Veteran actress Boots Anson-Roa shares inspirational messages regarding their faith. (Photo from Palawan Provincial Information Office)

The president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) emphasized that parochial mission stations should not be confined to places of worship in order to address modern problems such as disenfranchisement due to poverty, mental health issues, and addiction.

During the second day of the event marking the culmination of 400 Years of Christianity in Palawan, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David took charge of the “Journey of Faith” symposium. It was held at the PGP Convention Center, located within the Capitol grounds, on August 25.

David stated that parishes should transition out of a “maintenance mode” and work towards helping those on the fringes of society.

He encouraged them to become active mission stations for those living in slums and squatter areas.

Furthermore, David explained that parishes should organize and collaborate with other religious communities to better serve the public.”

“Ayaw man natin tanggapin, ang mga dukha sa lipunan na nasa laylayan. (…) Wala tayong karapatan na sabihin na the church of the Philippines is not a church of the poor,” said David.

He explained that the church should celebrate the 400 years of celebrating Christianity in Palawan by looking to the methods of the Augustinian recollects of the past, where they integrated their practices to the native culture. He urged that the church similarly bring their traditions in a new direction, including practicing the faith within one’s own profession.

David recollected an instance in which a parishioner, holding a valid license as a psychologist, employed their counseling expertise during a mission station. He cited this case as a demonstration of how the church should extend its efforts and practice compassion in a proactive manner.

“Mental health problems like depression, addiction and substance abuse is a disorder, but ask why the people are using it. Huwag niyo silang huhusgaan, tulungan lang natin sila,” stated David.

In line with the theme of “Demdemen, Icelebra, Ipadayon”, several other dignitaries spoke during the symposium, including historian Rev. Fr., Rene Paglinawan, who gave a lecture on the history of Christianity in Palawan; and couple Boots Anson-Roa and Francisco “King” Rodrigo, who shared inspirational messages regarding their faith.

The symposium was a collaboration between the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay and the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa. Parishioners from all across Palawan attended the symposium, which happened simultaneously with the Youth Fair in the city sports complex.