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Circular 2016-6: Parish Religious Stores

January 12, 2016

Circular 2016-6

RE: Parish Religious Stores

Reverend Fathers:

The matter of parishes operating stores for religious books and devotional articles was discussed during the regular clergy meeting last January 8.  It has been noted too that there are some instances when the articles on sale are no longer related to the promotion of religious devotion and catechesis.

This practice has left a mistaken impression among the Catholic faithful that Sep 9, 2011 – the Church is engaging in business and commerce beyond its spiritual mission.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue has sent some alarming signals about imposing taxes on such religious stores. Unless properly guided by our legal counsel, the maintenance of religious stores might become an entry point for the BIR to even examine the other collections and fund sources of the Catholic Church. The Church stands at risk as secularism gains ground. We choose the path of pastoral prudence.

In consideration of the foregoing, it was decided during the said clergy meeting that in the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan, we will not open new religious stores and close the ones that are in existence, unless such stores have submitted their records to the Bureau of Internal Revenue and have gained business licenses from the government as required by law.

This policy on religious stores will also enhance our desire to rid the parish operations of any semblance of business and commerce. It is a hard climb but we must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

Circular 2016-7: Twenty Four Hours for the Lord

January 13, 2016

Memorial of Saint Hilary, Bishop and Doctor

Circular 2016-7

RE: Twenty Four Hours for the Lord

My dear people of God:

In the Bull of Indiction Misericordiae Vultus of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis expressed his desire that the initiative of “24 Hours for the Lord,” be celebrated on the Friday and Saturday preceding the Fourth Week of Lent, in every diocese. So many people, including young people, are returning to the Sacrament of Reconciliation; through this experience they are rediscovering a path back to the Lord, living a moment of intense prayer and finding meaning in their lives. Let us place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the center once more in such a way that it will enable people to touch the grandeur of God’s mercy with their own hands. For every penitent, it will be a source of true interior peace”. (Number 17, paragraph 3).

In obedience to the will of the Holy Father, we shall hold the Twenty Four Hours for the Lord on March 4, Friday starting at six o’ clock in the morning until six o’clock the following morning March 5, Saturday.

The Jubilee Churches of Mercy for this reconciliation activity will be:

  1. Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral in Dagupan City
  2. Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag
  3. Epiphany of the Lord Co-Cathedral and Parish in Lingayen
  4. Saint Dominic Parish in San Carlos City
  5. Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish in Bayambang

You are advised to observe the following guidelines:

  1. The Vicar Foranes will make the schedule of priest confessors to insure that the entire twenty four schedule is covered. The parishes and schools near the Jubilee Churches of Mercy must also be organized on schedule to insure the distribution of penitents throughout the twenty four hour program.
  2. The regular Mass schedule in the Jubilee Churches must be observed. When there is no Mass, the Blessed Sacrament must be exposed for solemn adoration keeping in mind that the Eucharist is a sacrament of mercy.
  3. Beginning Ash Wednesday February 10, the appropriate announcements at Masses and through streamers, posters and social media must be made. We should make the Sacrament of Reconciliation attractive to the youth and children as envisioned by the Pope.
  4. 4. Please be reminded that the Pope has also “conceded to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.(Letter on Indulgences for the Jubilee of Mercy, September 1, 2015)
  5. 5. The liturgy for the Communal Celebration of Penance and the Prayers for the Holy Hour of Mercy will be released in due time.

There is an immense wellspring of grace awaiting us in this Jubilee of Mercy. Let us prepare the people to avail of these blessings and let us make the News of Mercy attractive to the youth most particularly.

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

Circular 2016-5: Parish Office Fees

January 11, 2016

Circular 2016-5

RE: Parish Office Fees

Reverend Fathers:

During the regular meeting of the priests and religious men of the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan last January 8, majority of those present voted to adopt as an archdiocesan policy, obligatory for all parishes, a ruling that all certificates issued by the parish office such as baptismal certificates, confirmation certificates, marriage certificates, wedding banns and similar documents be released by the parish office to the requesting parishioners without requiring any fixed amount on the part of the lay faithful. This is in consonance with our collective vision to cleanse the church of any semblance of commercialism in the rendering of Church services.

The parish secretaries must be diligently instructed about this regulation.

On the other hand, the parishioners are kindly reminded to support the parish apostolate on a regular basis by donating generously to the parish regardless of parish services they may need. This is a proof of our maturity in the faith and devotion to our Mother Church. We must be a community that gives because we love the Church.

As decided at the clergy meeting, this ruling shall take effect immediately.

We dream of a Church renewed, truly close to the people and responsive to the needs of the flock. Let us make this vision come true. Thank you for sharing the vision.

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

Circular 2016-3: Personal Vows During Wedding Liturgies

January 7, 2016

Memorial of Saint Raymond Penyafort

Circular 2016-3

RE: Personal Vows During Wedding Liturgies

My brother priests:

In recent months, some couples preparing for their weddings have asked if they could prepare their personal vows and read them within the wedding liturgy.

In order to respond to this query, let us be reminded about some basic principles in liturgy.

  1. The liturgies of the Church, being public prayer, belong to the Church. Every liturgical action is an action of Christ the Priest with His Body which is the Church. The liturgy is a sacred action surpassing all others.
  2. Private devotions and personal spiritual expressions should not be mixed with the liturgies of the Church. Mixing personal pious devotions with the liturgy could confuse, remove or diminish the focus of the action of Christ Himself in the liturgical action. The liturgy is not ours to change at whim.
  3. The regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the Holy See and in limited cases, to bishops’ conferences.  Hence, no other person, not even a priest may add, remove or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22)

Based on these norms, the idea of pronouncing personal vows inserted within the wedding liturgy must not be allowed.

The officiating priests who will be asked about the propriety of inserting personal vows in the wedding liturgy can advise the couples to read their vows at the wedding reception but certainly not in the church. It would be a good occasion too to instruct the couples that the wedding vows prescribed in the wedding liturgy are rich and meaningful if only they understood the full depth and source of the liturgy of marriage. Let us not compromise the sacred character of the wedding rites on the altar of romanticism.

I trust that this directive will be observed with utmost obedience. Please be assured of my pastoral concern.

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

Circular 2016-2: Ancient Catholic Church of the East

January 2, 2016

Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen

Circular 2016-2

RE: Ancient Catholic Church of the East

My dear people of God:

There is a group of men who present themselves as priests of the Ancient Catholic Church of the East and  offer religious services in barangay chapels in Pangasinan. The group is headed by a certain Anthony Obinque of San Gonzalo, Labrador, Pangasinan.

The sect is not a Catholic group and contrary to their presentation, there are no steps to “unite” our Churches.

Please warn our Catholic faithful about their deceptive operations and consequently never to participate in their religious rites. They are prohibited from using Catholic chapels for their liturgies which simulate the Catholic rites.

Let this malicious group be a wake-up call for us Catholic priests to reach out to the barangay communities who truly thirst for the spiritual care of the Church and hence become vulnerable to such groups.

That in all things God may be glorified!

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

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