Pockets of Grace

 

Struggling with prayer? Want to talk to God but don’t know how? Buy the book Pockets of Grace: An Ignatian prayer guide, which introduces the reader to how prayer can be “exciting, consoling and enlightening,” will be both spiritually and socially uplifting, as proceeds from the book will help fund the construction of a school library for an IP school for Subanon children in Monte Central, Brgy. Patalon, Zamboanga City.

“I might be selling books, but I am not. What I am selling is a worthy cause for the benefit of the Subanon students…,” said the book’s author, Fr. Wilfredo M. Samson, SJ in an interview. While the first batch of Subanon children graduated from the said Mission School for Indigenous People last year, the school still needs a decent school library “to study, read and re-create,” said the priest.

The Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU) community started building a mission grade school for the Subanon children of Patalon in 2011. “The idea came after realizing … the need to build one IP school in the mountain, so that their children will no longer need to walk for hours just to go to school,” shared Samson, who is also the AdZU vice president for formation.

According to Samson, the book, which is “not a typical religious book,” will deepen one’s prayer life. “Many of us wanted to pray, but we don’t know how. How do we listen to the voice of God? How do we dispose ourselves to silence and prayer? The book is a prayer guide and it will help anyone to pray the easy way,” he said. “It’s interactive, dynamic and exciting. But we need your desire and good disposition to really meet and commune with God. After all, a good open heart is needed to hear God’s voice.”

Advertisements

Resolve Maguindanao massacre case in 4 years

SunStarManila

Protesters held placards showing images of Maguindanao Massacre victims during a protest near Malacanang Palace in Manila on November 23, 2015, condemning the slow-paced trial of those accused in the massacre, to mark the 6th anniversary of the worst political massacre of the country. Now, on its 8th year, justice is still elusive for the families of the 58 victims. (AFP) EIGHT years after the gruesome 2009 Maguindanao massacre, the government made a pledge to resolve the case in another four years to attain justice for the families of the 58 victims. Undersecretary Joel Egco, executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), said Wednesday that the Duterte government would keep an eye on the developments concerning the ghastly deaths of the 58 individuals, including 32 journalists, in Maguindanao. Egco said they received assurance from the Department of Justice, particularly from Justice Assistant Secretary Juvy Manwong, that justice will be served under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte because the proceedings against the accused are “moving.” “The PTFoMS will keep a close watch and strictly monitor the progress of the judicial process regarding the Maguindanao massacre,” he said. “Manwong estimated that at the rate the trial is moving, the case may be resolved in four years, or well within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte, based on the assumption that the defense will present an equal number of witnesses as that of the prosecution,” Egco added. The country on Thursday, November 23, commemorated the Maguindanao massacre, which claimed the lives of 32 media practitioners, the wife of Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, and 25 others. The victims were in a convoy towards Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao, where Mangudadatu was to file his certificate of candidacy for the 2010 elections. Nearly 200 people, including 15 surnamed Ampatuan, were implicated in the massacre. Of the total, 115 individuals have been arrested while 81 are still at large. Of the 115, three became state witnesses making the actual number of the accused, arrested and arraigned, 112. Four have since died in prison while two are out on bail. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who joined Egoc at the press conference, said the executive department was optimistic that the judiciary would live up to its vow to work for a speedy resolution. “We’re hoping that earlier than the four years mentioned by the Undersecretary (Egco), there could be at least one or two accused who will have the promulgation of judgment,” Roque, who served as the lawyer of relatives of the slain journalists, said. “The President remains committed to accord justice to the victims of the Ampatuan massacre and to all victims of illegal drugs in our country,” he added. Lawyer Nena Santos, who represents relatives of the victims, earlier said they were looking at partial conviction next year. Egco said the PTFoMS has requested Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa and National Bureau of Investigation director Dante Gierran to intensify manhunt operations against those still at large. Egco said they have been seeking “an end to impunity, speedier trial, partial judgment, and intensified manhunt for those suspects still at large.” “The good news is after a long and tedious search for justice, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. That long period of uncertainties is finally over. Hoping against hope, we expect justice to be completely served for the victims and families of this most gruesome crime,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/local-news/2017/11/23/government-vows-resolve-maguindanao-massacre-case-4-years-576306

Chapel attacked in Maguindanao

CBCP News

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato strongly condemned another attack, on November 10, of the Catholic chapel in Barangay Labu-Labu, Shariff Aguak, in Maguindanao. In a statement Tuesday, the cardinal lamented how unidenfitied men set ablaze the chapel and “maliciously” destroyed religious statues.

