My purpose in this presentation is to reflect with you on the draft 2008 Archdiocesan Vision-Mission Statement in the light of the 2000 Archdiocesan Vision Mission Statement and on the priority areas indicated by 28 parishes.
My objectives are to show the continuity and the relationship between the two Statements; and to indicate how the priority areas pointed out by the parishes for APA 2008 may be considered and used.
A. The 2008 APA Theme: Isang Simbahan, Isang Pangarap
The 2000 APA envisioned that all the faithful in the Archdiocese of Cotabato (lay people, religious, and clergy) be genuine disciples of Jesus and a genuine community. This community of believers in Jesus has to be united as One Church, in communion with God, with one another, and with creation. This element of the 2000 Archdiocesan vision aspiring to be a united Church, Isang Simbahan, has been highlighted as the theme of VI APA, 2008.
Oneness is an apostolic mark of the true Church. It is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Oneness is our identity. It is the very nature of Church. In Christ, we are one Church. We have one mission – the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus, the Lord and the Savior of the world.
But there are many gifts given to the Church by the Spirit of Jesus for this one mission. Various sectors of the Church have their own gifts, roles, functions. Thus we have the laity and their own roles and responsibilities in the secular world, the religious with their vocations and roles in the Church for the sake of mission, the clergy with their own gifts of ordination and personal roles.
Because of the many gifts, roles, and responsibilities in the church, it is the role of bishops to coordinate the various gifts in the Church so that we may all be one and united for the mission of announcing the Gospel. This is another deeper meaning of “Isang Simbahan” – unity of diverse gifts within the Church, diverse gifts working as one towards the mission.
Although the Church is by nature One, sometimes the diversity of roles are not very well united and coordinated. They are divided, they are sometimes in conflict, they are often subject to self-interest or even vested interest, they are not effective in achieving the mission. It is in the light of this weakness that we at APA 2008 aspire to be what we claim to be -- One Church.
In addition, sometimes we have different purposes and goals that clash with one another. One group would want the whole Archdiocese to be built on PREX, another group would want one religious movement or organization to take over all the formation program, and perhaps the senior citizens of the clergy, including the archbishop, would want one half of all the financial support system of the Archdiocese to be set aside for retirement and sickness benefit of the clergy. This would not, of course, be right. That is why as One Church, we should have one united aspiration – Isang Pangarap.
This why we have the theme: Isang Simbahan, Isang Pangarap.
B. Revisiting the 2000 Archdiocesan Vision
Let us now revisit the 2000 Archdiocesan Vision-Mission Statement in the light our 2008 Vision-Mission. Thus:
In the light of our pastoral situation and impelled by our hope in Christ, We [the entire faithful of the Archdiocese of Cotabato]
… envision ourselves as genuine disciples of Jesus both in word and deed.
We envision ourselves as Church, in solidarity with the poor among us, living like Jesus in evangelical poverty, promoting justice and peace as Church of the Poor.
We envision ourselves as an inculturated Church, understandable and credible to all cultures in our archdiocese in its announcing of the Kingdom of God.
We envision ourselves a genuine community of disciples, striving together in communion with God, with one another, and with creation.
We shall be a participatory Church whose members activate their God-given gifts and charisms in full co-responsibility toward the mission and work of the Church according to their vocations and various ways of life.
We are convinced that our vision and mission are best concretized through the Archdiocesan pastoral thrust of building Basic Ecclesial Communities that reflect at the level of parishes and chapels, our vision of Church and our mission of integral evangelization.
For this reason our central pastoral priority, the core focus of our evangelization efforts is the transformation of the Family into a renewed and renewing domestic Church.
In a special way, in view of our pastoral situation, we shall emphasize the task of faith formation, justice, development and peace and reconciliation, especially between Muslims and Christians. We shall give priority to the poorest of the poor among whom are our indigenous brothers and sisters. We shall ensure that all our pastoral programs, movements and organizations shall be oriented and work actively toward this vision and mission.
[Commitment and Prayer]
To this vision of Church renewed and renewing with a mission of integral evangelization, we commit ourselves. We entrust ourselves to the loving intercession and protection of our Blessed Mother of the Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of our Archdiocese, who with our Lord Jesus acts at all times as our guide to the Kingdom of God, which is now and forever.
