Secularism and Globalization

The following is the reflection offered by Sister Mila Penaranda, OND on Friday, November 12 the last of the module facilitated by Father Eliseo ‘Jun’ Mercado, OMI on Mission as Dialogue with the Secularized World.


Good Morning people of the secularized and globalized world!

Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI - resource person

This is our last day of the course and we thank you Fr. Jun for opening our horizons to the world of secularism and globalization, for giving us a new lens to view “terra incognita” and for introducing us to your “saints” John Lennon and John A.T. Robinson, which enabled us to see a new image of the sacred and the profane, from the cosmos and chaos, to a one global planet and to a God of the market, a God of the secularized and globalized universe.

But of course, the task ahead is not easy. We need to have a profound sense of optimism for a radical deconstruction of our antiquated image of God, a reconstruction of the erroneous interpretation of the faith imposed on us by the Roman Empire some thousand years ago, and to be in touch and in dialogue with the world stained with brokenness, poverty, hunger, and discrimination, before we realize that we are already “dead”.

We have to keep ourselves abreast of the new cosmology. From cosmogenesis to biogenesis, from the Palaeozoic Era to the Ecozoic Era to have a wholistic understanding of the whole cosmos and its interconnectedness, realizing that we are the late comers and that we have no right to be superior over the other creatures. But the 11th hour (movie) mirrored to us how humanity have caused so much destruction to our planet earth.

Fr. Jun has also extensively revealed to us the advantages and disadvantages of globalization, but as he said, Christianity should not be threatened by this phenomenon, lest it become “dead, ready to be buried,” instead they should be faced as challenges for engagements, engagements in new paradigms and new and creative ways of ministering. Let us not be content with a God imprisoned in the walls of the Roman structures. Let us not be confined to the celebration of the seven sacraments but be open to the possibility and inclusivity of the 77 x 7 sacraments of the world.

In two weeks time we will be back to our own places. We will be back to the reality of secularism and globalism. We might be facing gigantic tasks of the corporate social responsibilities, but let’s not forget the principle that all enormous bounds always begin with a single step. In our own little ways, in our capacities, we take one step at a time but with an enduring burning spirit.

St. John in the first reading today (2 Jn 4-9) teaches a new commandment of love which is rooted in the teachings of Christ. An embracive love for the whole cosmic world. In the Gospel, St. Luke (17:26-37) speaks about the day of the Son of Man. He said, “It will be like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” A revelation of a cosmic God of the whole cosmos where there are no more walls, no boundaries but one world where all will live in peace and harmony. Amen.


Mary’s Mission in the Church Today

By Therry Salatum of PNG

The relationship between the Church and the Virgin assumed into heaven is stressed in Lumen Gentium: “In the meantime, the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and the beginning of the church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines forth on earth until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God”.

When the Assumption was declared a dogma of faith in 1950, many people feared that it might be another major block to Christian unity. Ironically, it was the Protestant psychiatrist Carl Jung who saw this as the most important religious event in 400 years.

Jung felt that a materialistic world view combined with the progress of science and technology endangered the spiritual heritage of human kind. The church, he said, needed a feminine symbol and “the feminine, like the masculine demands an equally personal representation.”

He realized that the newly discovered consciousness of the dignity of women must be consciously recognized and given symbolic statement. He even called Mary the “fourth person of the Trinity.”

Jung is not making a theological statement here, nor is he incorporating Mary in the Godhead.  He is concern with the fact that by raising the feminine (often projected as a symbol of evil) to the level of the divine, the church was making a powerful symbolic statement.  To see the woman Mary crowned and glorious in heaven was to see the feminine in a new light.

In the past two centuries that have experienced terrible wars, massive destruction of human life and of centres of civilization, the exploitation of our ecology, and the constant threat of nuclear war, the Catholic Church has affirmed that, in a woman, Mary, the mother of God, ultimate meaning for the whole of reality is already realized.

We feel helpless in the midst of the poverty, famine, and oppression that brings untimely death to millions of women, men and children, but lives that have been snuffed out by starvation, disease and violence will be transformed in the unimaginable glory of God.

And so to us the 21st century disciples of the Lord where is the challenge for us? The challenge I believe lies open before us through the signs of times which have presented to us situations of great human sufferings that are calling us to draw from our deep reservoir of creative energy to networking for solidarity with the suffering humanity as well as caring for our planet earth.

Mary the first disciple of the Lord was not someone who feels helpless in situations of great need and remains limp and helpless with out taking initiative to bring hope into such situations. No, she was a woman of hope who was convinced and believed in the power of God’s indwelling spirit in her life and in the lives of others too, and so she responded in faith to collaborate with God’s Spirit in bringing hope & new life to another or others.