“This criminal act is an abhorrent desecration of a place of Catholic worship,” Quevedo said.

Investigations are ongoing into the religious vandalism of an old chapel that took place on the evening of November 9. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack on the chapel located along the national highway. The cardinal said the destruction of the statues is “gravely disrespectful” of Catholic beliefs.

“Such a crime is most disturbing and provocative,” Quevedo said, as he expressed hope that the incident won’t affect the “harmonious” relationship between Muslims and Christians in the area.

He urged the public, government officials, and the archdiocese’s partners in the Bangsamoro peace process to help the security forces in bringing the perpetrators to justice. Last June 23, suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked a chapel in Pigcawayan town, North Cotabato, and destroyed not only religious icons but also desecrated the Sacred Hosts. The church leader also called on religious leaders to condemn such abuses and “prevent religious bigotry, hostility and conflict”. The cardinal then enjoined the clergy, the religious, and the lay faithful “to be always alert to the ongoing threats of violent extremism”.

“Be calm. Despite provocation, follow the Lord’s injunction of peace and not revenge,” he said. CBCPNews

Un presidente da brividi

Un normale filippino che si trova di fronte a questa terrificante maglietta cosa può provare se non sensi di colpa? Rodrigo Duterte, Il Castigatore, la vera Aquila di Davao è in realtà il Presidente delle Filippine un paese di 105 milioni di abitanti, mica una comunità di poche centinaia di persone.

Ma chi soffre sensi di colpa? Non certo i trafficanti di armi, i terroristi o gli spacciatori di droga che per certo acquisteranno decine di queste magliette per nascondere meglio i loro loschi affari. Sono soprattutto i poveri e le persone depresse nelle quali facilmente l’ansia per le cose negative che si succedono regolarmente si legano al timore di diventare oggetti di repressione anche senza aver fatto nulla di grave.

Probabilmente questa maglietta da Halloween esposta recentemente all’Aeroporto di Davao, non ha molti acquirenti, fa troppo paura. Chi la fotografa trema. Nondimeno, se fosse indossata da milioni di filippini, potrebbe produrre una pressione sociale rilevante, tipo lavaggio del cervello, dove chi l’osserva si sentirebbe rimproverato di non fare abbastanza, se non addirittura di sbagliare troppo. In sostanza chiaro il messaggio: “Sentiti colpevole e mortificati”, e di conseguenza “Stasera dormirai in pace se hai seguito i consigli del tuo Presidente che, dall’alto come un Aquila Superman, fa fatto il suo dovere come lo devi fare tu”  Non importa se è un volatile che sbrana la preda per dare cibo ai ‘suoi’ piccoli.

Nelle Filippine, da tempo, c’è un grosso problema di potere che in qualche misura assomiglia a quello all’interno di molte sette religiose e fondamentaliste, in cui l’autorità religiosa resta, per così dire, esterna all’individuo e decide quali sensi di colpa costui deve provare. Anzi a volte li aumenta o li diminuisce a seconda dell’andamento sociale e politico. Autorità che può assolvere o punire.

Poi, senza volerlo, chi ha stampato la maglietta fa emergere anche dei problemi particolari, come, per esempio, quello di eliminare ogni traccia di debolezza, di flaccidità in chi governa e quindi per forza mostrare il macho, l’uomo virile. Nella maggior parte dei casi stereotipo di un uomo che si nasconde dietro occhiali neri e giubbotti militari. E questo è un problema. Non è che per caso abbiamo autorità altissime obbligate a gestire buona parte della loro identità perché vissuta come debolezza e colpe interiori? Da brividi! Meglio riderci sopra.