On the other hand, we have just approved our 2008 Archdiocesan Vision-Mission Statement:
Sino? – Kaming mga mananampalataya ng Arkidiyoses ng Cotabato
Ano? – Ay naghahangad ng nagkakaisang simbahang [One Church]
nakaugat kay Kristo [Rooted in Christ],
totoong maka-Diyos [pro-God],
maka-maralita [pro-poor = Church of the Poor]
may matatag na pananalig at paninindigan [Authentic
at may aktibong partisipasyong ang lahat [Participatory
Paano? – Isasakatuparan namin ito (sa aming patuloy na paglalakbay)
[a Pilgrim Church]
sa pamamagitan ng pagtataguyod ng
Mumunting Pamayanang (Kristiyano) [BEC]
buhay na sumasaksi [Witnessing]
sa pagbabago at pagkaaktibo sa bawat aspeto ng buhay
[Integral Renewal, Integral Evangelization]
sa pagkalinga sa kapwa [Care / Service for Neighbor]
sa pagpapahalaga sa iba’t ibang kultura at pananam-
palataya [Inculturated Church, Inter-Religious Dialogue],
sa pagmamahal sa kalikasan [Care for the Environment]
sa paggalang sa lahat ng nilikha [Concern for all Creation].
sa pakikipagdayalogo tungo sa kapayapan [Dialogue for
at sa pag-aaral upang maunawaan ang mga tanda ng
ng panahon [Discerning the Signs of the Times]
The above 2008 Archdiocesan Vision-Mission Statement is a re-echo of PCP-II. Thus in English:
We, the faithful [Lay, Religious, and Clergy]
in the Archdiocese of Cotabato envision ourselves
to be a truly united Church,
rooted in Christ,
pro-God and pro-poor,
a firmly committed disciple-community
that is participatory.
We shall journey towards this vision
through the building of Basic Ecclesial Communities that credibly work for and witness to:
Integral renewal and integral evangelization;
Care for others [particularly the poor];
Respect for other cultures and religious beliefs;
Love [care] for the environment;
Respect for the rest of creation;
Dialogue for peace; and
On-going discernment of the signs of the times.
Some Observations: Continuity of Vision - Mission
- Similarities of Vision
· Church of the Poor
· Inculturated Church
· Participatory Church
· Authentic Discipleship
- Similarities of Mission:
· Building BEC
· Peace and Dialogue for Peace
- Dissimilarities of Vision-Mission:
· Integral Evangelization – 2000 Mission; 2008 Vision
· 2008 Vision - Rootedness in Christ, pro-God, concern for Environment (implied in 2000 Mission)
· 2000 Mission – Family as Focal Point of Evangelization, Faith Formation, Justice, Peace, Development, Reconciliation, Orienting all Pastoral Programs to Vision-Mission
· 2008 Mission – Respect/Service to Neighbor (implies justice, peace, development, reconciliation
· Emphasis in the 2008 Vision-Mission on the crucial element of discerning the signs of the times.
Comment: Do we have here a break from the 2000 Vision-Vision? Or do we consider the absence of the major emphasis on Family and Faith Formation in the 2008 Mission as implied and perhaps part of the Strategic Plan that is still to come? I think this is the case.
C. Our work at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly:
· Proclaim and celebrate the final Archdiocesan Vision-Mission
· Priority and Goal Setting at the Archdiocesan level
D. Priority Areas:
A new process:
From what I observe the whole archdiocese was involved in discerning pastoral priorities in the light of the draft vision-mission of the archdiocese and in the light of their parish socio-economic, political, religious and cultural situation (environmental scanning). This took place in several community gatherings at the BEC level to the parish. The process of discernment is similar to that of 2000 prioritizing: from grassroots to the top. However for the 2000 vision, the grassroots participated only through their delegates to the APA. For the 2008 vision-mission prioritizing, the delegates brought with them the results of the prioritizing already done at the grassroots. This is a more reliable and more participatory. More reliable because at APA we are certain of the thinking of the grassroots regarding the priorities they desire.
The process consisted in answering a question which I understand to be the following: “Based on the draft vision-mission statement of the Archdiocese and on environmental scanning, what would your parish consider as the first pastoral priority?” The following are the collated answers:
Kaming mga mananampalataya sa Arkidiyoses ng Cotabato:
· ay naghahangad ng nagkakaisang Simbahan -- 5 parishes
· totoong maka-Diyos -- 5 parishes
· may aktibong partisipasyong ang lahat -- 5 parishes
· may matatag na pananalig at paninindigan -- 5 parishes
· pag-aaral upang maunawaan and mga
tanda ng panahon -- 4 parishes
· bukas sa pagbabago at aktibo sa bawat
aspeto ng buhay -- 3 parishes
· nakaugat kay Kristo -- 2 parishes
· nagpapahalaga sa iba’t ibang kultura
at pananampalataya -- 1 parish
· pagtataguyod ng Mumunting Pamayanan -- 1 parish
· nagmamahal sa kalikasan -- 1 parish
· nakikipagdayalogo tungo sa kapayapaan -- 1 parish
If we study the above, we see that priorities have been made by the parishes on various elements of the vision-mission statement. Some are priorities in the vision (those in bold); others are priorities in the mission (italicized).
