03/08/2014, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Filipino bishops: laity, courageous witnesses of the faith to non-believers, the poor and marginalized

The Bishops' Conference calls on the community to live their faith with "courage”, renewing the call to mission. The campaign "Choose to Be Brave " unites organizations of lay people, to help people in distress. A website becomes a point of formation, encounter and to exchange experiences.

Manila ( AsiaNews / CBCP ) - In the year dedicated to the laity, the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is calling on the Catholic community to live their faith with courage; the bishops have re-launched their urgent appeal to mission, to embrace non-believers, young people and the less fortunate. Among the many initiatives promoted by the Church is the "Choose to Be Brave" campaign promoted to respond to the needs of those who have abandoned the faith or have not yet met Christ and the Gospel. Lee -An Rosal , head of online communications for Choose to Be Brave, said that "the CBCP decided to create a campaign that would unite all the organizations of the laity, giving them a way to help these groups of people in difficulty" .

The initiative was rolled out in December last year by the president of the Bishops' Conference Msgr. Socrates B. Villegas, Archbishop of Lingayen- Pangasinan, together with the head of the Episcopal Commission for the Laity and the Bishop of Parañaque Msgr. Jesse E. Mercado. Activists Choose to Be Brave divided society into 12 different sectors to effectively carry out the mission: the Non-practicing Catholics; Young Professionals; Broken Families; Homeless and Jobless; Homebound and Prisoners; Farmers, Fisherfolks, and Laborers; Troubled Friends; Government Employees; Civic Organizations, Public School Teachers; Indigenous People; and Lay Saints and Catholic Filipino Heroes.

Lee -An Rosal stressed that parishes , individual communities and lay movements "can promote activities on their own" putting the guidelines laid down by the bishops into practice. To give greater emphasis to the campaign , the promoters have set up the website choosetobebrave.com which is updated regularly on the contents of the initiatives. The activities are undertaken from the national level, down to the parishes, in Metro Manila and in different parts of the country. The website also has a forum for interaction and exchange between the various initiatives and on the most diverse subjects. The faithful, adds the head of online communications, are also encouraged to communicate and re-launch conversations and ideas on Facebook and Twitter.

The start of Lent has also kicked off an online formation course, which will continue throughout the rest of the year. Lee -An Rosal explains The bishops realized the need for formation online, since a lot of people ask for catechism. So we found out the internet is an effective tool to reach out to them".  According to the promoters of Choose to Be Brave, lay Filipinos are increasingly convinced that "we must bear witness to Christ not only in religious activities, but also in the private and public spheres", which is why it is important to "speak of Jesus and His Church in the public".

In the document that declared 2014 the "Year of the laity" the Filipino bishops had strong words on the responsibilities and duties of Christians in public life, from the fight against corruption to the defense of life. In this year the prelates want to focus on "coherence between faith and daily life" of Catholics, indicating a methodology that provides a greater sharing of faith experiences among the laity.

 

 

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