PH religious vow to continue ‘mission of witnessing’

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QUEZON City, Aug. 6, 2015—Embracing the future with hope, 140 consecrated men and women of the country have recently renewed their role of giving prophetic witness to others by heeding Pope Francis’ call to “go forth to the existential peripheries.”

In a recent statement, these members of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) express willingness to evolve “structures of care” which will better serve their missions and advocacies through collaborative partnerships with various groups, both local and international, secular and religious.

“The Gospel of joy asks of us to be true to our vows and congregational charisms. Faithfulness and authenticity to our vows and charism is to intently listen to ‘both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’ (Laudato Si 47). The cry of the earth and the poor are our own. Owning our oneness with the earth and the poor sensitizes us to build caring structures for mission and affective and loving relations in our congregations and the communities of the faithful,” they declare.

Laudato Si-inspired

According to them, their hope as consecrated persons lies in faith in Jesus Christ at the center of their lives, reminding them to always work for justice and peace together with the poor, to radically change their lifestyles, to live simply, and to detach themselves from material comforts.

“The power of the poor to build alternative faith-based communities is at the core of the prophecy of hope. Social transformation is evident in the myriad of faith-based projects of our congregations with peoples in the peripheries. The prophecy of hope is alive in the ministries of our Mission Partners in their commitment to build the Church of the Poor, here and now,” they explain.

Inspired by Laudato Si’, AMRSP also vows to develop sustained and continuing formation on the Holy Father’s encyclical towards achieving collective understanding and eco-spirituality contextualized in congregational charisms and advocacies on the environment, climate justice, disaster and risk-management, good governance, anti-corruption as well as peace building.

‘Common home’

“The encyclical affirms humankind and all of creation as bearers of the divine with the earth as our ‘common home’ (LS13). Pope Francis challenges everyone to reject economic systems that thrive on sheer freed for profit and evolve alternative, sustainable and empowering faith communities that promote justice for all of creation,” the religious say

Moreover, they promise to create strong and active desks on justice, peace, and integrity of creation (JPIC) in all religious congregations along with ecology networks and stakeholders like the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), and others with similar initiatives, particularly those involving grassroots and youth movements that can actualize faith-life ethics for mature and transparent governance and sustainable environments.

The joint convention statement was made following their meeting with Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in Cebu City from July 13-17, to reflect on the theme “Prophetic Witnesses of the Gospel of Joy the Among the Poor.” (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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