“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

Parish day celebrations

Bishop Crispin B. Varquez

By Bishop Crispin Varquez

This year, all our parishes in the Diocese of Borongan will each conduct a PARISH DAY Celebration. This celebration aims to put together the CBCP-inspired Year of the Parish and the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima.

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The theme of the Year of the Parish is ‘The Parish: Communion of Communities’. The objectives of the PARISH DAY celebrations are 1) to celebrate communion of our different communities by providing a venue “to discern the quality of faith life in the parish, the fellowship, belongingness, and participation experienced by its members” and emphasizing our continued efforts to form and strengthen our basic ecclesial communities; and 2) to promote and strengthen our devotion to Our Lady of Fatima by living her message of prayer, communion and reparation.

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There are many communities that comprise the Parish. The mandated organizations in the Parish are also communities. The religious men and women among us also live in communities and form communities of lay people who share in their spirituality. Even each Commission is a community of those who work for it and with it. In this Year of the Parish, we give particular focus and emphasis on the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC). That is why the Commission on Basic Ecclesial Communities take central role in the activities of each Parish Day celebration. We strive to form faith communities among families who live near each other; a communion of neighbors.

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Jesus said, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ Forming Basic Ecclesial Communities is an active way of responding to this call of caring for and loving the neighbor. Faith that is shared is a faith that grows.

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The most basic of all Ecclesial Communities is the family. The parents and the children, each one has a role to sustain the faith of each other and make the family grow in communion.

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In the family, there is a strong connection between the celebration of the Year of the Parish and the devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. Father Peyton said, ‘The family that prays together, stays together.’ As Catholics, the image that we see when we think of a family praying together isa family that prays the Holy Rosary together. The Lady at Fatima asked the children to pray the Rosary for world peace, for the conversion of sinners and for the salvation of mankind.

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I hope that each family would bring their domestic communion into communion with all the other communities in the Parish. I pray that every family would teach their children to value communion by praying together. This month of May, I would ask each family to encourage their children to join the integrated activities of the Flores de Mayo where they learn their catechism, develop devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and imbibe communion with other young members of the Parish.

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