Manila: In his first pastoral exhortation as head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao announced that the 2018 calendar will be dedicated to the clergy and consecrated persons.
The year, he said, envisions that clergy and consecrated persons become “renewed” servant-leaders “who care most especially for the least, the lost and the last”.
He said activities throughout the year will be dedicated to the promotion and recognition of priestly and religious vocations.
“We aim towards the integral renewal of the values, mind-sets, behavior and life-styles of the clergy and consecrated persons,” Valles said.
“It will be a year, too, of revisiting ways of seminary and religious formation and the collaboration with the laity in the work of mission and ministry,” he said.
The new pastoral letter will be read in all Masses on December 3, the first Sunday of Advent, when dioceses will announce the opening of the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons (YCCP).
In 2013, the CBCP has launched a nine-year “spiritual journey towards the 500th Jubilee of Christianization of the Philippines in 2021 with a different theme for each year.
The YCCP followed the Year of the Parish as a Communion of Communities which officially ended on November 27.
The CBCP noted the challenge of “new evangelization” and stressed that the clergy, the religious and members of the secular institutes are the “key” to it.
And as the Church embarks towards a new evangelization, the bishops also stressed the “dismal shadows” brought about by some clergy and consecrated persons themselves.
“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,” he said.