Diocese of Lucena
Pastoral Letter of Bishop Jose T. Sanches, D.D. Announcing the Celebration of a Diocesan Synod in Lucena
To our Beloved Pastoral Cooperators; Our Priests, our Religious and Members of the Apostolate of the Laity, Peace and Grace from our Lord Jesus Christ:

The apostolic zeal that we all share for the sustained growth of Christian Life in our beloved Diocese impels me as your diocesan pastor to address myself to you through this Pastoral Letter. Like any diocesan pastor, next to God’s grace, I trust in our interior communion as the source of pastoral strength. This unity for which our Lord Himself prayed fervently to prevail among His apostolates and those who through their words will believe in Him (Jn. 17, 20-21) retains its validity more than ever during these times of transition. We all know, however, that this interior communion must be expressed in actions that derive from, and strengthen that interior communion. In this context I have the pleasure to invite you to study, in our diocese in order to formulate programs and guidelines that will be incorporated into a Pastoral Document that will guide our pastoral efforts. While it is true that Vatican II has given that Universal Church general guidelines for the work of the Church in the world today, the same Vatican II declares that these guidelines must be adapted to the different local condition. “Hence we entertain the hope that many of our proposals will be able to bring substantial benefit to everyone, mentalities by the faithful, under the guidance of their pastor (The Church Today, 91). It is fitting that we harness all available talents from the Diocesan Clergy, the Religious and the Laity to adapt the guidelines of Vatican II to our local situation and to strengthen our Christian life and our unity with the Universal Church. “In this way, all undertakings and organizations, whether catechetical, missionary, charitable, social, family, educational, or any other program serving a pastoral goal, will be brought into harmonious action. At the same time the unity of the diocese will thereby be made more evident.” (Bishops, 17).

After praying for guidance, and having had consultations with our diocesan clergy, some members of our religious communities and leader of the Laity, we have decided to hold a Diocesan City during Advent this year. It is my fervent hope and prayer that we shall have one heart and one mind in celebrating this Synod, so that 12 years after the close of Vatican II we may be able to formulate a Synodal Document that will constitute our Pastoral Program for our beloved Diocese. In order to be assured of God’s blessing for this undertaking we have a request our Diocese. In order to be assured of God’s Blessing for this undertaking we have requested our Diocesan Commission on Sacred Liturgy to prepare an appropriate prayer to be recited in all parishes for the fruitful celebration of our Synod.

With the Decrees of Vatican Council II serving as our general guidelines and the subsequent Instructions emanating from the different Pontifical Commissions, Encyclicals especially those issued after Vatican Council II and other Pontifical Document as specific norms, we shall study, examine and analyze the local situation. The norms, we shall study, examine and analyze the local situation. The roles of the Bishop and the Diocesan Structures; the Presbyteral Community ranging from the promotion of vocation of the Priesthood, the seminary with the Bishop, among themselves and with the people; the role of the Laity both as individual and as organized groups, the joint apostolate of the Clergy, the Religious and the Laity in the Ministry of the Word, Ministry of Worship and the Ministry of Love and Service, will be the subject of our study and prayerful reflection in order to arrive hopefully at a definite Diocesan Program or Pastoral Manual for our diocese.

To accomplish this task we need time and zealous dedication from those who will prepare the “Schema” for the Synodal deliberations and decisions. For this reason we have created a Diocesan Steering Committee. Together with this Steering Committee we shall create Sub-Committee whose members will undertake the study of topics assigned to them by the Steering Committee. In fact, the greater portion of the work of our Synod will be accomplished in the assignment will discharge their tasks with prayerful dedication in the awareness that they are rendering to their Diocese a service others may never have the chance to render.

The Steering Committee that will draft with us the Preparatory Scheme for the Synod and follow through until the final phase of the Synod will be composed of the following:

Msgr. Generoso Marasigan, V.G.
Msgr. Simeon Racelis
Msgr. Gregorio Salvatus
Msgr. Espiridion Magundayao
Fr. Antonio Rañola
Fr. Fidel de Ramos
Fr, Angel Lagdameo
Fr. Expedito Joano
Fr. German Avilla
Fr. Ruben Profugo
Fr, Luis Balquiedra
Fr. Rolando Oliverio
Mother Mercy Medenilla, MCST
Mr. Mariano Melicia
Sis. Prisca Rabuy
Sis. Paz Marfori, DC
Atty. Deogracias Lirio
Mrs. Prudencia Villaseñor
Dr. Jose Ocampo
Mrs. Lilia Flores
Dr. Cesar Villariba
Dr. Carmelita Deveza

We are happy to issue this Pastoral Letter on the Secodn Sunday of Lent when we commemorate the Transfiguration of our Lord, for we all humbly aim to make our local Church of this twentieth century fitted for proclaiming the Good News to our people of this twentieth century (E.N., 2). We aim to bring the light of the Gospel into all the strata of our diocesan community, and through its influence transform this community from within and make it new (E.N., 18). So, with God’s help and guidance, we can confidently chart the course of our diocese and feel that we are contributing our share to God’s work of “making the whole creation new” (Rev. 21/5).

Devoted yours in our Lord Jesus,

Diocesan Chancery
Lucena City, 6 March, 1977
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