Bacolod holds 2nd Diocesan Pastoral Assembly
Participants of the recently concluded 2nd Diocesan Pastoral Assembly of Bacolod, composed of 315 official delegates from the clergy, laity, and the religious. PHOTO COURTESY OF FR. DEOGRACIAS CAMON
BACOLOD City— The Diocese of Bacolod marked a milestone in its history as it formally concluded its 2nd Diocesan Pastoral Assembly with a Mass in honor of Our Lady of Fatima in the San Sebastian Cathedral on October 13.
Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon, S.D.B., officially closed the assembly after three days of prayer, reflection, and deliberations with 315 official delegates composed by the clergy, religious, and laity and which resulted to the formulation of the mission–vision statements of the diocese.
The vision statement speaks about the diocese as a “listening church journeying towards holiness” while the mission statement indicated “the Diocese of Bacolod is called to bring forth God’s kingdom through a spirit of communion and integral faith”.
The ‘bringing forth’ is understood in the sense of “sharing in the role of Mary who carried Jesus to the world”. This will specifically be expressed through “responsible stewardship, new evangelization and lived worship”.
Active lay participation
Three months prior to the pastoral assembly, more than 3,500 faithful of the diocese were consulted to prepare the working documents of the diocesan meet.
The gathering opened on Oct. 10 with a Mass presided by the Bacolod Bishop Emeritus Vicente Navarra.
In the homily, Navarra talked about the need for silence and “set aside any personal agenda” and the authenticity that comes as its fruits.
He also exhorted the delegates to participate in the deliberations so that the current diocesan pastor will have a guide on how to take care of the local church.
Time for discernment
Bishop Buzon in his opening address explained that the assembly is listening to the “sense of faith” of the faithful.
As he stressed that the “Holy Spirit is with the laity as it is with the bishop and the clergy”, he pointed out that the pastoral assembly is “the time of listening to the people particularly to the laity since they too are anointed by the Holy Spirit due to their baptism”.
The bishop said that the assembly is also the time for discernment of “what the Lord is telling us regarding His plan for the diocese”.
“It is sharing in the dream of God for us. The dream of God for us is more important than our own plans,” he underlined.
Buzon hoped that the assembly be “like the Cenacle when Mary, together with the disciples, experienced a new springtime”.
The 2nd Diocesan Pastoral Assembly was held at the John Paul II Diocesan Cultural Center in the Sacred Heart Seminary, Bacolod City.
Its resolutions will serve as the Strategic Plan that the Bishop will implement in the local church in the next five years.
The results of the meeting will also serve as the blueprint for the commissions and centers of the diocese in creating programs for the various parishes and chaplaincies. WITH REPORTS FROM FR. DEOGRACIAS A. CAMON