Government militia killed fr. Tentorio

SUNSTAR MANILA — Philippine government militiamen gunned down an Italian Catholic missionary in a 2011 attack, which state prosecutors said may have been carried out with the knowledge of two army commanders in the country’s south, a justice official said Friday. A Justice Department panel led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong recommended murder complaints to be filed against a dozen suspects, including the militiamen and two army commanders, for the October 2011 killing of Reverend Fausto Tentorio, a popular anti-mining advocate in Arakan town in North Cotabato province. The investigation report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, overturns an earlier finding by authorities that blamed two civilians for the brazen killing, which was condemned by the Italian government and environmental activists. “He was perceived to be a sympathizer of the NPA,” Ong said of Tentorio, referring to the rebel New People’s Army, which has been waging a decades-long communist insurgency in the Philippines. “But that’s not a reason for him to be killed.” Military spokesman Major General Restituto Padilla said the military has not received a copy of the findings but stressed that it does not condone such killings or any illegal action by combat forces. He said that troops have shown their professionalism including in the enforcement of martial law in the south. “We appeal to the public not to judge our personnel until they’re proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt,” Padilla said.

The bespectacled Tentorio, who led a campaign against mining operations, which environmental activists feared could displace impoverished villagers and tribal communities, was shot several times with a pistol as he walked to his car in a church compound in Arakan, officials said. Hundreds of Arakan residents and enviromental activists showed up for his burial. The investigation cited several witnesses, including students and teachers attending a morning flag ceremony at a nearby Arakan school, who heard gunshots then later saw the suspected gunman walking away from the church compound, where Tentorio was found sprawled beside his car. The gunman fled with companions on board two motorcycles. A key witness, Danilo Bayawan, was cited in the investigation as saying that he attended a meeting called by Jan Corbala, a local leader of a militia force who discussed the planned killing of Tentorio about a week before the attack. Corbala allegedly stated that he was ordered by military officials to kill Tentorio and was given money and a motorcycle to carry out the attack, the report said, adding that Bayawan backed out of the plot and later decided to tell authorities what he knew. The killing reflected the danger foreign and local Catholic missionaries face in the volatile south, where other priests have been killed, kidnapped and wounded in attacks, including by Muslim militant groups. (AP)

Negoziati di pace

 

L’arcivescovo di Davao Romulo Valles ha rivelato lo scorso 20 ottobre, alla fine del raduno della chiesa di Mindanao, MSPC XVI (un raduno di 249 rappresentanti provenienti dalle diocesi di Mindanao e dalle Isole Sulu) che parteciperà il prossimo 24 ottobre per organizzar l’incontro tra rappresentanti del New People Army (NPA) e il Comitato creato dal sindaco i Davao Sara Duterte. Gli NPA sono il braccio armato del Fronte Democratico Nazionale (NDF) di ideologia comunista che combatte una propria guerriglia armata contro il governo filippino dal 1968. Una ulteriore messa a punto del possibile dialogo si terrà il 17 Novembre sempre a Davao City.

Quelli della montagna e quelli dell pianura sono anche figli e figlie di Dio, ha detto Valles che ha poi chiarito che la Chiesa non ha una agenda nascosta o un interesse particolare in questi negoziati tranne un interesse per la pace, per lo sviluppo e il benessere di ogni persona. Negoziare è un modo positivo per portare la pace piuttosto che spararsi e uccidersi a vicenda.

In una dichiarazione rilasciata il 26 febbraio, il portavoce di NPA-Southern Mindanao Rigoberto F. Sanchez aveva dichiarato di essere aperto a discutere con il sindaco Duterte, dopo una serie di scontri tra i ribelli comunisti e le truppe governative a Paquibato e nei Distretti di Calin all’inizio di quest’anno.

Dal 1 dicembre al 30 novembre 2019 mons. Valles sarà il presidente della Conferenza Episcopale delle Filippine (CBCP) che si compone di 29 commissioni tra le quali anche la Commissione Pace e Giustizia.