The clear examples of such initiatives are the visitation to her cousin Elizabeth and again at the wedding feast in Cana where she communicated the need of the couple to Jesus and so the impossible became possible for all who were present at that wedding feast.

I want to end this document on Mary’s mission in the church today by saying that Carl Jung was theologically right to situate Mary as the fourth person in that ‘Circle of the Trinity’ because in reality she was a disciple who lived the ‘mission of dialogue’ in her time. She listened like a disciple to real life situations of her world and in turn dialogued about that with the spirit alive within her and out of that circle of dialogue with the breath of that Spirit blowing through and empowering her she went forth on mission as God’s bearer of peace, hope and new life to those on the margins of her society.

She is the virgin made church who witnesses to us what our role is in this Secular World where ‘real dialogue with a real world’ is the new bridge of hope for mission today.


By Milagrosa, FLARE

Last October 18-22, 2010 at the EUNTES FORMATION CENTER, Sinunuc Zamboanga City, we the 17 participants had a workshop on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) – New way of being a Church. The topic was given by the Bishop of Pagadian Diocese. Bishop Emmanuel Cabajar, C.Ss.R. DD.

Bp. Manny Cabajar, DD of Pagadian City

In his introduction Bishop Manny he presented one verse from the gospel of Luke 4: 43: “But he (Jesus) said to them, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.’ After giving his view point from the gospel he proceeded to touch the Asian context.

He noted how building up BEC is very important in relation to the Asian context in. “Family solidarity is seen as a source of strength. Although tensions and violent conflict exist, Asia also has a great capacity for accommodation and openness to mutual cultural and religion enrichment”.

Then, he followed up by considering the various economic, political, cultural situations and the Religious dimension. Considering the building the new way of being Church, he emphasizes the challenges of Vatican II as well as the challenges of Liberation Theology and the teachings of FABC.

In order for us to share our own experience and our understanding of building BEC he gave us group work.

The following were the questions he gave us: How will you start building and organizing BEC?  How will you go about it?  What will be the rationale?

In this way he tried to have us put into practice communion (Koinonia) while pointing out the importance of the 3 elements needed in building BEC, thais, Evangelizing, Organizing, and Mobilizing the Church.

He emphasized also the 3 levels of developing BEC: Liturgical focus on worship, Developmental response to the Economic needs, Liberational needs to transform the structural system.

To get in touch with the real situation we watched the movie “Sr. Estella L” which is focused on conversion from understanding to commitment, something very related to our topic. There is need of so much conversion and understanding in implementing Basic Ecclesial Communities. The movie re-enforced a lot of activities which are called liberational, a church living communion so that people participate, especially people in the margins.

A new way of being Church is a missionary church and is a faithful witness to the Risen Lord. Every local church and each of the members is sent to preach the word of God. To be in Asia is to be committed to dialogue not only in ideas but also in life, in faith experience, and of values. Since dialogue promotes understanding, openness, respect and humility, we can live in friendship as true partners as Christians. The topic was very interesting and very enriching especially because the  facilitator shared a lot of his personal experiences and that is the best way to learn.

Thailands’ Day

At the beginning of the Euntes course the participants are given a ‘Proposed Guide for Country’s Creative Presentation’.Main Purpose of the Presentation: To understand the different concerns of mission, appreciate the richness of Asia-Pacific cultures and learn the ways of inter-connectedness in the spirit of renewed mission.

Participants from the same country get together and prepare the program that can take the whole morning followed by a ‘Socialization Night’ after supper. The following pictures are part of the Thailands’ Day celebrated on Saturday, October 9, 2010.

(Slide show of some photos below)

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More on Mission Spirituality

By Milagrosa, FLARE

One of our topics in Euntes journey was Mission Spirituality it was facilitated by Fr. Simone Caelli, PIME, Staff Member.

Last September 6-10, 2010, we the 17 participants were excited about the new module on Mission Spirituality. There are many things new for us to learn about the topic. The module proved very interesting because the facilitator told us that he did not plan to give long input. We would watch a movie everyday to have more visual and to discover the realities of our personal experiences as to how mission spirituality developed in our own life.

Fr. Simone Caelli, PIME

In his introduction he shared with us the fact that mission spirituality has something to do on our formation in the family. He gave us reflection questions which we discussed and shared on in four groups.

The questions were: What is your understanding of Mission Spirituality? What are the negative and positive features of your culture? What are those features that can help you being together in Euntes journey?

