Bishop warns seminarians about lack of passion for mission

Bishop warns seminarians about lack of passion for mission

Bishop Socrates Mesiona of Puerto Princesa, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Mission. UGNAYAN-AVPP

By Roel Joe E. Abonal

February 20, 2021

Manila, Philippines

The head of the Philippine bishops’ mission office told aspiring priests that having no mission enthusiasm is not spiritually and pastorally sound.

Bishop Socrates Mesiona of Puerto Princesa, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Mission, stressed that missionary discipleship is not meant for a few but for many.

He said the Church cannot afford to stay in simple “maintenance mode,” urging seminarians to “go out” and help “reach out” to people, especially the unchurched.

“When you lack the passion to go out and just be contented with maintaining what is in existence, it is a sign that you are not spiritually or pastorally healthy,” Mesiona said.

The bishop was speaking on Saturday to a network of theology seminarians gathered for this year’s virtual “Kapatiran” (Brotherhood).

Instead of being “contented with what is already there existing,” he urged them to go beyond their comfort zone and “respond to the missionary demands of the time.”

He also said that missionary discipleship is never offered in isolation, but always in cooperation with other priests, religious and laypeople.

“Missionaries do not go as lone rangers,” said Mesiona, who is also a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

“I am sure that you are not organizing yourselves as Kapatiran to create an exclusive and elite group of seminarians,” he furthered.

Albeit online, the prevailing coronavirus pandemic did not stop the yearly event of SemNet, or Seminarians’ Network of the Philippines.

Kapatiran usually gathers theology seminarians from across the country for a day of talks, sharing and fellowship.

As the health crisis continues, Mesiona told seminarians to remain focused on matters that would strengthen their formation.

He also urged them to continue finding creative ways for their apostolate in a time of physical distancing.

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