DAGUPAN City, Pangasinan, Dec. 30, 2014—With just a few days left before the world says goodbye to 2014, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) expresses confidence that the coming year 2015 will be like no other, especially when the faithful strives to place the Lord at its center.
“The Year 2015 is a Year of the Lord as every year really belongs to the Lord. Let us make it truly the year of the Lord by living each day praising Him, thanking Him, loving Him and following Him forever,” shares Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas in his New Year message.
According to him, while 2015 could be another regular year in the calendar, it can be an extraordinary one.
“If we put much love into each day of this year; if we put much hope into every difficulty we encounter this year; if we share fearlessly with everyone our joyful faith in our loving God; this year may be ordinary but it will be specially memorable one because of the love and faith and hope that we pour into the days of 2015,” he states.
“The Year 2015 is also the Year of Consecrated Life for the Catholic Church worldwide. It is an invitation for us to thank the Lord for the gift of religious men and women who remind us while on earth of heavenly things. Their lives of chastity, poverty and obedience are signs that God lives among His people,” Villegas adds.
The Lingayen-Dagupan prelate notes that 2015 is also the “Year of the Poor” for the Catholic Church in the Philippines, which is fourth in the nine-year novena for the Great Jubilee of 2021 set to commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of the first Mass and first baptism in the Philippines.
“We all look at Jesus and see how poor we all are! In our poverty, the Lord is our treasure,” he says.
More significantly, Villegas stresses that 2015 will be remembered in history as “the year when Pope Francis visited the Philippines for the first time”.
“With the challenge to be apostles of mercy and compassion, the first visit of Pope Francis will surely become momentous days of grace for us Filipinos. … Happy 2015!” he exclaims. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)