Diocesan priests in Mindanao gathered in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato to strengthen their bond of brotherhood. There were 350 registered participants including 11 bishops.
Theme: “Integrity of Heart and mind According to St. Paul”.
Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel was the presider and homilist during the opening liturgy at St. John the Baptist Church. Precis of his homily:
• God created the universe. Everything was good (cf. Gen. 1:1-19).
• Relationship between God and creatures is one of dependence. For human beings it is also a relationship of trust and stewardship (cf. Gen 2:16).
• Created goods are for all. The CBCP issued last January 25, 2009 a statement supporting CARPER – Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reform.
• God created a beautiful and peaceful world. Humans, however, made it ugly and violent. Overlogging, destructive mining, exploitation wars, etc. characterized the present situation.
• Need to heal the land, to heal the sick (cf. Mk. 6: 53-56). Need for personal conversion and social transformation.
• The Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC) was requested by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to lead in the peace process, in the healing of Mindanao.
• BUC approved last February 06, 2009 the project “Konsulta Mindanaw”. A process of extensive consultation and dialogue, regional and sectoral. Goal is strategic plans to achieve just and lasting peace. The 11-month process also includes communication and research as two other strategies.
Welcome program and sumptuous dinner was held at Lakes Sebu’s Municipal Gym. Decoration by Fr. Eugene Porras’ ethnic and “South Seas” motif impressed all, including Gov. Daisy Avance Fuentes. T’boli lunar dance performed by students of Sta. Cruz Mission College entertained the visitors. Acoustics band served as background while priests and bishops shared pleasant experiences.
Bishop Romulo de la Cruz of Kidapawan was presider and homilist during the second-day liturgy.
He challenged priests and bishops to work harder to achieve spiritual wholeness and wellness.
Fr. Domie Guzman, Society of St. Paul, was main speaker. He shared St. Paul’s passion to live, to work for Christ as a classic example of integrity of heart and mind. His sharing enriched both priests and bishops.
Games and organized tour of the falls and Lake Sebu in the afternoon served as additional bondings and further energized the delegates.
Evening activities, 2nd day: Evening prayer, meal, awarding of hundreds of prizes. Echo for Peace Band served as centerpiece during the socialization period.
Third day, going home. Participants brought with them happy memories of Lake Sebu.
Participants by dioceses. Basilan – 2. Butuan – 13. Cagayan de Oro – 27. Cotabato – 9. Davao – 22. Digos – 7. Dipolog – 10. Iligan – 12. Ipil – 2. Jolo – 2. Kidapawan – 15. Malaybalay – 38. Marbel – 44. Mati – 20. Ozamis – 17. Pagadian – 18. Surigao – 18. Tagum – 59. Tandag – 9. Zamboanga – 3. (From Fr. Angelo Buenavides’ report)
Congratulations to Fr. Bonifacio Ampoyas, over-all coordinator, Fr. Jerome Millan, Lake Sebu Coordinator and everyone.
Source: Communication from the Bishop (No. 520, 16 February 2009)