DAGUPAN City, July 19, 2014—Amid problems, both man-made and natural, confronting the nation recently, the leader of the country’s bishops offers one free and fool-proof solution: encounter Christ online and everywhere.
“We must return to our encounter with Jesus, and to the joy of this abiding encounter, which, in the light of the Paschal mystery, is always deeper than our tribulations,” shared Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, who also heads the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
With these in mind, Villegas invites the faithful, particularly young Catholics, whom the prelate acknowledged as “among God’s most precious gifts both to the Church and society in the Philippines”, to the Catholic Social Media Summit Version Three (CSMSV3) on September 13 and 14, 2014 at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
As an important platform where Catholic social media users can share with one another pertinent knowledge and skills, the annual event seeks to put into the Philippine context the Holy Father’s clarion call of an “Encounter with Jesus” through the various online platforms.
In an open letter issued July 17, Thursday, the prelate, echoing Pope Francis, called attention to the many dangers of “our consumption-driven world” which, he stressed, consists in “the desolation and anguish born of a feverish but complacent heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience”.
Quoting the Pope’s apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” (Joy of the Gospel), Villegas said, “I invite all Christians, everywhere at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not for him or her, since no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.”
“It is exciting to be a Catholic! Take courage. Do not be afraid to share your faith! Choose to be brave! Choose the joy of Jesus!” he declared. (Raymond A. Sebastián)