‘Among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27)

‘Among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27)

In media vestrum sicut qui ministrat
Association of Major Religious Superiors of men in the Philippines Convention Statement

24 Then an argument broke out among them about which of them should be regarded as the greatest. 25 He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them and those in authority over them are addressed as ‘Benefactors’; 26 but among you it shall not be so. Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. 27 For who is greater: the one seated at table or the one who serves? Is it not the one seated at table? I am among you as the one who serves. (Luke 22:24–27)

We, the members of the ASSOCIATION OF MAJOR RELIGIOUS SUPERIORS OF MEN IN THE PHILIPPINES (AMRSMP), gathered together with our Mission Partners during the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons in the Philippine Church, reaffirm the ministry of Servant Leadership in the Church. Together with our confreres, we face the challenge of how to be servant leaders in a missionary (not self-referential) Church, in a participatory (not clericalistic) Church, and in a catholic (not parochialistic) Church.

As we serve and enrich the Church with our different charisms, ways of life and apostolates for God’s kingdom, we find ourselves facing the same realities as we look at the context of the Philippine Church in the present times. We are continually confronted with our role as religious in the world and thus we take a second look at our relationship with the government, especially with issues like Charter Change and Federalism. We continue to be alarmed at the Extra Judicial Killings, the lack of care for the environment, and the ill-treatment of our indigenous brothers and sisters. We also see new opportunities in our ministry with the Youth and in our apostolate in Social Communications. In self-introspection, we assess our relationship with the Bishops and their Dioceses and how we assist our confreres in crisis.

Sacred Scripture puts before us three models of leadership, where Jesus himself is our example: SERVANT, STEWARD, and SHEPHERD.

As SERVANTS, in regard to

… the Relationship of the AMRSMP with the Government, we

· engage in continual dialogue with the government and partner with it in accessing resources for the poor.
· discern and understand the poltical situation so as to be able to make a prophetic stand.

… Federalism, we

· educate our confreres and the recipients of our mission towards a better awareness and understanding of Federalism and Charter Change.
· reaffirm the earlier Statement of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) on Federalism and Charter Change.

… Extra Judicial Killings, we

· voice out our dissent against this continued violence and absence of regard for the right to life.
· support the rehabilition of substance dependents, and the pastoral care of the survivors and of the families of the EJK victims especially through psycho-social intervention and our sanctuary programs.

As STEWARDS, in regard to

… the Environment, we

· lobby for policies for the protection of our common home.
· continue supporting the advocacies against activities that are destructive to the environment (mining, quarrying, etc.).

… Social Communication, we

· strengthen our collective presence in both traditional and new media and our communication as members of the Association through common and more effective platforms.
· share common formation plans for media education and guidelines and protocols for the use of social media.

As SHEPHERDS, in regard to

… the Youth, we

· listen to young people and accompany them through our presence.
· strive to understand young people—their language, their way of thinking, and their spirituality—through youth ministry formation and family apostolate.

… Indigenous Peoples and Interreligious Dialogue, we

· assist our indigenous brethren in their livelihood and campaign against mining, forced evacuation, militarization and other activities detrimental to them.
· dialogue with other religions on justice and peace.

… Mutual Relations with the Bishops and their Dioceses, we

· collaborate more closely with the local church (diocese and parish) where we belong in view of better relationship and synergized activity.
· strengthen our participation in the activities of the Episcopal Commission on Mutual Relations.

… Religious Men in Crisis, we

· strengthen the initial formation in the human and psycho-spiritual aspects to help avert future problems.
· pool our inter-congregational human resources together to help each other both in the initial and ongoing formation of our religious in the areas of spiritual direction, personal accompaniment, counseling and therapy.

Jesus challenged the disciples that leaders should be servants. He gave reference to the kings of the Gentiles who “lord it over” the people whom they rule and govern. He made a strong statement after that: “but among you it shall not be so” (22:26). Our role as leaders in our own communities takes this imperative. We lead not as the kings of the Gentiles. We lead not as hirelings. We should lead as Jesus did: as SERVANTS, STEWARDS and SHEPHERDS.

In carrying out the commitments we have made in this convention, we will remember this brand of leadership. Together with these, we commit our presence among our confreres and among the people entrusted to our care. The words of Jesus are ours: “I am among you as the one who serves.”

Given on July 31, 2018 at the Carmelite Missionaries Center of Spirituality, Tagaytay City