Leave your comfort zone, Manila bishop tells priests

Leave your comfort zone, Manila bishop tells priests

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, delivers his homily during Mass at the Manila Cathedral to open the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines on Feb. 6. The celebration also marked the 442nd anniversary of the elevation of Manila as a diocese. PHOTO BY FATIMA LLANZA/RCAM-AOC

By CBCP News

February 6, 2021

Manila, Philippines

Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila told priests to leave their comfort zone and reach out to the margins of society or else risk becoming just under “maintenance mode”.

As the archdiocese opened its celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines, he told parishes to continue on their “missionary mode” especially to the “peripheries”.

“Being in a state of mission is not optional,” Pabillo said in his homily during Mass at the Manila Cathedral on Saturday.

“It is the necessary condition if we want to be renewed as a living church, and not just be a museum that is visited once in a while but could not change lives,” he said.

The celebration also marked the 442nd anniversary of the elevation of Manila as a diocese, the first in the Philippines, having under its jurisdiction the entire country.

In 1595, Manila was raised to an archdiocese with Nueva Segovia in Ilocandia, Nueva Caceres in Bicol and Cebu in the Visayas as its suffragan dioceses.

But even with deep historical roots, Pabillo warned of “the danger of becoming monument”.

“We may have these, but let us not, as church, be just antiques, museums and artifacts whose main concern is preservation and conservation,” he said.

Reflecting on the Jubilee year’s theme, “Missio ad Gentes,’ he asked the parishes to continue this “expanding mission of Manila to which we are all heirs to”.

While acknowledging that leaving the “cozy and familiar situation” is difficult, Pabillo said that the Covid-19 pandemic “has pushed us out of our comfort zones, whether we liked it or not”.

The health crisis, he said, also pushed the archdiocese to poorer communities to distribute aid and at the same time formed a sense of solidarity among parishes.

“Now that we have the initial push to get out of our comfort zones and to reach out to the peripheries, let us continue on this missionary mode,” Pabillo added.

“Yes, let us be bold in striking out new grounds. There will be expenses. We will make mistakes. There will be criticisms but move on,” he said.

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