Statements

  • 2016 AMRSWP Convention Statement

    With a 47-year history of prophetic engagement, as an Association of consecrated persons, making visible God’s merciful Face through our congregational charisms and in solidarity with the suffering and marginalized peoples,

    WE, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Women in the Philippines (AMRSWP), represented by 91 women religious superiors coming from 76 congregations, together with our Mission Partners and lay workers, gathered at the Central Luzon State University in the Science City of Munoz, the Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija from July 11-15, 2016. Guided by the theme, BECOMING FACES OF GOD’S MERCY TO THE POOR OF HUMANITY AND OF CREATION, we listened to each other, prayed and internalized the theme in our congregations and as an Association.

    Through this encounter, we deepened our understanding of the empowering partnerships among the marginalized, the local church and congregations, particularly in the pursuit of organic and sustainable farming and in gender-fair local governance of urban poor women relocatees. We recognized the impact of the work of religious congregations with the Yolanda typhoon victims and the displaced families who are struggling to rebuild their lives and homes. We appreciated the magnitude of our Mission Partners’ work with the rural farmers, laborers, urban poor and indigenous peoples; the overseas migrant workers and their families-left-behind; and human trafficking victims. Finally, we witnessed the expanding role and responsibility, along with new and increasing challenges, of the JPICC (Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission) in the local and global movement on climate change and the care of creation.

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  • AMRSP 2016 Convention Statement

    CONSECRATED MEN: MERCIFUL AS THE FATHER

    We, the members of the ASSOCIATION OF MAJOR RELIGIOUS SUPERIORS (MEN) IN THE PHILIPPINES, though diverse in charisms and from different communities, contexts, and ministries, are nevertheless sharing the common elements of apostolic consecration, profession of the evangelical counsels, and life in our respective religious communities. We have been called together as leaders among our brothers, nay more, as active members of the Church and stewards of creation, in order to reflect prayerfully on the challenges of the present times, so as to lend our prophetic voice and our hands of service, being ourselves “merciful like the Father”.

    Context

    We find ourselves in a period full of convergent realities and challenges, in the cliché, albeit proverbial “crossroads”:

    We are in a year which Pope Francis has declared the Jubilee Year of Mercy. What the Pope has proclaimed at the beginning of his pontificate has become a constant echo in the past three years in his words and in his deeds: “Go to the peripheries… Be merciful, be compassionate…“. This Jubilee Year universalizes this attitude for it calls all men and women to be “merciful as the Father.”

    We, as a people, seem to be the hardest hit when we speak of climate change. Natural calamities may be a staple for us, but together with Pope Francis we ask, “What is happening to our home?” This is a question that our Filipino bishops have already asked about our land almost thirty years ago (CBCP Pastoral Letter on Ecology, January 29, 1988). This is a question we continue asking when we are perennially confronted by pollution, climate change, loss of biodiversity, and other ecological problems.

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  • UPDATED: Task Force Eleksyon – VERITAS Statement

    TFE

    Bantay Proseso, Bantay Pangako
    Task Force Eleksyon – Looking for VERITAS from our Leaders

    HINDI PANGALAN, VERITAS ANG BATAYAN:
    Isulong ang mga isyu ng bayan, hanapin ang VERITAS sa bawat kandidato!

    Task Force Eleksyon, the largest nationwide coalition of electoral reform advocates, continues to be troubled by the dismal state of electoral discourse, given the continued focus on candidates’ personalities rather than their positions on issues.

    A level of discussion has yet to be reached in which candidates are truly scrutinized based on where they stand on different national issues and on the policies they intend to enact to uplift the lives of the poor and marginalized.
    It has never been more urgent for the candidates to be the advocates of the people’s issues, and they could be these worthy champions if they were to embrace VERITAS, the yardstick by which Task Force Eleksyon proposes the people choose whom to vote. As the May 9, 2016 elections near, Task Force Eleksyon calls on all candidates to embrace the standard of VERITAS and for the public to use it to assess all candidates. VERITAS takes into account the real issues faced by the country and highlights the qualities of the leader who could respond to the country’s problems.

    TFE

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  • Bantay Proseso, Bantay Pangako: Task Force Eleksyon Opening Statement

    TFEWe Are Task Force Eleksyon

    We are the biggest network of Electoral Reform Advocates in the country, leading the initiative in organizing civil society organizations, church groups, academic institutions and concerned individuals towards addressing major elections issues. In previous years, the Task Force, through our engagement with COMELEC and other institutions, has helped make Philippine elections more transparent, inclusive and credible, especially in the protection of the voting rights of our most vulnerable sectors.

    Today, Task Force Eleksyon is still the widest and most diverse network of institutions from around the Philippines united in ensuring that the results of the 2016 National and Local elections will truly reflect the will of the people.
     
