PASTORAL VISITATION OF THE DIOCESAN BISHOP FOR 2012

CIRCULAR LETTER NO. 3
Series of 2012

February 10, 2012

TO: ALL PARISH PRIESTS, PAROCHIAL VICARS, RECTOR OF DIOCESAN SHRINE, DIRECTORS OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS, RELIGIOUS, PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL (PPC) OFFICERS, PARISH FINANCE OFFICERS (PFC), OFFICERS OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS, and BPK LEADERS

RE: PASTORAL VISITATION OF THE DIOCESAN BISHOP FOR 2012

My dear Reverend Monsignori and Fathers, Religious, and Lay Leaders of our diocese,

As I have announced towards the year end of 2011, I will make a Pastoral Visitation again of our diocese this year 2012. I did my Pastoral Visitation of our 14 parishes including the barangays in 2007. That visitation helped me a lot in knowing deeper the situation of our diocese and in addressing all the urgent concerns needed by our people in the light of the First Diocesan Synod of our diocese.

My Pastoral Visitation is also in response to what is indicated in the Directory For the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops – “A bishop is obliged to visit the diocese annually, either in whole or in part, so that he visits the entire diocese at least every five years either personally or, if he has been legitimately impeded, through the Coadjutor Bishop, an Auxiliary, Vicar General, Episcopal Vicar, or another presbyter.” (Pastores Gregis, 220 & Code of Canon Law, c. 396, 1) The pastoral visit helps the Bishop to evaluate the effectiveness of the structures and agencies designed for pastoral service, taking account of the circumstances and difficulties of the task of evangelization, so as to determine more accurately the priorities and the means required for overall pastoral provision.

I will focus my visitation to the main thrust of our diocese which is the establishment and strengthening of Batayang Pamayanang Kristiyano (BPK). This is what is being emphasized by the decrees of our First Diocesan Synod particularly decree 135 which says – “That the Parish and Barangay Pastoral Councils initiate in prioritizing the program of establishing, strengthening, and expanding the BPK (Batayang Pamayanang Kristiyano) in living the spirit of the Church of the Poor.” I have encouraged our parishes to draw up their own Three-Year Pastoral Plan focused on BPK Program in the light of what has been presented during our Diocesan Pastoral Assembly last June 16, 2011 held in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque.

It is also stated in the Directory For the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops that “the Bishop should seek to accomplish the following, if time and local circumstances permit:

a) to celebrate Mass and preach the Word of God;

b) to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation with due solemnity, within Mass if possible;

c) to meet the pastor and other clerics who assist in the parish;

d) to have meetings with the Pastoral Council or, if one does not exist, with the faithful who collaborate in diverse apostolates (clerics, religious and members of societies of apostolic life and the laity) and with associations of the faithful;

e) to have a meeting with the Parish Finance Council;

f) to have a meeting with children, youth and young adults who are receiving catechetical instruction;

g) to visit the school and other Catholic institutions dependent on the parish;

h) to visit some of the sick in the parish, insofar as it is possible.

During the pastoral visit, the Bishop should be sure to examine the administration and maintenance of the parish, including places of worship, liturgical vessels and appointments, parish registers and other goods. Nevertheless, some aspects of this task may be left to the Vicars Forane or other suitable clerics just before or after the visit, so that the Bishop can concentrate on personal meetings during the visit itself, as befits a true Shepherd. (PG, 46)

I hope and pray that my Pastoral Visitation for this year will be truly inspired by the Holy Spirit who is our guide always in our life of holiness. May our Mother Mary, Mahal na Birhen ng Biglang-Awa, our Diocesan Patroness, help us as we continue to grow as a Local Church guided by our vision: “Marinduque: Simbahan ng mga Dukha na may Katarungan, Pag-ibig at Kapayapaan.”

+ REYNALDO G. EVANGELISTA, D.D.

Bishop of Boac