COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

No.  700     Diocese of Marbel, Philippines                           02 January 2013

  1. EPIPHANY

We celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord on 06 January 2013.

Epiphany comes from the Greek “epiphaneia”.  It means “manifestation”. We celebrate, then, God’s manifestation to mankind in human form, in the person of Jesus Christ.

Only Matthew records the visit of the Magi.

“After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judea…some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east.  Where is the infant King of the Jews?, they asked.  We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage (vv 1-2).

Wikipedia explains.  Magi came from the east, probably Babylon (Iraq) or Persia (Iran).  Babylon is near Euphrates River about 88 kms. South of Baghdad.

Babylonians had opportunities to learn Jewish scriptures which contain references to the coming Messiah.  There were tens of thousands of Jews living in Babylon during the Exile (605-586 B.C.)

Daniel, an influential government official (c. 600 B.C.), foretold the coming Messiah.  “Return and rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed Prince” (9:25) Or Prince-Messiah (Footnote, Jerusalem Bible).

Balaan prophesied: a star from Jacob takes the leadership, a scepter arises from Israel” (Numbers 24:17).  “In the ancient East the star signified a god and, consequently, deified King” (Footnote, J.B.).

Magi belonged to a priestly caste dedicated to the study of stars (Astrology) and other sciences.  They were counselors of kings.

The distance from Babylon or Persia is around 1,300 kms.  Travel took several months.  They met Jesus, not in the stable, but in a house”…and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage” (v. 11).  That the Magi arrived several months from Jesus’ birth could be seen in verse 16:” male children killed who were two years old or under”.

Having done homage to Jesus, the Magi “offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh” (v. 12).  Jesus was recognized by the Magi as King, they fell on their knees.  Gold for King.  Frankincense for worship of God.  Myrrh to anoint the dead.  Jesus manifested himself as God and man.  The Magi recognized this truth.

Jesus’ manifestation to the wise men means He came not only for the Jews, but also for the gentiles.  Universal salvation.

Note.  The tradition of Three Kings which started around 500 A.D.  was perhaps based on Is. 60:3, Ps. 68:29 and Ps. 72:10.

HAPPY EPIPHANY!

 

  1. SAGRADA FAMILIA PARISH (SFP) ERECTED

Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez presided during the canonical erection of Sagrada Familia Parish, Brgy. San. Jose, City of Koronadal, 30 December 2012.

SFP was detached from St. Anthony/Cathedral Parish.

It has an estimated population of 45,000 mostly engaged in farming.  Catholics comprise 60% (or 27,000).

SFP has 11 brgys: Palavilla, Blingkong, Esperanza, Mabini, Tamnag, Manili, Rotonda, Cacub, Bo. 3, Bo. 7 and Bo. 5, the “Centro”.  GKKs: 49.

Fr. Romeo Catedral, former Diocesan Social Action Director, was installed first parish priest.  Sixteen priests concelebrated.

 

  1. FOCUSED GROUP DISCUSSIONS (FGDs)

FGDs, GKK level, were finished early December.

The Knights of Columbus had their FGD on 26 December, Bishop’s Residence.  Thirteen Knights from 7 parishes participated: Calumpang, Fatima, Jesus the Good Shepherd, Marbel, Polomolok, Sto. Niño and Tupi.

Couples for Christ, Global had their FGD on 29 December, Bishop’s Residence.  Eighteen from 10 parishes took part.  Calumpang (1), Bula (2), Fatima (2), Jesus the Good Shepherd (2), Lagao (2), Marbel (1),  Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (3), Polomolok (1), St. Michael Archangel (2), and Tampakan (2).

Collated results were sent to the Diocesan Christian Formation Center.

Results will form the bases of Strategic Planning on Faith sometime in January.  Parish Action plans will follow.

Integral Faith Formation is CBCP’s theme/topic this 2013..

 

  1. RH BILL SIGNED INTO LAW

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, signed into law the RH Bill on 21 December 2012 without media coverage.

It was published on 29 December 2012.  It is now known as RA 10354 “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012”.

There are 30 sections.  Many good provisions.  Sec. 2 “recognizes and guarantees the human rights of all persons…protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution…, right to life of unborn from conception…, right to a balanced and healthful environment…, marriage as an inviolable social institution and foundation of family…, rights of women….”

But, careful.  Sec. 7 “provide a full range of modern family planning methods.  Sec. 9 “shall include hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and other safe, legal, non-abortifacient and effective family planning products and supplies.”

Back to: 2013 COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

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About bishopdinualdo

Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez is the Bishop of the Diocese of Marbel
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