‘Study faith ahead of Pope’s visit’ —bishop

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MANILA, September 26, 2014—A high-ranking member of the clergy is positive that Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the country will be an avalanche of blessings to all Filipinos, but advises them to consider seriously “studying the faith”.

In a recent interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, Tarlac Bishop Florentino Cinense called on the faithful to deepen their knowledge of the faith in order to prepare themselves better for the apostolic visit.

Pope Francis will be in the Philippines for a pastoral and state visit scheduled on January 15 to 19, 2015. (Photo: CNA)

“Filipino Catholics who know next to nothing about Catholicism must now learn everything a Catholic is supposed to learn. It’s not enough that they’re Catholics in name only. They can only share the faith with others if they know what the faith is about in the first place,” explained Cinense.

He stressed Filipino Catholics who have little knowledge of their Catholic beliefs should see the occasion both as a challenge and an opportunity to study the faith seriously.

According to him, it is high time the Philippines receive the spiritual blessings it badly needs given the current “sorry state” of things.

“We need some progressive moves in order to better our situation. That is why I believe that the visit of the Pope will give us these blessings of unity, fraternity, love for one another, and ultimately, the progress that we have been looking for all these years,” said Cinense.

The prelate shared all Filipinos, including those in power, must learn to love one another for the sake of the common good, adding that unity is key to national progress.

Based on data collated by the Catholic Directory of the Philippines in 2013, about 76.18 million Filipinos, out of a total of 96.8 million, identify themselves as Catholics.

Meanwhile, various Church organizations await the papal visit scheduled on January 15 to 19, 2015.

After Bl. Paul VI in 1970 and St.John Paul II in 1973—unofficially, as Kraków Archbishop Karol Józef Cardinal Wojtyla,—1981, and 1985, Pope Francis will be the third Catholic pontiff to visit Asia’s largest Christian nation. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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