June 7, 2004
The Second Synod of Lucena formally opened with a concelebrated Mass officiated by Bishop Emilio Z. Marquez, with the clergy of the diocese as co-celebrants. The Opening Mass and Ceremonies took place at 9 o’clock in the morning at the Cathedral of St. Ferdinand, Lucena City.
In his homily, Bishop Marquez stated that it was a blessing that the convocation of the Second Synod of Lucena coincided with the 25th anniversary of the First Synod. Before the official delegates of the Synod II who came from the 32 parishes and one proposed parish of the diocese, and members of the synodal commissions, the bishop expounded the significance, rationale, and objectives of the Synod II.
Thereafter, the delegates proceeded to the Mother of Good Counsel Chapel of St. Alphonsus Regional Seminary, where the discussions of the assembly were held. The opening remarks given by Msgr. Oscar I. Leaño, Vicar General, signalled the start of the program. This was followed by the keynote address of Bishop Marquez. He stressed the significance of the active involvement of the lay faithful in the said ecclesial gathering. Msgr. Leandro Castro, on the other hand, gave the procedural instructions on presentations and open forum.
The presentation of the InstrumentumLaboris (working paper) entitled Life and Ministry of the Clergy, where Msgr. Leandro Castro serves as the proponent, was held in the afternoon. In the open forum that followed thereafter, every delegate who wished to express suggestions, comments or amendments was given the chance to do so.
The first day of the synodal proceedings was graced by the presence of Archbishop Antonio Franco, Apostolic Nuncio to the country. The archbishop was present at the Holy Hour and Evening Prayers, where each delegate prayed for the success of the synod. Prior to this, Archbishop Franco spoke before the assembly. He expressed joy over the active participation of the delegates, which he personally witnessed in the course of the open forum. According to him, a synod means “working together—a journey with the bishop, the priests and laity towards the renewal of the local Church in the Diocese of Lucena.”
After all the works on the first day of the Synod II had seen their completion, the delegates proceeded to St. Alphonsus Regional Seminary and Fresh Air Hotel and Restaurant, Isabang, where they were billeted for the duration of the synod. Accommodation arrangements for the delegates were prepared by the members of the Accommodation Committee of the Synod II, namely, Msgr. AtilanoOracion, Fr. Jose Cantos II, and Fr. Joseph Faller.
June 8, 2004
The second day of the Synod II commenced with the celebration of the Mass. (The Steering/Preparatory Synodal Committee resolved that each day of the Synod II should begin with the recitation of lauds and celebration of the Holy Eucharist. These were all under the supervision of the Liturgical Directors of Synod II, namely, Fr. Nelson Valle, Fr. Gerardo Juarez, Fr. Noel Cabungcal, and Fr. Alexander Parafina). The discussions, on the other hand, formally started with a recapitulation (RECAP) given by the floor leaders of Synod II, Msgr. MelecioVerastigue and Ma. Belinda Lucero. They summed up the main activities of the previous day.
This day saw the presentation of and discussion on the following documents: Holiness and Mission of Religious Women, Vocation and Apostolate of the Laity, and Christian Life: An Ever Enduring Worship Rendered to the Lord, wherein Msgr. AtilanoOracion, Msgr. Mariano Melicia, Jr. and Fr. Nelson Valle served as proponents, respectively.
The open forum on the religious life was highlighted by the sharing of the religious sisters belonging to various congregations about the problems, needs, and present condition of their works of apostolate in the different parts of the diocese. This document and the one entitled Vocation and Apostolate of the Laity were both approved by the assembly after all the delegates had voted.
Meanwhile, the document on Worship was recommended to be returned to the synodal commission that prepared it so that it could revise the formulation of some Call to Action the assembly approved it.
