Are you ready to become a missionary?
Back in 2012 the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines announced a 9-year plan to help prepare Catholics for 2021, the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Gospel in the Philippines.
“We look forward with gratitude and joy to March 16, 2021, the fifth centenary of the coming of Christianity to our beloved land,” the bishops said in their July 9, 2012 pastoral letter.
“We remember with thanksgiving the first Mass celebrated in Limasawa Island on Easter Sunday March 31 that same blessed year. We remember the baptism of Rajah Humabon who was given his Christian name Carlos and his wife Hara Amihan who was baptized Juana in 1521. Our eyes gaze on the Santo Niño de Cebu, the oldest religious icon in the Philippines, gift of Ferdinand Magellan to the first Filipino Catholics that same year. Indeed the year 2021 will be a year of great jubilee for the Church in the Philippines.”
The bishops continued:
In the face of a secularism which in some parts of our present world has itself become a kind of a “dominant religion,” in the face of the reality of billions who live in our time and who have not truly encountered Jesus Christ nor heard of His Gospel, how challenged we are, how challenged we must be, to enter into the endeavor of the “New Evangelization!”
We for whom Jesus has been and is truly the Way, the Truth and the Life –how can we not want and long and share Him with brothers and sisters around us who are yet to know and love Him, who are yet to receive the fullness of Life for which we have all been created, and without which their hearts will be ever restless–until they find Jesus and His heart which awaits them?
To prepare the faithful for 2021, the bishops announced “a nine-year journey for the New Evangelization,” with a different theme for each year:
- Integral Faith Formation (2013)
- The Laity (2014)
- The Poor (2015)
- The Eucharist and the Family (2016)
- The Parish as a Communion of Communities (2017)
- The Clergy and Religious (2018)
- The Youth (2019)
- Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue (2020)
- Missio ad gentes [mission to the nations] (2021)
We are now on the 6th year of the nine-year journey (Novena) to 2021.
The event will be an opportunity to revive the missionary character of the Philippine Church.
We received the gift of the Christian faith through the missionaries who came to our land; now the baptized in the Philippines are called to give it to others.
Making every baptized aware of his missionary vocation is very important: the Church in the Philippines is doing it during this period of nine years of preparation for the solemn commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in our country: 2021 will in fact be for the nation The Year of Missio Ad Gentes.
2018 was declared by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines as the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons. Let us continue to pray for the priests and religious as they perform their humble role in the Church’s mission and all the intentions for this year.