The questions were answered only by digging-up our experience and taking-out our roots in our family and especially reflecting on our own history, culture and traditions

We discovered many things from our family and we found out that we develop and nourish our spirituality by witnessing the words and deeds of our parents.

In order for us to relate more to the reality, we watched movies like Anak and Tanging Yaman in which we were able to identify the elements of spirituality and relating it to our own understanding of mission spirituality. The movies showed us how to embrace our spirituality and to preserve values of being one in the family. Both movies were challenging because we learned how parents are often forced to leave their children to find means and ways so that they can provide for the needs of their family.

Because of family brokenness and disunity, barriers arise and block the development of its members as whole persons. However, the experience of brokenness and disunity can become the source of unity and love. Dialogue for reconciliation and forgiving is possible.

We know that when there are shadows there are also lights. When there is forgiveness and reconciliation there is real witnessing and proclaiming of the good news. Reconciliation is coming from God and leads to God. Being partners in God’s mission we can’t survive in our service unless we get the strength we need by embracing the love of God especially in the Eucharist. Because the Eucharist is the source and summit of all Christian life, it can nourish our life and renew our mission spirit.

After the activity Fr. Simone gave us a biblical and historical foundation on how Mission Spirituality can be developed. He also spoke about the role of the Trinitarian spirit that becomes the source of our faith, giving us strength in our being church today. Our mission is a communitarian mission and the Trinitarian spirituality is the source of our faith and strength.

How can we become effective partners in God’s mission? We can become effective change agents only if we embrace the Trinitarian Spirituality, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


At the beginning of the Euntes course the participants are given a ‘Proposed Guide for Country’s Creative Presentation’.Main Purpose of the Presentation: To understand the different concerns of mission, appreciate the richness of Asia-Pacific cultures and learn the ways of inter-connectedness in the spirit of renewed mission.

Participants from the same country get together and prepare the program that can take the whole morning followed by a ‘Socialization Night’ after supper. The following pictures are part of the USA Day celebrated on Saturday, September 25, 2010.

(Slide Show of some photos)

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By:  Evar Ortega 



This is the approach that Fr. Oui and I have decided on, for us to become effective missionaries towards organizing indigenous peoples as our way of participating in building God’s kingdom. We begin by immersion, to the PDOMES—poor, deprived, oppressed, marginalized, exploited and suffering. 

From left: Evar, Fr. Giulio, Fr. Peter Geremia the resource person on Mission with the IPs and Vince

We defined immersion in four points of view. Living, witnessing, being and experiencing life with them. What does it mean living with them? Living simply means to settle or to coexist with them and becoming part of their lives, perhaps sleeping in the place where they sleep, eat in the way they eat, eating what they eat and, most of all, living in the way they are living their lives.

However, we know immersion is not enough. Immersion must go beyond towards witnessing. Simply living with them is not enough; rather, living must also become witnessing on how they survived and lived their lives. There must be a critical outlook that in a way that brings us to admit that we are learning from them.

We should not be blinded and deafened to the point of not hearing and seeing their struggles, yes, seeing and hearing their cries for justice and equality.

And this will lead us then towards being with them. What does that mean? Being with them is to be in solidarity, being one with them in all their struggles, pains and sacrifices.

So then, their struggles are not just theirs anymore…we become part of their struggles as they become part of our lives and their struggles are also ours.

In that view we are not just living, witnessing and being with them; in ultimate analysis we are making an experience.

We believe that after we make all these experiences, we can now be considered genuine and authentic missionary to the Indigenous People.

Our outlook now becomes wider, our persons now becomes integral, we become aware and know what it means to be poor, deprived, oppressed marginalized, exploited and suffering because we are also deprived and poor.

What is worth pondering in their way of life is that they are happy thus inviting rich people to learn from them. “Evangelizare pauperibus et a pauperibus evangelizare”. To evangelize the poor and to be evangelized by the poor.

Our rich experiences should lead us to understand its significance and implications. How? We will look at and evaluate our experiences in the context of social, political, economic, cultural, ecological and spiritual dimensions.  After a thorough understanding, invite all concerned to come into a community consensus bringing each view of how they look at things and open a venue for dialogue and discussion. Then, coming into judgment and decision of what are the legal and necessary means to become effective in the service of God and humankind.

So we placed community consensus in the figure above at the middle between immersion and understanding to show that the center of all our endeavors is the community and not ourselves. Everything should lead us then towards action. The most important thing is to actualize, to move from static towards dynamism otherwise if all of these do not lead us into action it reduces us to mere existence and to a shallow compliance of externalities and pure murmurs of secularisms.

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