Our best kept secret
A SPECIAL love and devotion to Blessed Virgin Mary marks Filipino life and history. Under the title of the Immaculate Conception, she was declared Patroness of the Philippines by Pope Pius XII through the Papal Bull, “Impositi Nobis” in 1942. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception signifies that Mary, from the moment of her conception, was free from original sin.
“Pueblo Amante de Maria” are words found in a Eucharistic hymn written in 1337 which means “people devoted to Mary, people who love Mary” are associated with the Filipinos. History points out that Blessed Virgin Mary played a significant role in the conversion of the Philippines to the Catholic faith. Filipinos were taught and with great readiness adopted practices of Marian devotion such as prayed the rosary, joined Marian missionaries, venerated Marian images, and read devotional treatises and other books on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Also, numerous chapels and churches were dedicated to Our Lady such as the Titular Church of the Archdiocese of Manila, the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
As history points out the role played by the Virgin Mary in the rapid process of Christianization in the Philippines, her feast day on December 8, 2016 was chosen to be the perfect date to launch an evangelization campaign of Radio Veritas as part of its initiatives for the celebration of the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines, dubbed as “Veritas 500: Bringing Jesus to every Catholic home”.
In 2021, the Catholic Church in the Philippines will celebrate the fifth centenary of the coming of Christianity in the country. Today, the Philippines is known as the bastion of Christianity in Asia with 84 million Catholics nationwide and the third country with the most number of Catholics in the world. However, only 13 million or almost 15% are actively participating in this faith experience. In the time when the world is deeply influenced by secularism and materialism that leads to the abandonment of faith, there is a need to explore and discover new methods and means for transmitting the “Good News” more effectively to faithful.
In his Apostolic Exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium”, Pope Francis said that there are deficiencies in the popular cultures of Catholic people which need to be healed by the Gospel: machismo, alcoholism, domestic violence, low Mass attendance, fatalistic or superstitious notions which lead to sorcery, and the like. He also said that popular piety itself can be the starting point for healing and liberation from these deficiencies.
“An evangelized popular culture contains values of faith and solidarity capable of encouraging the development of a more just and believing society, and possesses a particular wisdom which ought to be gratefully acknowledged,” Pope Francis said.
Veritas 500 is the response of Radio Veritas to address this situation by spreading love, truth and justice to the 71 million “unchurched” Filipino Catholic through new “fervor, methods and expression” in radio, television, social media and Catholink, the Church info hub. To fulfill this mission, the station goal is to expand nationwide by putting up relay stations in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao and creating a strong presence in various media platforms through Veritas TV and livestreaming in the next five years.
In this campaign, the Catholic faithful are encouraged to contribute 500 pesos “balik handog” each year for the next five years. Each 500 pesos “balik handog” will help reach 480 inactive Catholic faithful back to our parish communities (based on the population and number of barangays in the Philippines).
Radio Veritas President Rev. Fr. Anton C. T. Pascual said that, “as Catholics, we are encouraged to take part in this historic movement in our Christian faith. Let us thank Lord God Almighty who gave us the priceless gift of Christian faith nearly 500 years ago by preserving it and helping our brethren to renew their relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.”
A Eucharistic Celebration to be presided by Most Rev. Teodoro Cruz Bacani, Jr., Bishop Emeritus of Novaliches at 12 nn will mark the launch of the campaign. The station will also conduct a telethon from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to raise initial funds for the campaign.
Radio Veritas 846 is owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. Established in 1969, the Ramon Magsaysay recipient Catholic radio station continues to be a leading social communications ministry for truth and new evangelization in the country today.
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