CBCP launches website for laity; Villegas challenges them to be ‘saints, heroes’

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MANILA, Dec. 20, 2013—The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has launched a new initiative to give voice to the laity.

With the Church’s declaration of 2014 as Year of the Laity, the CBCP has launched a website dedicated to the lay people called choosetobebrave.org.

In his letter introducing the new site, CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the new step was taken “to reach out to more of the laity in the Catholic Church.”

Villegas said the 2014’s challenge to the laity is that they are “called to be saints” and sent forth as heroes.”

He said one can become a saint and a hero by being brave, and this is possible for everyone to do everyday and everywhere.

“Cowards cannot be saints,” Villegas said, adding “’Do not be afraid’ is the favourite command of God.”

He said “cold people are dull and dry” but “heroes inspire and ignite” and “everybody loves brave people” because “brave people are admirable.”

“Here is the website to inspire you to be brave and to share your stories of bravery. Here you can light little candles of bravery and set the world afire! Make this world a better place,” Villegas said.

The site contains the Church’s programs of pastoral action for the entire year of 2014 focusing on formation and animation of the Catholic faithful.

Directed to twelve sectors of society—young professionals, broken families, homeless and jobless, homebound and prisoners, farmers, fisher folks and laborers, troubled friends, government employees, civic organizations, public school teachers, indigenous people and lay saints and Catholic Filipinos heroes,—the site is one of the many ways the Church is showing to the laity “how to be brave and be agents for social change,” according to the CBCP.

Various Catholic lay groups can also use the site to give a feedback to the bishops about the situation of the Filipino family.

Visitors can fill up a survey form released by the Vatican in preparation for the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Pastoral Challenges of the Family. The responses will be synthesized by the CBCP and will be transmitted to the Vatican.

“We want to show our love to the laity by listening to them and giving them a voice,” Villegas said.

“Being brave is the sure way to be saints! Being brave is what makes ordinary people great heroes!” he declared.

In a pastoral letter issued for the Year of the Laity, CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas challenged the lay people to bear witness to a life of faith wherever they are and whatever they do, noting that for many Catholics, a big gap exists between practice and life.

He also lamented the fact that many Catholics do not know the fundamentals of the Catholic faith that make them easy prey “to the seductions of other religious groups.” (CBCPNews)

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