     
    Free and Fair Elections Reflect the Will of the People

    Despite improvements in various areas of governance, the dominant culture of politics during the elections continues to disregard the sanctity of the electoral process and a free and fair election. As early as today, we see politicians engage in hakot registration, in mudslinging and in premature campaigning with jingles, advertisements and posters appearing in various media outlets and posts – all to capture a position.
    Too often, the real issues that plague our country and our people – poverty, disaster preparedness, climate change, social justice, agrarian reform, government transparency, peace and security, foreign policy, labor issues etc. – are silenced or forgotten. This should not be the case. We applaud and fully support COMELEC in its intention to conduct the debates among candidates to ensure that significant issues of the country are tackled and thereby considered by the electorate.

    As Politicians and Political Parties have begun organizing themselves, it is imperative that we mobilize as well – to strive for more in the coming elections and ensure that the electoral process is protected, the voices of the people heard and that candidates be held accountable to the promises and commitments they make.
     
     
    Our Rallying Cry: “Bantay Proseso, Bantay Pangako”

    Bantay Proseso. We work to safeguard the sanctity of the electoral process to ensure a fair and inclusive election that truly reflects the will of the people. Bantay Pangako. We aim to hold candidates accountable to the promises and platforms of their campaigns during their time in office.

    In pursuit of this rallying cry, our coalition, with its various charisms, will engage the elections in various aspects ranging from the monitoring of electoral processes, to voter’s education and to ensuring that the voices of the marginalized and vulnerable sectors will be in the election agenda.

    We urge candidates to respect and observe the processes of the coming elections. We urge candidates to truly listen to the issues confronting the people, especially the marginalized who have been long-excluded from availing of the benefits of growth and development, and if elected, to act on such issues. We urge candidates to see politics as an instrument for serving the common good, instead of as a tool to perpetuate narrow and parochial interests.

    We are Task Force Eleksyon and we stand as one coalition in ensuring that the results of the 2016 National and Local elections will truly reflect the will of the people. We invite other like-minded groups and individuals to join us in this endeavor.

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  • CBCP Pastoral Exhortation for the Jubilee of Mercy And the Year of the Family and the Eucharist

    Let us kneel before the Lord who made us. (Psalm 95:6)

    THE Year 2016 will be a year of many blessings for us in the Philippines. It will also be a year of mission for the Kingdom.

    From December 8, 2015 until November 20, 2016, the Church all over the world will observe an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy as decreed by Pope Francis in the papal bull Misericordiae Vultus. We stand in faithful communion with the Holy Father as he prays that “the Church echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid, and love. May she never tire of extending mercy, and be ever patient in offering compassion and comfort.

    In the Philippines, we shall open today November 29, 2015, the First Sunday of Advent, the Year of the Eucharist and the Family, as part of our nine year preparation for the Jubilee of 2021, the five hundredth anniversary of the first Mass and first baptism in the Philippines. We also eagerly await the celebration of the Fifty First International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu come January 2016. Read more

  • Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2016

    [January 17, 2016]

    “Migrants and Refugees Challenge Us. The Response of the Gospel of Mercy”

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    In the Bull of indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy I noted that “at times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives” (Misericordiae Vultus, 3). God’s love is meant to reach out to each and every person. Those who welcome the Father’s embrace, for their part, become so many other open arms and embraces, enabling every person to feel loved like a child and “at home” as part of the one human family. God’s fatherly care extends to everyone, like the care of a shepherd for his flock, but it is particularly concerned for the needs of the sheep who are wounded, weary or ill. Jesus told us that the Father stoops to help those overcome by physical or moral poverty; the more serious their condition, the more powerfully is his divine mercy revealed. Read more

  • Bantay Proseso, Bantay Pangako: TFE 2016 – On the State of Elections

    TFEBREAK OLD PATTERNS: Plataporma at plano, hindi pangalan ng kandidato!

    Task Force Eleksyon 2016, the largest nationwide coalition of electoral reform advocates, urgently calls on all candidates, different political formations, relevant government institutions, civil society, the media, and the general populace to decisively break the cycle of personality-driven politics this election season and to generate a more substantial democratic exercise that empowers the people to confront the country’s challenges head-on.

    The political environment has so far been hostile to an issue-based electoral discourse, so much so that the electoral players seem to be forgetting a basic fact: that the elections are about the people, and not just about the candidates.

