MANILA, August 18, 2013—Responding to the call of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to rediscover and deepen one’s Catholic faith, the Philippine Catholic Church is spearheading an Asian gathering in October to counter the secularist influences hounding its conventions.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE) to be held on October 16 to 18 at the University of Santo Tomas would lead its Asian delegates toward the rediscovery and rejuvenation of their faith, keeping the church’s mission of new evangelization in synch with the modern times.
“There are parts of the world where the faith has become some kind of extracurricular activity which some even say you can do without,” Tagle said.
“This drive has a destination, we would like to reach people who have yet to hear about Jesus for this is a constant mission of the church,” he added.
Delegates from Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar will attend the event, he said.
According to Tagle, the conference carries a tripartite objective of creating an experience of God in the context of the challenges of the new millennium, strengthening bonds of communion, and providing avenues of inspiration and direction imbued with the spirit of new evangelization.
“New evangelization is not just based on mere strategies. They are based on a renewed experience of Jesus. We are hoping that through this three-day conference, we would gain a renewed experience of Jesus,” the prelate said.
He also said that the conference aims to keep the mission of new evangelization alive amid changes brought by modernization.
“Our mission is to understand our modern world and look for opportunities to fulfill our mission. We recognize the fact that there are problems and contradiction, but despite this heaviness, we know that this world remains to be the same one that came from our God,” he said.
Serving as the Philippine church’s “humble contribution” to the universal church’s mission of new evangelization, the three-day conference features talks, parallel sessions, workshops, and activities that tackle modern-day approaches to deepen one’s faith and spirituality.
Parallel sessions dubbed as “Streams of Encounter with God” will be held on the first day, featuring sessions on the following topics: The Word of God, Paths and Expressions of Prayer, Praying for the “Unjust Structures” of Society, “Your Faith Has Made You Well”: Healing Encounters, Encountering God Through the Arts, Downloading God Through the New Media, and Ang Mahal na Birhen at Ang Mga Banal: Kaagapay sa Panalangin.
On the second day, renowned theologian Fr. Catalino Arevalo, S.J. will give a talk on “Popular Devotions and the New Evangelization.” Another set of parallel workshops dubbed as “Pathways of Communion and Renewal” will be held on the same day.
“Pathways of Communion and Renewal” sessions include Integral Faith Formation, Empowering the Laity Toward Social Transformation, Active Presence and Participation of the Poor in the Church, The Eucharist and Liturgy as Font and Apex of Christian Life, The Family as Focal Point of Evangelization, The Parish as a Community of Communities, Integral Renewal of the Clergy and the Consecrated, Journeying with the Youth, Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, and Animation and Formation for Mission Ad Gentes.
A musical gathering dubbed as the “concert of the millennium” is also slated on the second day.
The third day features a talk on the “Missionary Dimension of Evangelization” by Cardinal Tagle and the last set of parallel sectoral workshops.
Sectoral workshops include sessions on Catechists and Catholic Educators, Lay Associations and Ecclesial Communities, Church of the Poor, Family and Evangelization, Parish as Community of Communities, Clergy, Consecrated Persons, Youth, Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue.
Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto will celebrate the closing Eucharist. A message from the Supreme Pontiff will be shown at the closing of the convention. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)