No. 903 Diocese of Marbel, Philippines 22 November 2016
Pastoral Exhortation of the CBCP to open the Year 2017 as the Year of Parishes, Communion of Communities
(Note: selected passages from the 3½ pages)
“Live Christ,Share Christ!” – our motto and hope
“2017 has been programmed to focus on the parish, ‘a community of communities.’”
“Pope Francis insists that the parish is not an outdated institution and can possess great flexibility still, depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and the community.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 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’s life of communion is constantly open to ecumenical and missionary action because this communion is always in a state of mission.”
“The Church in the Philippines is a part of the communion of Churches which is the universal Church. We are 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).”
In celebrating 2017 as the Year of the Parish as a Communion of communities we are challenged tomore deeply discern not only the structures of governance of our dioceses and parishes but also of the quality of faith life in the parish, the fellowship, belongingness, and participation experienced by its members.
“In the Philippines our vision of the Church as communion is today finding expression in one ecclesial movement that is the movement to foster Basic Ecclesial Communities.” (PCP II, 139)
CELEBRATE COMMUNION, LISTEN TO THE MOTHER
“2017 is also the centennial year of the apparition of Our Lady to three children in Fatima. At Fatima, Our Lady asked her children to return to Jesus by the three fold paths of prayer, daily communion and reparation.”
“In the months of May to October 2017, Catholics all over the world led by Pope Francis, will recall and celebrate the centenary of the six apparitions of our Blessed Mother to Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto. Prayer, daily communion and reparation will help ‘renew and reinvigorate our parishes.’”
THE RELEVANCE OF PARISHES, THE CALL OF FATIMA
“The present efforts at Church renewal should center on the parish. Without parish renewal, the family and Basic Ecclesial Communities will not find strong supportive ambiance, and will continue to feel isolated’ (PCP II, #604).” In the same vein, it would be a lost opportunity if the Year of the Parish as communion of communities would ignore the clarion call of Fatima for prayer, penance and communion.
NEW WELLSPRINGS OF PRAYER AND MERCY
“Parishes and communities will be renewed only through personal and community prayer… Prayer is an act of love. Every prayer…is always a plea for mercy… Parishes and BECs will be renewed as oasis of mercy through reparation for sins, frequent confession and acts of mercy.”
“Parishes and communities will be renewed by living the Eucharist whom we receive every day.”
“Mary, Our Lady of Fatima whom we also invoke as Mother of the Church pray that for us every parish truly become oases and wellsprings of renewal and mercy.”
From the CBCP, November 27, 2016, First Sunday of Advent, Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, President.