MANILA, Dec. 28, 2016 – As the Church in the Philippines celebrates the Year of the Parish as a Communion of Communities from Nov. 27, 2016 to Nov. 26, 2017, some parishioners look back on the Jubilee Year of Mercy, recalling how the event gave them a foretaste of the local Church’s current pastoral focus.
“What I experienced in the Year of the Jubilee of Mercy is the love of God that I felt, not only personally but also in our community,” said Kathleen Amparo, a parishioner of Christ the King Parish, Batasan Hills, Quezon City, in Filipino. She said parish activities included visiting the sick and those in prison and assisting the needy.
Amparo’s co-parishioner, Orly Damian, shared a similar experience: “In my spiritual journey in this Year of Mercy, I had more inspiration and motivation to pray, especially in times that I was struggling in my mission in [the] BEC.”
The parish comes alive
“In doing my mission in serving the parish, there are times that I doubt,” he explained. “But since I became regularly active in serving the parish–that’s I believe is through the mercy of the Lord despite all my shortcomings, all my sins–He gave me the opportunity to serve more and learn more…to pray more to Him and love Him more.”
Another parishioner of the said parish, Abet Jaramillos, emphasized: “The Jubilee Year of Mercy was very memorable to me. First, on a personal level, I became closer to God. Second, I was able to see that our community became more alive due to the appearance of the BEC in our parish.”
“Our parish actually became alive. Through participation in the BEC, we became more comfortable with each other in doing each activity of our parish. We saw the presence of God,” he said. Amparo, Damian, and Jaramillos are all members of the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) of the said parish.
Meanwhile, Aurora Cantero of Sto. Niño De Congreso Parish, Bagumbong in Caloocan City stressed that the Jubilee of Mercy enabled deeper service in Church through the BECs.
“The most important experience I had in this Jubilee of Mercy is the grace of unity or [the chance] to sort out the little misunderstandings in life, which shouldn’t actually be a cause for misunderstandings in the first place,” she said. “Another important experience was that my service in the Church deepened through the BEC. It is actually in the BEC that I felt the true love of my brothers and sisters in the grassroots,” added Cantero.
In the Diocese of Novaliches, the Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities was officially launched on Dec. 9, 2016 during a three-in-one celebration held at Mary the Queen Parish of Teresa Heights, Quezon City.
The three-in-one celebration also simultaneously closed the Jubilee Year and the Year of the Eucharist and the Family in the diocese while celebrating the 14th Foundation of the Diocese on Dec. 7 and Novaliches Bishop Antonio R. Tobias, D.D.’s 51st sacerdotal anniversary on Dec. 21.
Previously, the diocese held on Nov. 19, 2016 a theological pastoral conference on “The Parish as a Communion of Communities” at the St. Paul Shrine, Casa Milan, Quezon City to prepare the faithful for the opening of the Year of the Parish. (Minnie Agdeppa / CBCPNews)