Church to celebrate mass with workers, laity on Labor Day

Catholic Bishops, instituting a new tradition, will celebrate Holy Mass with workers, farmers and fisherfolks on Labor Day at the historic Church of Quiapo, whose regular churchgoers are composed mainly of toiling masses.

Dubbed the Concelebrated Mass for the Working People at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, the Holy Eucharist will be concelebrated by the clergy of the Archdiocese of Manila, and will be led by Bishop Jesse E.  Mercado, D.D., the National Director of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Commission on the Laity.

“We certainly believe that these heroes, the farmers, fisherfolks and laborers can be saints in their own ways as Catholic Laity through tirelessly struggling for a just and humane society according to the Gospel,” according to Rev. Fr. Erik Adoviso, minister of the Archdiocesan Ministry for Labor Concerns (AMLC) of the Archdiocese of Manila.

“Workers are human persons, who are created in the image and likeness of God,” said Atty. Sonny Matula, President of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW).

“They deserve decent wages for decent living. The Lord Jesus personally came down and fixed his tent with us for human beings to live life in its fullness according to the Gospel of St. John (John 10:10),” added Matula.

“These working people are centuries-old heroes of our economy. They are the ones who till the land and explore the seas to bring food to our tables. They are the ones who run the industries to provide our needs. But their heroism was never rewarded by our society. After centuries of hard work, generation after generation, these people still suffer from poverty and injustices.” Fr. Adoviso added.

That is why, until this day of our modern world, the supposed celebration of the Labor Day is an occasion of suffering and grievances,” said the priest from the Holy Trinity Parish.

The concelebrated mass for the working people is in line with the celebration of the (2014) Year of Laity (ordinary catholics) with the theme: “Filipino Catholic Laity: Called to be Saints…Sent Forth as Heroes,” to emphasize the role played by the Catholic faithful in the “sanctification and transformation of the world”.

Most of the workers' organizations who will attend the mass will come from a Labor Day Rally of the Nagkaisa--the biggest alliance of trade unions and workers' organizations in the country--in Mendiola. Among the major issues that workers raised are the passage of the Security of Tenure Bill to combat rampant contractualization, more tax breaks for workers and the lowering of electricity rates and other basic services.

“Saint John Paul II taught us that man is more important than things, and labor is more important than capital because labor is from a human person”, Adoviso added.

“Workers deserve not just any kind of work but decent work—one that recognizes their rights at work, gives them social protection and allows their voices to be heard through social dialogue,” added Matula, who heads FFW, a workers organization founded by a catholic priest and inspired by the social teachings of the Church.

The mass will start at 12:00 noon and will be followed by a brief catechetical formation on the lives of workers, farmers and fisherfolks at 1:00 PM.

By 11:00 am, members of the Church led by the Laity will welcome workers, farmers and fisherfolks in a symbolic “Salubong” that gives light and new meaning to the term “Church of the Poor”.

Fr. Erik Adoviso is one of the convenors of the Church Labor Conference (CLC) and Jubillee Coordinator of the Farmers, Fisher folks and Laborers of the Year of the Laity. Atty. Matula is one of the Co-Convenors of the CLC.

The member organizations/ mass attendees are as follows.

Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA)

Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)

Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP)

Federation of Free Workers (FFW)

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)

Manggagawa ng Komunikasyon sa Pilipinas (MKP)

Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (MAKABAYAN)

National Confederation of Labor (NCL)

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)

Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)

Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA)

Progresibong Alyansa ng Mangingisda (PANGISDA)

Urban Missionaries (UM-AMRSP)

Archdiocesan Ministry for Labor Concerns-Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM-AMLC)



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