MANILA, March 2, 2016 – Catholics in the Philippines promise to pray for Pope Francis’ pro-family intention this March and urge others to do the same while finding ways to help parents and their children overcome the many challenges they face today.
“This Lenten season we not only pray for needy families. We also try to reach out to them by supporting efforts like the fast-to-feed programs [of our dioceses],” noted Queen Amor Monserrat, a volunteer catechist at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque City, in an interview.
While she recognized the power of prayer, the young engineer underscored the importance of walking the extra mile by taking steps to resolve the problems at hand.
According to Monserrat, these are concrete actions that respond to the Holy Father’s intention.
Parish worker Darwin Beceril of the Diocese of Novaliches lamented that many parents fail to attend to the spiritual needs of their children, citing their busy schedules as an excuse.
“These families lack love and peace at home. As Mother Teresa once said, ‘To promote peace we must go home and love our family,’” he said, quoting the future saint of Calcutta.
Beceril went on to point out the obvious: every child has the right to receive proper guidance, support, and love from their families, especially their parents, whose duty it is to teach them how to pray and grow in their faith.
Teacher Jeannette Sumicad if the Diocese of Antipolo agreed that the family greatly affects the way children learn and interact with their peers and others.
Based on personal observations at work, she confirmed students coming from broken homes, or whose parents fight often and have little time for them tend to lack the focus and the will to learn.
“We should guide them properly so that they will become good Christians and citizens who will make a difference in our world someday … Every family may receive all the blessings it needs through our sincere prayers,” Sumicad explained.
Nestor Limqueco of the Archdiocese of Manila said formation lies ultimately in the hands of parents because they are the first teachers and the home is the first “school of love.”
“The family—the domestic Church—has a great role and responsibility in making sure young minds are exposed to what is good and that they grow in an environment conducive to their well-being,” he added.
The universal intention of Pope Francis in March is dedicated to families in difficulty.
It reads: “That families in need may receive the necessary support and that children may grow up in healthy and peaceful environments.”
Meanwhile, his intention for evangelization is on behalf of persecuted Christians, that they “may remain strong and faithful to the Gospel, thanks to the incessant prayer of the Church.” (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)