– José Mario O Mandía
With José Miguel Encarnação
“Filipinos know how to evangelize in a very very wonderful way, not only here but everywhere in the world,” Cardinal Fernando Filoni remarked in an interview last Monday, March 4, at the University of St Joseph.
“There are ten million in the world, and they bring their witness everywhere, this is wonderful! It means no borders: fraternity!” exclaimed the prelate.
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples was responding to a question about the presence of Filipino Catholics in Macau and Hong Kong. He affirmed that they “are part of our Church, and when they insert themselves in a local church because of work or other reasons, the Bishop there will take care of them. They will become a part of the flock.”
He explained that they are not only there to work, but to share “the treasure of their experience, of faith, of love. And I’m sure the local church will take advantage also for the testimony or the witness they can do for their faith. They can bring love, they can bring joy, and also enrich the local church.”
Cardinal Filoni’s two-day stint in Macau included a get-together with the seminarians, a talk with priests, a concelebrated Mass at the Cathedral, and a dinner with priests, religious and Diocesan Staff on Sunday, March 3. On Monday, he blessed the campus of the University of St Joseph and St Joseph Diocesan School No 6 and met with teachers and staff afterwards. Bishop Stephen Lee accompanied him in the tightly-packed program.
During the talk with priests on Sunday, the Cardinal pointed out two important ideas: the need for formation and evangelization. He said hammered on the idea that evangelization cannot be done without formation.
He would repeat this need to give formation during the Monday gathering with teaching staff at the USJ and CDSJ campus. “May you not only be professors who teach, but also transmitters of values,” he said.
In his homily during the Sunday evening Mass, Cardinal Filoni asked the Catholic faithful of Macau to become missionaries in their own homes, at work, in their friendships and in ordinary life.
The Prefect insisted that missionary work is not only reserved to priests or consecrated persons, but is addressed all who live the Christian faith.
“To be a missionary does not mean belonging to an institution such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, and others,” he said. “Each one of us, through Baptism, has received the missionary call to announce Jesus to the world.”
Citing Pope Francis, Cardinal Filoni explained the need “to bring the Good News to the poor and those who suffer.” In practice, it means “giving hope to those who need it,” he said.
Referring to the passage of the Sunday’s Gospel about the blind leading the blind (cf Lk 6:39-45), the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples underscored that loving the others implies “becoming a missionary” and “spreading the Gospel.”
The next day, at the end of the Mass, Cardinal Filoni blessed a commemorative marker in the USJ and CDSJ campus that read: “This ILHA VERDE CAMPUS was blessed by His Eminence CARDINAL FERNANDO FILONI, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, witnessed by D. STEPHEN LEE BUN SANG, Bishop of Macau, PROF. FR PETER STILWELL, Rector of USJ, DR SAMUEL KIO SU IONG, Director of CDSJ6. Macau, 4 March 2019.” Bishop Emeritus José Lai was also present in the Mass and ceremony.