Bishops look at 2004
by Sonny Evangelista
The Filipino Church looks back at the great moments of suffering that marked 2004, urging the faithful to greater compassion and empathy.

Manila (AsiaNews) – "The year 2004 bows out leaving a battery of tragedies for our country and the whole world," this according to Ramon Arguelles, Archbishop of Lipa, who was reflecting upon the different natural disasters that hit the Philippines and Asia in 2004.

"As we prepare to meet the New Year 2005," he said, "let us pray that the Archdiocese of Lipa, our province of Batangas (south of Manila), and the whole Philippines be preserved from all disasters. May God and Mary be always with us."

In a message aired on the Family Rosary Crusade television program, Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales of Manila said the New Year allows us to enter into "new occasions, chances, opportunities, above all, graces of the Almighty, as everyday is a gift of God."

The year 2004 brought tragedies to the country similar to the destructive tsunamis that left thousands dead in 11 countries. For Bishop Rosales, "these calamities show that tragedies and sufferings know no boundaries and can be seen as a motivation for us [from the Almighty] to reach out to others."

"Let us now face new opportunities in the New Year to reach out to others," he stressed, "with or without disasters, with or without prodding, but motivated by the faith in the Lord, who expressed the love and the compassion of a Father He knew in heaven."

The Bishop further urged believers to "reach out to others, to help, to understand, to encourage."

Finally, he said: "With our faith in God there is no tragedy, no need, no special condition in the country, be that of danger, disability or even grave need that we will not be able to address together with good will, with unity, with faith in our God, love for Him and love for others."

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