June 9, 2004 As in the previous days, the delegates recited the lauds together and participated in the celebration of the Holy Mass. A RECAP was again given by the floor leaders prior to the presentations and discussions. Aside from the RECAP, the events occurring on each day of the Synod II were reported and published in the Synod Bulletin, the official newsletter of the synod whose editorial staff included AlwinRacelis, Renato Vergara, NarcisoCruzat, Jr., and Leonor Sevilla. The said newsletter likewise featured the sentiments and opinions of the delegates concerning the synod.
The first to be discussed on this day was the document Integral Evangelical Formation towards Proclamation and Evangelization, which was presented by Msgr. Oscar Leaño. Following it were the documents Loving Service for Total
Human Development and Social Transformation and Mission to the Nations whose proponents were Fr. Romeo Padillo and Msgr. Carlos Pedro Herrera, respectively. Although the presentations and discussions on the third day of the synod lasted until 10:00 at night, one could sense the delegates’ enduring self-commitment to the designated activities despite their fatigue and sleepiness. (The delegates from each parish were appointed their specific place in the chapel so that they could be easily recognized and enabled to better participate in the discussions. This physical order was prepared by the members of the Committee on Ways and Means/Physical Arrangements, namely, Fr. Eugenio Antonio Viray, Fr. Dario Endiape, Fr. Sergio Nadres, and Fr. ArneloGaleon).
June 10, 2004 The last three synodal documents were discussed on the fourth day of the Synod II. Fr. Emmanuel Ma. Villareal served as the proponent in the presentation of Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue, Msgr. NoeLoredo in that of Formation of Missionary Community in the Diocese, and Fr. Wilson Divina in that of Basic Ecclesial Communities: An expression of a Renewing Church.
It is worth-mentioning that in the discussion on the document Formation of the Missionary Community in the Diocese, the assembly arrived at a decision to incorporate it to the document Integral Evangelical Formation towards Proclamation and Evangelization.
It is also on this day that the revised formulation of some Call to Action of the document Christian Life: An Ever Enduring Worship Rendered to the Lord was approved by the entire assembly.
In the presentation of the aforementioned documents, parliamentary procedure was adopted in the open forum so as to ensure orderly and effective discussions. Throughout all the discussions, Bishop Marquez kept his place at the podium, intently listening, occasionally reminding, clarifying certain things, and expressing personal opinions—a portrait of a shepherd who guides and leads his sheep. Also seated at the podium were the members of the Council of Presiding Officers (composed of Msgr. Oscar Leaño, Msgr. Carlos Pedro Herrera, and Msgr. NoeLoredo), the Protonotary of the Synod, Msgr. Mariano Melicia, Jr., and the Secretaries General, Msgr. Leandro Castro and Fr. Emmanuel Ma. Villareal. This day concluded with a dinner and socialization held at the Sentro Pastoral Auditorium. The program included a sumptuous meal (courtesy of the members of the Committee on Food of the synod, namely, Fr. George Vargas, Fr. RuelAbuel, and Fr. Joseph Estremera assisted by some religious sisters and laity), games, and intermission numbers. On that same night, the photographs of the synodal delegates taken as they performed the various activities in the past four days were displayed at the lobby of the Sentro Pastoral building. This was under the suypervision of the members of the Committee on Documentation, namely, Msgr. HeraclioFleta, Fr. Danilo Manuel, and RevatoVergara.
June 11, 2004 The Closing Mass and Ceremonies of the Second Synod of Lucena were held at the Cathedral of St. Ferdinand on the last day of the synod. On that occasion, Bishop Marquez formally announced the members of the REDACTION COMMITTEE who would discharge the duty of finalizing and translating into English all the synodal documents that would be subsequently sent to Rome for the recognition of the Holy Father Pope John Paul II. Bishop Marquez likewise expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all the delegates for their active participation in all the tasks successfully accomplished during the past five days. Certificates of Appreciation were also handed over to all the participants and delegates of the Synod II. This ending signalled a new beginning for the diocese, now equipped with the diligence to face the challenge of living out the spirit of the Second Synod of Lucena– renewal.