Journey with Mary to Peace
(A Pastoral Letter on A Day of Conversion, Reparation and Consecration)
BELOVED PEOPLE OF GOD:
Greetings of peace in the Lord Jesus and in our Blessed Mother Mary!
As we continue to be disturbed and confused by the political and other crises in our country, we, your Shepherds, recall the prayerful words and spirit of our Pastoral Statement of July 10, 2005, with which we exhorted everyone to uphold the Gospel values of truth, justice and the common good. We continue to “urge our people in our parish and religious communities, our religious organizations and movements, our Basic Ecclesial Communities to come and pray together, reason, decide and act together to the end that the will of God prevail in the political order” [CBCP Pastoral Statement, 10 July 2005]. Our exhortation, more than just being a response that we had to offer as Church leaders in the face of troubles, was borne out of our deep faith and hope in the wisdom and providence of God, and out of our prayerful collective discernment as we journey with you.
This Year of the Eucharist, we pray for everyone’s participation in the efforts for solidarity, and we ask in a very special way for the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We invite you to invoke her intercession as the Queen of Peace, Mediatrix of All Grace. Let us not forget that in many moments of our nation’s history, she has graciously favored us with unity and spiritual courage in the midst of crises, restoring order in our land.
Upon the request of Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of the Archdiocese of Lipa, and after consulting the CBCP Permanent Council, we declare 12 September 2005 as A DAY OF CONVERSION, REPARATION AND CONSECRATION. That day is the feast day of the Most Holy Name of Mary in the old Catholic liturgical calendar. On that day, all Filipinos regardless of religious persuasion are encouraged “to return to God (conversion), work together for a better nation (reparation) and make a commitment to God to seek always what is good for all humanity (consecration)” [Letter of Abp. R. Arguelles].
We pray that this nationwide act would provide us with opportunities to experience our Marian devotion as a true way towards personal and social transformation. It is significant to note that at the end of our recitation of the Holy Rosary, we pray that “meditating upon these mysteries, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through Christ our Lord”. When we meditate on the twenty mysteries in the lives of our Lord Jesus and of our Blessed Mother, we open our minds and hearts to our Lord’s teachings and precepts that guide and renew us, and to our Blessed Mother’s virtues that inspire us to follow our Lord to the end. To pray that we may imitate what they contain is to submit ourselves to the will of the Lord, and to offer ourselves to be his instruments for the world’s forgiveness and sanctification, as Mary faithfully did in her Fiat. Let us remember that the mysteries of the Holy Rosary tell us that Jesus and Mary are persons of peace. By his concern as the Good Shepherd, by her care as a mother, by their sacrifice and self-surrender, they move us to work for the good and growth of all. Hence, to imitate what these mysteries contain is to learn from them how to work for social transformation and peace. Lastly, to pray that we may obtain what they promise is to deepen our trust and hope in God’s design for us by proclaiming His kingdom of justice and love in our lives through our honesty and solidarity with one another, as Mary humbly yet so powerfully expressed in her Magnificat..
In line with this, we are inviting everyone to join the Day of Pilgrimage and National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which will be held on 12 September in the Carmel of Lipa. In the concluding Eucharist in the afternoon, His Eminence, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu, will lead the Consecration of the Philippines to our Blessed Mother, Queen of Peace.
Peace is both a gift from God and a task to be fulfilled by us. Let us then pray that God favor us with the blessing of peace, as we personally and collectively commit ourselves to work for the Gospel values and the common good.
Devotedly yours in Jesus and Mary,
+ FERNANDO R. CAPALLA, D.D
Archbishop of Davao
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
28 August 2005