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Priests, nuns told to seek out people in unjust situations

Philippine Religious told to renew values, behavior, and lifestyles on World Day for Consecrated Life.

Priests, nuns told to seek out people in unjust situations

Members of Religious orders in the Philippines attend a gathering at the Manila Cathedral on Feb. 2 to mark the World Day for Consecrated Life. (Photo by Roy Lagarde)

Joe Torres, Manila
Philippines

February 6, 2018

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Filipino men and women who commit themselves to the consecrated life have to bring the message of Jesus to those in "difficult and unjust situations."

This was the message Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, papal nuncio to the Philippines, had for Religious priests and nuns on the occasion of this year's World Day for Consecrated Life.

The Vatican envoy reminded a gathering of Religious people on Feb. 2 to bring the message of Jesus to those who are in a "difficult and unjust situation."

The prelate challenged the country's consecrated men and women to bring Christ in the midst of the people, especially the poor.

As a symbolic gesture of their being one with the people, a group of priests and nuns washed the feet of 12 people, including a mother of an alleged victim of a drug-related killing, a former drug addict, and a Muslim woman during the celebration.

"We cannot claim to love God who we don't see if we don't love our brothers and sisters who we do see," said Archbishop Caccia at the Manila Cathedral.

He told the gathering to always look at Jesus who sacrificed his life for others "out of love," adding that a good father and a good mother "sacrifice for the good of the children and even more."

The prelate said Religious life is "a gift" from God, and to be Religious means to testify and witness to God's presence "not as duty but as a gift."

In the Catholic Church, a member of an order or congregation with the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, are called Religious.

Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, president of the Catholic bishops' conference, expressed hope that the observance of 2018 as the "Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons" in the Philippines would serve as an opportunity for "servant-leaders" to renew themselves.

"Renew your values, mindsets, behavior, and lifestyles by following the example of Christ, the Good Shepherd," said the prelate in a message read during the celebration.

He said the renewal should be done "not just for your own sake, but for the sake of our church, where you offer a shining example of a life dedicated to following Christ more closely by the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience."

Archbishop Valles said to be servant leaders mean caring for the "least, the lost, and the last."

In his message, Pope Francis told members of Religious orders "to see your brothers and sisters, those who share your journey of faith and those who are longing for the Word of life."

"Today's frantic pace leads us to close many doors to encounter, often for fear of others," the pope said in his homily. "Only shopping malls and internet connections are always open," he added.

He also reminded the Religious to care for elderly members or religious communities. "May we never look at the screen of our cellphone more than the eyes of our brothers or sisters, or focus more on our software than on the Lord," the pope added.

The World Day for Consecrated Life was established by St. John Paul II in 1997. 

 

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