Report by Resty S. Odon
Prolife Philippines celebrates the month of February as Prolife Month with a series of activities and talks. The “Respect and Care for Life Month” was kicked off by a Eucharistic celebration on Feb. 5, 2012 at the St. Andrews Cathedral in Quirino Ave., La Huerta, Parañaque City.
The main celebrant was Bishop Jesse Mercado, D.D., who was assisted by parish priest Fr. Rolando Agustin.
A banner was placed at the entrance gate and another on the facade of the church declaring the day as Prolife Sunday. The banner placed on the facade carried conspicuously the reminder that Pres. Proclamation 214 was signed in 1987 by the current pro-RH president’s mother, Pres. Corazon Aquino, proclamation designating “the second week of February 1988 and every year thereafter as ‘Respect and Care for Life Week’ under the auspices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Pro-Life Philippines, and other involved entities or organizations.”
Parishioners were greeted at the main door with a table occupied by members of Prolife Philippines headed by Mr. Eric Manalang. Other officers and members, including Ms. Lorna Melegrito and Marilou Agsaluna, distributed prolife and anti-RH Bill flyers, newsletters, and brochures, and sold related materials such as anti-RH pins and CDs.
Among those who attended the 10AM Mass was Paranaque Congressman Roilo Golez, who briefly greeted his constituents by quietly shaking their hands. Filipinos for Life President Anthony Perez was also present.
In his sermon, Bp. Mercado exhorted the faithful to reflect on the value of life. He urged everyone to adopt a prolife philosophy, a devotion to defending and promoting life from beginning (conception) up to the very end.
“Why (prolife)?” he said. “Because life is a gift from God, because He has a purpose in it.”
He said we ought to protect life “that we may be reflectors of God’s own life, of God’s own love.”
With a prolife outlook, he said, “we can learn how to share this life for others, with others.”
“Therefore, we image who God is to others, for their own good, joy, and fullness. We become an image of God in our fullness.”
He then used the day’s reading on the book of Job, to bring the audience’s attention to the inevitable reality of the ups and downs of life, which can be an obstacle to upholding life at all stages.
He said that life is a mountaintop experience as well as a valley of tears. Noting how the days of Job described in the Bible were “a valley of tears,” he pointed out how Job nevertheless refused to question God. “Job was not discouraged,” he said.
Bp. Mercado then briefly explained the distinction between discouragement and disappointment. If one is discouraged, he explained, one turns to despair. If one is just disappointed, one remains faithful despite the feelings; one trusts in God.
“You can make a choice,” he said, as though to challenge the faithful. “Do you choose disappointment, or discouragement? Remain faithful, or (wallow) in despair? Trust God, or choose to die?”
“A man who works for life is for God,” he said. “God can use our pains to produce something good.”
“When we are successful, do we seek God?” … “In our trials, we are not alone. In the midst of the difficulties of life, life is good, life is full of blessings.”
Bp. Mercado ended his homily with a summary of the prolife philosophy: “Being prolife means respecting and giving space to God. Being pro-God means love for others, having compassion for others, especially the wounded, etc. Being prolife means being pro-God and pro-others.”