Marawi atto finale

Dopo cinque mesi di scontri, che hanno provocato più di 800 militanti islamici e 162 soldati governativi uccisi, sembra essere tornata la pace nella città di Marawi. Durante i combattimenti, circa 1700 ostaggi sono stati salvati, inclusi gli ultimi 20 ieri 16 ottobre. Molte le case e i quartieri distrutti e da ricostruire e più di 350.000 residenti accampati nelle aree circostanti. Non è confermato, ma fonti governative hanno riferito che i due protagonisti e principali terroristi – Ipsilon Hapilon e Omar Maute – sono stati uccisi in un combattimento a fuoco, durato quattro ore, dalle forze governative. Hapilon era il leader del gruppo terroristico di Abu Sayyaf poi nominato, o autonominatosi, emiro del gruppo Isis del sud-est asiatico. Omar Maute era invece uno dei due capi militari del gruppo Maute, insieme al fratello Abdullah. Il presidente Rodrigo Duterte, comunque, ha riaffermato che la legge marziale in tutta Mindanao, rimane estesa sino alla fine dell’anno, nonostante la questione sulla sua costituzionalità.

Cinque anni fa … oggi

Cinque anni son passati dalla data del martirio di Fausto e la sua immagine sembra sparire all’orizzonte della nostra memoria, noi ancora a vagabondare nello scorrere lineare della vita e mi domando se si può dimenticare il passato. Alcuni dicono di sì. Eppure nella mia coscienza il passato mica passa. Vorrei ma non posso. Molte volte continuo a pensare a quello che è successo cercando di dare un senso a quello che ho sentito e veduto, cercando la verità. Non c’è niente da fare, il martirio dei nostri amici tiene sempre in scacco la nostra mente. Il tempo può fare quello che vuole, passare, rallentare o accelerare, ma ha bisogno di dimensioni spaziali per muoversi. I ritratti di Fausto e gli altri compagni oggi sono ancora lì, a volte in qualche libro, altre volte appese al frigorifero, nei calendari sul muro o conservati nella coscienza di noi che camminiamo, tiriamo avanti appunto. Presenza-con loro direi. Sono passati una decina di minuti da quando mi sono messo a scrivere ma l’immagine è ancora lì, cinque anni nello spazio insomma, come un turno di veglia nella notte, per questo posso ricordare…. oggi dopo sei anni.

Image

Nobel Peace Prize

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in one hundred countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty. This landmark global agreement was adopted in New York on 7 July 2017.

ICAN began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna, Austria in 2007. Our campaign’s founders were inspired by the tremendous success of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which a decade earlier had played an instrumental role in the negotiation of the anti-personnel mine ban convention, or Ottawa treaty.

Since our founding, we have worked to build a powerful global groundswell of public support for the abolition of nuclear weapons. By engaging a diverse range of groups and working alongside the Red Cross and like-minded governments, we have helped reshape the debate on nuclear weapons and generate momentum towards elimination.

On 7 July 2017, an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – a landmark international agreement that outlaws the ultimate weapons of mass destruction and establishes a pathway to their elimination.

The Philippines signed the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 20 September 2017. It was among the co-sponsors of the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty.

Italy which hosts US nuclear weapons on its territory (Ghedi (BS) and Aviano (PN)), did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It claims that US nuclear weapons are essential for its security.

The United States, which possesses approximately 6,800 nuclear weapons, did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It has said that it intends never to join the treaty. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It has failed to fulfil its legally binding disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Russia, which possesses approximately 7,000 nuclear weapons, did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It has failed to fulfil its legally binding disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

France, which possesses approximately 300 nuclear weapons, did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It has said that it intends never to join the treaty. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It has failed to fulfil its legally binding disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

China, which possesses approximately 260 nuclear weapons, did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It abstained from voting on the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. Although it regularly declares its support for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, its true commitment to nuclear disarmament remains in serious doubt. It has failed to fulfil its legally binding disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Japan, which is the only nation ever to be attacked with nuclear weapons, did not formally participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It attended the first day of negotiations, but only to declare that it would be unable to negotiate constructively and in good faith. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It claims that US nuclear weapons are essential for its security.

Tagle: «Missionari nel mondo ferito»

di Giorgio Bernardelli, Mondo&Missione

Il suo rapporto con i missionari, il dialogo come priorità, i migranti testimoni del Vangelo: parla il cardinale Luis Antonio Tagle arcivescovo di Manila, che a Brescia aprirà il Festival della missione

È un volto amico per tanti missionari. Quelli del Pime, in particolare, ricordano i tempi in cui da vescovo di Imus collaborava con l’allora seminario dell’Istituto a Tagaytay. Ma anche oggi che guida l’arcidiocesi di Manila ed è presidente di Caritas Internationalis il cardinale Luis Antonio Tagle continua a frequentarli spesso i missionari.

