The Call to Mission
When Paul VI visited the Philippines in 1975, he challenged the Church in the Philippines to be “a lamp for Asia” in terms of mission and evangelization. After several centuries of Catholicism in the Philippines, it is now time to intensively share the Christian Faith to the neighboring countries in Asia.
In 1981, John Paul II’s visit to the Philippines was remarkable. He specifically told the bishops of the Asia and the Philippines that mission of proclamation has to be intensified in this part of the world where a huge portion of the world’s population is located. He spoke also to the Filipino-Chinese Communities in the Philippines that they have to focus their efforts of evangelization in China. He said that to be a Christian means not to lose one’s Chineseness. In his second visit to the Philippines in 1995, on the occasion of the World Youth Day, he specifically challenged the Youth to give their best to bring Christ to Asia where many yearn to listen and to know Him.
When the Second Plenary Council was convened on 20 January to 20 February 1991, a particular challenge was elicited by the Church in the Philippines regarding mission among the Filipino-Chinese Communities in the Philippines and in China. It states:
“And here on our own land is a vast field of mission related to the Filipino-Chinese Apostolate. Less than 20% of the Chinese in the Philippines have had some effective evangelization. The progress made in evangelizing through the educational and pastoral work of the Filipino-Chinese Apostolate is a great encouragement. We need to intensify this. But we must look beyond our shores and take note of the missionary opportunities opened by the contacts that our Filipino-Chinese brothers and sister have with East Asian Chinese communities, including the People’s Republic of China whose openness to religion remains fluid. We need to provide encouragement, support, and personnel to this important mission.” (PCP II 109)