Message to faithful: New year to bring ‘abundant graces’
Despite the present difficulties, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) sees a year of “abundant divine graces” for the faithful in 2012.
CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said Catholics would witness this year a meeting in Rome of bishops from around the world aimed at reinvigorating the Church’s evangelization efforts and the canonization of the Philippines’ second Catholic saint, Blessed Pedro Calungsod.
“As we thank God for the many blessings He bestowed on us last year, we offer Him praise and thanksgiving as He brings us to another year, the New Year 2012…For us Catholics, the year 2012 promises abundant divine graces,” Palma said in a New Year message.
“That God has given us yet another year is both a gift and a task. We are here for a reason; we have a mission. As we embark on life’s journey, we pray for courage and hope. Surely the task which God has given us is meant for our own good and for the good of the Church and the community,” he said.
Palma said the bishops would be meeting in Rome to discuss “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”
“It will trace, in communion with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI…the new methods and means for transmitting the Good News to people in our world today. It hopes to direct evangelization with a renewed enthusiasm,” Palma said.
“This year will also see the canonization of our very own Blessed Pedro Calungsod. We envision efforts toward renewal because of the preparations which come with canonization. If we know him better and emulate his virtues, particularly his zeal for learning, living, spreading and even dying for the faith, we become a better people,” he added.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle prayed for those who suffered from the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm “Sendong” and those “ruined daily by poverty, disease, corruption, lack of employment, inadequate services and abuse of creation.”
“Some people might think that mentioning the ruins of life does not belong in a New Year message that purports to center on hope. But in the Bible, hope arises and becomes truer in absurd and difficult situations,” Tagle said.
Bishop Efraim Tendero of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches prayed for justice, assistance to the victims of the typhoon, and deliverance from poverty and graft-ridden politics.
“This 2012, as we help the poor and suffering, call for accountability among government, civic and other officials, and pursue the ‘tuwid na landas (straight path),’ let us all seek to uphold justice that is balanced with kindness and motivated by the submission to God’s authority. By doing such, we will enjoy the blessings, guidance and protection of God throughout this New Year,” Tendero said. Philip C. Tubeza
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