82 Ligaya ng Panginoon members participated in the recently concluded Philippine Conference on New Evangelization II last January 15-17, 2015 at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion, Espana, Manila.
Focusing on Jesus’s teaching on being supremely blessed, the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE) Year II chose to ponder, inspire and move people to bring the sacred blessings to other people. Themed “Blessed are you…”, PCNE takes from the voice of Pope Francis, PCNE II seeks to reflect on The Beatitudes of Matthew 5 and the radical revolution it demands. The PCNE website (pcne.com.ph) says, “In line with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ declaration of 2014 as the Year of the Laity and 2015 as the Year of the Poor, PCNE II seeks to deepen our appreciation of the beatitudes in relation to our struggles with inequality and poverty. The apostolic visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines this January 2015 with the theme of “mercy and compassion” all the more highlights the need to understand these cherished ideals of Jesus.”
Day 1 of the Conference was highlighted by the opening celebration of the Holy Eucharist dubbed as “Misa ng Bayang Pilipino” which was presided by no other than the Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. Right after the Mass, Cardinal Tagle hosted a mini-talk show, having Nora Aunor (famous actress), Ted Failon (broadcaster-commentator), Heidi Mendoza (Commission on Audit Commissioner), Edith Burgos (wife of press freedom fighter Joe Burgos and mother of the missing Jonas Burgos), Cris Valdez (winner of 2012 Children’s Peace Price) and Bobby Atendido (BCBP member) as guests of honor. In the second half of the day, a high-impact sharing was made by Fr. Marciano “Rocky” G. Evangelista, SDB, the founder of Tuloy Foundation, as he focused on encountering Jesus with the poor. This was followed by a sharing from representatives of some afflicted communities: San Dionisio community in Northern Iloilo, Indigenous Persons community, Zamboanga community, HIV community, Overseas Filipino Workers community. Day 1 was capped with Confessio Pecati et Laudis.
“The Pathways to Blessedness” was the focus of the Conference Day 2. Different talks were presented to bring forth the message of the Beatitudes: “Pathways to Blessedness” by Sr. Niceta M. Vargas, OSA (Superior General, Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation); “Youth and the Beatitudes” by YOUCAT Philippines; “Beatitudes through Arts (Dance-Subli)” by Fr. Gil Hernandez; and “Beatitudes through Music” by Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ. The session for the day ended with a Eucharistic Celebration presided by Most Rev. Rolando J.Tria Tirona, OCD., D.D, Chair of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) and was immediately followed by a prayer concert.
An Interreligious and Ecumenical for Peace was uttered by various leaders from different religions and churches to open the last day of the Conference. Most Rev. Salvatore “Rino” Fisichella D.D., President, Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization did not make it to be in the Conference due to health issues to talk about the Pastoral Project of Evangelii Gaudium but instead, Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio S. David D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of San Fernando and President of the Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate gave the talk. Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, OMI, D.D., Archbishop of Cotabato graced the morning session as he discussed about “Church of the Poor and for the Poor”. Bishop Pablo David, D.D. presided the Closing Eucharistic Celebration. To formally close the event, a each participant lit a candle and recited the closing prayers.
Coinciding with the Papal Visit, the organizers of the PCNE II has arranged a ‘treat’ for the participants: an area designated for them during the Papal Encounter with the Youth which has transpired the following morning after the PCNE formally ended.