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Shrines must always prioritize social action, Filipino bishop reminds

A Filipino bishop reminded shrine rectors and volunteers to always integrate the social action component into their regular projects and activities.

Romblon Bishop Narciso Abellana emphasized guiding pilgrims flocking to the shrines to deepen their devotion and be inspired to emulate the good deeds of Jesus and the saints.

“The way of looking at Christ is also our desire to do the same, through our devotion to the saints, which is also our way of looking at Christ," he said.

“The desire [is for] our devotion [to] not only remain a devotion but something that becomes a spirituality in us,” he further said.

The prelate, who is also Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant Peoples of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP-ECMI), delivered the homily on Tuesday during a national assembly of Philippine shrines and basilicas.

Bishop Abellana reminded the participants that devotion must push them to forge concrete connections with their brothers and sisters according to the spirit of Synodality.

“We may be neglecting some of our neighbors because we focus too much on devotion but are lacking in action,” said the bishop.

"These shrines should make us one... and make us more aware that if we pray together as one to our Father, it should include everybody," he added.

Bishop Abellana emphasized that those managing and visiting shrines must reflect their true sanctity.

“We should go and march together and look out for each other as brothers and sisters,” said the prelate.

The Philippines' 28th national assembly opened on January 19.

The CBCP-ECMI Association of Catholic Shrines and Pilgrimages of the Philippines (ACSP) was in charge of organizing the event. 

More than 300 participants from all over the country attended this year's assembly to reflect on the theme "Shrines as House of Prayer and Center of the Works of Mercy." - Luke Godoy


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