Card Tagle attended the launch of the website as part of the celebrations for the Extraordinary Missionary Month. The latter describes itself as a Catholic community “guided by the example of our patron, Saint John Paul II, a champion to answer the call for new evangelization.” For PIME missionary, the new social platforms are the new frontier to proclaim the Gospel.
Manila (AsiaNews) – The latest initiative of the Office for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation (OPNE) of the Archdiocese of Manila is Dominus Est, a new website to share stories and testimonies and encourage the faithful to lead a life of missionary disciples.
Last Friday, Card Luis Antonio Cardinal Gokim Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, led the website’s inauguration (pictured) as part of the celebrations for the Extraordinary Missionary Month at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City, south of Manila.
Dominus Est means “It is the Lord!” (Jn 21:7). It is also Card Tagle’s episcopal motto. The website will present visitors with stories about churches, saints, priests, nuns, organisations and "different faces of faith", under the supervision of OPNE chief Fr Jason H. Laguerta.
The website reads: “We are a Catholic community inspired to share with you our love for Christ and all the cool things we are learning as we grow in our love for the Lord. We are guided by the example of our patron, Saint John Paul II, a champion to answer the call for new evangelization.”
To reach the largest number of users and make the most of new forms of communication, the Archdiocese of Manila has launched Dominus Est on its main social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube).
Fr Simone Caelli, a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in the Philippines for the past nine years, told AsiaNews that initiatives like this are useful to proclaim the Gospel.
Since September 2018, he has been the pastor of Mary Queen of Apostles Church in Parañaque City (Metro Manila). "For the Church, it is important to be present on social platforms, which have become a new frontier for evangelisation in the modern world.” In fact, “More and more Filipino priests and nuns use them to distribute religious material and post Sunday comments.” And “The faithful greatly appreciate this new form of promotion of the faith.
“Obviously, alone this is not enough. Human contact is necessary, a relationship that comes from a real encounter. This is always the ultimate goal.” Nevertheless, “In the Philippines, as in much of the world, the new forms of social communication are all-pervasive. I also use them to promote parish events and news, as well as PIME and universal Church initiatives. Here at Mary Queen of the Apostles we are setting up a group to make short films about liturgical events and parish activities to be posted online.”
The Philippines is the fifth largest Christian country in the world and the first in Southeast Asia. However, for Fr Caelli, it is important to continue the evangelising effort. "Although around 80 per cent of the population claims to be Catholic and the Church is preparing to celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021, the Gospel has yet to penetrate deeply into the local culture. There are some gaps between the deep devotion of the people and certain daily choices,” he noted.
"One of the limits I find in evangelisation in the Philippines is represented by the traditional structure of parishes, which is cumbersome and can sometimes limit missionary action, because the faithful are very demanding and priests are limited by their demands. Priests do what they can but sometimes going further is difficult.
"There is a lot of education, many meetings at the diocesan level, but it is difficult to reach those who are not already part of the community. Some sects, more or less Christian, are growing in number because they manage to attract Catholics thanks to their ability to make them feel more welcomed.”