CATHOLIC bishops believe that 2014 will be a better year for most Filipinos, especially those whose lives were shattered by recent calamities.
In separate statements, members of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) expressed hope that the coming year will be for “recovery, hope and progress.”
Former CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, for one, sees 2014 as a road to recovery for people who were devastated by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol province, the Zamboanga City incident and the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas.
He urged the affected people to slowly rise from their misfortunes.
“I hope 2014 would be a road to recovery and a road that would tell the world that we, Filipinos, know the meaning of cooperation, we know the meaning of love, and we are all brothers and sisters,” Palma said.
He added that despite the calamities in 2013, Filipinos learned to become more united and resilient.
“We all know that in the aftermath of the earthquake and Typhoon Yolanda we’re [still]proud in many ways. We have proven that we will be able to stand and walk the path to recovery, precisely because people have seen our faith and people have seen solidarity,” Palma pointed out.
Father Amadeo Alvero of the Archdiocese of Palo, thanked everyone who helped Tacloban City get back on its feet. The prelate said the tragedy taught everyone a lesson to be more prayerful and be closer to God.
“The lesson [of Typhoon Yolanda]taught us how to be one . . . to be united. In times of crisis there is a need for us to be one as we inspire people from all over the world to also be one [with us],” he said.
“We may have different views in life, beliefs and even political parties, but let us be one with our service towards humanity especially to those who are in need of our help. The message of the New Year is peace and unity,” he added.
Fr. Val Pinlac, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Program and Over-all Ministry of Education and Formation of the Archdiocese of Tagbilaran, said that while the Bohol quake destroyed centuries-old churches, it failed to destroy their faith.
He said that Boholanos hope that “the horrible earthquake will pave a future that will show to the world how they can stand up from the ruins.”
“The ruins of the past  have opened our eyes wide to cling and value the spirit behind it. But our present, our tested faith is even more powerful that it can give rise to a more beautiful Bohol in 2014 and beyond!” Fr. Pinlac said.
CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villages said the people have to start a new life.
“We pray that war may end and hunger may be gone. We pray that the reign of terror and the power of each gun, be melted by the mercy of God and the Blood of His only Son!” Villegas said.
The prelate also prayed for world peace.
“We pray for an end to kidnappings. We pray for violence [to]stop. We beg for the end of terrorism and the conversion of the corrupt. We pray for peace in Syria, healing for every troubled heart. We pray for typhoon victims that they can soon rise up and start,” he said.
Bishop Efraim Tendero, National Director, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, said 2014 comes with challenges, uncertainties, and difficulties “but we can face them with confidence because of the faithful and abiding presence of God in all the days ahead of us.”
“Let us trust God completely this New Year because He is our all-knowing, ever present and all powerful God who never misses a moment to think and care about us,” he said.