Office for Mission and
Reaching out the people God to evangelize the world
The Franciscan Pastoral Challenge:
Go Forth with One Heart and One Soul
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The team of the Office for Mission and Evangelization of the Province of San Pedro Bautista is extra dedicated to its mission for the Franciscan Parishes and communities. Hence, the annual Franciscan pastoral Assembly was created to provide a venue for the pastoral lay agents to deliberate on the significant issues being encountered in their Pastoral Ministries.
The Franciscan Pastoral Assembly aims to achieve the following;
(1) To lead the participants into a deep encounter with Jesus, as the real source of unity and communion while working in our Franciscan parishes/quasi-parish/shrines,
(2) To re-affirm the OFM Pastoral Thrust in forming Basic Ecclesial Communities as a concrete manifestation of a participatory church.
(3) To challenge the role and lifestyle of the participants as they see the importance of becoming communion –in-mission for the renewal of the Church and the transformation.
“It is the most awaited gathering of all the pastoral lay agents working in the Franciscan communities. As the theme says, Go forth with one heart and one soul, and its challenge is to have an understanding that a parish is not only working for its own community but it also works as messengers of the Good News bringing Christ to everyone especially those who in live isolated communities” stated by Fr. Reu Jose Galoy, OFM, the Vicar Provincial and Parish Priest of Santuario de San Antonio Parish, Forbes Park, Makati City. Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM in his letter addressed to the participants said, “As pastors and lay leaders, it is time again to renew our friendships with another, to review our mission in our local churches vis-a-vis the OFM Pastoral Thrust and to examine the quality of our leadership in renewing the Church to make it a more dynamic and true instrument of advancing God’s reign in our hearts. He also stated in his letter “In our parishes, we are not there to do our own will, to spend much time, money and resources for our personal agenda and projects, but to carry out the mandates given by the Franciscan Order, the Philippine Church and the Province’s pastoral thrust, spelled out in our documents, statements and resolutions. Those are our true guides in truly administering our parishes.”
The Parish Animator of the Office of the Mission and Evangelization also delivered inspiring words as stated the following: “The only time people truly get to know more about themselves, their culture and tradition, their identity as a people, and more importantly, their shared vision and aspiration is when they gather and exchange profound thoughts and feelings especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level. This is basically the essence of communion – an intense connection that makes us both human and humane. The Franciscan Pastoral Assembly wishes to explore the same theme of connection and unity as a parish as communion of communities.
This is an occasion for all friars and lay leaders to open more spaces in our parishes for people entrusted to our care. By opening spaces to others, we will be able to touch the wounds of our Risen Lord in the vulnerable, the weak and to those in the peripheries by listening to their concerns and aspirations. This is our way of offering a room to everybody, friars and lay, participants, as we listen to each other’s stories, feelings and thoughts during these two and a half-day pastoral assembly. Communion is not considered self-referential or captivating. Communion is mission-it is going forth of spreading the story of Jesus amidst the indifference of peoples.
Day Three of FPA leads us to the challenge of mission. The disciples of Jesus after listening to him were sent to the entire world to tell his story. In our missionary activity, let us look for what is common, allow space for others in order for them to participate and create a lifestyle of being communion-in-mission. He also stressed in an interview by the Franciscan Communications that the challenge of the Parish Animator office is to strengthen and develop the Spirituality of Stewardship in the BEC which is, they realized, to be developed more within the Franciscan communities. Our goal is to have solidarity, interaction among the parishes in Luzon. A community that remains within but a community that goes out. And the challenge is to go forth with one heart and one soul. As a Province and a parish, our goal is to establish the parish as a real communion of communities.” The office urges sustainable programs in strengthening the Stewardship within the BEC in the Franciscan communities.