‘Faith keeps me grounded,’ actor Alden Richards shares in PCNE 4

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Actor Alden Richards (left) is joined on stage by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle together with actress Dimples Romana and other lay people who shared their faith experiences. Photo by Rhenwil James G. Santos

Actor Alden Richards on Friday said his faith in God keeps his feet on the ground amid fame he had gained starring in noontime show Eat Bulaga’s “Kalyeserye,” on the first day of the 4th Philippine Conference on the New Evangelization (PCNE) in UST.

“My faith is one of the instruments that keeps me grounded and sane. Faith is a way of life and that’s my purpose of living. The showbiz industry, it’s in and out. You get famous quickly, you also fade away quickly. Maybe it’s faith that really keeps you where you are,” Richards said in his “Heart to Heart with Cardinal” talk with Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. 

Richards spoke of the various ways people could be of help to others, and highlighted the value of service as a means of charity. 

“Kapag sinabi po kasing charity, it’s not always about sharing money to everyone. Ang pagtulong is not necessarily to the extent of finances. It’s not always sharing money, it’s about giving up yourself for service,” he added. 

Heal divisions –Tagle

Tagle opened the conference with a Eucharistic celebration, saying in his homily that division and hatred could be solved by being in communion with others.

“If you look at the divisions, hatred and wars in the world, one of the causes is the understanding of greatness according to the kingdoms of this world. In the kingdom of heaven, the form of greatness leads to communion; and the greatest is the one who becomes like a child,” he said. 

Despite differences in personalities and experiences, every individual shares a unique bond with God and with one another, the prelate said.

“Every individual life is woven with the lives of other people and from that moment on, no person is an individual. We are always connected with others,” he said.

Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, incoming vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), urged the faithful to be agents of communion. 

“They should be in communion [not just] with those they are in common faith or baptism, but all those with basic humanity [and] desire for common good,” he said in his PCNE talk.

In line with the Philippine Church’s celebration of the “Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities,” David said the Church’s “common pilgrimage” brings Catholics to a fellowship of faith.

“How can you say you have faith if you did not hear God who was speaking to you? Conversion begins with that impulse awakened in you. There is no faith if there is no prior awakening,” David said.

Religion but no faith

David called for faith in action, saying there might be a lot of people with religion but do not have faith.

“While faith can be nurtured by religion, it can also be stunted by it,” he said.

Communities should embrace the mission of the Church to promote good governance, responsible citizenship, protection of the environment and protection of the lives of people, he added. 

“We serve the Church so that we can serve the world as a servant Church. There is the separation of Church and state but there are spaces for collaboration. We will make a stand about moral issues. We will not apologize for that. This is our mandate as spiritual leaders,” he told the Varsitarian.

Vatican officials to join PCNE 4

Fr. Jason Laguerta, director of the Office for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, said this year’s conference has 6,150 delegates, the largest in PCNE history, with over 1,500 participants coming from the youth sector.

Participants of the three-day event will be joined by two Vatican officials who will deliver keynote speeches and preside over the Eucharistic celebrations on the second and third days of the conference.

With the theme “Of One Heart and Soul (Acts 4:32),” this year’s PCNE focuses on the CBCP declaration of the “Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities.”  

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