    IMG_3881

    With election day less than four months away, our country’s deeply-rooted political afflictions are again rearing their ugly heads, giving full view to the inequities in our elite-dominated democracy. Task Force Eleksyon 2016 is alarmed by the way the electoral discussion has so far centered on candidates’ pedigrees and private histories, personal attacks, the fluctuations of survey results, and ever-shifting alliances that in the end surprise no one.
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  • Prophetic Witness of the Gospel of Joy among the Poor

    Message of the AMRSP to all Consecrated Women and Men
    on the Occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life

    (30 November 2014 – 02 February 2016)

    “You have not only a glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history still to be accomplished!  Look to the future, where the Spirit is sending you in order to do even greater things” (Vita Consecrata, 110).  Drawing inspiration from these words, with which St John Paul II simultaneously affirm and challenge consecrated women and men all over the world, Pope Francis sets out the aims of the Year of Consecrated Life as “looking to the past with gratitude…living the present with passion…and embracing the future with hope” (Apostolic Letter to All Consecrated People, 1-3).  Contextualizing this universal event, the AMRSP has chosen the theme, “Prophetic Witnesses of the Gospel of Joy among the Poor”.

    We remember the past with gratitude.  With joy that comes from Christ (cf. Jn 15:11) and is fruit of the Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22), we thank God for the gift of Religious life which He has filled with a rich diversity of charisms for the life and mission of the Church in and for the world.  We remember with gratitude our Foundresses and Founders, prophets in their own times, who passed on to us the love and zeal for the Word that urged them – and now urges us – to serve all peoples, especially the “least” (Mt 25:40, 45), in a Christ-like total self-dedication.  We remember with joyful gratitude the day of our consecration, when we entered into a special covenant of love with God, turning us into prophets, missionaries, and servants so that all “may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10).  We also remember with gratitude the generous and courageous consecrated women and men who, in crucial moments of the history of the Filipino people, stood up for the Gospel as what had happened in those turbulent years of dictatorship, which was put to an end through a peaceful exercise of People Power.

    We are invited to live the present with passion.  The Holy Father reminds us that “Religious life is prophecy” (Conversation with the USG, 29 Nov 2013, Rome).  More precisely, it is prophecy from the margins.  We are called to go to the places where the great majority of our sisters and brothers have been driven away from the centers of power, wealth, and opportunities and from there – with the marginalized – proclaim the Gospel and act on its demands.  Passion for the Reign of God means, first and foremost, focusing single-heartedly to the “weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith” (Mt 23:23).  In other words, we are urged to join the victims of typhoons, earthquakes, and floods, of injustices and corruptions, of neglect of one’s social and personal responsibilities to be the prophetic voice of the Spirit, who, deep in the hearts of the marginalized and abandoned, is crying for mercy, justice, and compassion.  Let our words and actions be signs of assurance that a better life is possible for those who have been pushed to the social, economic, and political peripheries.

    We embrace the future with hope.  “From the beginning, the tradition of the Church…presents us with this privileged witness of a constant seeking for God, of an undivided love for Christ alone, and of an absolute dedication to the growth of His kingdom” (Evangelica Testificatio, 3).  For this reason, Religious life is regarded as an eschatological sign. It is a constant and living reminder of the mystery of the Church as a Pilgrim People, journeying towards the “new heaven and new earth” (Is 66:27). According to the FABC, the Church in Asia is a pilgrim community journeying together with peoples of other religious traditions, cultures, and the poor towards fullness of life and love. We, women and men religious, have a necessary role to play in the Philippine Church’s own journey to the ultimate future.  Our consecration is a sign of total faith: the Reign of God is worth abandoning everything and dedicating one’s whole self and entire life for its sake.  Our fraternal life in community is a sign of inclusive love: the grand design of God includes the communion of all peoples in their diversities.  Our missionary life is a sign of radical hope: we proclaim the Word of God; we struggle with our sisters and brothers against death-dealing forces; we collaborate in the Spirit for the integral transformation of the society.  This is all because we hope in the God of the Covenant, who promises fullness of life and love for all peoples.

    May the Year of Consecrated life be a kairos for all who have been consecrated to God to renew their self-offering to Christ and to His prophetic mission: “to bring good news to the poor…to proclaim release to the captives…to let the oppressed go free…to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Lk 4:18-19).

    For the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, January 4, 2015, Solemnity of the Epiphany of our Lord.

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  • SA MATUWID NA DAAN:Uphold the Rule of Law. Transparency and Accountability for All.

    July 18, 2014

    Our nation and people are reeling not only from the effects of a storm but by the full-blown controversy on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The Supreme Court has ruled that certain acts under the DAP are unconstitutional. Almost all sectors of society have voiced their positions and views on it. No less than the President has gone on nationwide television to defend the DAP.

     

    We, as Religious and as Citizens of this nation,  cannot remain silent in the midst of this issue which affects and will affect the lives of our people.

     

    In the light of faith, we believe that this is not only a legal but a moral issue that impels us to raise our collective prophetic voice.  

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  • STATEMENT of the 2014 AMRSMP CONVENTION

    Theme: “Challenges to Religious Life Today and Its Implication to the Future of Evangelization”

    We, the members of the Association of Major Religious Superiors (Men) in the Philippines, gather in prayer, study, reflection and fraternal sharing, to prepare ourselves and our communities for a grace-filled celebration of the International Year of Consecrated Life in 2015, the Year of the Poor as declared by the Church in the Philippines, as we journey towards the fifth centenary of Christianity here in the Philippines.

