PALO, Leyte, May 8, 2016 – Members of the religious here underscored the message of the 50th World Communications Day vis-à-vis the challenge millions of Filipino Catholics will be facing on election day, Monday, saying Jesus has to be in the faithful’s thoughts.
In separate WCD messages, Fr. Chris Arthur Militante and Sr. Gemma Ria Dela Cruz, FSP focused, on a common denominator: putting Christ’s love and mercy at the center of this year’s most important political exercise.
“As we exercise our sacred duty to choose our leaders in the elections, let all of us Filipinos, whether you are a candidate or a voter and supporter, always think Christ before we speak, communicate Christ in social media, and preach Christ in our actions,” said the priest, the Archdiocesan Social Communications Commission director and spokesman of the Archdiocese of Palo.
‘Truth in love’
For Dela Cruz, Pope Francis’ WCD message of “truth in love” could serve as a guidepost for voters in selecting national and local leaders.
She said the electorate should be guided by the “the reality of our nation’s situation and our love filled with much concern, so that our country will progress with dignity and fear of God.”
She also stressed the need for people “to ask God’s mercy for our nation.”
Dela Cruz also called on the people “to be catalysts of mercy for the relationships [that] are divided because of [the people’s] respective choice of candidates.”
The people’s concern could be shown by participating in the Church’s initiatives for clean, honest, accurate, meaningful, peaceful elections, according to the Pauline Media Center sister.
In this year’s WCD, Militante focuses discussion on three main points for meditation anchored on this year’s global theme “Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter”.
Echoing Pope Francis’ message, Militante stressed, “Think Christ before you speak,” adding, “What we say and how we say it ought to express God’s compassion, tenderness, and forgiveness for all.
Secondly, he called on the faithful to “communicate Christ in social media.”
Explaining using the context of the Holy Father’s WCD message, he said: “It is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal.”
He warned, “Let us not use social media to demean people or [for] unfair attacks, specially when the others do not share our opinion” but instead “use technology properly as vehicles of God’s good news; that of peace and unity.
Lastly, he encouraged the faithful to, “preach Christ in our actions,” explaining that the Lord’s mandate to proclaim his love and mercy goes beyond speech.
“Our lives as Christians must radiate an attitude of one redeemed by the Resurrected Christ, see that you praise God not with your lips and voices alone, but with your minds, your lives, and all your actions,” he stated.
Dela Cruz added: “The theme given by Pope Francis is very relevant for us today such as our relationships within our family, our Church, our nation for he thought [about] putting the spirituality of mercy in all aspects of our communication.”
“I am glad that as he acknowledges media as God’s gift, he highlighted to inculcate in us the value of mercy in the use of emails, text messages, social networks all forms of communication,” she said.
As done in past years, novena Masses were held from April 29 to May 7 at the Sto. Niño Church. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News)