DAVAO City—As the Church in the Philippines celebrates the Year of the Parish, a bishop from Mindanao reminded the faithful of the parish’s role in the Christian life, saying the parish is a “sign of unity” between God and man.
Bishop of Malaybalay in Bukidnon Jose Cabantan said that aside from being a sign of unity between God and His people, the parish is also a sign of unity among the people.
“God’s love unites us. He is the God who never forgets us like the love of a mother to her child,” said the prelate.
‘Family of families’
In the Holy Mass he celebrated during St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary’s Pastoral Day on Feb. 26, the bishop said the parish becomes united because of the “mightiest bond” which is no other than God’s love.
“The parish is a family of families,” Cabantan said, quoting St. John Paul II.
Cabantan added that the word parish or “parochia” means neighbors or “near to each other” and that God’s love is concretized among the people through their unity as a parish.
“The different movements and apostolates and the families are the ones who make the parishes alive,” he added.
The seminary marks Pastoral Day annually to culminate the exposure of seminarians in different parishes and centers in the city and in neighboring cities. It is also a moment when the lay faithful get to visit the seminarians and join in the festivities prepared.
Church in Mindanao kept alive
Aside from the different parishes and centers, the seminarians, especially those in the fourth year theology, also had their exposure in the different Muslim communities in the city.
Seminary rector Msgr. Abel Apigo said this exposure is a concrete way of doing Muslim-Christian dialogue in Mindanao.
He added that being the future priests of Mindanao, it is important that seminarians have a broader understanding of the Muslim culture and in turn, the seminarians can also share their own culture to them.
During the whole day activity, representatives from the Muslim community performed a Muslim dance to the delight of the seminarians and visitors alike.
The seminarians, who were grouped according to their ecclesiastical sub-regions, also performed songs depicting the culture of the Church in their respective dioceses.
Anton Vidal, a lector from the Sta. Ana Shrine Parish who hosted one of the seminarians, said this gathering of priests, seminarians, lay faithful, and Muslim communities is a sign that the Church in Mindanao is “alive and united.”
“I can’t wait to see these young men leading the parishes according to what they have learned in the seminary,” he said. (John Frances Fuentes/ CBCPNews)