    “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.

    He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery to sight to the blind;

    to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).

     

    This is our gospel. And we are first its recipients, notwithstanding our human frailties and failings. We are the poor, the captive, the blind, the oppressed, who receive glad tidings, liberty, sight, freedom, this period of time acceptable to the Lord. In turn, we give it, we preach it, we share it, as our word to the world.

    Miserando atque eligendo. Forgiven and chosen. The Holy Father’s motto resonates in the heart of consecrated life. For we know that our varied vocation stories share the common strand of experiencing profoundly the merciful God who called us. Thus, our life and ministry are but spirited continuations of that event of grace.

    Now, we re-commit ourselves and our communities to faithfully follow Pope Francis’ bidding to help transform the Church into a “place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel” (Evangelii Gaudium 114).

     

    Looking Back

    Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan. The quincentennial celebration of the arrival of Christianity prompts us to look back at our beginnings. We honor the hallowed memories of the early missionaries who bravely set out ultramar, heroically hopeful amidst horrendous hardships of both journey and destination, motivated by a deep desire to bring God’s love and mercy to our shores. The implanting of the Church in these islands precedes the birth of the Filipino nation.

    Our brothers in consecrated life, almost five centuries ago, proclaimed the Word of God to our forebears, built places for worship, took care of the sick in hospices, established schools to educate the young, brought people together through roads, bridges and towns, where the first churches were centrally located. Even then, their task of evangelization entailed works of mercy and building communities. These centuries-old churches – enduring monuments of religious missionary work – have been aptly declared as national cultural treasures. Truly, in these treasures of our nation, the heart of our people ought to be. “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Matt 6:21).

    Yet, more than material treasures which fade and fall away, more than churches which crumble and succumb to time and tremor and typhoons, it is faith that remains unshaken, ever strengthened. Ang pananampalataya ay tanging yaman ng ating lahi.

     

    Looking Within

    Nasa kalooban, ang katotohanan. Looking back at our history leads us to look within, in examination of self and soul, in honest introspection and humble admittance of our hurt humanity. We are deeply saddened that some of our brothers have betrayed our vocation and ministry, have committed misconducts of various kinds, including sexual misconduct, have inflicted terrible wounds on victims, caused scandals and harmed the Church.

    We, as Church, apologize for the misdeeds of our pastors and our brothers. We sincerely seek the forgiveness of God, and of all who suffered these unconscionable misdeeds. We also apologize, as leaders of our congregations, for occasions when we failed to promptly address credible complaints and provide adequate pastoral help to the victims.

    We renew our commitment to assure that each member congregation has a canonically and pastorally sound protocol for handling misconduct. We resolve to take careful attention to the integral formation, both initial and on-going, of our confreres that we may keep our ministerial relationships wholesome, healthy and holy.

     

    Looking Around

    The first journey of Pope Francis outside Rome was a prophetic visit to Lampedusa, an island that has seen the suffering and death of countless refugees seeking a better life. The Pope’s visit eloquently reminds us that the Church’s presence has to be strongly felt in places where there is human suffering.

    Where is our “Lampedusa” in the Philippines? These would be the tent-cities of our internally displaced peoples in conflict-torn areas and disaster-ravaged provinces, indeed, the poor who are all around us, cramming our spaces, begging at our doorsteps and outside our vehicles, homeless and hopeless, victimized and violated, the greater majority of our people, our flock.

    We re-affirm our commitment to build and serve the Church of the Poor, to offer acts of solidarity and charity, to embrace their life, to champion their cause.

     

    Looking ahead

    At this moment in our nation’s history, when the leaders of the branches of our government are under the strictest scrutiny and severest public accountability, we dare speak as prophets – denouncing evil and proclaiming God’s truth. This is consecrated life’s original blessing, to become witnesses of eternity, while here on earth.

    We call for good governance, for better government, so that the public common good must always be served, the rule of law be upheld, conflicts be resolved, the environment cared for, truth and justice prevail, lasting peace and the development of our people be built.

    We especially invite our lay people to live out the baptismal promises we have all made.  Together let us participate in making a “new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1).  Together let us make our government and our church serve us better, our public officials and pastors accountable for the resources of our people.  Together let us become citizens of heaven and earth, living our faith in a manner like leaven to dough, actively engaged in the transformation of society and the incarnation of the reign of God.

    We offer the word and works and witness of our religious consecration, with the help of the Blessed Mother’s prayer, so we may become God’s face, God’s hands, God’s heart, for our people, our Bayang Magiliw, in this, our pilgrimage of faith and life.

     

    We share this statement, this July 11, 2014, from the Island of Bohol, Philippines.

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