JARO, Iloilo, Dec. 6, 2014 — With many dioceses in the Philippines celebrating the closing of the Year of the Laity, Archdiocese of Jaro has purposely decided not to hold a culminating event to highlight the continuing, crucial role of the laity in every area of mission of the Church.
According to Fr. Joenick Territorio, director of the Jaro Archdiocesan Commission on the Laity, no formal culminating celebrations were held to close the Year of the Laity in Iloilo for two main reasons, both theological and practical.
Laity at forefront
“The first reason is”, Territorio said, “when you look at the CBCP’s itinerary for a nine-year spiritual journey you will observe that, from now onwards the great jubilee of 2021, the laity has a major role to play in each of those celebratory years.”
“In this Year of the Poor those who are called to look up to Jesus, to follow Jesus and to renew their commitment to be in solidarity with all, are mainly the lay people, whether poor or rich,” the laity director said.
“It will be the same with the rest of the years of the nine-year spiritual journey, the laity will be at the forefront in the year of the Eucharist and of the Family in 2016, in the year of the Parish in 2017, and in the year of the Youth in 2019,” the priest continued.
“And even if it might not be obvious, the laity will be an important factor in the year of the Clergy and Religious in 2018, considering that the first seedbed of vocations is the family. The same is true with the year of Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue in 2020 and the year of Mission ad Gentes in 2021 because the major protagonist in these fields in the era of the New Evangelization is, again, the laity,” Territorio added.
The second reason why the Archdiocese of Jaro did not formally conclude the Year of the Laity is more practical.
“The Year of the Laity has been a wonderful opportunity for the lay people in our Archdiocese to rediscover the great gift of their dignity as Christians given directly by God by virtue of the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation,” Territorio said.
“Although it’s sad to admit it,” the priest explained, “the fact that the majority of the laity remained passive for many centuries may be attributed to a ‘rank and file’ mentality that made them think that they first have to be ‘empowered’ by the bishops or priests before they could assume an active role in the apostolate.”
“The Year of the Laity paved the way of the renewal of the laity, making them aware of the gifts from the Spirit, so that they take up their role as co-responsible agents of evangelization,” Territorio said
“Now that the members of the lay organizations have become so motivated and fired-up in their mission in the Church, we will not douse the flame of their enthusiasm through culminating ceremonies that might make them think that their job is already over,” the priest added. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCPNews)