Cebu (Agenzia Fides) - On Easter Sunday, April 17, Archbishop Jose S. Palma of Cebu inaugurated in the Basilica “Sto. Nino de Cebu”, on the small island south of Manila, the Second Philippine Missionary Congress (NMC). The Congress, which lasts until April 22, is the culmination of the year of the Missio ad gentes and the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines (1521-2021), which due to the coronavirus pandemic was extended by one year.
Guests and speakers at the Congress will include Bishop Socrates Mesiona, Chairman of the Mission Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and Vicar Apostolic of Puerto Princesa, and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and former Archbishop of Manila and the President of the Philippine Bishops' Conference, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan.
Archbishop Palma recalled that on Easter morning "Mary goes quickly to proclaim the Good News of the Resurrection". "After 500 years," continued the Archbishop, "after listening and sharing, after receiving the gift of faith and embracing the Good News, we know that we have this spirit of enthusiasm, this spirit of joy not only to keep for ourselves, but to share with our brothers and sisters". "Because that is the mission," he said, urging people to "bring the good news" and "share it with others".
Bishop Palma recommended an examination of conscience for each individual, "because they are asked before the Lord what we have done with the gifts we have received" and one should ask oneself: "How have we used the blessings that God has given us ?". Referring to the theme of the 500th anniversary "receive to give", which recalls the biblical verse "freely you received, freely give", the prelate emphasized that "God has given us gifts to share".
The Congress is "our way of concluding the 500th anniversary of Christianity and our way of understanding even better why we are missionary and how we can be truly missionary".
"How can one evangelize in the context of the journey that continues after 500 years of Christianity?" he asked in this context. "Our journey should be characterized by community, participation and mission", he said and thanked in advance
"for all the wonderful insights that we will hear during these days of gathering".
Finally, he concluded with a wish: "May we, like the first who met the Risen Christ, be joyful because we have had the privilege of meeting the Lord, we have had the privilege of receiving blessings and it is also a privilege to share what we have received". (SD/PA) (Agenzia Fides, 21/4/2022)