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Be shepherds of your flock, Pope reminds RP bishops

July 5, 2008 9:00pm
MANILA, Philippines - As they started their plenary assembly in Manila Saturday, Catholic bishops in the Philippines received a reminder from Pope Benedict XVI to continue serving as the shepherd of their flocks.

The Pope relayed the message through Vatican Secretary of State Tarcio Bertone, whose message was read by CBCP president Angel Lagdameo at the start of the assembly.

"The Holy Father prays that you will continue to nourish the mind, spiritual attitudes and moral behavior of your people with the truth of the Gospel while always remembering that the faithful need the word of their bishop," Bertone told the CBCP.

Excerpts of the message were posted Saturday evening on the CBCP Web site (www.cbcpnews.com).

In his message, Bertone also said the Pope urged the Filipino prelates to continue acting their role as the chief catechists of their respective pastoral jurisdictions.

He said this means that bishops must be willing always and everywhere to stand up and teach those in need of instruction "to have their faith confirmed and purified."

Bertone said the Pope also assured his "apostolic blessing" to the CBCP as he commend their works for the Catholic Church.

CBCP secretary general Msgr. Juanito Figura said around 87 bishops, 82 active and five retired members, were present at the regular plenary meeting as of Saturday morning.

The CBCP has 99 active and 32 honorary members.

The event started with a Eucharistic celebration led by Papal Nuncio Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams.

Aside from the reports to be rendered by half of the 33 CBCP commissions, socio-political and economic issues will also be discussed at the bi-annual meeting.

The Plenary Assembly is CBCP's highest decision-making body. Composed of active and retired bishops, the Plenary Assembly meets in regular session twice a year, in January and in July. - GMANews.TV
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