ISA Assists in Launching Anawim Mission

A very significant and historic event took place on April 6, 2018 with the formal launch of  Anawin Mission at the Romano Hall, National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Baclaran, Paranaque City.

Mission is an ecumenical group of the different Christian churches – Catholics, mainline Protestant churches belonging to the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), and Evangelical churches belonging to the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC). 

Its primary objective is to facilitate the empowerment of the poor and to reinforce God’s mission to liberate them.

The Institute of Spirituality in Asia (ISA) serves as part of the Secretariat of ANAWIN Mission, named after the poor of Biblical times.

At the launch ISA Executive Director Fr. Rico Ponce, O.Carm.,Ph.D. co-convenor of the group,  recalled its origins.

The launch was part of an ecumenical forum with the religious and the laity, including the urban poor and the indigenous peoples (Lumads) of Mindanao.  Fr. Carlos Ronquillo, CSsR., rector of Baclaran  Church of the Redemptorists,  welcomed the participants.

Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio J.  Ledesma, S.J., D.D., Chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Ecumenical Commission on Mutual Relations, and Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iniguez of the Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum (EBF) graced the occasion by their messages challenging the participants to get involved with Anawin Mission. Atty. Jojo Lacanilao of the Council of Leaders gave the message on behalf of the PCEC.

Bishop Pablo David, D.D. of the Diocese of Kalookan gave a very touching and impressive presentation on how Anawin Mission is derived from the vision and mission of Christ to bring  God’s Good News to the poor and the fullness of life to the deprived.

Bishop David’s insights received comments from a panel composed of ISA Assistant Academic Dean Marissa Cos Alcantara, Rev. Irma Balaba of NCCP, Prof. Nestor Revilas, Ph.D of Penuel School of Theology (PST).

In the afternoon, Rev. Luna Dingayan, Ph.D., Dean of the Ecumenical Theological Seminary (ETS) gave a Biblico-Theological Reflection on Anawim. He emphasized the importance of listening to the cry of the poor.

Pastor Aldrin Penamora, Ph.D. co-convenor and the PCEC Executive Director for Justice, Peace and Reconciliation synthesized the major points that transpired in the whole day gathering. It was followed by the presentation of the Orientation Paper of Anawim Mission by Prof. Alvin Jimenez, Ph.D. of Peneul School of Theology. Rev. Fr. Dionito  Cabillas of the Iglesia  Independiente Filipinas (IFI) discussed its Initial Plan of Action. Fr. Rico Ponce, O. Carm. presented the Council of Leaders of Anawim Mission while Bro. Noy Loyola of the Redemptorists Lay Mission Team presented the members of the Secretariat the general assembly.   

At the launch the participants were enlightened by theological reflections on Anawin and on mission.  They ended the event with a meaningful and touching ceremony by signing a “Statement of Unity.” They then formed a circle as a sign of unity, held hands, recited the Statement, and chose a committee where they can commit themselves to the new group.

Dr. Carmen Alviar