Faithful challenged: ‘Open parishes to poor’

Faithful challenged: ‘Open parishes to poor’

The 2017 ECFL National Conference officially opens on Feb. 16 with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the Sto. Niño Cathedral in Pagadian City, presided over by Pagadian Bishop Emmanuel Cabajar and concelebrated by Lipa Archbishop-elect Gilbert Garcera with more than 30 priests from all over the Philippines. Some 200 convention delegates attended the annual event. (Photo: Ansel Beluso)

PAGADIAN City – Drawing inspiration from Pope Francis’ own call to reach out to those “in the peripheries”, a prelate tells pro-lifers at their annual convention to open up the parish to the needy and the poor.

“Is our parish truly a community of communities, a sanctuary where the needy, especially the poor come to experience God? Is our parish a center of constant dialogue?,” Lipa Archbishop-elect Gilbert Garcera told some 200 family and life directors and heads during the CBC Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) National Conference keynote address on Feb. 18.

The ECFL chairman also echoed the Holy Father’s words, saying, “’We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel!’”. Pope Francis gave this message during the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in July 2013.

During his talk entitled “Parish: Family of Families”, Garcera expounded on Pope Francis’ words, calling on the faithful to seek and reach out to people.

On the first day of the event, Feb. 16, Pagadian Bishop Emmanuel Cabajar presided over the opening Eucharistic celebration at the Sto. Niño Cathedral in this city. The following day, Feb. 17, participants listened to a report on “2016 Year of the Eucharist and Family.”

In further preparation for the ongoing celebration of the Year of the Parish, attendees had a workshop entitled “Bridging the Gap: Bringing Jesus to Families.” Shortly after, the conference was concluded with a closing Mass also at the Sto. Niño Cathedral in this city. (CBCPNews with reports from Manjoe Mendoza)