Non poteva dunque esserci testimonianza migliore della sua per aprire il 13 ottobre a Brescia la prima edizione del Festival della Missione, l’evento voluto insieme dagli istituti missionari, da Missio Italia e dalla diocesi di Brescia  per riportare l’ad gentes nelle piazze italiane. E in questa intervista a Mondo e Missione il cardinale Tagle racconta il suo sguardo sulle sfide dell’annuncio del Vangelo oggi.

Eminenza, «andate ed evangelizzate tutti i popoli»: per la Chiesa di oggi è ancora una “missione possibile” come recita il tema del Festival di Brescia?

«Credo che la risposta a questa domanda si collochi su due piani diversi. Il primo: la missione è sempre “possibile” perché è un’azione dello Spirito Santo e un mandato che viene dal Signore. È quindi parte integrante del nostro essere discepoli. Raggiungere tutti i popoli per condividere il Vangelo è un’azione resa possibile dal nostro essere discepoli guidati dallo Spirito Santo. Un discepolo o una discepola annuncia a tutti la Buona Notizia del Signore che ha visto, ascoltato e toccato. Così ogni incontro umano è una missione possibile. Insieme a questo – ed è il secondo piano – oggi abbiamo certamente bisogno di studiare e comprendere come cambia lo scenario globale. Di fronte ai molti fenomeni che vediamo svilupparsi in tutto il mondo, specialmente la paura dell’“altro” o dello straniero, e la violenza, dobbiamo trovare le strade per diventare missionari della bontà e della misericordia di Dio. Credo che questo mondo ferito abbia reso ancora più possibile e urgente per i cristiani l’impegno a proclamare la verità, la giustizia, la misericordia, l’amore e la pace, perché è proprio ciò di cui l’umanità ha più bisogno oggi».

Lo stile e il magistero di Papa Francesco stanno cambiando il mondo della missione?

«Papa Francesco continua a ricordarci i principi e lo stile della missione che hanno accompagnato la Chiesa dal Concilio Vaticano II o anche prima. In un certo senso non ha “inventato” nulla sulla missione. Vediamo come abbia riformulato orientamenti che si possono trovare nel Vaticano II e nell’esortazione apostolica Evangelii Nuntiandi di Paolo VI. Papa Francesco ci sta offrendo nuove espressioni e nuove immagini che dicono in un modo diverso quegli stessi insegnamenti. Così oggi noi li consideriamo suoi “marchi di fabbrica” sulla missione. Per esempio: l’immagine della Chiesa missionaria come una Chiesa che sa andare fuori da sé, la “Chiesa in uscita”, piuttosto che autoreferenziale; la Chiesa che raggiunge le periferie esistenziali piuttosto che rimanere in un “centro” o in una sede di potere e di comodità; la Chiesa che è gioiosa nella sua missione piuttosto che esserne appesantita; la Chiesa che si impegna nell’incontro con le persone piuttosto che porsi come una burocrazia. Queste idee non sono nuove, ma il modo di esprimerle è genuinamente di Papa Francesco. E soprattutto lui vive questi insegnamenti, non si limita a parlarne».

Che cosa ha imparato lei dai missionari che ha incontrato?

«Sono cresciuto in mezzo ai missionari, specialmente provenienti dall’Europa e dal Nord America. Attraverso il loro amore disinteressato e il loro servizio, ho imparato che annunciare la fede cristiana è qualcosa per cui vale la pena offrire la vita. La missione non è solo un’attività, ma una chiamata alla quale si risponde con convinzione e con gioia. E l’unica ragione è Gesù, non certo l’ambizione o la carriera. Dai missionari, inoltre, ho imparato anche che quando le nazioni si combattono tra loro per tante ragioni, è proprio la presenza dei missionari a testimoniare che la fede cristiana unisce i popoli e trascende tutto ciò che ci divide».

