Priest to church volunteers: ‘Be instruments of unity not division’

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TACLOBAN City, June 7, 2015 -– “We are instruments of unity and not division.”

This was Fr. Oliver Mazo ‘s message during a Pastoral Assembly in Sto. Niño Parish last Saturday, reminding those present that people come to the church “to be sanctified”, becoming peacemakers in the process.

Fr. Oliver Mazo, assistant parish priest of Sto. Nino parish stressed the responsibilities of making the Church grow. (Photo Ei Ballesteros)

He also reminded church volunteers about the responsibilities of members of one universal church, with Christ as the vine and the baptized faithful as the branches.

Prayer + action

Prayers are useless and may not merit God’s favor, he said, if not coupled with good deeds. These deeds include support of initiatives of the Church, especially those intended for the poor and victims of calamities, and of church agencies such as the Catholic Relief Services, Caritas International and CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA).

Mazo explained that these good deeds are embodied in the responsibilities of baptized individuals.

These responsibilities are, namely, to present the Church everywhere; make Christ present in the community; obey civil and government authorities; give suggestions to their church leaders about what should be done for the good of the church. Members of the clergy have the corresponding obligation to recognize and promote these responsibilities of the laity.

Fr. Gwen Padagdag, assistant parish priest, compared church workers to the siblings Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and the boy with two loaves and five fishes in the New Testaments, asking them once again for their commitment to serve the Church.

Laity’s role

As such, the priest said they are called to “bring Christ to their family and the family to Christ” by living the theological virtues of faith, hope, charity and love, as well as honesty, forgiveness, and helping others in need.

“We are here now because we want to give to Christ what we can give to Him,” Padagdag addressed the church volunteers, citing Christ’s sacrifice Christ for the salvation of humankind.

This same point was supported by Fr. Wilson, a parish co-pastor, who encouraged the laity to do what they can to help the Church grow.

Parish pastor and moderator Fr. Ronel Taboso, who stressed in his homily today that love and fear of God is the best inheritance parents can give their children, told the attendees: “It is not you who chose God, but God chose you.”

True conversion

According to him, besides commitment, there must also be true conversion to be effective in their respective apostolate.

These are conversions from activism to contemplation, from individualism to collaboration, from superiority to humility, from being an “evangelizer” to being evangelized, and from burden and sacrifice to privilege and right.

Padagdag, meanwhile, said “Being close to God, we are given the strength beyond our capacity.” (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCP News)

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