By Agenzia Fides

Feb 1 2021

MANILA – “This year we celebrate the 500th year [1521-2021] of the arrival of the Christian faith. Our commemoration of the event is a tribute to this immense gift to our people and our country. Not only have we received the faith, but we have also allowed it to take root and grow over the years. With this gift of faith, we have become God’s people, stewards of the ‘divine mysteries’ (1 Cor 4: 1).

We are grateful to God for this immeasurable gift”: write the Bishops in their Pastoral Letter issued at the conclusion of the General Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), held online from January 26-27, and signed by the Chairman of the Conference, Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao.

“No one has the gift of faith. Everyone is a steward of God’s gift. Every gift we receive must be shared with others. And so we must share the faith”, the Bishops underlined in the letter sent to Fides. “Every gift is a responsibility. We recognize every gift, we let it grow and share it generously with others, and we give it back to the Lord with gratitude in many ways”, said the prelates.

The bishops wrote: “We are committed to the formation, training and catechesis of our clergy, religious and lay people in our dioceses, parishes, communities and families”.

The Bishops recall that “God calls us to serve one another more generously, especially by helping our poorest brothers and sisters, which is why everyone is invited to actively practice the preferred option for the poor”. The bishops therefore call on everyone in parishes and dioceses to “share material and spiritual resources with others, especially among the marginalized and vulnerable, no one is left behind”.

The text continues: “Brothers and sisters, we are all part of this commitment because we all belong to the Church, the one family of God. We all share the responsibility for the Church. Therefore, we encourage all the baptized to contribute wholeheartedly and generously to the Church so that we can fulfill our common mission of spreading the Good News, serving humanity and caring for all of creation”.

The message concludes: “We are not afraid to donate freely and with joy, even in times of crisis and difficulties such as the Covid-19 pandemic that we are experiencing. We support the spirit of generosity that arose spontaneously during this pandemic and kept our communities functioning. We will look back with amazement and gratitude at these moments, wondering how we managed to move forward even in the difficulties and during the lockdown that we thought would seriously put the sustainability of our parishes to the test”. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 30/1/2021)