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Lay Catholic leaders to tackle divorce, homosexuality

MANILA, July 7, 2015— Caring for “wounded families” and pastoral care for homosexual persons are among the topics that will tackled in a forum on marriage and family, with Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle among the speakers.

Heads of family ministries of the different dioceses, pro-life advocates, and faith-based groups will convene at the Century Park Hotel in Manila on July 25 for a monumental conference, during which significant issues facing the Church and Filipino families will be discussed.

The so-called Marriage Encounter National Congress is the country’s second forum of its kind which seeks to formulate motions for the two-week Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican in October.

Organized by the Marriage Encounter Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. (MEFP), the forum will serve as a venue for consensus-building on common marital and family enrichment programs that can be shared by faith-based orgnizations.

Tagle will deliver the keynote speech, while Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, will be the opening plenary speaker.

Issues on divorce and single-parent families will be discussed by Jesuit Fr. Rex Mananzan, while Fr. Daniel Healy, spiritual director of Courage Philippines, will talk about pastoral attention towards persons with homosexual tendencies.

Other speakers include Fr. Dominador Guzman, Jr., SSP, on Pastoral Care for Couples Civilly Married or Living Together; Ms. Mitos Rivera on The Transmission of Life and the Challenge of the Declining Birthrate; Fr. Benito Tuazon on Guiding Engaged Couples in their Preparation for Marriage; Fr. Ruben Tanseco, SJ, on Accompanying Married Couples in the Initial Years of Marriage; and Fr. Anton Pascual who will focus on Upbringing and the Role of the Family in Evangelization. (Luke Godoy/CBCPNews)

Shroud of Turin replica in PH

The faithful's veneration of a replica of the Shroud of Turin in St. Anne parish church in Molo is ongoing. (Photo: Parish of St. Anne Facebook account)

MOLO, Iloilo City, July 7, 2015 — A life-size replica of the Shroud of Turin has been made available for public viewing in St. Anne Parish in Molo, Iloilo City, to provide a more accessible and a more meaningful way of reflecting on the passion and death of Jesus Christ.

Parish priest Fr. Espiridion R. Celis Jr. said they introduced the replica of the Holy Shroud for the first time in Molo during the observance of the Holy Week.

According to the parish priest the replica was imported from California, courtesy of the Shroud of Turin Research Project, with the help of an unnamed donor from Iloilo.

Jubilee of Mercy

“This is a way for our parish to help prepare the faithful for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy,” the priest explained.

The Molo parish priest stressed that the exhibition of the life-size replica of the Holy Shroud, believed to be the burial cloth which was used to wrap Jesus Christ’s remains, is a unique chance offered to devotees in the Philippines.

“The Holy Shroud can be visited as long as the church is open. There is no time limit,” Celis said.

Aside from the veneration of the Shroud, St. Anne Parish has scheduled intensive catechism sessions on Wednesdays, open to all.

‘Worth the pains’

The parish priest recalled from one of catechism classes a resolution made by a devotee upon venerating the Holy Shroud: “Adopt the wound in Jesus’ body which was caused by your sin. Kiss it… so that, it will not hurt.”

“This alone is worth all the pains of bringing the Holy Shroud all the way to Molo,” Celis said.

The recent visit of Pope Francis to Turin on June 21, to venerate the Holy Shroud, sparked renewed interest in the shroud among the faithful.

Imprinted on the linen cloth are the face and body of a man bearing the marks of crucifixion.

Face of Mercy

Although the Shroud has been popularly venerated for centuries, the Catholic Church has so far neither officially endorsed nor rejected the belief that it was Jesus Christ’s burial cloth.

Celis said their primary objective is to bring people closer to the Shroud, so that they can contemplate the Face of Jesus Christ or the “Misericordiae Vultus” (the Face of Mercy).

“Misericordiae Vultus” is also the title of the Bull of Indiction issued by Pope Francis convoking the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy that will begin on Dec. 8.

The exhibition of the Holy Shroud in the Cathedral of Turin is a rare event. In the past five centuries the Shroud of Turin was displayed for veneration 18 times only. The latest public exhibition was held in April 19 to June 24, 2015.
Although everyone is given the opportunity to see and pray before the Holy Shroud, visits are limited every 15 minutes only and visitors are advised to book well in advance, stated the Shroud of Turin Visiting Information Service in its website. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCPNews)