MARKING the 20th anniversary of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II), Catholic charismatic groups discussed ways to renew the Church during their 6th annual convention last May 31 to June 2 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay.

With the theme, “Renewed Church on the Move,” around 4,000 participants from different dioceses vowed to help achieve growth in faith and in numbers.

Msgr. Sabino “Jun” Vengco, a theology professor, told delegates the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) gave two Church hierarchical structures—institutional and charismatic—which should serve as guides for the renewal of the Church.

The institutional structure includes documents of the Church, doctrines, the sacred liturgy, structures of government, and laws and customs. The charismatic structure is a gift from the Holy Spirit, providing the ability and willingness to contribute to the renewal of the Church. It is considered as “more personal.”

“The charismatic structure is the Holy Spirit’s assistance to the need of the Church. Charisma is given not only to extraordinary people [but also to ordinary ones],” Vengco said.

The charismatic structure is important as it nurtures the faith of Catholics, but the Church can never stand without the hierarchical structure as Jesus Christ himself instituted it, he said.

“Catholic people are ignorant of the faith. The Church of the Philippines has the problem of credibility,” he pointed out.

Members of charismatic groups therefore should help alleviate people’s spiritual poverty, Vengco said, reminding participants that poverty is not just lack of money.

The charismatic congress also focused on achieving the nine pastoral priorities of PCP II: integral faith formation, laity empowerment toward social transformation, active participation of the poor, family as focal point of evangelization, building and strengthening of communities, integral renewal of the clergy, journeying with the youth, ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, and animation and formation for mission ad gentes, which is part of the Second Vatican Council’s decree on the missionary activity of the Church.

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“It is through the renewal of the Church that these priorities are happening and moving forward,” said Bro. Arcadio Tamayo, congress president.

PCP II, held from January to February 1991, gathered bishops, vicars, religious superiors, heads of Catholic universities and seminaries, and lay leaders to address pressing Church issues.

The council’s vision was for the Church to be a “more effective and credible evangelizer despite the liberal secularization in the Philippines through active integral evangelization.”

Church of the poor

Meanwhile, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, auxilliary bishop of Manila, quoted Pope Benedict XVI’s message for World Mission Sunday 2011, emphasizing that “evangelization also means improving the lives of the poor.”

“The Church must have a special preference for the poor because of these sociological and faith reasons. They are most in need and are the great majority of the people. It is the way of Jesus Christ,” Pabillo said.

“We work toward authentic integral development in our communities. We allow and empower people to work for the transformation of Filipino society,” Pabillo told the congress. “But when I say Church, think not just of the institution but of yourself.”

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