Healing Our Land, Renewing Our Lives

(CBCP Pastoral Letter – Short Version for Sunday Mass Reading)



Beloved People of God:


1. Recent events in our country reveal once again that we seem to move from crisis to crisis. Many social, economic and political issues presently disturb and threaten some of the deepest beliefs and values of family life and our community life.


We must ask God to infuse spiritual energy into the many efforts that we in the Church and in the wider society are doing to renew our economic, political, and cultural lives. Therefore, we, your Bishops, are setting in motion two concerned efforts of Prayer, Penance, and Spiritual Renewal.


A. Celebrating Nine First Fridays in Honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


2. Pope Paul VI has said that the devotion “rendered to the Sacred Heart is the most efficacious means to contribute to that spiritual and moral renewal of the world called for by the Second Vatican Council.” Through the nine first Fridays of November 2003 to July 2004, we will seek this spiritual and moral reformation in our hearts, in our society and in our nation.


3. Aware of your great love of the Heart of Jesus, we are urging all parishes and dioceses, all Catholic schools and institutions, all religious lay organizations and movements, to renew the practice of the first Friday devotion. We urge you to have a special Mass celebrated and to hold a Holy Hour on all the nine first Fridays we have indicated. Let every one under the usual conditions approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation, offer Mass and receive Communion. In deep communion with God, we shall strive to follow godly ways in the family and in the public and private spheres of life.


4. We urge you to have two special intentions for which Masses, Communions, Holy Hour and the devotion to the Sacred Hour will be offered:



4.1 The Sanctification of Priests. At all times and especially today we need holy priests whose hearts are deeply rooted in the Heart of the Crucified and Risen Lord, priests who are totally committed to sacrificial love and service for the people, especially the poor. We need priests who, in the manner of Jesus the Good Shepherd to whom they are configured by sacred ordination, are ready to give their lives for the flock.


4.2 The Renewal of Christian Life. Conversion and renewal must take place in all of us. This was the conviction and call of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines in 1991 and of the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal in 2001. This is also the call of the Holy Father for the Third Millennium. There is so much in our nation and in its institutions that we must struggle to reform and renew not the least of which are a drug culture and an extremely undisciplined and wayward political culture that we your Bishops have already many times denounced.


5. The over-all program of our Church-wide movement of prayer and renewal is the same as our Marian Year of 1985, namely C-O-R (Latin for “heart”). It means Conversion, Offering of our daily lives, and Reparation – the very same message that our Blessed Mother gave to the three children at Fatima.


5.1 Conversion. Jesus urges all of us: “Repent and believe the Gospel” (Mk. 1:15). He constantly calls us to conversion, to seek first the rule of God, his kingdom of justice, peace, love and holiness. For this reason we all need to change our lives and put them in line with God’s demands. Moreover, conversion to be genuine must be translated into effective action in our daily lives.


5.2 Offering of our daily lives. At Fatima our Blessed Mother Mary reminded us of a fundamental truth – that our most ordinary duties, whatever our vocation may be, promote God’s rule. What we do may also hinder it. By offering our daily lives we ask God to work through each one of us, to fulfill his will and purpose both in our personal lives and in on-going history.


5.3 Reparation. For the evil and the sins committed against God and against our neighbor we offer reparation – out of love. Through St. Margaret Mary Alacoque our Lord asked for the promotion of the Masses and communions of reparation on each First Friday of the month. Thus by prayer, penance, and praxis we participate in the redeeming love of Jesus operative in the world.


B. Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


6. Consecration of Families. We are also urging you to propagate the consecration of our families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. During the nine First Fridays of November 2003 to July 2004, let all Catholic families entrust the lives of all the family members to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through appropriate catechesis, family members should understand

that by the act of consecration: they are renewing in a fresh way their baptismal consecration as true sons and daughters of our Father in heaven; they are to be faithful to the Gospel in fuller and more practical ways; they seek more integral obedience to God’s commandments; and that they will make their homes truly “domestic churches”, true centers of deep and joyful Christian family life. They are to realize that if they live out this consecration, the Heart of Christ will bless their lives abundantly what they expect.


We hope that one million families will consecrate or re-consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and also to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Will you help realize this hope?


7. Nationwide Consecration. Lastly on Christ the King Sunday this year, which will be November 23, 2003, we enjoin every diocese and parish in a solemn way to make its Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – the faithful consecrating our priests, our families, our people and our land, to the Heart of Jesus. Let us prepare intensively for this event by solid, instructive and meaningful catechesis.


We suggest that on the eve of the feast of Christ the King the family will make its act of consecration in the home. On the Feast itself every family so consecrated will join the common act of consecration of the diocese or town or parish. We hope that this consecration will take root in our minds, in our hearts, in our wills and spirits.


8. This early we wish to announce our plan for a new Marian Year beginning August 2004 to mark the 150th year of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. This is part of our over-all program of prayer, penance and renewal.


9. Beloved People of God, this program to help our land and renew our lives depends on the grace of God. But each of us must cooperate. Let us spare no effort to mark a new beginning in our striving to be a Godly nation, faithful to the spirit and the heart of the Savior.

A program of prayer, penance and renewal will surely serve as a powerhouse of grace for us to build a land more truly human, more genuinely just and caring, more authentically a civilization of love. Through the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, may the project we are embarking on be brought to fulfillment in the overflowing mercy and love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.



For the Permanent Council of the CBCP:




Archbishop of Cotabato

President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

September 1, 2003



The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines

The Official Website of

CBCP Online


Healing Our Land, Renewing Our Lives

(CBCP Pastoral Letter – Short Version for Sunday Mass Reading)