Bishop greets diocesan anniversary by challenging laity

PASIG City, August 31, 2013—Every milestone marks the start of a great responsibility meant to be fulfilled. 

This was the message relayed by Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara during the 10th anniversary celebration of the Diocese of Pasig held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral on Monday. 

“We have reached our tenth year as a community of faith through the greatness of the Lord’s love and loyalty,” he said in Filipino during his homily. 

Vergara said that as the Pasig diocese begins a new period, greater challenges are stored for both clergy members and the diocesan faithful to improve their mission of bringing Christ closer to the people. 

The prelate laid out three challenges to be fulfilled by the diocese in strengthening itself against challenges that might come its way—nurturing one’s faith, giving service to the church, and uniting as a community of faith. 

Nurturing one’s faith 

Vergara reiterated the call of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to the faithful to rediscover and nurture their faith especially in times when influences of secularism and relativism baffle Catholic conventions. 

“Considering our situation nowadays, it is not enough to rely on the sermons of parish priests during Sunday masses. There are a lot of things we have to learn so we may open ourselves to the lessons of our faith,” he said. 

Noting the statement of Pope Francis in the recent World Youth Day held in Brazil, Vergara likened the need of lay people to nurture their faith to the need of athletes to improve their craft to perfection. 

“Like athletes, Catholics have to practice by studying their faith deeply. It is not right for Catholics to be ignorant with the faith they profess,” he added. 

Service to the church 

The prelate also called on the faithful to be more dedicated heralds of the church, noting the great imbalance between the religious and the lay faithful. 

“Many of you might say that we have succeeded in filling the cathedral for this special occasion, but in reality, we really lack priests, nuns, seminarians, and lay leaders to serve millions of Catholic parishioners,” he said. 

“I hope that we would be able to open the eyes of our brothers and sisters to be stewards of time, talent, and treasure—that we would honor the fact that God is the source of everything, as a response to all of the blessings He has bestowed upon us,” Vergara added. 

He also urged Catholics to live a life of renewal and conversion to be able to reflect Christ in their own words and actions. 

“There are instances wherein bishops, priests, nuns, or even the lay people fail to reflect Christ in their words and actions. There is a need for us to renew ourselves to be able to attract others toward serving the Lord,” Vergara noted. 

Community of faith 

Noting his last challenge to the diocesan faithful, Vergara urged the laity to forget individual differences and be united in fulfilling the mission of the church. 

“I hope that we would be able to refrain from being divided. Let us avoid having fights due to gossips and ill feelings. Forgive others and be willing to reconcile. Let us all tread the path toward the healing of wounded hearts, leading to our unity in fulfilling our mission of serving the Lord and our neighbor,” he added. 

“Through meeting these challenges, we would be able to make our journey as one diocese more meaningful in the years to come,” Vergara said. (Jennifer Orillaza)

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