After a truly successful Pastoral – caring, teaching, leading – Visit of the good and lovable, wise and holy Pope Francis, the renewed pursuant implementing Pastoral Ministry of the Church in the Philippines begins by working for the deeper understanding and consequent observance of his reminders, advisories and mandates. It was great to see him! It was a big experience to witness his kindness, humility and concern! It was a blessing to listen to him! According to him:
The poor are crying for help. They are all over the land – in urban and rural areas, in the slums, in the streets begging, in the pavements sleeping. Children are begging for food, shelter and clothing, for care, safety and education. Their parents have no work. Meanwhile, there is much gambling among the people, not to mention the reign of criminals, the proliferation of drugs and addiction thereto.
The families are threatened by parents leaving their children behind to find work abroad. Decent housing, they do not have. How to satisfy their needs, they do not know. How to send their children to school, they have not the means. So is it that the answer of the government to all these is to prevent the birth of children through all possible ways and means to impede the coming of life.
The Country is suffering not only from corruption and consequent maldevelopment but also from ideological colonization. While the former guarantees the continued poverty of the Filipinos, the latter undermines their sound cultural traits and moral value system. Unfilipinos they ultimately become.
So the work begins:
The Clergy have to minister to the people not only by attending to their spiritual but also material needs, not simply by catering to their heavenly quest but also by looking after their earthly preoccupations. This pastoral ministry is in perfect accord with the two fundamental Commandments of Love of God and Love of Neighbor – neither simply one or the other but both.
The Religious have to look after the human welfare – the mental, ethical, social –requirements of those committed to their care, those who ask and/or need their attention, those who are lost and need their care. More than anything else, the active Religious Vocation is meant for serving others. It is in serving others that they find their real self.
The Laity have to be attentive to the cries for help of their fellow laymen and women, their fellow married couples, their fellow fathers and mothers. More than the Clergy and the Religious, they understand better the aspirations of those who have the same vocation. The Laity is the wealth of the Church – particularly in the Philippines.