Quali nuovi sentieri sta percorrendo la missione in Asia oggi?

«La dichiarazione fondamentale e programmatica pronunciata dai vescovi dell’Asia già nel 1974 rimane valida per la missione in questo continente pure oggi: la modalità per essere missionari in Asia è il dialogo. Il dialogo della vita va portato avanti in tre principali direzioni: con le diverse religioni, con le culture e con i poveri. È una visione che non ha perso per nulla la sua attualità. Ci sono però anche nuovi elementi che provengono dalle realtà emergenti nell’Asia contemporanea: il crescente fondamentalismo religioso e politico, il terrore organizzato, le migrazioni dei popoli, il traffico di esseri umani, le nuove forme di schiavitù, il degrado dell’ambiente, l’indebolimento delle culture tradizionali asiatiche, l’influenza dei social media, la tendenza della tecnologia e della scienza a rimodellare la vita quotidiana. Queste sono alcune delle nuove religioni, delle nuove culture e delle nuove povertà che incontriamo oggi. Come dialogare con loro? Come dialogare con partner che rifiutano questo atteggiamento? Come rafforzare una cultura del dialogo in un mondo profondamente diviso? Queste preoccupazioni sono al centro delle nostre riflessioni sulla missione oggi in Asia».

La Chiesa filippina e la missione ad gentes: che cosa la colpisce di più nelle esperienze dei missionari filippini?

«Per molto tempo ci siamo considerati fruitori dell’opera missionaria degli stranieri. Oggi invece vediamo sempre di più missionari filippini lavorare all’estero. Questo è un fatto significativo per molte ragioni. C’è un tempo per ricevere e c’è un tempo per condividere e donare. Non riceviamo il Vangelo per tenercelo per noi; al contrario, lo riceviamo solo per poterlo un giorno condividere. Ora per gli “eredi” è il tempo di far crescere questo dono su un nuovo terreno. Ed è un imperativo per la Chiesa delle Filippine perché la metà della popolazione cristiana in Asia si trova in questo Paese. In mezzo a noi devono sorgere più missionari per l’Asia e per il resto del mondo. In questi ultimi anni, abbiamo anche capito, però, che i nostri missionari migliori sono i lavoratori migranti. Lasciano il nostro Paese in cerca di lavoro, ma trovano sempre anche una missione dovunque vadano a lavorare. Attraverso di loro le chiese si riempiono di persone, di musica e di sorrisi. Dobbiamo offrire una formazione solida ai laici così che possano essere veri missionari ovunque vadano».

Tanti giovani oggi trascorrono brevi periodi in missione: come vede questo tipo di esperienze? E cosa raccomanderebbe loro?

«Mi sento di incoraggiare questa pratica. Ho visto molti giovani provenienti dall’Europa crescere nella loro umanità e nella loro fede, dopo aver vissuto un periodo di servizio come volontari nelle Filippine. Tornano nei loro Paesi d’origine più maturi e con orizzonti più grandi. Ma non sono solo loro a essere ispirati e aiutati: anche noi dei Paesi che li ospitiamo siamo arricchiti dalla loro presenza. Molti giovani filippini si sono lasciati coinvolgere in servizi comunitari proprio dopo aver visto questi studenti stranieri mostrare così tanto amore e dedizione per noi. E poi, data anche la sfiducia e le discriminazioni che attraversano il nostro mondo di oggi, questi giovani possono certamente diventare portatori di riconciliazione, amicizia e pace».

====================================


“Missionaries in the Wounded World”

His relationship with missionaries, the dialogue as a priority and the migrants as witnesses of the Gospel:  Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, speaks at the opening of the Mission Festival in Brescia (Italy)

It is a friendly face for so many missionaries. Those of Pime, in particular, recall the times when Tagle, Bishop of Imus, teamed up with the then Seminary of the Institute in Tagaytay. But even today, now that he leads the Archdiocese of Manila and is the head of Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle continues to meet often with the missioners.

There could therefore be no better than his own testimony to open the First Edition of the Festival of the Mission which will be held on the 13th of October in Brescia, an event planned by the missionary institutes, Missio Italia and the diocese of Brescia in order to bring “ad gentes” to the Italian society. In this interview with M&M Cardinal Tagle recounts his views about the challenges of proclaiming the Gospel today.

