Wednesday, January 19, 2011

PCP-II @ 20

THE Second Plenary Council of the Philippines is twenty years old. Celebrated on January 20 to February 17 1991 at the Holy Apostles Seminary in Makati City, it was the first plenary council ever held in the Catholic world since the promulgation of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

PCP-II was brave and bold. It challenged the Church in the Philippine “to be a community of disciples, a church of the poor, committed to the mission of renewed integral evangelization, toward the building up of a new civilization of life and love…” It confronted the shadows of Philippine society just as it valiantly faced the sins and failures of the Church. It concluded with 132 Decrees that were given “recognitio” by the Holy See and, for their implementation in all ecclesiastical jurisdictions, laid out a National Pastoral Plan. It saw the towering of experts among the Philippine hierarchy led the Council President Archbishop Leonardo Legazpi, OP of Caceres who was also then the president of the Episcopal Conference; and Archbishop Oscar Cruz, the Secretary General of the Council. It was a season of renewal. It was a time of grace. It was a landmark in Philippine ecclesiastical history.

In January 2001, the tenth year of PCP-II, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines which was then under the baton of Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, OMI, its president, saw the need for its review. Questions were raised: How far have we journeyed toward a renewed Church? What have we done to realize the vision? What efforts have failed, and why? Why do other efforts succeed? This provoked the convocation of the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal (NPCCR) from January 22 to 27, 2001 at the very same venue of PCP-II.

One of the realizations of the NPCCR was that the challenges of PCP-II (Community of Disciples, Church of the Poor, Renewed Integral Evangelization) “were not obligations or projects we imposed on ourselves. Rather, they are a gift of newness and fullness of life offered to our Church and our people by the God of love.” But, on the other hand, it also recognized that a serious renewal calls for a courageous response of faith and conversion—“at the cost of letting go of old ways, of dying to old selves, of daring to risk new and unfamiliar paths and patterns.” With this perspective NPCCR, came up with 9 pastoral priorities which were more focused and demanded a more radical conversion of mind and heart.

At the end, the NPCCR contemplated on the thoughts of Pope John Paul II in his Novo Millennio Ineunte that captured the sentiments of the closing of the Jubilee Year 2000 in his “Duc in Altum” or “Put out into the deep” (Lk 5:4); and nurtured the frustration of Peter in having to caught nothing after fishing all night—yet, like Peter, fully trusting in the Lord who make things happen.

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