CBCP proxy to the faithful: ‘Remember the essence of our mission’

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The image of Señor Sto. Niño is carried in a brief procession of Magellan’s Cross to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral during the culmination of 500 years of Christianity on April 24, 2022 | Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Cebu

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The faithful here are reminded of the essence and true value of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ more than 500 years since Christianity was introduced to the country.

This was the message of Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, President of the Philippine Conference of Catholic Bishops (CBCP), during his homily for Holy Mass marking the culmination of two milestones for the Roman Catholic Church – 500 years of Christianity. (500 YOC) and the 2nd National Missionary Congress.

“We have often misunderstood what mission is, many times in the past. We are aware that under the guise of evangelism, we are spreading slavery, racism, colonization and other ungodly things that lead to the destruction of cultures and the environment,” David said.

“We tend to equate evangelism with the propagation of religion, often using coercive means to impose our faith on other people. If we are not careful, the idea of ​​carrying out our mission can turn us into triumphalist fanatics with a messianic complex, which has nothing to do with our humble messiah,” he said.

The senior CBCP official also urged the faithful here to always “care for, protect and empower” the weak and marginalized, underscoring the 500 YOC’s theme “Gifted to Give”.

“Our goal is to build a civilization of love. The one that aims to raise our level of humanity not by force of arms or by the level of the Gross National Product. But by the way, we express compassion for the weak, the elderly, the sick, the underprivileged and the disabled,” the CBCP president said.

The Roman Catholic Church conducted here the closing ceremony of 500 YOC with several events including a grand solemn procession on foot and the pontifical coronation of Patrocinio de Maria Santisima in Boljoon, Cebu.

He was also attended by some of the top church leaders. In addition to David, those present included the Reverend Charles Brown, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines; Archbishops Jose Palma (Cebu), John Du (Palo) and Pedro Dean (Archbishop Emeritus of Palo); and Bishops Socrates Mesiona (Puerto Princesa), Alberto Uy (Tagbilaran), Patrick Buzon (Bacolod), Victor Bendico (Baguio), Patrick Parcon (Talibon), Isabelo Abarquez (Calbayog), Gerardo Alminaza (San Carlos, Negros Occidental), Jose Corazon (Calibo); and Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Antonio Rañola.

Cebu was the site of the first baptism which took place in the Philippines in 1521.

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