Interviewer: “Go and evangelize all peoples”: is still a “mission possible” for the Church today?

“I think the answer to this question is on two different levels. The first: Mission is always “possible” because it is an action of the Holy Spirit and a mandate that comes from the Lord. It is therefore an integral part of our being disciples. Reaching All Peoples to Share the Gospel is an action made possible by our being disciples led by the Holy Ghost. A disciple announces to everyone the Good News of the Lord who he has seen, heard and touched. Thus every human encounter is a possible mission. Along with this – and it is the second level – today we certainly need to study and understand how the global scenario is changing. In the face of the many phenomena we see in the world, especially the fear of the “other” or the alien, and violence, we must find ways to become missionaries of God’s goodness and mercy. I believe this wounded world has made even more possible and imperative for Christians to commit themselves in proclaiming truth, justice, mercy, love and peace, because it is precisely what humanity mostly needs today. ”

Pope Francis’s style and magisterium are changing the mission in the World?

“Pope Francis continues to remind us of the principles and the style of the mission that accompanied the Church from the Second Vatican Council or even before. In a way he did not “invent” anything about the mission. Let’s see how I reformulated the guidelines that can be found in Vatican II and in the apostolic exhortation by Evangelii Nuntiandi of Paul VI. Pope Francis is offering us new expressions and new images that show in a different way those same teachings. So today we consider these our “trademarks” on the mission. For example: the image of the missionary Church as a Church that can go out of its own, the “outgoing Church” rather than self-referential; the Church that reaches the existential suburbs rather than staying in a “center” or in a place of power and comfort; the Church that is joyful in its mission rather than being burdened; the Church that engages in meeting with people rather than being bureaucratic. These ideas are not new, but the way to express them is genuinely of Pope Francis. And above all, he lives these teachings, he does not just talk about it. ”

What did you learn from the missionaries you met?

“I grew up among missionaries, especially from Europe and North America. Through their selfless love and service, I have learned that proclaiming the Christian faith is something that is worth living for. Mission is not just an activity, but a call to which you respond with conviction and joy. And the only reason is the presence of Jesus, certainly not ambition or career. From missionaries, moreover, I have learned that when nations fight each other for so many reasons, it is just the presence of missionaries who testify that Christian faith that unites peoples and transcends everything that divides us. ”

What are the new paths to follow today in Asia?

“The fundamental and programmatic declaration made by the bishops of Asia already in 1974 remains valid for the mission on this continent today: the way to be missionaries in Asia is dialogue. The dialogue of life must be pursued in three main directions: with different religions, with cultures and with the poor. It is a vision that has not lost its novelty at all. There are, however, new elements coming from emerging realities in contemporary Asia: growing religious and political fundamentalism, organized terror, peoples’ migrations, trafficking in human beings, new forms of slavery, the degradation of the environment, the weakening of traditional Asian cultures, the influence of social media, the trend of technology and science all of these are remodeling everyday life. These are some of the new religions, new cultures and new poverty that we encounter today. How to talk to them? How do you talk to partners who refuse this attitude (of dialogue)? How to strengthen a culture of dialogue in a deeply divided world? These concerns are at the center of our reflections on the mission in Asia today ».

The Philippine Church and mission ad gentes: What is the most striking experiences you see in Filipino missionaries?

“For a long time, we have considered ourselves as beneficiaries of the missionary work of foreigners. Today, however, we see more and more Filipino missionaries working abroad. This is a significant fact for many reasons. There is a time to receive and there is a time to share and donate. We do not receive the Gospel to hold for us; on the contrary, we only receive it only to be able to share it one day. Now for “heirs” is the time to grow this gift on a new ground. And it is an imperative for the Church of the Philippines because half of the Christian population in Asia is in this country. Among us, more missionaries are to come for Asia and the rest of the world. In recent years, we have also realized that our best missionaries are migrant workers. They leave our country looking for work, but they always find a mission wherever they go to work. Through them the churches (around the world) are filled with people, music and smiles. So we must offer solid training to this lay people so that they can be real missionaries wherever they go. ”

Many young people spend short exposures on mission: how do you see this kind of experience? And what you would recommend to them?