On the other hand, pastoral prioritizing the 2000 APA was mainly on the elements of mission (e.g, Building BEC, faith formation, family as pastoral focal point, justice, peace, development work, inter-religious dialogue, orienting all pastoral programs toward the vision-mission statement, etc.
It also seems to me that the 2008 priorities both in the vision and mission elements indicate a picture more of the parish desire than of the desire of the Archdiocese. This has to be so because environmental scanning for the Archdiocese is necessarily different from particular parishes. For instance, Pikit with its Muslim-Christian population would have a different priority from that of Langgal-Gapok with its problems of environment. The Archdiocesan vision-mission would have to consider these two priorities in its over-all perspective but the priority given to these two elements might be different at the Archdiocesan level.
Therefore, an archdiocesan vision-mission statement does not intend to tell each parish what pastoral priority it should have. For instance the element, “Isasakatuparan namin ito sa pamagitan ng pagtataguyod ng Mumunting Pamayanan” - even if only one parish selected it as its first priority, it remains as a fundamental element of the Archdiocesan Vision-Mission. Other parishes have their own priorities. They tell more of the desire of individual parishes than of the Archdiocesan desire. That is the way I would understand the collated priorities.
In addition, even if only five parishes chose “kami’y naghahangad ng nagkaisang Simbahan” as their first priority, one can hardly use less than one fifth of the parishes as expressing the desire of all the 28 parishes of the Archdiocese. 23 parishes did not choose this as their first priority. And yet I am sure that the aspiration to be One Church is the general desire of all the parishes.
Further, one element of the Vision-Mission is “kami’y nakaugat kay Kristo.” We all know that the Church comes from Christ and has to be rooted in Christ. In another image, Christ said, “I am the Vine, you are the branches.” Cut off from the vine, the branch has no life. Therefore, rootedness in Christ is fundamental for the whole community, the Archdiocese, to be an authentic disciple of Christ. Yet only two parishes made this as their first pastoral priority. It means that at the moment it is their most felt-need.
E. Archdiocesan Priorities
At the Archdiocesan level, I suggest the first three priorities of the Archdiocese based on my pastoral visitation to different parishes:
1. the need for more active, more participatory, more evangelizing Basic Ecclesial Communities with more effective trained lay leaders (element no. 10 of the Vision-Mission Statement).
2. The need for more and better faith formation of members of Basic Ecclesial Communities as implied by element nos. 3 to 7 and 11 of the Vision-Mission Satement, naka-ugat kay Kristo, maka-Diyos, maka-maralita, may aktibong partisipasyon, may matatag na pananalig at paninindigan, bukas sa pagbabago at aktibo sa bawat aspeto ng buhay.
3. Need for better and more effective social services for farmers and indigenous peoples in so far as the Church could provide, networking with the government and non-government organizations (see elements nos. 5 and 12, maka-maralita, buhay na sumasaksi sa pagkalinga sa kapwa).
F. Recommendations on Handling Pastoral Priorities
Finally, what should we do with all the priorities identified?
Regarding how to handle them, these are my recommendations:
1. Let each parish use the priorities it has chosen or will choose for its pastoral strategic planning;
2. At the Archdiocesan level let all the Archdiocesan pastoral program and APT consider in their own pastoral strategic planning the main pastoral priorities that the parishes have expressed.
3. Let all the pastoral programs at the pastoral level be ready to serve the different parishes in meeting their own parish priorities.
4. The pastoral priorities at the level of the archdiocese are common objectives for all the parishes. Let all the parishes move as One Church towards meeting these priorities (e.g., the three priorities I have mentioned above). This would be one concrete meaning of Isang Simbahan, Isang Pangarap.
This is what I have done in this reflection:
1. I have provided a theological basis for the theme of APA, Isang Simbahan, Isang Pangarap.
2. I have shown a continuity as well as a dissimilarity between the 2000 Archdiocesan Vision-Mission Statement and the 2008 Statement. Continuity means that the environmental scanning done for both APA was valid. Dissimilarity means that there have been new insights from the process of discernment on the pastoral situation.
3. Finally I have recommended several ways by which the priorities may be handled, both at the parish level and also at the level of the Archdiocese, i.e., Parish priorities and Archdiocesan (common) priorities.
I thank you most deeply for your participation. Thank you.
+Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I.
VI Archdiocesan Pastoral AssemblyTamontaka
May 28, 2008