By Genalyn Kabiling and Christina Hermoso
President Duterte called on Filipinos to reflect on becoming “agents of positive change” in the country as the country observes All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
The President said the public can draw inspiration from the lives and deeds of the saints and their departed loved ones in helping build a “better place” for the nation.
“As we pause to honor our dearly departed and our saints, let us reflect on how we can become agents of positive change in our society,” Duterte said in a message. “Let us contemplate on how we can make our country and this world a much better place for ourselves and for future generations.”
The President said November 1 and November 2 have been set aside to remember people who have enriched people’s faith and made a profound impact on their lives.
There were “many lessons to learn and so much wisdom to gain” from the saints and dearly departed loved ones, he said.
“Their pursuits brought us closer to God and affected each of us on a deep and personal level. Their lives inspire us to build on their legacy, to make our mark in this world and to dedicate ourselves to causes that are greater than our own self-interest. Their deeds remind us that, like them, we are capable of bringing hope and joy to many people,” he added.
The President, who was scheduled to return to Davao City Tuesday night from his state visit in Japan, is expected to visit his parents’ tomb in his hometown on All Saints’ Day.
‘Become living saints’
Meanwhile, Balanga Bishop RupertoC. Santos, head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of thePhilippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, called on the faithful toreflect and be inspired by the lives and examples of thesaints.
“Saints are given to us by God. The Lord inspired them to become saints to guide us to Him and to guard us against temptations and troubles here on earth. They underwent what we are experiencing, endured what we suffered, and yet with their fidelity to God and their steadfastness in faith, they emerged victorious against sin and Satan,” he said.
“Let us imitate their obedience to God and their selfless services to their fellow men. Let us be inspired by them, look up to them, love them, and relive their lives. While we are still here on earth, let us strive tobecome living saints to one another,” Santos said.
“Saints were just like us. They also have their shortcomings, and they also sinned. But they werecontrite, underwent conversion and change of hearts. Eventually, they spent their life for God and at the service of their fellowmen. We can also be like them,that is, we can also be saints.”
As in past years, Church officials remind the faithful “to commemorate All Saints’ Day solemnly as it is meant to enrich the faith of all who observe it. As wehonor the saints and remember our departed loved ones, we actually give glory to God.”
Originally known as the Feast of All Martyrs inmemory of the martyrs of the early Church who died fortheir faith, All Saints’ Day has since evolved into a solemn observance during which the Church remembers all who have died in the faith. Pope Gregory(731-741) consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of St.Peter in Rome, Italy, to all the saints and fixed theobservance on Nov. 1. Pope Gregory IV (827-844)extended the celebration to the Universal Church in 837.
According to the Roman Martyology and Orthodoxsources, there are over 10,000 named saints in history,although no exact figure is available as more holy menand women continue to be canonized by the HolyFather. The number includes patron saints, specialprotectors, martyrs, and guardians over certain areas oflife and anything that is important to the faithful believer.
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