Monday, July 2, 2007

Nearing its Silver Jubilee

The Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose de Mindoro, Philippines has just celebrated its 24th canonical erection anniversary (July 1, 2007). It was separated from the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan in 1983.

On its 24th year as an ecclesiatical territory, one can reminisce the periods rough and smooth it has been through. It is now governed by its second Vicar Apostolic, the Most Rev. Antonio P. Palang, SVD, DD since 2002 (he ruled over AVSJ as Apostolic Administrator since 2000 until his episcopal ordination and canonical possession of Occidental Mindoro). The first Vicar Apostolic was graciously eased out following a number of "issues" against him.

What's the significance of this year's celebration? Simplistically, in 2008 will be the silver anniversary of the ecclesiastical territory as a local Church! Such a milestone for any human organization.

Seen from the perspective of faith, the twenty-four or twenty-five years of existence as a local Church is an occasion for the faithful to self-examination or soul-search. The Good Lord has not given the Mindorenos that number of years for nothing. As popularly said, for every grace that is received, there is corresponding responsibility. With every year that passes, one is expected to be more mature and to have learned more; and, in the process, one has become sturdier and stronger and wiser.

For this year, the AVSJ has declared July 1, 2007 -- June 30, 2008 as Year of Family (YF). This is quite novel for the local Church. The primary intention is to consolidate all its pastoral efforts -- at least for this year -- and aim for a singular target. This is -- to my estimate -- a wise administrative step.

Last year (that is, July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007) was Year of Social Concerns (YSC). While the results of the evaluation about the parochial program implementations are still underway, there are already indications of some frustrating occurences. Frustrating, because these are pointers to the absence of a number of -- in some cases, of even basic -- administrative skills among the clergy.

As the YF has begun, I enjoin the readers of this blog to pray for us. Please, ... we do want to learn and build on the lessons that we've gotten with pain from the YSC, to help us get to terms with our YF.

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