Philippine diocese celebrates Consecrated Life Day and closing of 500 year Jubilee door
Novaliches Diocese in the Philippines celebrated the Day of Consecrated Life and the ceremony of closing the Jubilee door of the 500 Jubilee year of Christianity’s existence in the Philippines, on February 2.
Many religious and faithful participated in the mass and the celebration at Good Shepherd Cathedral of Novaliches Diocese.
Bishop Roberto Orendain Gaa of Novaliches Diocese expressed his gratitude to all the consecrated persons for listening to the call of God, even when the society neglects their holiness and does not hail them as heroes.
The bishop encouraged them, “You continue to offer yourself in consecrated life to people who are less fortunate, to people who really are in dire need.”
The world day of Consecrated Life is observed by Catholics on the feast of the presentation of the Lord on February 2.
The bishop also spoke about the crisis of vocation to consecrated life.
“It's difficult for us to gain new members. Our Members are getting older and older. And it seems nobody is coming in. And we are sort of rattled,” he said.
The bishop assured them that God will provide everything they lack because they were doing the mission of God.
Bishop Gaa emphasized that there is only one mission of God although they were wearing different habits and colors.
He reminded them, “That is why we need to pray for one another in this common mission. It is not a competition. But it is a common mission.”
After the bishop's homily, all the consecrated persons renewed their religious vows by holding the lighted candles.
Vicar General Msgr. Antonio E. Labiao Jr, the parish priest of Good Shepherd Cathedral of Novaliches Diocese praised the consecrated persons, “Alam nyo mahalaga kayo [You know you are important] religious priests and religious sisters because you are our reliable partners in the evangelization.”
Sister Marie Ingkie Veloz Taboclaon, superior of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Good and Perpetual Succor (also known as BPS Sisters) in the Philippines, told RVA that, for her, the event was a celebration of love. It was indeed the power of God’s love that conquered them in a world that is in a scarcity of love.
“The renewal of our consecration reminds me again of how to walk in His likeness and to discover not just for today but throughout the year the centrality of Jesus in our lives so that I may evangelize the world the way I live,” the BPS superior in the Philippines added.
According to the catholic-hierarchy, there were 232 religious priests, 537 male religious, and 224 female religious in the Novaliches diocese as of 2019.
After the celebration of the Mass for the day of Consecrated Life, the ceremony of closing the jubilee door of 500 years of Christianity’s existence in the Philippines followed.
In 2021, it was opened in a year-long celebration of the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines but it was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Jubilee door was open to give time and space to deepen or awaken in us the mercy of God. When you open the Jubilee door, it is really the mercy of God that opens up to us. We receive it in the faithfulness of God in the celebration of 500 years, but it is also the mercy of God that allows us to celebrate our relationship with him while we are sinners,” Bishop Gaa said.
The bishop insisted that the closing Jubilee door did not mean that the mercy of God is closed.
“Now we can, individually and maybe even as a community, become portals of God's mercy. The mercy of God is not shut down for us because we closed the Jubilee Door but because we have experienced the mercy of God,” he highlighted.
The prelate added, “We become vehicles of God's mercy as supporters of that mercy. So, we continue to celebrate God's mercy even if the Jubilee door is closed.”
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.