AFTER A LONG WAIT, ROLP was honored last 4 September, a Sunday, with the pastoral visit by its Diocesan Bishop, Most Rev. Honesto F. Ongtioco, D.D. As such this pastoral visit was the first to be held during Fr. Ronald’s tenure as parish priest. Together with Fr. Ronald he presided over the 6:00 P.M. Mass, shortly after officiating at the blessing of the Hall of Saints. It was an immensely joyful occasion with a sizeable congregation of over 100 adults and children of Paltok who attended the Mass.
In his homily, the bishop encouraged the faithful to act in solidarity with one another and “volt in,” to paraphrase a line uttered by characters from Voltes V, the TV series popular in the 80s.
After the Mass, Bishop Ness Ongtioco met briefly with the staff of the Parish Office and held a two-hour dialogue with the Parish Pastoral Council at the second floor of the Parish Formation Center. A sumptuous dinner was served before the dialogue.
In opening the dialogue, Bishop Ness expressed his gratefulness to the parishioners in welcoming him during the Mass. He then highlighted the mission of the Church and of every Christian community, which is to bring the message of God’s love to all human beings. Hence, as Bishop Ness explained, the five-point agenda of the diocese was formulated to be taken into account by every parish through the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC), and to be carried out to the community they serve. He said that a servant leader must share his or her time, talent and treasure with the parish and its community. He also stressed that no community can live as a cell isolated from the diocesan context and that the community must be a living expression of the Church, which under the guidance of the bishop and the parish priest who acts in his place, journeys on in communion toward the Kingdom of God.
It is necessary to involve parishioners in Christian life through pastoral care attentive to the true needs of each person. Here in ROLP as in every parish, it is necessary to start with those who are close in order to reach out to those who are distant so as to bring an evangelical presence to their life and work. All must be able to find in the parish an adequate means of formation, by which they will be encouraged to rediscover the beauty of following Christ and of belonging to His Church.
After presenting the vision-mission of the Diocese, Bishop Ness then listened intently to brief, informal reports from the coordinators of different organizations and ministries, among them, the MSK, SSDM, Worship Ministry, PAM, PYM, BAPP, the Volunteer Cathecists, the Vocation Ministry, and MACE. After each report he suggested ways to enhance the work of the ministries, at times with a touch of humor. For instance, he suggested that MACErs also call themselves “projectors for Christ.”
Bishop Ongtioco made special mention of the youth, whom he hoped would put in fresh energies and devote their whole life to the service of God and of his brethren.
In his parting message, the Bishop enjoined everyone to foster dialogue and understanding among people coming from different backgrounds and social conditions.