The Philippine Church has ended its special Year of the Word of God dedicated to the Bible. (Photo: Unsplash)
Church authorities in the Philippine have ended a special year they dedicated to the Bible by assuring churchgoers that God would never abandon those who believed and trusted in him.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) had declared 2020 as the Year of the Word of God, which began on the first Sunday of Advent in 2019 and ended on Sept. 30, the feast of St. Jerome.
It followed the Year of the Youth in 2019 that encouraged young Filipinos to participate in nation-building and to take active roles in the Church.
Filipino Catholics have been celebrating special annual feasts ahead of marking 500 years in 2021 since the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.
Spanish missionaries introduced Christianity in the archipelago in 1521 following the arrival of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
In ending the special Year of the Word of God, the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) reminded churchgoers not to allow their hearts to be troubled because faith in God was key to overcoming hardships caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled ... These were the words of Jesus Christ to assure His disciples that God would be on their side, even in the darkest days of their lives,’ the ECBA chairman, Bishop Sofronio Bancud of Cabanatuan, said in a pastoral statement.
He said that while many Filipinos were suffering from Covid-19, faith has assured churchgoers that God would never abandon his people.
“We should not be in despair because we firmly believe that God will restore all things in Christ in due time,” the bishop said.
The prelate has also reminded churchgoers to renew their efforts to “actively listen” to God’s Word and be inspired by it in carrying out Christ’s mission.
“With this, I invite all dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, parochial and Catholic schools, lay associations and religious movements to engage the faithful in appreciating the Word of God. Now is the best time to let the people experience and witness the love of Jesus Christ by spreading His words and deeds to all,” Bishop Bancud added.
Manila apostolic Bishop Broderick Pabillo likened 2020 to 20-20 vision which he said meant “very good normal eyesight.”
“We need 20-20 vision not only with our bodily eyes. We need it more for our inner life, that we know clearly where we are going in life, what is the meaning and purpose of our life, knowing the mistakes to be avoided, what goals to pursue,” he said in a statement closing the special year.
Bishop Pabillo also challenged churchgoers to read the Bible to encounter God’s Word because “ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ”.
“The Bible is the inspiration of every ordinary and extraordinary pastoral outreach. Every church effort will lead to a greater awareness of the person of Christ, who reveals the Father and is the fullness of divine revelation,“ said Bishop Pabillio, quoting Pope Benedict XVI’s book Verbum Domini.