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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, February 19, 2013
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Church remembers Pope’s visit
BY LISA GAPAC

The Diocese of Bacolod commemorated the 32nd anniversary of the visit of Pope John Paul II to Bacolod City on Feb. 18, 1981, with a thanksgiving mass led by Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra at the JPII Tower at the Reclamation Area, yesterday.

It was also the 3rd anniversary of the tower that was built through the generosity of lawyer Simplicio Palanca, Navarra said.

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was also highlighted during the anniversary of the tower.

Navarra said on Friday, the diocese will celebrate the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter in Rome, and he is encouraging all parishes, chaplaincies, and religious houses in Bacolod to hold triduum masses, expositions, blessings of the Blessed Sacrament, praying the rosary for the Pope and asking for guidance of the Holy Spirit that a worthy successor be elected.

The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, that refers to the Office of the Papacy, started in the 4th century, and signifies the unity of the Church founded on the Apostles, Fr. Felix Pasquin, rector of the San Sebastian Cathedral, said.

This year's celebration is doubly significant in the light of the announced resignation of Pope Benedict XVI by the end of the month, he said.

The Diocese of Bacolod will mark the feast with triduum masses at 6 p.m. at the San Sebastian Cathedral, starting tomorrow until Friday. The recitation of the Holy Rosary will follow after the mass. Both activities intend to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the cardinals will elect the new pope when the Papacy becomes vacant by end of February, Pasquin added.

The bishop is set to issue a letter instructing all the parishes and chaplaincies of the Diocese to pray the Holy Rosary with the same intention until a new pope is elected.

In his homily at the JPII Tower, Navarra reminded the believers of Christ not to fear life because He is present all the time and will never abandon His people.

Navarra recalled that then Pope John Paul II had conveyed the same message to Negrenses when he first came to Bacolod.

He also said the tower is more than a tourism landmark of the city because it is a relic, a religious place itself. It is a sacred place for reflection and prayer, and reminds people of the accompanying presence of God towards His kingdom, Navarra said.

Navarra is also asking parishioners to include in their prayers Palanca, the benefactor who shared his talent, treasure, and time to install the tower.*LTG

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