MANILA – It is both a colorful and a meaningful day for members of religious congregation and institutes as they celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life in a celebration held at San Agustin Church, February 2, 2015. This annual event was made more special since 2015 was declared by Pope Francis as the Year for Consecrated Life. Almost a thousand consecrated men and women attended the liturgical celebration.
The mass was presided by Most Rev. Arturo M. Bastes, SVD, DD, Bishop of the Diocese of Sorsogon. In his homily, he highlighted the role of consecrated men and women in promoting the values of the Church of the Poor.
The Missionary Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica’s Priory led the congregation in the singing the psalms for the Solemn Lauds. Fr. Arnold Sta. Maria, OSA, parish priest of San Agustin Church presided at the morning prayer.
The ICON of Jesus of the Poor was also unveiled at this celebration. Fray Jaazeal Jakosalem, OAR painted the icon upon the request of the AMRSP. The ICON is rich with symbolisms and indigenous imagery. The ICON was presented to Pope Francis during his visit here in the Philippines and he blessed it as a sign of his solidarity to the religious people. The ICON will be having its pilgrimage to various religious communities this year.
Sr. Eden Panganiban, SSpS and Sr. Michaela Gotangco, FdCC composed a song entitled “Prophetic Witnesses” which was tagged as the theme song of the local celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life. The exhortation of the Holy Father and theme for the year were the main inspiration for the lyrics of the song.
Some performers also graced the event by singing some songs inspired by the Consecrated People. Laarni Lozada rendered a song entitle “Mercy and Compassion”. Fr. Raul Caga, SVD and Jon Cadelina both sang some songs from the album Faith, Like and Share produced by Carmelite Communications.
The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) has organized various activities to celebrate this grace-filled year. Beginning March, there will be a monthly lecture series that will discuss various concerns of the Consecrated people. There will also be pilgrimages to various monastic communities. There is also an upcoming Big Concert to raise funds for the various projects of the AMRSP.
The Executive Committee of AMRSP is headed by Sr. Eden Panganiban, SSpS and Fr. Leo Dalmao, CMF as Co-Chairpersons. Sr. Michaela Gotangco, FdCC and Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM are the Co-Executive Secretaries.