While insisting that it is a moral imperative to care for our “common home,” Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si” also urges dialogue on all levels to map ways to conserve and protect the environment, said Fr. Gerard Francisco P. Timoner, OP, provincial of the Philippine Dominican Province and recently appointed by Pope Francis as a member of the International Theological Commission.
“It is noteworthy that the encyclical itself is an exemplar of such dialogue,” Timoner said. “Pope Francis writes in profound dialogue with the Christian tradition: He draws strong inspiration from St. Francis of Assisi, quotes Aquinas and De Chardin; he is in dialogue with the papal magisterium of his predecessors, St. John XXIII, St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI; he is in ecumenical dialogue with Patriarch Bartholomew and with other faith traditions by quoting Ali-al-Khawas, a 9th-century Muslim mystic; he is in dialogue even with philosophers like Paul Ricoeur. More importantly, he is in dialogue with his brother bishops spread throughout the world.”
According to Timoner, national episcopal conferences, such as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, and regional episcopal conferences like the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences would invariably invoke papal encyclicals and other magisterial documents in their pastoral letters and similar documents to signify the local reception of the universal teaching authority of the Pope.
“For the very first time in the history of social encyclicals, the Holy Father draws from the wisdom of the local or particular churches and brings them to the attention of the Universal Church by making them part of the encyclical,” Timoner said. The Dominican priest said “Laudato Si” makes 17 citations of documents written by various episcopal conferences, including the CBCP (see LS, 41).
“It might be well to note,” Timoner pointed out, “that Pope Francis has started drawing from the wisdom of his brother bishops in the apostolic exhortation, ‘Evangelii Gaudium,’ where there are about 13 citations from the work of various episcopal conferences. This means Pope Francis is truly listening to his brother bishops spread throughout the world.”
“So,” Timoner added, “when the Holy Father calls for dialogue on how to take good care of our ‘common home,’ he shows us that he is ready not just to speak but to listen attentively as well. Citing the works of the various episcopal conferences is also indicative of a strong sense of collegiality.”
Feast of Our Lady of Piat
To celebrate the annual feast of Our Lady of Piat (also known as Our Lady of the Visitation), devotees will be flocking to Sto. Domingo Church on July 11, 9 a.m. This traditional Mass was started 45 years ago by Dr. Carolina Prada.
Most Rev. Ricardo L. Baccay, DD, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, will preside in this year’s Mass. He will be joined by Rev. Fr. Bong Cabrera, Rev. Fr. Stephen Simangan and Rev. Fr. Roland Aquino, SVD.
The town of Piat in Cagayan Valley celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Piat, patroness of Cagayan Valley, every second of July. The devotion began in 1604 when the Dominican missionaries brought the life-size image from Macau to the town of Lallo, then the seat of the Diocese of Nueva Segovia in Cagayan Valley. By virtue of the decree by Saint John Paul II, the shrine of the Miraculous Virgin of Piat was elevated into Basilica Minore on March 10, 1998. The Basilica Minore, which overlooks the mighty Cagayan river, is where pilgrims gather annually to give thanks for blessings received.
Pilgrims from Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, and the Ilocos region will gather for Novena Masses at the Basilica Minore de Piat. The present rector is Rev. Msgr. Othello Bartolome. Officers of the Devotees de Nuestra Señora de Piat Foundation, headed by General and Mrs. Edgar Aglipay, Carmen Carag and Tita Rose Tan, wish to invite everyone for a simple brunch after the Mass.
The CBCP, meanwhile, has cautioned against rushing amendments to the 1987 Constitution. In the statement, “Let Us Be Circumspect,” the CBCP warned against what the House of Representatives had claimed would be amending the charter for “purely economic reasons.”
“Rightly, we have always steered away from the prospect of foreigners enriching themselves by the country’s resources and our labor force, transferring their earnings overseas, and leaving us none the better because of their presence and their exploitation of our resources, both natural and human! This should remain a paramount principle,” said Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president.
In the past, the bishops noted how they agreed with those who drafted the 1987 Constitution that it be designed to primarily safeguard and uphold Filipinos’ socio-economic interests.
The Adoration Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila and Companion Martyrs Parish Church in Kaunlaran Village, Dagat-Dagatan, Navotas City, had a “soft” inaugural recently.
Blessing the chapel was Fr. Larry Singian, OP.
Free prayer cards
Emerson Belmonte of Ligao City, Albay, has written this column to ask for prayer cards. They’ve just been mailed to him.
For readers who would like to receive free prayer cards, write to “Miss Josephine Darang c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer, Chino Roces Ave., Makati City.” Please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope for easier mailing.