I express my warm welcome to all the pilgrims and devotees to Our Lady of Peñafrancia to the Archdiocese of Caceres in the celebration of the Peñafrancia Festivity in this Year 2017.
The Church in the Philippines celebrates in this year the Year of the Parish, Communion of Communities. This calls for a moment of reflection about our being Church as a People of God who are united by a common bond of communion. It is a bond of relationship founded in truth and love that brings together every one of us and and every community to a Catholic experience of being a Universal Church. It is a bond that is rooted on the very life of God who manifested himself to us as One God in three Divine Persons who continues to sustain us through the work of Jesus in the Church.
In the midst of our ecclesial community, Mary, our Mother whom we dearly call Ina, plays an important role in our life of the People of God. Mary was a mother when she obeyed and conceived Jesus, the Christ. She was a mother when she nurtured and supported Jesus from her womb to the tomb after the crucifixion. She was the same mother whom Jesus gave to his disciples on the cross to be their mother also to continue his mission in the Church. Today, she plays the same role as our Mother. Mary is the mother of the Church. She is our helper, our advocate and our model.
I pray that as we come to celebrate her Feast, may we find her wholehearted love for her Son so that we, as pueblo amante de Maria, a people in loved with May, may find as well the joy of participating in the life and mission of Jesus in our Church community.
Viva la Virgen!
+ ROLANDO J. TRIA TIRONA, OCD
Archbishop of Caceres