MANILA, Jan. 1, 2015—Despite the headaches and hassles the Philippines had been through in 2014, a Catholic prelate believes the Holy Father’s visit to the Philippines on Jan. 15 to 19 will prove to be the best gift Filipinos will receive this New Year.
In a recent interview, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo told Radyo Veritas that Pope Francis’ apostolic presence in Asia’s largest Catholic nation is sure to foster hope and unity among Filipinos, giving them the strength and confidence to rise above all the hardships they face like problems in corruption, peace and order, poverty, among many others.
Pabillo, who also chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), expresses hope that the country’s overwhelming Catholic majority will keep the lessons and other important messages His Holiness will share with them, striving to live them out in their daily struggle.
Furthermore, the bishop noted that the Pope’s Philippine trip is doubly significant as it coincides with the celebration of the “Year of the Poor,” which comes third in the nine-year novena for the fifth centenary of the Christianization of the islands.
According to him, this liturgical year enjoins all the faithful to spend time reflecting on the reality of poverty, and how it affects many Filipinos.
Pabillo adds the Year of the Poor seeks to highlight how the underprivileged can contribute to the country’s development, listening to their plight, viewing them as partners in progress, rather than as mere “beneficiaries” of welfare aid. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)