MANILA, Feb. 14, 2016 – In line with Pope Francis’ recent intention for evangelization, Catholics in the Philippines have vowed to pray for more opportunities for dialogue with Asia’s non-Christian majority.
“Dialogue is a concrete weapon [that will enable us to embrace] not only our differences, but most especially our similarities. As one Asian Church, we join the Holy Father in praying for unity and evangelization,” said Br. Angel Ace Cortez, OFM, in an interview.
Noting that the future of the Church is in Asia, the Franciscan urged Catholics to open their hearts and minds to people of other faiths.
Church in Asia
JM Tuazon, an accountant from Meycauayan, Bulacan, could not agree more, saying dialogue can indeed work wonders in terms of bringing together followers of various religions.
“Dialogue is what the pontiff pushes on the issue of climate change. May we always pray and grab every opportunity to talk with those outside the Church and to continue to bring the Good News to Asia,” he said.
Meanwhile, religious educator Nestor Limqueco of Manila pointed out Filipinos, being the most Christian nation in Asia, have a prominent role to play in the evangelization of the continent.
“We are spearheading the spread of the Gospel. We have a duty to introduce Jesus to our Asian brothers and sisters, not necessarily to convert them, but to invite them to listen to us and to dialogue by sharing each other’s faith experiences,” he explained.
According to Limqueco, proselytization is only secondary given that what is more important is gaining understanding.
“We engage with them not convert them, but to show solidarity by listening and praying with them. The call of today is not to debate who is better, but for dialogue of life. Listening, praying, and sharing of faith experiences will enhance and enrich the commonalities and uniqueness of every religion without showing arrogance but more on fraternal charity and concern,” he added.
The Holy Father’s prayer intention for evangelization on February reads: “That opportunities may increase for dialogue and encounter between the Christian faith and the peoples of Asia.”
Moreover, for his universal intention, he prays that “we may take good care of creation—a gift freely given—cultivating and protecting it for future generations.” (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)