By Janet B. Badilla
The Family Ministry of the Archdiocese of Caceres held its 4th March for Life- Bicol in the Archdiocese last Saturday, March 10, carrying the theme, “Sa Lindong kan Dios, Buhay kan Gabos Padagos.” Prior to the march, the event began with a short program at the Peñafrancia Shrine followed by a Eucharistic Celebration presided by Caceres Archbishop Rolando J. Tria-Tirona, O.C.D., D.D. Around 2,000 individuals coming from the 15 vicariates and 92 parishes joined the said march from the Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia to the Naga City Plaza Quezon. Among these were students from different schools in Naga and Camarines Sur, men and women from different religious organizations and movements as well as Religious congregations and seminarians.
God, the Source of Life
The guest speaker of the event, Ms. Rosa Linda G. Valenzona, consultant of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (CBCP-ECFL), highlighted, among others, the sanctity of life as a way of responding to the theme of this year’s March for Life. Taking from Catechism 2258, she expounded on the message that “God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.” Her sharing emphasized how social realities, such as the extra judicial killings (EJK), abortion, euthanasia, death penalty, and drug addiction, violate and disrespect the sanctity of life. She equally highlighted the importance of forgiveness – the act of forgiving and asking for forgiveness from one another. Quoting Romans 12:21, she emphasized how St. Paul exhorted to Christians “to overcome evil with good and to see insults as an opportunity for our own purification.” Translating this
in the Filipino language, Ms. Valenzona, spoke with conviction saying, “Dapat ilunod natin ang kasamaan sa kasaganaan ng kabutihan. Ang panlalait sa atin ay pagkakataon sa paglilinis natin.”
Connecting to the Source
In his homily, Archbishop Tirona gave a very inspiring message to the participants, especially to the students present. He elucidated God as our source of life and the importance of staying connected to that Source. He used the analogy of a charged battery, which has the power of giving light. He said a life connected to its source – God – is able to give light to the world. “We must be like a Triple A [AAA] battery,” he said, where the first A stands for “Acceptance or Acknowledgement” that God is the source of life; the second A points us to a life that gives “Adoration” to the giver of life; and the third A as refers to our Christian life, which must be lived in “Action” to give witness to our belief in God. In affirmation of the importance of the event, he also expressed joy in the fact that many young people participated in the march.
At the closing program, Family Ministry Director Fr. William J. Santiago shared real life stories of internationally known characters like Beethoven and Bocelli. Through their stories, Santiago highlighted how each life is a unique gift from God, one that should not be violated. He pointed out that if abortion was a choice made in the family out of a seemingly unbearable situation, then we would not have enjoyed the classical music of Beethoven or the beautiful voice of Andrea Bocelli. Santiago concluded with his words of appreciation for the successful conduct of the March for Life - Bicol 2018.