“I feel I encourage by this practice. I have seen many young people from Europe grow in their humanity and their faith after having lived a period of service as volunteers in the Philippines. They come back home to their most mature and bigger horizons. But it’s not just for them to be inspired and helped: we, too, of the countries we host are enriched by their presence. Many young Filipinos have become involved in community services just after seeing these foreign youths to show so much love and dedication to us. And then, given the distrust and discrimination that we are going through today’s world, these young people can certainly become bearers of reconciliation, friendship and peace. ”


 

An open letter to the Muslim Friends of Mindanao

I write this open letter as a friend in solidarity with you who suffer for what is going on in our beautiful land of Mindanao. I dare to say “our beautiful land” even if I am Italian, but I have been in Mindanao since 1977 and I am still here in Zamboanga. This gives me the courage to write this letter to you as Muslim religious leaders. It is the humble voice of a Christian religious leader who journeys with you in this sad time of our life in Mindanao. I was in the seventies a negotiator for the MNLF in the area of Zamboanga Del Norte. I have studied and taught Islam in Italy.  After a sad experience in the early eighties in my efforts to defend the Muslim communities in my mission of Siocon, Zamboanga Del Norte, I started in 1984 the Silsilah Dialogue Movement in Zamboanga City. I have also been the national secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for the mission on Interreligious dialogue. At that time I helped to start the Bishops Ulama Forum that is now called Bishops Ulama Conference (BUC).

These and many other experiences in the Philippines and other countries didn’t stop me to be with you in Mindanao, Yes! I continue my mission here, even if I lost my dear friend, Fr. Salvatore Carzedda, PIME in 1992 in Zamboanga City killed in his mission of dialogue and peace. I also lost other friends and alumni of Silsilah killed in Jolo, Basilan and Tawi-tawi areas along the years for the same mission.

This letter is, first of all, a sign of solidarity with many of you Muslim religious leaders who are agonizing in this situation and time. Some of you continue to say that those who do terrorism are not Muslims because Islam is a religion of Peace. But allow me to remind you that there are also those who bring the name of Islam, especially now as Abu Sayyaf, ISIS, Maute groups doing acts of violence and terrorism. They are usually young people who claim to be Muslims and even dare to say that they are more faithful Muslims than you to the point that they also threaten you. Some of you are afraid to face this situation and others, unfortunately, play a double game, most of the time to save their lives or to have advantages in this situation. Indeed, all of us suffer and I appeal to you to save Islam and Mindanao from the hands of those who use Islam pushed by some foreign or local player behind this sad situation.
On the part of the Christians, there is fear that becomes hatred in many cases. What can we do? How can we build peace in this situation? How can the government implement the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) in this stage of terror covered by beautiful promises, often presented in a form of humanitarian assistance and solidarity on the part of some politicians and other local and international groups? We cannot be blind anymore of many killings, massacres, cutting of the heads, often done saying “Bismillah” (in the name of God).

Allow me to say that the situation is alarming in Mindanao and I appeal to your courage, sense of responsibility and love for the real message of peace of Islam. Do not be contented only of gestures of goodness that we see here and there to prove the goodness of Islam. I too can testify to so many signs of goodness among Muslims and I treasure them and I continue in my mission with hope and love for all.

I am with you and other good Muslims and Christians who continue the mission of love with Silsilah and other groups who do their best to build peace, but it is not enough. I wish to see more courage on your part. Do not be afraid. The Holy Qur’an reminds you: “O humankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes that you may know each other. Truly, the most honored of you before God is the most pious of you.” (Surah 49:13) Well, you have the chance to save lives in many ways as Muslim religious leaders. If you do not act with a sense of urgency now others who claim to be Muslims continue to oppress and kill and are ready to be killed, guided by their belief that doing so they can go to paradise.

Please receive this open letter as a sign of friendship and great respect for your religion and for the many Muslims of Mindanao that are suffering. Silsilah will continue its mission. I will also do my part, but please do more together in a form of Ijma (consensus) for the common good of all. This is my hope and prayer. Padayon!

Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME
Founder of Silsilah Dialogue Movement