MANILA, Nov. 27, 2013—In a timely gesture of solidarity with the Philippine Church a Vatican official was in the country recently to give a talk on Catholic social media, as well as to celebrate holy mass as an apt closing to the ‘Year of Faith’, Nov. 24.
“We need to listen to [people online], talk to them and encourage them in their journey of faith,” said Pontifical Council for Social Communications Secretary Msgr. Paul Tighe, who was the keynote speaker for the Catholic Social Media Summit version 2.0, which was held at the Colegio San Juan de Letran last November 23 to 24.
Faith is central
During his keynote speech, Msgr. Tighe, the brains behind the papal Twitter account, @Pontifex, stressed the centrality of the message of faith to Catholics’ online presence.
Fittingly, after the holy mass, which also celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King, some 400 participants from various youth ministries, schools, publications, religious congregations and dioceses recommitted themselves to spreading the Good News through social media, which they symbolized by wearing small, wooden crosses around their necks.
Across the country, different themes colored celebrations of the ‘Year of Faith’ closing like in the Diocese of Tarlac, which marked its golden Jubilee, while also remembering the victims and deceased of the recent calamities like super typhoon ‘Yolanda’.
‘A lot to be thankful for’
“After such calamities, Tarlac was hit by typhoon ‘Santi’, the earthquake in Bohol, then super typhoon ‘Yolanda’, there’s a lot to thank God for. Although many died, we pray for them. That’s the context of our celebration, to pray for the victims,” Secretary to the Bishop of Tarlac Fr. Melvin Castro said in a recent interview.
According to Castro, an estimated 2,500 people were at the San Sebastian Cathedral in Tarlac City, filling the church to capacity during the holy mass, Eucharistic procession and benediction last November 24 to celebrate the closing of the Year of Faith.
Castro was also quick to note the active involvement of young Tarlaqueños in the life of the Church.
“The Year of Faith might have closed, officially ended, but I strongly believe, my deep impression is that this will go on. People are faithful, especially the youth. They realize there is indeed such a need to know our faith and to live it out,” he added.
In other areas of the country, the closing of the ‘Year of Faith’ was met with much anticipation like in the Archdiocese of Manila, which held a vigil on November 23, the eve of the Solemnity of Christ the King, at San Fernando de Dilao parish in Paco, Manila.
Remembering ‘Yolanda’ victims
The Diocese of Antipolo observed the end of the ‘Year of Faith’ by having a Eucharistic procession from the Ynares Center in Antipolo City to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, otherwise known as the Antipolo Cathedral.
The celebration of the Holy Eucharist followed after.
Meanwhile in Rome, Pope Francis exposed the bones of St Peter for public veneration after the ‘Year of Faith’ closing mass last November 24.
According to a report from the Catholic News Agency, the wider Church also showed special concern for the victims of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in the Philippines by having a second collection from some 60,000 faithful attending the mass at St. Peter’s Square. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)