Thursday, January 14, 2010

Catholic lay faithful's letter to bishops, priests, religious

Philippine Daily Inquirer/Opinion/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
A GROUP OF FILIPINO Catholics are preparing for the scheduled "Discernment on the Prophetic Calling of the Lay Faithful in Philippine Society" in Feb. 2010. A prelude to that gathering is a letter they (I, among them) have written and addressed to the bishops, priests and religious asking them to hold high the moral compass and provide pastoral and prophetic accompaniment for the laity during these crucial times. The letter lists urgent tasks that need to be addressed.

Please go to the link and read the letter. Involved and concerned Catholics are enjoined to sign online or on paper. The signatures are needed before Jan. 18 so that they could be included when the letter is delivered to the National Priests' Assembly and the meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines that will be held soon.

Here is the full text of the letter.

“Today, we are at the dawn of a new decade, a time for new beginnings. The National Priests’ Congress is being held and the new leaders of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) have been named.

“We, the LAY FAITHFUL who compose 99.06 percent of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, look forward to new directions and a new pastoral approach within the Church that will bring real change in ourselves, our communities and our nation.

“We are living in crucial times and circumstances. Our nation is faced with problems of inequality and inequity, environmental degradation, fighting and strife and a crisis in leadership. The gravity of the situation gives us feelings of helplessness and confusion.

“As Christians and Filipinos inspired by the Holy Spirit, we aspire to become true witnesses to our people. And so we hope to affirm our rightful place and dignity in the Church, to get involved and go over and above rituals and personal piety, to work actively for the just ordering of society and for the common good.

“We need you, our bishops, priests and religious, to hold high the MORAL COMPASS that will light our way, and for you to provide the PROPHETIC PASTORAL ACCOMPANIMENT that will strengthen us in fulfilling our role and mission as sons and daughters of God.

“We would like you to make a stand with us and walk with us. Together let us fulfill these urgent tasks:

1. Achieving a just peace that is not the mere absence of conflict but one that honors human dignity, protects human rights, and condemns institutional violence as well as all forms of cruelty.
2. Protecting the most vulnerable among us (the least, the last and the lost) by providing access to justice, livelihood, health, education and all other basic human needs, as well as promoting the livelihood of the poor instead of bailing out big business and granting corporations exemptions from wage increases.
3. Protesting the ill-effects of globalization, among them, loss of jobs, exploitation of land and labor, unfair trade practices, women being turned into commodities.
4. Promoting a culture of integrity and stewardship in society and in the Church. Denouncing corruption in all its forms and in all levels, in both the public and the private sectors, and demanding that the corrupt be held accountable.
5. Condemning abuse of power and the culture of impunity that allows crime to go unpunished.
6. Offsetting the breakdown of OFW families with parish support, counseling programs and projects.
7. Caring for the environment, conserving it for future generations and speaking against its abuse.
8. Calling on the citizenry to take an active role in ensuring that the coming elections are credible.

“Today, let us heed the call of the times, let us walk and work together to make our country a better place for our people."

“I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord God. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal…shepherding them rightly.” -Ezekiel 34:15-16

Music for a cause: Tomorrow, Jan. 15, singer-composer Jose Mari Chan and singer Nina will hold a musical night at Crossroads 77 on Mother Ignacia St. in QC. “Catch a Dream 3” is meant to raise funds for the expansion of Fiore del Carmelo School in QC which serves mainly poor children of Batasan Hills. I have visited this “little school on the prairie” and it was heartwarming for me to see poor kids getting quality education like their classmates from middle class families. Joe Mari never tires of singing for Fiore’s cause again and again. Call 9394714, 4613278.

For the cause of nature: Susi Foundation is again holding a three-day seminar on Nature Farming in Bahay Tuklasan, Tiaong, Quezon (two and a half hours ride from Makati). Isyang Lagahit and Emma Alday will facilitate the hands-on learning process.

Nature farming is farming according to the law of nature. It is a farming system that works with the help of nature and not against her. Crop production and livestock raising take into consideration the nature of the earth’s inhabitants in order to create balance and harmony in the total environment. The quality of life and the future of succeeding generations are valued over quantitative production and needless consumption. Collaboration with and respect for all living organisms, particularly those responsible for producing safe and nutritious food, is the farming system of choice. Nature farming is agriculture that nurtures nature. Call (042)5456359, 0919-4649394, 0927-3405920.