MANILA, Jan. 12, 2012— Various Catholic bishops will gather on Saturday for the official launching of the ‘Year of Mission.’
Organizers said it will be a Mass to be led by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, at the Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Pasay City.
The CBCP has earlier declared 2012 as the “Year of the Pontifical Mission Societies” to mark the PMS’ 80th anniversary.
“It is to be a grace-filled year, marked by renewed enthusiasm for dedicated service as Christ’s evangelizing disciples,” said Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP President, in a pastoral exhortation.
The Church believes that the eight-decade dedication of the PMS in putting faith in motion through missionary works will reach a greater height once a maturing faith amongst every Filipino is attained.
The PMS are the “Pope’s Mission Societies” having the “leading role” in mission promotion of the Catholic Church.
“The PMS were given the status of ‘pontifical’ meaning they are under the direction of the Holy Father. Their common goal is the fostering of a universal missionary spirit among all Catholics” said Palma.
PMS National Director Fr. Socrates Mesiona called on the faithful to participate in the yearlong mission activities they prepared for the parishes, Catholic schools and Church organizations.
He hopes that the PMS activities will “renew the Filipinos’ missionary commitment and lead everyone to be effective witnesses of God’s love through service and discipleship.”
The highlight of the celebration will be the Grand Mission Festival, a national event to be held in Marikina City on April 18-20.
For the Catholic Association of Lay Missionaries (CALM), the CBCP declaration is timely especially after witnessing the traditional Black Nazarene procession last January 9.
“The Filipino faith is unquestionable on a personal level with millions of us defying the threat of terrorism. But this faith cannot remain in the personal level but has to translate into social responsibility. Faith in action means mission,” said Clarke Nebrao, CALM President.
The procession which lasted for about 22 hours, the longest ever feast of the Black Nazarene, ended with almost 1,000 reported injuries, a busy cleaning day, and criticisms on folk religiosity or even fanaticism.
“2012 as the year of PMS is a great chance for Filipino faith to grow,” Nebrao said.
Folk religiosity, according to Church officials is a natural expression of personal faith, which, if cultured and enlightened, will lead into an affective faith that would make great impact in the society. [CBCPNews]