Manila (AsiaNews) - "Take your inspiration from the example of the apostle Paul, and be witnesses of Christ among all the nations of the earth" that you meet along your way. This is the invitation that the Filipino bishops' conference (CBCP) has addressed to workers abroad, asking them to proclaim the word of God following in the footsteps of the apostle.
Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the CBCP, stresses the opportunity given to each Christian to be a "witness of the Gospel", with special emphasis on "those who work abroad" and who through their faith spread the message of salvation. These workers "can draw a lot of inspiration from the Apostle Paul, who took every opportunity, each time he came into contact with people of other nations, to witness to the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ, often even at the price of so much suffering, persecution, and imprisonment". For this reason, he invites the faithful, on the occasion of the celebrations for the Pauline Year, to "imitate the figure of this Saint, who loved Jesus Christ completely and was his witness" to the point of martyrdom.
This exhortation to follow in the footsteps of the Saint is addressed not only to those who work abroad, but also to those living in the Philippines: "We call upon all dioceses to come up with their own specific programs for the Pauline Year. The bishops can designate churches dedicated to St. Paul where the faithful can go on pilgrimage and earn the gift of indulgences after following the requirements of the Church. We call upon Bible scholars to help us appreciate the Pauline letters, the most precious legacy of the Apostle to the Church".
The president of the Filipino bishops' conference finally invites all religious institutes dedicated to the apostle to promote "special initiatives" aimed at spreading among the people greater understanding and love of Saint Paul, whose life "was entirely directed toward the Saviour", according to his famous saying, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ".
There are about 12 million Filipinos living abroad. Many of them work in the Middle East, China, and India.