Arnold Janssen Spirituality Center | Quezon City, Philippines
November 26-30, 2012
Coming from various parts of the Philippines, we, the 44 members of nine religious congregations of VIVAT International – SSpS, SVD, OMI, CSSp, ASC, MCCJ, LSA, SCJ and RA, consisting of provincial superiors, delegates and lay partners accompanied by the core team of VIVAT International, New York and Geneva, JPIC Coordinator of SVD Generalate, and SVD ASPAC Zonal Coordinator, gathered together to attend the workshop of VIVAT International.
We assembled together:
- to broaden our understanding of VIVAT and its mission and goals
- to help us embrace and make them ours, then carry this sense of ownership back to our local communities
- to learn how VIVAT advocates on behalf of the marginalized, carrying out a ministry of advocacy on JPIC matters in partnership with local groups and communities and at the international level.
During this workshop, we listened to each other and shared our experiences of working to promote justice, peace and integrity of creation in our respective mission throughout the archipelago. The stories inspired us and led us to know each other better as well as the ministries of our congregations.
From the sharing of experiences we identified major issues confronting the country and its people, namely: corruption, mining, the need for electoral and political reforms, framework agreement on “Bangsamoro” and land ownership. The valuable inputs on Justice and Peace in the Bible and in the Catholic Social Teachings helped us to deepen our understanding of these issues and invited us to renew our commitment to the original covenant relationship between God an his people.
Inspired by all the inputs and motivated by the vision and mission of VIVAT International to seek justice, promote peace, and preserve the integrity of creation, we renew our commitment to upholding human rights by working towards the eradication of poverty, restoring the rights of indigenous peoples, preserving creation, upholding sustainable development and working for structural and political change.
We are grateful for the presence and support of VIVAT International Team and the inputs of resource persons that gave us courage to stand for the rights and respect the dignity of each person, especially those of women and children at the grassroots level and through the mechanisms and procedures of international fora, especially through the United Nations. We acknowledge that the issues are complex and we also see the strength of the networking that has begun. We are open to collaborate with other NGOs who share our vision. Believing that “Action on behalf of justice and participation in the struggle of the poor is an integral part of preaching the Gospel,” (Synod of Bishops 1971 #6).
Thus, we recommend the formation of VIVAT-Philippines and the required mechanisms.
We, the Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, chosen by the Creator-God to be witnesses and sharers of Christ’s mission, though distinct in our charisms because of the individual heritage of our religious congregations, yet one in our calling to proclaim the Good News in the context of the local Church in the Philippines, inspired by the Holy Spirit, have bound ourselves as servant-leaders of our congregations to this common VISION: The transformation of the Filipino nation into a people, who enjoy the fullness of life, thereby reflecting the coming of the Reign of God.
- To attain this vision, we commit ourselves as well as the members of our religious families working in the Philippines:
- To be responsive to the needs of our people, especially the poor, the peasants, the fisherfolks, the workers, women and all victims of injustice in their struggle to attain economic, social, cultural and political freedom;
- To preserve the natural ecosystem of our country, formerly very rich in flora and fauna, so as to save it from indiscriminate destruction in the name of a false and mistaken view of development;
- To respect the rights and cultures of all our brothers and sisters, especially the indigenous peoples from the highlands, who up to now inspire us with the spirit of sharing their goods with one another;
- To carry out dialogue of life with persons who express belief in God in their own way, such as the Muslims, many of whom are devout people who give us Christians an example of constant prayer;
- To promote solidarity among all by preaching the word of God fearlessly, by undergoing conversion ourselves and by instilling the values of the Kingdom among our people, the majority of whom bear the name of Christ;
- To enhance the missionary commitment of the Filipino Church. Being the only predominantly Christian country in Asia-the most populated continent-we take the challenge of “sharing our own poverty” the freshness and joy of our faith;
In doing these, we hope to fulfill our role as prophets who are ever attentive to the signs of the times, ready to interpret the message of the Gospel and to implement it under the guidance of Mother Church. As Major Superiors, we earnestly strive to be models in our radical following of Christ, with the grace of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother to whom the Filipinos, a “pueblo amante de Maria,” are singularly devoted