Fr. Rene B. Candelaria, CICM, presented his thesis to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Maryhill School of Theology (MST) on August 30, 1999, for the Degree of Masters in Pastoral Ministry. Below is the Abstract of his thesis entitled MISSION AWARENESS IN SAN PEDRO BAUTISTA PARISH.
I was involved in the San Pedro Bautista Parish. I was there as part of the formation program of the CICM-Asia Regional Formation Community. I learned that the parish has a five-year plan concerning various aspects of parish life. One of the priorities was fostering mission awareness among the parishioners. I was surprised to know that this priority has not yet been touched. I came up with a proposed formation module for this purpose of fostering mission awareness.
After considering much about parish situation, I tried to reflect on what the Church has to say about mission. I took inspiration from various sources. I took two conciliar documents that stress on respect for other religious and the missionary responsibilities of the people of God.
Two encyclicals (Evangelii Nuntiandi and Redemptoris Mission) were used to trace the further development after the conciliar documents.
The Plenary Council of the Philippines speaks little about mission. The Council envisions the Church as favoring the poor. This may be the vision of mission in the Philippines.
Michael Amaladoss talks of mission as a threefold dialogue with the realities in Asia. These threefold realities were the rich cultures in Asia. Asia’s ancient and great religions and the poor of Asia. He also sees other means of doing mission. He states that mission has to repond to a moral and spiritual crisis. This would be the future of mission.
After a look in the situation of the parish and reflecting on Church documents about mission, I now embark on a difficult task of applying the reflection n mission upon the situation of the parish. Through a proposed module, I tried to enhance and to renew the the awareness of the people towards mission. The first part of the module is a practice of awareness on what is happening in the parish. After this part, I discuss the reflections I gathered from selected readings about mission coming from Church documents. The third part is the concretization of the reflection on mission in the life of the parish. There are a lot of things that can be done in the level of the parish about mission. Talks given by cross-cultural missionaries, mission exhibits, cultural presentation, inviting believers of other religions to prayers for unity and other occasions are just few of the ways that we can foster mission awareness in the San Pedro Bautista Parish.
Much of the things I have discussed depend much on the laity. They cannot rely much on their parish priests, seminarians, religious sisters. They are given much responsibility to help. We need proper formation and guidance for the laity to be effective in contributing to the missionary activity of the Church.