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Visayas bishops, priests urge change for marginalized

VISAYAS CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP
E-Mail Address: visayasclergydiscernment@yahoo.com
Visayas Clergy Calls on Christian Families to Celebrate the Feast of the Sto. Niño by Fulfilling Transformative Role
The bishops and priests of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG) call on Christian families to become the Sto. Niño’s instruments in social transformation to address the marginalization of Filipino families who are landless, jobless, homeless and hungry.
VCDG Head Convenor Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said that this year’s theme of the Sto. Niño de Cebu fiesta celebration, “Sto. Niño, Refuge of the Filipino Christian Family” is a theme that strikes deep into the hearts of Christians, since today, families are being bombarded by worldly values through the internet and media.
Bishop Alminaza said that we have to ask, “How can the Sto. Niño today become the refuge of poor families who lack the basic social services such as health, education, housing and others?”
VCDG added that celebrations will be like empty clanging cymbals if the concrete realities of the least of the Sto. Niño’s brothers and sisters are not addressed effectively.
The Sto. Niño becomes truly the refuge of the poor through fulfilling the liberating and transformative role of the family.
Quoting Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2012 message for the World Day of Prayer for Peace, VCDG said that the family is the first school which trains children in the work for justice and peace.
The family, as foundation of society, has an essential task in genuine societal transformation and must place itself at the service of the building up of God’s Kingdom on earth.
As every family should provide the solid basis for Christian formation, young people must be trained to build a new world where true democracy, equality, love, justice and peace reign.
For reference:
Fr. Paul Medina, O.Carm
Convenor
Visayas Clergy Discernment Group
Tel. No. (032) 3465573
Visayas Convenors
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza
Msgr. Walter Cerbito
Msgr. Cayetano Gelbolingo
Msgr. Rommel Kintanar
Fr. Julius Heruela
Fr.  Aniceto Buenafe, Jr.
Fr. Paul Medina, O.Carm
Fr. Edgardo Deligero
Fr. Desiderio Magdoza
Fr. Scipio Deligero
Fr.  Antonio Bayod, MSC
VISAYAS CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP
visayasclergydiscernment@yahoo.com
A Reflection on the Feast of the Sto. Niño of Cebu
January 10, 2012
 “Sto. Niño, Refuge of the Filipino Christian Family” is a theme that strikes deep into our hearts in our present age. Today, families are greatly attacked by worldly values, decadent media, internet, and modern gadgetry. Moreover, a sizable number of marginalized Filipino families are living in utter poverty.
We have to ask the following question, “How can the Sto. Niño today become the refuge of families who are landless, jobless, homeless, hungry; and which lack the basic social services such as health, education, housing and others? Our celebrations will be like empty clanging cymbals (Amos 5:21-24) if the above concrete realities of the least of the Sto. Niño’s brothers and sisters are not addressed effectively.
Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his Christmas 2011 homily, said that God has appeared – as a poor child. In our world today, we must cry out to God, “We love your childish estate, your powerlessness, but we suffer from the continuing presence of violence in the world, and so we also ask you: manifest your power, O God. In this time of ours, in this world of ours, cause the oppressors’ rods, the cloaks rolled in blood and the footgear of battle to be burned, so that your peace may triumph in this world of ours.”
As Christians, we are God’s instrument in social change.  Thus, the theme of the Sto. Niño of Cebu fiesta celebration will re-focus us to the liberating and transformative role of the family as the focal point of evangelization and the nucleus of faith-witnessing.  This brings us back to the core of our being created in God’s image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27) where the foundation of the family is to manifest that essence and to radiate God’s love to all.
God, who is love (I Jn 4:8), wants to share and carry on this love when He “inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion” (Familiaris Consortio [FC], 11).  The family is the community of persons where parents and children, husband and wife are helping each other to realize the love they have received from God and to live with fidelity the reality of communion in a constant effort to develop an authentic community of persons (FC, 18).
Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2012 message for the World Day of Prayer for Peace, explained that “the family is the first school in which we are trained in justice and peace… May the parents encourage children by the example of their lives to put their hope before all else in God, the one source of authentic justice and peace.” Concretely, the family is the first school of values and deeper humanity (FC, 66) and a center to discern one’s own vocation and to accept responsibility in search for greater justice (FC, 2).  “Parents …should realize that they are thereby cooperators with the love of God the Creator, and are, so to speak, the interpreters of that love” (Gaudium et Spes, 50).
The family is the “first community called to announce the Gospel to the human person during growth and to bring him through a progressive education and catechesis to full human and Christian maturity”(FC, 2). The parents not only communicate the Gospel to the children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as lived by them (Evangelii Nuntiandi [EN], 71).  The family, as foundation of society, has an essential task in genuine societal transformation and a definite ecclesial task which places itself at the service of the building up of the Kingdom of God in history.
Just as the Lord Jesus “grew both in body and wisdom” (Lk 2:52) in the family, every family should provide the solid basis for Christian formation.  Here, the young people can be strengthened and be trained for family, social and apostolic life, to build a new world where true democracy, equality, love, justice and peace reign.
As Christ lives,
 
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, D.D.
Head Convenor
Visayas Clergy Discernment Group

About anol_cebu

As chief digital officer of PRworks Inc., Emmanuel Mongaya manages the digital communications of the public relations agency. He also blogs, writes columns for Sun.Star Cebu and Superbalita, and serves as administrator for “Maghisgot Kitag Politika Bay,” Cebu’s dynamic political community in Facebook.

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