PARAÑAQUE City, June 19, 2014— Reiterating Pope Francis’ call to evangelize, Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio L. Utleg on Wednesday, June 19, reminded devotees of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran of the need to couple pious devotion with a sense of mission.
“Reach out to the ‘unchurched’ … to those in the fringes of society. Be the presence of the Church in places of sin, of religious indifference,” he said in Filipino.
Quoting a statement made by then Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio during the conclave that catapulted him to the papacy, Utleg pointed out that the purpose of the Church is “to go out to tell the world the Good News about Jesus Christ”.
He stressed that the Church “needed to surge forth to the peripheries, not just geographically but to the existential peripheries where people grappled with sin, pain, injustice, ignorance and indifference to religion”.
The prelate explained to devotees that while a life of contemplation is highly commendable, it has to be enriched with a life of action.
He shared, “We do not just seek Mama Mary’s intercession and expect her to grant our petitions every time.
According to Utleg, Christians must be willing to intercede for one another, to help one another, as the Blessed Mother intercedes for them even when they do not ask for it.
“As the Gospel teaches, praying should go with fasting and almsgiving,” he added.
The archbishop was in Baclaran to preside over the first in a series of novena masses lined up for the shrine patroness’ feast on June 27, Friday, themed “Debo(Mi)syon sa Baclaran: Lakbayahinan tungo kay Hesus, Gabay si Inay María”.
Among the thousands who attended mass was former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, who now represents Ilocos Norte’s second legislative district.
The “Misa Novenario” is scheduled to run until June 26, the eve of the feast, at 5:45 p.m. except when it falls on a Wednesday and a Sunday, when it starts at 4:45 p.m. (Raymond A. Sebastián)