Pope to PH bishops: Lead ‘new evangelization’By Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – Pope Benedict XVI has urged Filipino bishops to lead a “new evangelization” in the country as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines began its plenary assembly in Manila on Saturday.
In a message to CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, the Holy Father, through Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, expressed confidence that CBCP initiatives meant to spread the Catholic faith would “bear fruit” as the Church prepares for a Year of Faith.
“The Holy Father was pleased to be informed of the 105th Plenary Meeting of the CBCP taking place in Manila from July 7 to 9 as he sends fraternal greetings to all the bishops present,” said the message from the Pope.
“His Holiness is confident that the activities you plan for the Year of Faith and the initiatives you organize for the promotion of the New Evangelization will bear much fruit, in fulfillment of the Church’s mission, through the grace and love of the Holy Spirit, to lead all people ‘to the faith, freedom and peace of Christ,’” it also said.
The Pontiff’s message was relayed to the CBCP by the papal nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, who attended the opening of the assembly.
Some 95 CBCP members, 88 of them active, attended the meeting at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Paco, Manila.
The assembly will discuss preparations for a national celebration for the upcoming canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod and updates on the proposed reproductive health bill.
The bishops will also hear reports of the CBCP commissions and offices and review the plan of activities for the celebration of the Year of Faith, and for the promotion of the New Evangelization.
Among those present were Palma, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle and retired Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
The plenary assembly, which ends Monday, was preceded by a three-day retreat at Betania Retreat House in Tagaytay City.
The New Evangelization campaign calls all the faithful to deepen their faith, believe in the Gospel and spread it.