"By the year 2018, we envision a dynamic and vibrant church of caring, witnessing, and mission-oriented parishes"
“Working together in faith to serve and preserve God’s creation.”
(Ex. 17:8-13; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Lk. 16:1-13; Mt. 25:14-30)
Greetings of peace and love to one and all! We are blessed to be her and thank God for this opportunity as we come together and join with our brothers and sisters from all part of the Diocese for our 41th Diocesan Annual Convention. Indeed it is a great joy to see you all and together thanked the Lord for his tremendous love poured upon His Church in this Diocese and upon His people. It is therefore my great privilege and honor to welcome all of you, the members of convention, our official and reporting delegates, retirees, guests and observers to this convention.
As you may know, this 41st Diocesan Convention is very special and significant to all of us, as this marks our last convention together of the undivided Diocese of Southern Philippines. Certainly, there is a mix feeling of sadness and joy. Sadness because separation or parting is not always a happy occasion for acquaintances, much so for those of us who have shared the joys of working together and friendship. On the other hand, there is that feeling of excitement of facing new challenges and opportunities especially as we think of expansion and reaching out to more people of the Lord. Such thought always brings happiness and inspiration to all of us. May we all be blessed this convention.
The Convention Theme, “Working together in faith to serve and preserve God’s Creation.”
This 41st Diocesan Convention will go down in our journal history of convention as the last convention of our undivided Diocese. As such this is significant and memorable for all of us.
After many years of planning and preparation, synod finally gave its consent last May 2011. Most of us can probably remember that we have been talking of dividing the Diocese as early as the 1990’s. In act I was one of those few who believe on the need of the division, for purposes of mission strategy. The Deanery of Southwestern Mindanao was then targeted as the area of the new jurisdiction. This did not push through due to some canonical requirements that need to be fulfilled. However, our endeavor was not a total failure because while we failed in the creation of the new Diocese then, but the idea lives on, that eventually led to the Deaneries of Northeastern Mindanao and the Visayas and South Central Mindanao. Looking back, I realized how we really worked hard for this, yes, we spent time, effort and money for this and oftentimes we got frustrated when we do not get the result of the things we wanted. This experience will remind us again that it is “In God’s Time” that things are done not ours. We praise Him for patiently leading us through those years of planning and preparation. We praise and thank Him for making available P3.7 million (from St. Agnes building fund) for the Diocesan center and P600 thousand for additional endowment fund for the new Diocese (from the budget surplus of the Synod last May 2011). Indeed, there is no better time than “In His Time.”
In the midst of this joyous celebration, we meet in this Convention filled with many challenges, apprehensions and uncertainties. The past year of our Diocese was not spared with various political, economic and social issues and concerns that affected us in our delivery of services to our people. We continue to feel the ill effect of the internal squabbles among out politicians as they try to project themselves and their political agenda, forgetting their primary responsibility as an elected official. The ongoing impeachment case against the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court with all its merits cannot be said in all honesty that it is free from political vendetta. No wonder, a new firework code name “goodbye Philippines” came out in the market last December. We do hope however, this is not a sign of our people’s desperations and hopelessness in the leaders of our nation. On the other hand the continuing unrest in the Middle East together with the financial crisis that affected Europe and the volatile economic condition of the U.S. remain to be the culprit of the unrelenting increase of oil products in the world market that makes life of our people more miserable. But this is not all my brother and sisters, more devastating, more damaging and destructive are the natural calamities that visited us in the recent months particular here in Mindanao. The flash floods, landslides and earthquakes are but good reminders of our greediness and our failure in taking care of the environment. We need not be reminded of the fact that our environment is a special gift to us by God and is intended for us to enjoy and not to abuse. Amidst this gloomy and somehow discouraging scenario we in this Diocese are ready to confront these challenges as we look forward to divide our diocese into two.
Holy Trinity Parish, Justice R.T. Lim Blvd, Zamboanga City
St. Francis Parish, Nuro, Upi, Maguindanao
Good Shepherd Parish, Calarian, Zamboanga City
Epiphany Parish, Dologon, Maramag, Bukidnon
Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, 186 Rosario Heights, Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City
St. Thomas Aided Parish, Barrio 4, Banga, South Cotobato
St. Philip & St. James Aided Parish, Km. 3, McArthur Highway, Matina, Davao City