By Bohol Chronicle
By Linda Uy
The 7th Family Congress of the Diocesan Commission on Family and Life was held last Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011 at the air-conditioned Bohol Cultural Center in this city, which also coincided with the feast of Christ the King. This event also marked the launching of Year 2 of the 5-year Pastoral Program of our diocese, with the theme: “Bol-anong Banay: Sabakan sa Pagtuo ug Tuburan sa Bokasyon.” Spearheading the activity is the Diocesan Commission on Family and Life with its collaborators the “Commission on Vocation, Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, Renewal Movements (focusing on family and life), Ministry on Education and Formation, Commission on Mission, and the Commission on the Doctrine of the Faith.”
The activity opened with the enthronement of the Holy Family Icon wherein candles and flowers were offered by the eight vicariate couple coordinators of the Diocese. Rev. Fr. Ramon Jose Ongcog, JCL and the Diocesan director of the Commission on Family and Life, made his warm welcome and statement of purpose of the Congress to all the delegates and participants.
The ever young and energetic diocesan coordinator of the Commission on Family and Life, Sr. Pilar M. Go, recognized the presence of all FLA couples, its staff, enriched couples and delegates. The highlight of the celebration was the Eucharistic mass with Bishop Leonardo Y. Medroso, D.D. officiating as the main celebrant. His homily touches on the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Chapter 25, verses 31-46, reminding all the participants that Christ, as the King of All Kings, must be the center of our lives in order to gain eternal happiness.
The lone speaker of the day, Rev. Fr. Daniel Franklin Pilario, CM, was introduced by the FL coordinator of the Parish of St. Dymphna Chapel, Dao District, Tagbilaran City. Fr. Pilario is from Oslob, Cebu and is the dean of St. Vincent School of Theology in Quezon City. Being a true Cebuano, he spoke in the Visayan dialect and was very much admired by the crowd. His first talk, “Celebrating the Richness of Communion Towards Family Transformation” was summarized by him in three simple themes: Gugma, Halad and Alagad. As a certified missionary, he knows very much his topics and ably related his personal experiences in life to the participants, from his tender age up to his priesthood. He talked about the apostolic letter of the Holy Father in 1981 in his “Familiaries Consortio.” The contents of said letter was ably explained by the speaker for the transformation of the family, as many of the problems facing contemporary families, especially in economically developed societies, result from their increasing difficulty in communicating. Families seldom manage to come together, and the rare occasion when they do, are often taken up with watching television, the internet and other distractions. The grave challenges confronting the world at the start of the new millennium lead us to think that only an intervention from on high, capable of guiding the hearts of those living in situations of conflict, and those governing the destinies of nations, can give reason to hope for a brighter future. He pointed out the lights and shadows of the family who are targets of destruction now and in the years to come. The closely knit family is now slowly adapting the western culture that is relegating families to the background. These realities have alienated the family members from each other. Parents have become very pre-occupied looking for money for survival or materialistic pursuits. Poverty, misunderstanding, disrespect and physical and emotional abuse have caused breakdown in marriages and communication in the family. He called for families to pause for a deep reflection and spiritual enhancement and rekindle our commitment and zeal for our mission and goals and gain proper perspective of the task ahead of us.
The afternoon session was opened by the pro-life updates of Dr. Rene Joseph Bullecer, director of the Philippines of Cebu City. His pro-life updates was very short, advising each and everyone to be vigilant for the passage of the reproductive health bill, which he presumed will be passed into law by the end of the year.
Father Danny or Bebot, as he is fondly called, won the hearts of the participants as he ably conducted an open forum on his last two topics. Everybody had a wonderful and interesting time during the lively open forum as the experiences shared by the participants were all true to life. The participants were awake, alive and kicking, as Fr. Danny made some side-comments on the sharing of the crowd. It was really an interesting and unforgettable experience for all of us.
As the time for Fr. Danny to end his talk and leave for Cebu, the Diocesan director and the diocesan coordinator of the Commission on Family and Life, handed Fr. Danny Pilario a Certificate of Appreciation, for sharing his valuable time and expertise, to speak before a crowd of more than 2,000 participants and delegates, as the lone speaker of the 7th Family Congress held in this city.
The event could not have been a success without the young, able and energetic efforts of the Diocesan coordinator of the Commission on Family and Life, Sr. Pilar M. Go, and all the Diocesan program coordinators, who were very busy and concerned about the comfort and safety of the participants during the one-day affair.
The 5-year pastoral program of the Diocese is aimed at attaining our goals for the Diocesan Diamond Jubilee celebration come 2016.