12/04/2017, 09.48
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Filipino bishops dedicate 2018 to clergy and consecrated persons

The new leader of the Episcopal Conference Msgr. Romulo Valles, Archbishop of Davao. It will be an occasion to review formation in seminaries and places of religious formation. Card. Tagle urges promotion of vocational choice among young people in the parishes.

Manila (AsiaNews / Cbcp) - In the first pastoral exhortation since his appointment as head of the Episcopal Conference of the Filipino bishops Msgr. Romulo Valles, archbishop of Davao, has declared 2018 the Year of the clergy and consecrated persons. The goal, explains the prelate, is that priests and consecrated persons be both leaders and servants, feeling "renewed" in their pastoral mission "in particular towards the least, the lost, those who are relegated to the margins".

All the activities of the next year will be dedicated to the promotion and recognition of the priestly vocation and of the life consecrated to Christ. "We aim at the complete renewal of values ​​- he continues - of the mentality, behaviour and lifestyles of the clergy and consecrated persons".

2018 for the Philippines will be an occasion to review the formation in the seminaries and places where religious formation takes place", strengthening "collaboration" with the world of the laity "in mission work and ministry".

The pastoral letter was read in all the churches of the country yesterday, December 3, the first Sunday of Advent in preparation for Christmas. At the end of the Mass, the opening of the Year of the clergy and consecrated persons (YCCP) was also announced.

The Filipino bishops therefore seem to draw attention to the challenges posed by the "new evangelization" and recall that clergy, religious and members of secular institutes are "the key" to open this door to the world. The prelates also underline the "gloomy shadows" cast by some priests and consecrated persons with their lifestyle, not at all consonant with the primary task of bearing witness to the word and deeds of Jesus.

There were occasions of frailty and scandals that sadden us. Such misconducts call for sincere reflection and humble repentance and reparation,” Valles added. “May these faults point us to new and vast possibilities of renewal and communion with those who are weak and broken.”

Also in these days the Archbishop of Manila, Card. Antonio Luis Tagle addressed families and Catholic organizations, asking them to promote the vocational choice among young people who attend parishes.

Speaking at the opening Mass for the YCC in the Philippine capital, the cardinal addressed the basic ecclesial communities, movements and organizations to "inspire" the choice for the priesthood or consecrated life. Young people should not only aspire to become doctors, engineers, or migrant workers, he added, but "must also consider [the hypothesis] of offering their lives as consecrated persons or serving as pastors".

"We are in a long journey towards the evangelization of our society, it is in our unity as a community in communion, with the help of our priests and the testimonies of the consecrated people do we see that we need to help each other,” he said. “The parish, as the communion of communities is where all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are used and practiced".

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