By Martin Mbende
This is the last written contribution of our departed and beloved Br. Martin to the theologasia.ph. He submitted it to the committee in charge of our website just before living for our annual retreat during which he died accidentally by drowning in a swimming pool. We thank him for his valuable and regular contributions to our web page as we now publish these posthumous lines of his. [Everaldo dos Santos]
On the 15th of October 2013, the Xaverian Delegation of the Philippines held its plenary assembly in Maligaya. The meeting began around 9:00 am with a joyful song entitled The Canticle of the Sun. It was indeed a sunny morning! Participants were Xaverians belonging to the Delegation, both the perpetually and the temporally professed.
Fr. Michael, S.X. from the community of St Francis Xavier Parish, brilliantly introduced the Confreres to Pope Francis’ style and vision of the Church. Undeniably, through the person of Pope Francis, the Catholic Church is experiencing a profound renewal. His simplicity and love for the poor, his sense of humanity and openness to all, his own self-description as a “sinner” though always struggling to become better, the joy and hope that radiate from his message, his humble prayer life, all of this and many other similar attitudes are what make of Pope Francis the Man of God he is. Through him, every Catholic is invited to rediscover the centrality of God in his/her life. Eloquently, Fr. Michael pointed out that Pope Francis’ main message is definitely a call to “resourcement” (“returning to the source”) or aggiornamento that will lead to new ways of living the Gospel in a world in dire crisis of faith.
Following Fr. Michael’s note was the presentation of reports. Altogether, four reports were presented by spokespersons from the Communities of Project 8, Marikina, Maligaya and the Theology House. In general, the reports identified the multiple crises that our world is going through and the challenges that they lay before us as Xaverian Missionaries. Among the many crises were those of relativism, feeling of uncertainty and difficulty of identifying paradigms that guide our world because of the many changes taking place every day, financial crises and its heavy consequences on billions lives, war, poverty etc. In addition, the reports drew from our Xaverian Documents some concrete proposals that will inspire and instil zeal in our commitment to preaching the Gospel. Among the various suggestions were the importance of recognizing the signs of times and interpreting them in the light of the Gospel, the preferential but not exclusive option for the poor, interreligious dialogue and ecumenism, the centrality of God, the rediscovering of human values within our Xaverian Delegation and in the society around us, the duty to attend to the need for Christian formation of the people whom we serve etc.
In his brief speech, Fr James Rigali, S.X. Delegate Superior presented the agenda of the Delegation for coming months.
The Assembly was concluded at 6:30 pm with the Celebration of the Eucharist presided by Fr. Michael S.X., followed by a joyous table fellowship.