Circular Letter Series 2012/1
So we, though many, are one body in Christ.
It is the Eucharist that binds us as one body in the Spirit even though we celebrate it in many different places. Yet we long to gather in one place in order to deepen in joy our oneness with Christ our head. Thus, we have designed annual diocesan activities to express this unity, the Mt. Samat Pilgrimage on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent and The Solemn Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
a. The Mt. Samat Pilgrimage:
Dedicated to the formation of the youth, the Mt. Samat Pilgrimage has always gathered a generous number of participants, each time surpassing the number of the previous year and, in the recent 8th gathering of 2011, has shown its capability of becoming regional by drawing young delegates from other provinces. Let us then continue this mandate as seen fitting to welcome the new Liturgical Year together with some government officials who also share with us the hope of receiving graces pouring from heaven in the season of Advent. Parish priests in the vicinity of the pilgrimage site are encouraged to attend the Holy Eucharist and cancel their anticipated Masses. Parish priests in the remote parishes are free to discern whether to attend, or not, after seriously examining the number of their parishioners that will be affected. The Diocesan Youth Ministy is seen to have improved the preparatory phase by conducting increasingly formation seminars to the participants while it is recognized that many participants are beyond its reach. It is also hoped that some catechetical formation through vicarial divisions may be held at the site before the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
b. The Solemn Feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord
There is no other occasion that shows intensely the unity of the Mystical Body of Christ than the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. On this day, the whole diocese, clergy and laity, gather in an appropriate place to celebrate the victorious claim of redemption through the offering of the Body of Our Lord and the shedding of His Blood. All parish priests are obliged to attend this celebration and cancel their anticipated Masses. They will also bring with them as many delegates as possible from their assignments particularly the organizations that are centered on the Holy Eucharist like the Adoracion Nocturna Filipina including the Lay Ministers for the Distribution of Holy Communion. The Holy Eucharist in the evening will be followed by a procession to a site for the Adoration of the Blessed of Sacrament through the night. This occasion leaves the Solemn Feast of Christ the King to be celebrated in the parishes with its own Eucharist, overnight vigil and procession.
Let us ask then seek the intercession of the Blessed Lady of Guadalupe that Her Son Our Lord Jesus Christ move us closer and deeper in our love for one another as we welcome the celebration of the Year of Faith. From the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Balanga City, 26th day of February, the First Sunday of Lent.
+RUPERTO C. SANTOS
Bishop of Balanga