It is important to reflect on what makes a church, a church of the poor. There are, in my opinion, various elements. The most important is Spirituality. With the capital S. Without it, the move to become a church of the poor would be reduced to mere activism and ideology. A Marxist labeling would not be considered unfair. That is why a way of life that is grounded, centered and leading to Christ is important and must be driven home to the members of the community, from the priest, to the religious, lay volunteers and the newly baptized. This invitation to an intimate and loving relationship with Christ crucified must be the core of the kerygma of the Church. Because of this, the foundation of the community will be strong, no matter how strong the quakes, storms or waves that will come its way.
If transformation is to be desired by a community, one of the key factors to bring about change is awareness (teachings, catechism, etc).
5 minute basic catechism before the mass has been implemented. (Teachings on the life of San Pedro Calungsod, on the sacrament of confession, on the Eucharist…)
A theology series is currently being taught by Bro. Christian Manaloto, a friend and classmate, currently teaching in Miriam College.
A financial literacy series will be taught by Bro. Chris Cantal, from Ascension Parish.
A leadership series is currently being taught by Fr. Didoy Molina.
The arrancel is the system in a parish setting in which there are fixed rates whenever the sacraments are celebrated. There has been a lot of nuancing and explanation that the arrancel is not payment for the sacraments but that they should be seen as generous support to the operations of the parish. However, it cannot be avoided that connections will be made with the arrancel as payment, no matter how long or comprehensive the teachings or catechisms may be. There will still be people who will see the arrancel as payment for sacraments. And they are the majority.
How to correct it?
Through a radical move.
Remove the arrancel.
Will this work?
It has. And it will.
Many parishioners have received the sacraments especially that of baptism, confirmation and marriage. And people have been generous than ever.
Why then are some priests and parish leaders afraid of implementing this?
The heart has its reasons that reason cannot understand…