Health News

Roman Catholic Church in Saipan to focus on health and wellness of its parishioners

By Lori Lyn Lirio

Bishop Ryan Jimenez. Image ©

ASIDE from the traditional faith formation, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Chalan Kanoa led by its Filipino-American Bishop Ryan Jimenez will focus, among others, on promoting health and wellness lifestyle among its parishioners.

Bishop Jimenez said the parish priests made a preparation for the pastoral plan, identifying its priorities for the next five years. He said aside from faith formation, they have health components that would entail physical activities and lifestyle changes, adding that the churches started opening up its facilities for physical activities.

“We recently did a walkathon, where many youths attended the event,” he said.

Two parishes – San Antonio and San Roque – organized Zumba workout for its people.

“We have social halls in all parishes and they are using it for that activity.”

The bishop said another component is the nutrition policy, which he said is more challenging.

Ten years ago, Bishop Tomas Camacho implemented a rule discouraging the host to prepare or provide food during the nine-day rosary when there is death.

“The custom is to pray the nine days rosary in the church. He put a policy of no more food to serve, because after the rosary people would just go to social hall and eat – a full meal. Aside from the fact that it is expensive, it is a burden to the family and not healthy,” he said.

Bishop Jimenez added the focus became the preparation of the food rather than praying.

“It has been too long and we wanted to do something as a follow up to that. We are revisiting our nutrition policy,” he said.

The next target, according to the bishop, is to look at fiestas. He noted that the food served in fiestas are usually meat and no vegetables.

“We are encouraging our parishioners to give people healthy options. Serve food with salad and not all meat.

Sometimes it is the way you put on the table. The salad should be placed in a strategic location and not all the way to the end when you have so many in your plate,” he said.

The bishop said the church is taking an initiative to promote healthy lifestyle in the church.

“Majority of the funerals we do have caused by non-communicable disease, such as diabetes. There are things that can be controlled. For us, we believe that life is a gift from God and how we can be good stewards of God-given gifts of health and all of that. Scripture tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. How can you serve the Lord if you are not healthy?” he asked.

Bishop Jimenez is a native of Dumaguete City. A graduate of San Jose Seminary in Quezon City, he studied philosophy at the Ateneo de Manila University and went on to complete his studies in the United States at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California, where he successfully attained his masters degree in 2003.


Lori Lyn Lirio
Lori Lyn C. Lirio is a veteran newshen having worked for the People's Journal Tonight for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications degree from the Lyceum of the Philippines University. She currently writes for the Marianas Variety, Saipan's number one community paper. .

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