Archdiocesan Mission Sunday during Covid Pandemic
“In this year marked by the suffering and the challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the missionary journey of the whole Church continues”: this is the passage of Pope Francis’ Message for World Mission Day 2020 that the Church in the Philippines has chosen to sensitize the faithful during the Missionary Month. As Msgr. Esteban Lo, priest from Manila and National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in the Philippines, said, preparations for World Mission Day on October 18 are continuing “together with missionaries from all over the world, , especially preparing to live the annual Eucharistic celebration”.
“From 11 to 16 October 2020 - explains Fr. Lo - we have started to publish short videos of missionaries on the main social media platforms, who respond to the challenges of the different situations caused by the pandemic: a lay person who helps the parish to distribute essential provisions to poor parishioners; a nun who offers advice to young people; a priest who organizes canteens for the homeless; a group of young people who reach out to students on a university campus stuck in their dormitories far from their families; a lay missionary abroad who accompanies people in their existential journey and a diocesan priest who welcomes in his parish and offers hospitality to the medical staff of two hospitals. On October 17 - adds the National Director - school pupils will recite the prayer of the Rosary of the World Mission on the Internet”.
In the Archdiocese, Fr. Gerome Pelagio, Mission Director of Caceres, said the Mission Sunday will push through amidst the Covid19 pandemic. We will continue to celebrate the Sunday liturgy on October 18 with our primary intentions of praying for all the missionaries around the globe.
The Archdiocese of Caceres has its Mission Aid Program that sends priests and lay missionaries to other countries that need the services of our priest-missionaries. There are more than 40 priests working in various parts of the world – The Grenadines, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Australia, Samoa, USA and Taiwan. They serve in parishes where mostly are vacated by their dioceses due to lack of priests.
Likewise, the Mission Office makes an appeal to all the faithful to continue praying for our missionaries. We have some priests who get sick. The late +Fr. Arnel Estrella, one of our missionaries, died last year due to ailment. Aside from homesickness, they live in remote places where support is very limited.
Finally, our oneness with the mission is seen in our financial assistance. We cannot deny that our missionary work entails expenses. Our contribution to mission is another way of celebrating our unity as one church. We are always grateful for the financial assistance that we receive from our partners abroad. Let us also do our share to express our gratitude to the Good Shepherd who always sends shepherds to His Flock.