07/04/2022, 14.56
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A bishop for Philippine migrants in the world

More than 200 bishops, priests and lay people gathered in Tagaytay City for the last phase of the National Synodal Consultation called for by Pope Francis. Meanwhile, the Bishops' Conference plans to discuss a proposal to ask the Vatican to set up a "personal prelature” for 10 million Filipinos who work outside the country.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The synodal journey Pope Francis called for has reached its final phase in the Philippines.

Starting today until Thursday, some 200 bishops, priests and lay delegates from all the dioceses will meet in Tagaytay City, south of Manila, for the last phase of the National Synodal Comsultation to collect all the reflections made locally and elaborate a synthesis to be sent to Rome for the Synodal Assembly of October 2023, which will bring together the bishops of the whole world.

In his opening address, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, who is president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, called on the Philippine Church to take the opportunity of the Synod to leave the Upper Room and "open its doors", especially to the poor and the marginalised.

“Our method for this assembly is drawn from this Gospel text: look, listen and love (a more evangelical way of saying see, judge and act),” Bishop David said.

“Throughout this synod, we will take time to look closely and acknowledge our fears, our wounds and our blinders, to listen attentively, to sort out the many discordant voices that we hear, and to discern those that lead us to peace, joy, and healing.”

In doing so, “We will identify the doors that need to be opened so that we can go forward together on the way, the way of Love, the way of Jesus, the way of the cross and resurrection.”

“This synod has allowed us to name the many chasms or gaps that have kept us apart in the very unequal societies that we have built in this modern world.

“The good news is [that] the gaps that Abraham described as unbridgeable can now be crossed over by our greatest bridge-builder. For through his cross, through his passion and death, he has allowed himself to become ‘like a bridge over troubled waters’.”

“This is how the Church, both local and universal, is invited to participate in the mission.”

Following the Synodal Assembly, Philippine bishops will also discuss how to build bridges to shorten distances at their plenary assembly next Saturday.

This will include presenting the Vatican with a proposal, two years in the making, to set up a “personal prelature” for Philippine migrants in the world.

The Philippine Church would like to see the pastoral care of the Filipinos who left the country to work abroad – some 10 million or almost 10 per cent of the population – entrusted to a Philippine bishop.

This special “borderless diocese” would have its own properly trained clergy and would follow Philippine migrants wherever they are in the world.

If the bishops approve such proposal and the Vatican agrees to it, it would be the first institution of its kind in the Catholic Church.

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