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Bicol Congress of Laity to convene

LEGAZPI City, Albay, Nov. 27, 2014 — Hundreds of lay people, religious, and clergy will convene at the Bicol Congress of Laity to culminate the Year of the Laity on Nov. 28 to 29 at the St. Agnes Academy Gymnasium.

Legazpi Bishop Joel Z. Baylon (File photo)

Aside from paving the way for the Year of the Poor, the gathering will seek to “sustain the gains of greater lay participation in the life of the Church and the transformation of society,” Legazpi Bishop Joel Z. Baylon said in a circular.

He called on parishes, communities, and laypeople to celebrate Triduum Masses from Nov. 25 to 27 for the success of the congress.

Keynote speakers include Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, OMI and Camarines Sur 3rd congressional district Rep. Maria Leonora “Leni” Robredo.

“They will speak on the theme ‘Called to be Saints, Sent forth as Heroes,’” Baylon said.

According to the prelate, discussions will include sharing of significant experiences. Best pastoral practices of lay participation will be identified, in line with evangelization and social transformation.

The Church sees the Bicol Congress of the Laity as a historic event, Baylon added.

One hundred lay people and 40 clergy members and religious from each diocese in the region are anticipated to convene the congress, Baylon said.

Dioceses in the Bicol region include Masbate (island province), Sorsogon, Libmanan, Caceres (Archdiocese), Legazpi, Virac (island province), and Daet. (Oliver Samson/CBCPNews)

CBCP-ECHC offers ‘spiritual help’ to quarantined peacekeepers

QUEZON City, Nov. 27, 2014—The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Health Care (ECHC) has pledged to render spiritual services to over 100 Filipino peacekeepers quarantined on Caballo Island off the coast of Cavite as soon as it is safe to do so.

Fr. Dan Cancino, CBCP-ECHC executive secretary

“There’s no need to rush things. We have to wait for the right time so that we could finally give spiritual guidance to the peacekeepers,” Fr. Dan Cancino, CBCP-ECHC executive secretary, told Church-run Radyo Veritas in an interview.

“We’re finding out when would that be,” he added.

While expressing assurance that the Church is always ready to offer what she can to respond to the peacekeepers’ spiritual needs, the priest underscored the importance of proper timing, as well as the need to follow precautionary measures in order not to compromise the health of either party.

“We would like to know whether we could go there sooner wearing protective gear, or wait until everything is clear,” Cancino shared in Filipino.

The Filipino peacekeepers who had been assigned to Ebola-hit Liberia in West Africa have to be temporarily isolated to ensure they are free from the deadly virus.

On the advice of the Department of Health (DOH), four of them were transferred recently to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Medical Center (formerly, V. Luna Hospital) in Quezon City, while another who had contracted flu and diarrhea shortly after coming to the island, had to be placed under strict observance at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City where he was diagnosed with malaria. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCPNews)