of withdrawing my support but I began to reflect that if I withdraw my support, who will? My passion for authentic service moves me to endure these trials that even some of my confreres in the community have discouraged me. But I thank the Lord for the strength to hold on the line. I have trained the PLHIV community to stand on their own for one day, I will be leaving them for I am just a missionary whose only mission is to help build a sustainable community and afterwards I need to decrease so that God’s community may increase.

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