San Fabian Church in Pangasinan will host today the Christ the King celebration in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan.
The last time this archdiocesan celebration was held in San Fabian was in 1977.
The Solemnity of Christ the King will start with a procession at 2 p.m. High Mass will be at 4 p.m. to be presided by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas with Auxiliary Bishop Elmer Mangalinao and the archdiocesan clergy.
San Fabian is just 15 kilometers (about a 20-minute drive) away from the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag. Many pilgrims to Manaoag proceed to San Fabian which is known to vacationers for its beaches.
According to parish priest Fr. Rey Romero, San Fabian has been declared a Jubilee Church in connection with its tricentenary (1717-2017).
Meanwhile Monsignor Villegas, also president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), called the Supreme Court decision allowing the burial of the deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani a “mockery.”
“It mocks our fight to restore democracy. I am puzzled and hurt and in great grief,” said Villegas.
Aid for persecuted Christians
Villegas is also the inaugural head of the Philippine office of the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). It is the 24th national office of ACN, the 69-year-old worldwide Catholic organization formed during the papacy of Pius XII that supports the needs of persecuted Catholics and other Christians in high-conflict areas. Pope Benedict XVI made ACN a “foundation of pontifical right.”
The local opening of ACN means that Philippine Catholics will now mobilize funds and resources to assist persecuted Christians in the Middle East, Africa, China, North Korea, and even Muslim Mindanao and elsewhere.
“The Church that is not persecuted veers away from the path of the Lord,” said Villegas as he deplored the persecution and even killing of Christians especially in the Middle East by the Islamic State extremists while praising the courage of the victims.
“The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity, and the Church continues to be blessed with faith and courage.”
This year ACN is spending 160 million euros (some $172 million) to assist persecuted Christians and non-Christian religionists around the world.
Those who would like to assist ACN in its mission may visit the ACN office at the CBCP headquarters in Intramuros, Manila, or e-mail [email protected]