Manila (Agenzia Fides) - "In this year marked by the suffering and the challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the missionary journey of the whole Church continues": this is the passage of Pope Francis' Message for World Mission Day 2020 that the Church in the Philippines has chosen to sensitize the faithful during the Missionary Month. As Mgr. Esteban Lo, priest from Manila and National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in the Philippines, told Agenzia Fides, preparations for World Mission Day on October 18 are continuing "together with missionaries from all over the world, , especially preparing to live the annual Eucharistic celebration".
"From 11 to 16 October 2020 - explains Fr. Lo - we have started to publish short videos of missionaries on the main social media platforms, who respond to the challenges of the different situations caused by the pandemic: a lay person who helps the parish to distribute essential provisions to poor parishioners; a nun who offers advice to young people; a priest who organizes canteens for the homeless; a group of young people who reach out to students on a university campus stuck in their dormitories far from their families; a lay missionary abroad who accompanies people in their existential journey and a diocesan priest who welcomes in his parish and offers hospitality to the medical staff of two hospitals. On October 17 - adds the National Director - school pupils will recite the prayer of the Rosary of the World Mission on the Internet".
Father Esteban notes how the Church in the Philippines, at a time of disorientation like that of the pandemic, constitutes an essential point of reference both in terms of spiritual consolation and in the work of assistance and proximity to the communities in need "through the investment of many resources to assist the poor starting from their primary needs and regardless of religion, simply to honor our common humanity and to bear witness to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus". Over the past three years, the Pontifical Mission Societies have made an effort to work more closely with various pastoral commissions, institutions, organizations and movements within the Church, involving them in missionary awareness activities. "The Holy Father - he recalls - in his Message to the Pontifical Mission Societies of May 21, addressed us with recommendations for the journey, highlighting the fact that it is necessary to preserve and recover the role of the PMS as an integral part of the people of God, from which they arose. This is also - concludes Mgr. Lo - our recommendation to the diocesan Directors of the PMS: to work alongside the various bodies of the Church in order to contribute to the missionary conversion of ordinary pastoral action". (ES) (Agenzia Fides, 13/10/2020)