ANTIPOLO, August 23, 2014 — As a response to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ call for nine-year Era of Evangelization, the Diocese of Antipolo is currently organizing a series of formation seminars, echoing the Year of the Laity (YoL) module, “The Holy Heroes” in different parishes.
“I am urging our parish priests to see to it that the members of the Parish Pastoral Council, the religious organizations and movements in the parish attend this Year of the Laity Formation Program. This will be given by the catechists of the parish who have successfully attended this formation program,” Antipolo Bishop and Chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission of Family and Life Gabriel V. Reyes said in a letter addressed to the clergy.
Parish priests and their assistants give talks on the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, while catechists discuss topics on how lay people are called to be holy and heroic, following the Blessed Virgin Mary as a model. Aside from being resource speakers, they also participate in the program’s other activities along with the other attendees.
Milagros Lacsa, a member of the Diocesan Catechetical Ministry, described the entire program as “informative, interesting, involving and encouraging.” The participants were focused on each topic and activity.
“Obviously, no one complained about the duration and the content of the seminar. The catechists who have re-echoed the seminar in their respective parishes witnessed how the participants enjoyed and took part in the formation process. Tears and laughter were obvious during the small group and big group sharing,” she added.
Aside from church workers, the formation program also aims to draw “unchurched” Catholics, renewing their aspirations to the Catholic faith.
The Pastoral Exhortation of the CBCP on the Year of the Laity and the video presentation by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socates Villegas are also highlights of the track, never failing to catch the participants’ attention. “Truly, the Holy and the Hero in our lay Catholics are nurtured, inspired, and enlivened by the Holy Heroes Formation Seminar,” Lacsa said.
In order to cut down expenses, the formation guide, which is composed of different modules, are provided to the head catechists and to the Council of the Laity of Antipolo.
“Another thing is that, parish priests find ways and means to look for funds to finance the materials needed for the activities, the food and other expenses,” Lacsa explained.
According to her, in some parishes, the Parish Pastoral Council members and catechists voluntarily provide the materials, while others provide monetary contributions to meet the expenses. On the contrary, parishes who lack funds, opted to postpone their YoL seminars.
“Our gratitude and thanksgiving because Bishop Gabby Reyes and Auxiliary Bishop Francis de Leon are very supportive,” Lacsa added.
By the third quarter of 2014, some 30 parishes have already undergone the formation program.
“The Laity are the treasures of the Church… each one is a gift. Mabuhay ang mga Layko!” Lacsa said. (Romar Fernando)