Manila (Agenzia Fides) – At Christmas “God walks with us” with his people and the Feast of the Incarnation is a “promemoria for synodality” and reminds “God’s presence with us and his journey with us”.ASIA/PHILIPPINES – Christmas, a time to listen, dialogue, walk together, pray with “Simbang Gabi” – Agenzia Fides
Manila (Agenzia Fides) – At Christmas “God walks with us” with his people and the Feast of the Incarnation is a “promemoria for synodality” and reminds “God’s presence with us and his journey with us”. This was emphasized by the Chairman of the Philippine Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, at the opening of the traditional “Christmas Novena”, which was celebrated nationwide by the Filipino faithful with a mass in the early hours of the morning before going to the church. At the beginning of the traditional “Simbang Gabi”, the bishop invited the community of believers to “walk together united in Jesus, as did his disciples”. “Christmas is really about God coming to us and accompanying us on our life journey so that we learn to walk and love one another,” he said.
The theme of the “journey together” is at the heart of the novena with which all Filipino congregations are preparing for Christmas 2022, taking the opportunity to “strengthen communion within the church and participation in mission: our dream is a missionary church in every word, thought and gesture,” he said.
As Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, who leads the Pasig community, acknowledged, “the central message of synodality, namely to walk united as God’s people on the way to the kingdom of God, is always a challenge for all of us. That is why listening, dialogue and humility are in the relationship with our fellow human beings so important,” he reminded.
Also in the southern Philippines and on the island of Mindanao, Father Hermes Larry B. Sabud (SM) of the Marist Fathers, who lives and works in Davao on the island of Mindana, emphasizes: “Christ teaches us that a life of dialogue is possible. I am aware that the process of dialogue and breaking down prejudices against people who are different from me will continue. It doesn’t matter how long it will take. What is important is the process, the personal change that takes place in my life”.
“Mindanao”, says the missionary, “is composed of people of different cultures, religions and traditions. I am convinced that we Marists are called to live and to live in this reality a climate and a practice of interreligious and intercultural dialogue. With Christmas we emphasize our deep relationship with God, with our neighbor and with creation. We do this by reaching out to our Muslim brothers and sisters. By walking with them in peace and harmony. That too is synodality”. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 15/12/2022)