Desirous to fulfill our divine commission “to preach the Gospel to every creature,” we, the Catholic Hierarchy of the Philippines, herewith declare our firm determination to share the light of the Faith with our less fortunate neighbors. It is our conviction that we as a Christian Nation have reached a mature stage in our four centuries of development and that we are prepared to assume the responsibilities of such maturity. We, therefore, proclaim officially our intention to undertake a national effort to orient our people to the Missions. To achieve this and to express in the concrete our gratitude to God for the gift of our Faith we will organize the Foreign Missions Society of the Philippines.
Simultaneous with the Fourth Centennial Celebration of our Birth as a Christian Nation in 1965, we will found this Society and lay the cornerstone of its seminary in Cebu. Its official Patron will be the same Child Jesus whose image will be canonically crowned during the Celebration. To be composed, first of all, of diocesan priests, the Foreign Mission Society of the Philippines will eventually embrace, we hope, a brotherhood, a sisterhood, and a lay missionary counterpart. The Society will accept Full Members and Associate Members, these later to be loaned and aided for a time by a Diocese. Mindful of the particular needs and traits of our people, we will adopt a mode of missionary formation and a Constitution expressive of the genius of Christian Filipino soul.
The founding of a Mission Society in the Philippines is a serious step in our history as a Christian country. It deserves the best of our generosity, our dedication, and our zeal. We appeal to our clergy and faithful to cooperate with this missionary movement of ours and, if it be the Divine Will, to consider volunteering for the Foreign Missions. We ask the Diocesan Directors of the Propagation of the Faith to campaign for possible mission vocations in their respective dioceses. We urge all to pray for the success of this our missionary effort and to sustain it with generous alms.
Let our whole-hearted support for this National Mission Society indicate the profound gratitude we owe Almighty God for giving us and preserving for us the Christian Faith these past four centuries. Let it bear witness to the maturity we have attained as a Christian Nation — one ready and willing to assume its full commitment to share with others the Faith we have so bountifully received.
For the Catholic Hierarchy of the Philippines:
(Sgd.)+JULIO R. ROSALES
Archbishop of Cebu
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