It is with deep joy and gratitude to the Lord that I stand before you as we celebrate our 14th Anniversary of the canonical establishment of the Diocese of Cubao, and at the same time it is also my anniversary in my installation as the first bishop of this diocese.
We thank God for the past fourteen years in which we have been blessed in many ways. Though we need more priests, we thank God for the 13 priests who were ordained since 2003 for the diocese, and just after establishment the ordination of one of our priests as bishop, Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara who is now the Bishop of Pasig. Through the mercy and love of God we were able to accomplish many of our proposed activities in our eight pastoral priority agenda throughout the years.
As we celebrate our 14th anniversary, I ask you to go back to our vision and mission. As our motto of the diocese "A city set on a hill" tells us, we are called to become a column of faith, a pillar of hope in today's world, and a beacon of love. Through our faith, hope and charity, God communicates truth and grace to all so that as a diocesan community, all of us, may be impelled by faith, propelled by hope and compelled to love.
My brothers and sisters, the world loves to observe the Church. While in our times, many in the world keep a watchful eye on the Church to catch her weaknesses in order to make her an object of mockery. There are also those who search for truth and look at the Church as a "mother and teacher" - mater et magistra - in order to receive from her instruction and guidance. Yes, the Church will always be the sacrament of Christ and this identity imposes upon us a grave responsibility to be as faithful a reflection of Jesus as we can be.
Aside from thanking God for our priests in the diocese, we thank Him aslo for our lay people, our co-workers who are very active in making the local church of Cubao a dynamic community through their participation in different ministries. We struggle to live our vision-mission each day to be "a community of Christ-like disciples empowered and sent through effective servant leadership moving towards becoming a Church of the poor." In terms of outreach programs, we have helped and shared our resources with other dioceses and communities. In fact we have given more help outside rather than attending just to our own needs.
In thanking God we pledge our commitment to be active in the renewal and transformation of the world. The Santatlo: the religious, priests and laity, the tripod on which our diocese stands firmly and is supported, form a whole, even as each sectors has its unique and special contribution in building a civilization of love and promoting the culture of life in our times. In all respects, the Diocese of Cubao is a COMMUNION OF COMMUNITIES, and tonight's celebration is a realization of that one call made manifest through a diversity of charisms. It is in that one call where we can see our mission to be active agents of renewal in the new evangelization. As we look ahead to the coming years, we ask the Lord to guide us in synergizing and putting together orderly the many gifts and charisms found in each and every one of us.
As we celebrate the Year of the Parish with the theme "communion of communities," we continue to live our mission to be a mountain of God where people are drawn, instructed in His ways that they may walk in His paths, that their thirst for God can be quenched, and find fulfillment in their search for what is real, lasting, and truly beautiful.
Through the guidance and intercession of Mary our Mother, may we achieve the dream, our aspiration, our vision-mission to be a church of the poor; to encounter Christ in the peripheries and the margins of human existence and there reflect His holiness, a hope that believes in the fulfillment of God's promises here and now in spite of the tragedies of human life, and a love that is unconditional and never gives up in the service of our neighbor.
May we be true to our mission: CIVITAS SUPRA MONTEM POSITA NON ABSCONDI - A City set on a Hill Can Never be Hidden - may this light shine forth and never be obscured today and the years to come!
To our silver jubilarians, in behalf of the Santatlo - the priests, religious and the laity, please accept my sincere congratulations and prayers. We join you and your loved ones in thanking the Lord for the gift of the priesthood. May He bless you all the more with joy, peace, love and dedication. More power on to the next twenty-five years and beyond!
God bless you all. Mabuhay po and Diocese of Cubao!