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On January 28, 2010, the laity had the rare opportunity to spend a whole day being inspired and empowered by Fr. Raniero Cantalamesa, OFM Cap., at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.

Fr. Raniero Cantalamesa, OFM Cap. was invited by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Episcopal Commission on the Laity, and the Sangunian ng Laiko ng Pilipinas to co-journey with the clergy during the National Retreat for Priests on the occasion of the Year of the Priests and the Year of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Fr. Raniero Cantalamesa, OFM Cap., a theologian, has been a preacher to the Papal Household for the past 30 years. As a preacher to the Papal Household, he delivers the weekly meditations during Advent and Lent. He delivers these in the presence of the Holy Father, cardinals and bishops of the Roman Curia, and the general superiors of the religious orders. He also conducts retreats and formation for the laity.

In the morning, Fr. Cantalamesa’s talk centered on the Clergy and Laity Relationship. He made us appreciate that we are all called to holiness. According to Fr. Cantalamesa, “The universal call to holiness is a call to faith.” He further said that, “To be holy is the only way to realize oneself, and that Holiness is not invented, it exists, and we are invited to get it freely.”

The afternoon session focused on Marriage and Family according to the Bible. He emphasized that “marriage and family is the first school of religion and faith”. He further said that, “The basic mission of the family is evangelization.”

The day started with a procession by the Diocese of Cubao of the images of St. John Mary Vianney, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Praise and Worship for the whole day was led by the Light of Jesus Community. The sharer for the morning was Ortessa Macahilig. She spoke about how she remained faithful and righteous amidst the oppressions she experienced at work. God also manifested His faithfulness to His people with all the blessings she received at work and in her own family.

Bishop Gabriel Reyes with Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa
Frank Padilla and Maribel Descallar with Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa

The afternoon sharer was Jojo and Ditsy Sumpaico. The couple shared about their family life and how it has been enriched and blessed through their children as they continued to evangelize other families through their ministry.

The day ended with a Eucharistic Celebration presided by His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, who also served as the inspiration to this event. He was assisted by Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of the Diocese of Cubao, Bishop Jesse Mercado of the Diocese of Paranaque, and Bishop Gabriel Reyes of the Diocese of Antipolo.

The Apostleship of Prayer kept vigil at the Adoration Room throughout the event.

The Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life was given the privilege of being the personal assistant of Fr. Cantalamesa during his stay in Manila. They also took charge of the program, the production, and the physical arrangements during the whole event at the Araneta Coliseum.

It was a truly spirit-filled event and an inspiration for the clergy and laity to co-journey in building up the Church in the Philippines. This is truly an appropriate gift of the clergy and the laity to the Church as we celebrate the Year of the Priests.

Contibuted by:

Mimi A. David
CFC-FFL Education Ministry

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