Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the faithful should not only be hopeful for a Covid-19 vaccine this new year but also hope for the protection of the earth, human life and human rights.

“We hold on to hope as we enter the new year of 2021 — hope for a cure to the virus that is transparent and equitable, hope for a no-nonsense response to the climate emergency that is upon us, hope for respect to human rights and human life for everyone,” Pabillo said in his New Year message.

Catholics should develop a “new lifestyle,” he said.

“The new lifestyle that the new situation calls us should reject unbridled commercialism and the throw-away culture. It should be more caring for the earth. Human rights should also not be set aside. There cannot be a better future if human rights and human rights are not respected and valued,” Pabillo said.

Pabillo also said Catholics should not merely hope to return to the pre-Covid days.

“We should come out of this global crisis with greater solidarity and fraternity among all peoples that is shown in greater cooperation rather than competition that leaves the vulnerable behind,” he said, citing the third encyclical of Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti, which called for social friendship and cooperation.

‘Unfortunate start’ to 2021

Pabillo expressed dismay over the use of unauthorized Covid-19 vaccines of some government officials and military personnel. 

“Unfortunately, the news of the government already getting the vaccine surreptitiously and without undergoing the transparent process doesn’t abide by a good beginning,” he said.

The prelate stressed that “change will not come abruptly nor quickly” and urged the faithful to be responsible stewards of Christ by following health and safety protocols to protect themselves from the threat of the virus, and extend help to the vulnerable and the poor who were affected by the pandemic.

UST Acting Vice Rector for Finance Fr. Roberto Luanzon Jr., O.P. called on the faithful to ask for the Blessed Mother’s intercession in facing new challenges this year during the Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church. 

“I know we are still experiencing the hardships [that] we experienced last year. [S]ana huwag tayo magsawang lumapit kay Maria [at] humingi ng tulong sa kaniya. Pakikinggan niya tayo sa ating pangangailangan dahil mahal tayo ni Maria,” Luanzon said in his homily on Jan. 1.

(I know we are still experiencing the hardships that we experienced last year. I hope we will not get tired of approaching Mary and asking for her help. She will listen to our needs because she loves us.)

On Nov. 28, The Catholic Bishops’s Conference of the Philippines welcomed the new liturgical year with the theme Missio ad gentes (Mission to the Nations).

The theme was in line with the fifth centenary celebration of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines. Ma. Alena O. Castillo and Sophia T. Sadang


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