Celebrate Our Jubilee "With Extraordinary Intensity", Archbishop Exhorts Zamboanga's Catholics
THE HEAD of the Roman Catholic community in Zamboanga has called on his flock to celebrate the Archdiocese's double golden and centennial jubilee "with extraordinary intensity" in religious fervor.
Archbishop Valles walks among the crowd towards the altar of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar to start the Jubilee eucharistic sacrifce.
"Zamboanga today, its unique culture, its Chavacano language, its songs, its dances, its people's heart and charm, its festive and respectable character, its people's piety and sense of the divine, all this has been greatly shaped, influenced and sustained by the presence of the Catholic faith among our people", Archbishop Romulo G. Valles said. The Archbishop made the call during the launching of the three-year Jubilee celebration last April 10 in joyful yet solemn rites held at the Nuestra Señora del Pilar shrine.
The Archdiocese will observe its 50th anniversary day as an archdiocese on May 19, this year. It will commemorate its centennial as a diocese in April 10, 2010. A series of varied activities will connect and form the jubilee season between the two milestones.
"May our centennial jubilee celebration inspire and strengthen our hearts and minds to appreciate more deeply and appropriate more continually the Christian roots and way of life of Zamboanga", the prelate said in his homily.
The archbishop during the Jubilee launch Eucharistic service noted that when Pope Pius X issued a papal bull declaring Zamboanga a diocese in 1910, it was the first in Mindanao. He said Roman Catholicism in southern Philippines grew from its seed sown in Zamboanga.
The Eucharistic celebration was co-presided by the suffragant diocesan bishops of Basilan, Jolo and Zamboanga Sibugay, namely, Most Rev. Martin Jumoad, Most Rev. Angelito Lampon, OMI, and Most Rev. Julius Tonel, respectively. Many diocesan and missionary priests of the vicarage also co-officiated the early evening mass held beneath the 400-year old bas relief image of Our Lady of the Pillar of Zarragosa.
Some 2,000 faithful, including members of Basic Ecclesial Communities and apostolate organizations, joined in the event.
The Ateneo de Zamboanga University orchestra staged a classical music concert to set the ceremonies underway under a solemn mood. Afterwards, a brief program preceding the Eucharistic service explained the church history and the meaning of the jubilee logo and slogan. The Chavacano slogan is "Cien Años de Fe Y Amor Con Grande Esperanza en el Señor".
Among the many activities lined up for the next three years are a pilgrimage to the first parish churches in the archdiocese along with the visitation of the Jubilee Cross accompanied by the image of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar, the city's revered patroness. A new Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly of Zamboanga (APAZ) is in the works to rewrite or establish new decrees to strengthen church programs and practices. The last APAZ was held in 1998.
Vicar-General Msgr. Cris Manungas read the Jubilee Proclamation during the holy mass. The same proclamation was first announced by Valles during the New Year's Eve mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral.
Many members of the city's religious communities as well as top government officials led by Mayor Celso Lobregat graced the occasion, which was capped by a fireworks display.