NEW Year means new hope for peace.
This is the call made by several members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) as they mark New Year's Day with a call for the country's adherence to peace and dialogue.
In separate messages, Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes, Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio Bancud, and San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza all said continuing dialogue is necessary if one is to attain peace.
"Be people of dialogue. When we dialogue we listen, we understand, we get reconciled, we forgive, and we don't destroy each other, we don't destroy society," said Tagle.
"May this new year bring us greater hope that in our community, especially in our country, unity and not division may reign," said Cortes.
"(The occasion) impels us to be ever mindful of our mission, with undeniable urgency to respond to the call of His Holiness Pope Francis of peace as a Journey of Hope, Dialogue, Reconciliation," said Bancud.
"We pray that through dialogue, reconciliation, and conversion as sought by Pope Francis, we continue to go on our journey of hope towards unity, peace, and progress," said Alminaza.
The call of the prelates comes on the heels of the proposed resumption of the formal peace negotiations between the Philippine Government and the Communist Party of the Philippines.
It should also be noted that the CBCP has declared the year 2020 as the Year of Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue.
Similarly, January 1 marks the Catholic Church's feast day of the World Day of Peace. (HDT/Philippines)