The “Pista ng Misyon” was like a heaven on earth celebration participated by 8,300 people from different Dioceses in Pasay City’s Cuneta Astrodome on October 18, 2019. Everybody had their own glorious expressions of thanksgiving to God’s gift of mission through singing, dancing, theatrical acting, processions, games, appreciation of each other’s presence including bishops, clergy, consecrated persons, and lay people from very young age up to very advanced ones.
The festive gathering with the theme, “Baptized and Sent” was within the context of the October 2019 Extraordinary Missionary Month, announced by Pope Francis to mark the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud. This Church document speaks of the Propagation of the Faith throughout the World.
One of the highlights of the celebration was the talk show on Usapang Misyon, Kunsumisyon at Misyonhosted by His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. The guest celebrity couple Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes shared about their mission on how to raise their children in good faith and values, on how to serve each other as husband and wife, and on how to serve well in their respective involvement and advocacies such as values oriented films, education and youth empowerment, children cleft surgery and little or midget people. Another actress, Cherry Pie Picache gladly shared her mission as a good mother to her 17-year old son as she continues to assist him to find his identity. She too told the assembly about her engagement in some advocacies and ministries on women and children harassments, children in conflict with the law, prison, and anti-death penalty. As part of her prison ministry program, she personally expressed her forgiveness to the person who murdered her mother.
The charismatic Cardinal picked up the celebrities’ testimonies in his homily during the concluding Mass when he said, “Bawat binyagan ay hindi lamang kasama ni Kristo sa bagong buhay, kundi bawat binyagan ay isinusugo sa misyon.”He even extended some necessary requirements for growth in one’s mission by reiterating what Pope Francis shared on the Extraordinary Missionary Month: Mission as Personal Encounter with Christ; Mission as a Witnessing to Christ; Mission of Charity; Mission Together. After his homily, the Cardinal officiated the commissioning of the new 150 Catechists of the Archdiocese of Manila.
As Missionaries of Social Communications, the 30 Daughters of Saint Paul who took part in this festival were re-empowered and renewed in their calling to propagate faith to world. Each of them went home with deep happiness in their heart. A “take away” joy that refueled their passion to live more and to give more Jesus Master to the world. – Sr. Gemmaria de la Cruz, FSP