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CBCP chief endorses “Year of the Laity” highlight

PASIG City, July 31, 2014—Seeing it as a very important highlight capping this “Year of the Laity”, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) invites the faithful to a symposium organized by the Don Bosco Center of Studies called “Saints and Heroes No Less” on August 21, Thursday, at the PhilSports Arena (formerly ULTRA) in Pasig City.

In a circular he released endorsing the theological-pastoral symposium, CBCP chief Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas stressed the event will [also] be the Church’s “ecclesial participation for the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, “Apostolicam Actuositatem”, on November 2015”.

As the Philippine Church looks forward to the five hundredth anniversary of the first mass and first baptism in the country, the Lingayen-Dagupan prelate expresses hope that the symposium will “raise even more the consciousness and commitment of the Filipino laity to participate in the life and mission of the Church”, especially among diocesan lay leaders, pastoral workers, youth ministers, and catechists.

2014 being a year especially dedicated to the faithful, Villegas urges all Catholic Filipinos to reflect on the challenging message of Pope Francis in his “Evangelii Gaudium” (EG).

In paragraph 102 of the apostolic exhortation, the pontiff says: “Lay people are, put simply, the vast majority of the people of God. The minority—ordained ministers—are at their service. There has been a growing awareness of the identity and mission of the laity in the Church. We can count on many lay persons, although still not nearly enough, who have a deeply-rooted sense of community and great fidelity to the tasks of charity, catechesis and the celebration of the faith. At the same time, a clear awareness of this responsibility of the laity, grounded in their baptism and confirmation, does not appear in the same way in all places. In some cases, it is because lay persons have not been given the formation needed to take on important responsibilities.”

The “Saints and Heroes No Less” symposium, Villegas believes, will take on the challenge posed by the Holy Father in giving extensive formation to the Filipino Catholic laity.

The event is open to the public.

For Inquiries contact Event Secretariat: Tonette Pangan (02) 718-2213 /(02)726-7989. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

500+ houses to rise in ‘Yolanda’-hit areas

PALO, Leyte, July 31, 2014 —The Archdiocese of Palo spearheads the construction of over 500 residential units as part of the Catholic Church’s rehabilitation program in communities affected by super typhoon Yolanda, a church official reported.

Initially, a fund of 5.6 million euros were used to fund relief operations for typhoon Yolanda survivors. (Photo: NASSA)

According to Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace (CBCP-NASSA), the Archdiocese’s building of typhoon-resilient houses for the disaster survivors is in full swing.

“…(W)e plan to build additional 500 houses in Palo. In the other nine dioceses CBCP-NASSA is serving, the construction of typhoon-resilient houses takes priority,” he said.

Gariguez confirmed over Radyo Veritas that these projects and programs for the nine dioceses heavily hit by Yolanda are included in CBCP-NASSA’s second urgent appeal to Caritas International.

The priest shared that CBCP-NASSA has received donations amounting to 9.7 million Euros (roughly, 600 million pesos) from Caritas International which the Church intends to use to fund various programs for Yolanda survivors for the whole year.

Caritas International had previously given to CBCP-NASSA, in its first urgent appeal to the organization, a fund of 5.6 million euros, which the Church had expended on relief operations. (Raymond A. Sebastián)