LEGAZPI City, Dec. 13, 2014 — The laity or “regular people” have more than just their monetary contributions to offer the Church, said a cardinal at recent Bicol Congress of the Laity held in Legazpi City.
“Money is not the only contribution a lay can give,” said Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, who gave the keynote of the event, which ran from Nov. 28 to 29.
According to him, if lay people are empowered and educated, they can change the world, even the Church for the better.
The prelate, the country’s newest cardinal, also noted how Filipinos are a people of culture and in this culture, there exists a social distinction between the clergy and the laity.
Quevedo explained in his address, entitled “Laity: Called and Sent to be Saints and Missionaries”, that the clergy and religious are “on a pedestal” while the latter is often “underestimated and [usually] ignored”.
Through numerous jokes and stories, he stressed the importance of lay participation in the Church.
Witnessing, alongside education, is the core component of evangelization, he added.
While observing the sacraments is essential, Quevedo explained, being holy through one’s life is what will bring personal fulfilment.
He mentioned the gap between people’s faith and how they live their lives, describing the regular Filipino Catholic’s faith to be “deep, solid yet uninformed.”
“How do you get people to live their lives in faith?” the cardinal asked, especially now with Sunday Mass attendance reportedly dwindling.
The fundamental calling of a lay person is to “proclaim the Lord and transform the world to a better reflection of the Kingdom of God,” said Quevedo. “We cannot change [Catholic] doctrine but we can change our practices and procedures.”
Caceres lay reactor Atty. Eusebio Albina, said he learned the importance of being humble; of possessing the right attitude, more than just the structure; and of learning from the poor instead of making them the “object of [one’s] focus”.
In closing, the cardinal from Mindanao applauded the first Regional Congress of the Laity in the country and even suggested that a repeat be made every three or four years with “dialogue between [the] local Churches”. (Natalie Hazel P. Quimlat/CBCPNews)