Daejeon (AsiaNews) - The Church of Asia, which includes many distinct communities and groups, "should not focus too much on numbers and statistics," said Card Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila. "Instead, it should bear witness, even where it is small, to its love for Christ and the Gospel. Francis has called upon us to be more and more missionary, pushing to engage non-believers in dialogue, whilst remaining Christian, especially in words and deeds," he told AsiaNews, just before the closing Mass of the Sixth Asian Youth Day in Daejeon, South Korea.
"The pope gave us a jolt, reminding us that our first priority is about the sense of mission especially vis-à-vis non-believers," said the prelate, who attended this morning's meeting between the pope and Asian bishops at the Haemi shrine.
Indeed, "The Asian Church is a living Church, which draws its lifeblood and energy from the Gospel and the desire to communicate it to those who do not know it. Numbers are not the important thing, the important thing is witness."
"We must," said the bishop, who heads one of the world's most dynamic Asian dioceses, "always express our closeness to the people, understood in its broadest sense possible, and set a good example, continuing to move forward with the light and the joy of the Gospel."
"Through his daily mission, the pope reminded and reminds us about it. Our task is to carry out his message, and become again, every day, more and more, missionary in and for Asia."