by Father Reu Jose C. Galoy, OFM, Parish Priest
Please allow me to share an excerpt from the Pastoral Exhortation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to open the Year 2017 as the Year of Parishes, Communion of Communities
PARISHES AS WELLSPRINGS OF MERCY AND RENEWAL
In “Evangelii Gaudium” Pope Francis insists that the parish “is not an outdated institution and can possess great flexibility still, depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and the community.” (EG, 28)
LIVE COMMUNION, SHARE COMMUNION
The Church is a mystery of communion. Our communion flows from the Trinity overflowing into humanity and sharing a common faith journeying together for the full unfolding of the Kingdom of God. This communion, made possible for us because of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, always has a double dimension – a vertical communion with God and a horizontal communion with our brothers and sisters. The Church in the Philippines is a part of the communion of Churches which is the universal Church. We are a part of the one Church of Christ. In every particular Church “the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and active” (Christus Dominus, 11). Whoever belongs to one particular Church belongs to all the Churches; since belonging to the Communion, like belonging to the Church, is never simply particular, but by its very nature is always universal (cfr. Lumen Gentium, 13).
In brief, our focus will be the building of a parish that is truly a faith community immersed in the lives of its people (CBCP Pastoral Letter Live Christ Share Christ, 2012). How can we work at renewing our parish communities so that they can better respond to the challenge of restoring all things in Christ?
NEW WELLSPRING OF PRAYER AND MERCY
Our communion of communities needs a renewed and passionate program of intense prayer and penance. Parishes and communities will be renewed only through personal and community prayer. Our first mission in the world is to be a leaven to teach our society how to pray. Our first duty in communion is prayer. The prayer of a shepherd for his sheep is always music to the ears of God. Prayer is an act of love. Every prayer whether of praise or contrition or petition is always a plea for mercy. Prayer is our parish anchor. Prayer is our cornerstone. Parishes and communities will be renewed by living the Eucharist whom we receive every day. The Eucharist is the poverty of Jesus disturbing the complacency of the wealthy; it is the wealthy sacrificing house, family, and fortune to lift up the poor from their poverty. It is the Word of God inviting the confused, the lonely, the bored, the suffering to the joy of the Gospel. It is God’s life humanized in his incarnation; it is human life divinized in his suffering, death and resurrection. It is the compassion of the Father touching the life of the sinner; the conversion of the sinner practicing the compassion of the
As published in the December 4 issue of the Parish Bulletin.