The Catholic Church in the Philippines, gearing up for its 500 years of presence in the largest Catholic nation in the Asian continent, marked one of its highlights in devoting this year to the lay people thru a congress meant to train the limelight on them in the task of building the Church.
The event was held in PhilSports Arena in Pasig City last August 21, and drew at least 10,000 participants from various schools, parishes and dioceses of the Philippines.
The Mass was concelebrated by a number of priests and five bishops. Archbishop Soc Villegas, president of the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, gave a thought-provoking homily about the role of the lay people in the Church, that is, not to beautify the church, but to sanctify the world they live in through their Christian witnessing.Three leaders of big communities of lay people served as main speakers: Bo Sanchez of the Light of Jesus community, Mike Velarde of El Shaddai movement and Frank Padilla of the Couples for Christ-Foundations for Life (CFC-FFL).
In between their talks were short reflections given by various lay people active in the tasks of evangelization and parish ministry.
The long-day reflection showed the vibrant lay people who make up the majority of the Church in the Philippines.
At the helm of this big event is a Salesian priest, Fr. Francis Gustilo, who served as dean of Don Bosco Center of Studies and teaches theology subjects in the same institute and served as a member of the Rome-based International Theological Commission.