In an effort to have a unified direction for its Commissions and Ministries, the Pastoral Office of the Diocese of Novaliches held a Diocesan Orientation on the Jubilee of Mercy, the Year of the Eucharist, and the Year of the Family last February 20, 2016 in the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd Parish Hall at Regalado Avenue, Fairview Park, Quezon City.
The event, collectively called as Year of Threefold Blessings, was meant to have a common understanding of the Universal Celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy with the local celebration of the Year of the Eucharist and the Family in the Diocese of Novaliches. It also gathered inputs and efforts from the different Commissions and Ministries on and for the Year of Threefold Blessings to arrive at a unified direction for the Diocese in its actual celebration.
Divided into four main parts, the event began with the Holy Mass presided by Diocese of Novaliches Bishop, Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D.; the orientation conducted by Vicar General for Administration Msgr. Romulo Rañada; the Panel Discussion & Open Forum facilitated by Vicar General for Pastoral Affairs Rev. Fr. Antonio E. Labiao, Jr., Social Action Commission Overall Lay Coordinator Atty. Ira Agustin, and Social Communications & Media Ministry Director Rev. Fr. Ambrosio Nonato Legaspi; and, finally, the Workshop that involved the different Commissions and Ministries that were present.
Bishop Tobias started off the Panel Discussions & Open Forum with a short sharing on “How To Shepherd Our Diocese Along The Path of God’s Mercy”. He said a good shepherd should always have a vantage point to see his sheep well, taking from example how he sat in front of the assembly at the top of a removable staircase used to access the stage.
“Alam niyo ba kung bakit ako dun nakaupo? Hindi dahil walang upuan, kundi dahil tinitignan ko kayong lahat. Ganun ang shepherd, nasa vantage point para makita niya ang kanyang nasasakupan,” he said inspiring many in the assembly. He reminded everyone of the need to be merciful to priests as well by forgiving them on several occasions before complains about them are sent, emphasizing that priests are not angels, after all.
Meanwhile, Fr. Tony gave a rundown of the services, programs, and activities that correspond to the Works of Mercy that the Diocese of Novaliches’ Pastoral Office have been providing since its establishment in 2002. He also mentioned as part of his sharing on “The Ministries Of The Diocese Responding To The Call Of The Pope & Our Bishops” the need to level up the quality of lay volunteers in so far as their mindset of service is concerned. He said that this should be included in the scheduled workshop of the event.
“The Experiences of the Lay People in the Ministry” was the topic of Atty. Ira’s sharing, which was rich of lessons from her years of serving in the Our Father Parish and in the Social Action Commission, otherwise known as Caritas Novaliches. According to Atty. Ira, “It is my love for God and in response to His love that I stay stay in the Social Action Commission.”
Then she invited everyone to serve the poorest of the poor, just like Pope Francis have said, “Lahat po tayo may magagawa…Let us break bread with those at the margins.”
Finally, Fr. Nonnette’s “New Acts Of Mercy According To The Present Needs of the People” sharing started with a fun listening game meant to help people realize the value of listening, which he said, “is the first condition of loving”. He went on to explain the two types of relationships and on Pope Francis’ emphasis on “encounter”. Then he cited several practical examples and ideas that people can do to promote Mercy for their families and communities or parishes.
Spearheaded by the Pastoral Office’s Commissions on Faith and Formation, Family and Life, and Social Action, the event gathered almost 700 participants from the 63 parishes of the Diocese. The said participants included 16 parish priests, men and women members of the Religious, and lay who have involvement in the Diocese’s various Commissions and Ministries.
The event lasted more than five hours and actually had to extend beyond 12nn deadline to accommodate the Workshop, which had to be modified due to the unexpected volume of participants and the tightly-packed talks/sharing included in the programme. The initially-planned groupings per Commission / Ministry was adjusted to individual suggestions written down in 1/4 sheets of paper that were collected after the Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D. gave his final blessing to end the event.
The said suggestions were collected by the Pastoral Office for tallying and consolidation and will be presented for approval during the next Presbyteral Council, Clergy, and Diocesan Pastoral Commissions Meetings. The results will thereafter be released by the Pastoral Office to all Commission and Ministry members. (~SocComm Nova)