Council of the Laity to resume activities
By Julma M. Narvadez
On November 4, the Council of the Laity of Caceres (CLAC), composed of parish pastoral council coordinators, convened at the St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Naga City. The parish priest, Fr. Wilfred Almoneda, concurrently Vicar General of Archdiocese of Caceres, presided over the meeting. Sixty-one parishes from all vicariates were represented: St John the Evangelist Vicariate, 5 parishes; Our Lady of Peñafrancia, 5; Our Lady of La Porteria, 5; St. Anne, 3; St Paschal Baylon, 5; St. Joseph, 5; St. Raphael the Archangel, 3; St. Bartholomew, 5; Anthony of Padua, 5; St. Francis of Assisi, 2; Holy Cross, 4; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 3; St. John the Baptist, 5; St. Claire, 5; St. Michael de Archangel, 1.
With many of the participants new to their position, an orientation was given by the incumbent CLAC President, Blesilda Q. Arquesa. She presented the roles of the Parish Pastoral Council and the PPC Coordinators. The Vicar General also requested that they revisit their Parish Pastoral Plan. It was also agreed that pastoral planning will be discussed in the forthcoming meetings.
According to Fr. Almoneda, the gathering was prompted by a series of activities. During the Clergy Peñafrancia Recollection on August 29, two upcoming events were identified: the launching of the tercentenary of the coronation of the image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia and the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections. Meetings were then held to discuss the preparation.
The Vicar General, Fr. Wilfred Almoneda (seated, center) with CLAC President Blesilda Q. Arquesa during the first post-pandemic gathering of PPC Coordinators. (Contributed photo)
On September 11, the Vicar General and Commission Heads held a preliminary meeting. In attendance were Fr. Pablo Carpio for the Lay Formation Institute; Fr. Glen Ruiz for Liturgy; Fr. Louie Occiano for CCCom; Fr. Marc Real for Caritas Caceres; Msgr. Noe Badiola, the Rector of the Peñafrancia Basilica, and the Parish Priests in Naga City, among whom are Fr. Domingo Florida of the Naga Cathedral, and Fr. Felipe Culvera of Our Lady of Peñafrancia Parish. Present also were the Oeconomous, Fr. Eugene Lubigan; the Chancellor, Fr. Darius Romualdo and the Rectors of the two seminaries, Fr. Joey Gonzaga and Fr. Francis Tordilla. The group met again on September 26 and on November 3.
During these meetings, the need for parishes to have a three-year pastoral plan surfaced in view of significant celebrations starting with the tercentenary in 2024; the Great Jubilee in 2025 and the 75th year of Caceres as an Archdiocese. Meanwhile, Fr. Almoneda and the head of the Education Cluster, Fr. Wilmer Tria; Fr. Real and Fr. Emmanual Mojica, Coordinator of the Office of Basic Ecclesial Communities or Saradit na Kristyanong Komunidad, discussed the conduct of a seminar-workshop on Catholic Citizenship Education and Engagement (CCEE), in connection with the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections.
The seminar-workshop was held on October 14. Parishes sent their PPC Chairpersons along with the Parish Ministry Heads on Education, Social Services and the Youth. Before the end of the seminar, the Vicar General called for the PPC Coordinators to discuss the resumption of CLAC activities. “The group was unanimous in having regular meetings,” Fr. Almoneda said.
According to its manual, CLAC, established in 1984, has the following objectives: 1) to act as consultative body to the Archbishop of Caceres on the participation of the laity especially in the efforts for evangelization; 2) to implement the Pastoral Plan of Caceres, especially in whatever concerns the laity; and 3) to form and unite lay persons for an effective apostolate and community life in the Archdiocese both for the salvation of souls and the renewal of the temporal order.