Bacolod diocese aims to be ‘listening church’

Bacolod diocese aims to be ‘listening church’
Participants of the recently concluded 2nd Diocesan Pastoral Assembly of Bacolod , which concluded on Oct. 13. Some 315 official delegates from the clergy, laity, and the religious participated in the 3-day gathering of prayer, discernment, and discussion. FR. DEO CAMON

BACOLOD – The Diocese of Bacolod marked a milestone in its history as it recently concluded its Second Diocesan Pastoral Assembly, resolving to be a “listening church journeying towards holiness.”

Concluding with a Mass in honor of Our Lady of Fatima in the San Sebastian Cathedral on Oct. 13, the pastoral assembly also gave birth to the diocese’s mission statement, “the Diocese of Bacolod is called to bring forth God’s kingdom through a spirit of communion and integral faith”.

Some 315 official delegates composed of the clergy, religious, and laity formulated the mission–vision statements of the diocese, which note that the “bringing forth” of God’s Kingdom means “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”.

Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon, S.D.B., officially closed the gathering after three days of prayer, reflection, and deliberations.

Active participation of the faithful

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 Pastoral Assembly opened on Oct. 10 with a Eucharistic celebration presided over by Bacolod Bishop Emeritus Vicente M. Navarra, D.D.

In the homily, the prelate talked about the need for silence and the authenticity that comes as its fruit.

He highlighted the need for each delegate “to be silent and to set aside any personal agenda.” Navarra also exhorted the delegates to actively participate in the discussions so that the current diocesan pastor will be guideed on how to take care of the local church.

Time for discernment

Meanwhile, in his opening address, Buzon 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”, the bishop 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.”

He said the assembly is also the time for discerning “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 stressed.

Buzon hoped that the Pastoral Assembly be “like the Cenacle when Mary, together with the disciples, experienced a new springtime.”

A blueprint for the diocese

The Second Diocesan Pastoral Assembly was held at the John Paul II Diocesan Cultural Center in the Sacred Heart Seminary, Bacolod City.

The resolutions of the Second Diocesan Pastoral Assembly will serve as the strategic plan that the Bishop will implement in the local church in the next five years.

The results of the Pastoral Assembly 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 Camon/CBCPNews