International Opening of the Continental Mission Year in Asia and Oceania
Published by Sis. Jackielou D. Foster, AMM in Delegation · 29 September 2022
Tags: Opening, Intercontinental, Year, Asia, Oceania
Tags: Opening, Intercontinental, Year, Asia, Oceania
MAKATI CITY, Philippines- Our mission as baptized Christians is to be disciples who make
disciples, and to continue the work of Jesus Christ on Earth. Jesus sent his first disciples to
continue his ministry and share the Word of God across the world. This tradition is still carried
on by the missionaries who travel to different nations spreading the Gospel and evangelize
people. The work of the missionaries is not limited to a single region, culture, or race. This was
also what St. Louis-Marie de Montfort did when he became a priest. Named as “Apostolic
Missionary” by Pope Clement XI, he spent the rest of his life preaching parish missions in
Western France. St. Louis-Marie de Montfort is known for his “True Devotion to the Blessed
Virgin”, which teaches that having a special and deep devotion to the Blessed Mother is a way
to attain union with Christ. Under the guidance of Mary, he preached Jesus Christ, especially to
the poor. It was with God and for God alone that he walked the roads of mission. This is the
legacy that St. Louis-Marie de Montfort left behind, and it is also how the Montfort
Missionaries all over the world continued his mission proclaiming Christ, the Eternal and
Incarnate Wisdom, to all, especially to the poor and suffering, leading them to a renewal of
Christian life committed to a very special love for Mary.
On this account, the Montfort Missionaries celebrated the International Opening of the
Continental Mission Year in Asia and Oceania last January 23, 2022 in Sta. Teresita Parish. Due
to the surge of COVID-19 cases and heightened level of restriction brought by the highly
transmissible Omicron variant, the authorities banned all forms of public gatherings, including
the celebration of the public Mass. It also prevented the General Councilors, headed by Rev. Fr.
Luiz Augusto Stefani, SMM, and the Superiors in the Asian and Oceanian entities to join us
physically in the celebration. The Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Novaliches, Most Rev.
Teodoro C. Bacani, Jr. D.D., presided the Eucharistic Celebration, together with the Montfort
priests in the Philippines headed by Rev. Fr. Norwyn V. Baydo, SMM. The procession of the CMY
flag and the flags of Asian and Oceanian entities from India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and
Philippines, had taken place before the Holy Mass.
Fr. Norwyn officially opened the Continental Mission Year of the Montfort Missionaries of Asia
and Oceania. In his opening statement, he said that the celebration of the Continental Mission
Year started since 2019 in America, 2020 in Europe, and 2021 in Africa & Madagascar. He noted
that the spirit of the Continental Mission Year of the Montfort in Asia and Oceania 2022 is
revealed in its theme: “Rise and Shine, Montfort in Asia and Oceania”. This year is dedicated to
empower the congregation through leadership and visibility in the service not only within its
own communities but most importantly to God’s people. It seeks to strengthen the two
continents in walking together in the spirit of the Montfortian brotherhood, as well as to
promote the movement to become more open to the possibility of enhancing collaborative
efforts among its missionary endeavors. Despite the darkness brought by the pandemic, this
animation should serve to encourage us all to rise and shine effectively by participating in the
mission to share the Montfortian spirituality everywhere we go. The Parish Priest of Sta.
Teresita Parish and the Animation Committee Head of CMY in the Philippines, Rev. Fr. Santiago
E. Casing, SMM, proceeded to explain the elements of the Continental Mission Year logo.
In his homily, Bishop Bacani emphasized the significance of the word “mission”. He said that it
was the primary reason of the coming of Jesus Christ, and that He was sent to proclaim the
gospel to the poor and evangelize them. Bishop Bacani pointed out that in order for us to live,
grow, and flourish, we must also go to the people and preach the Good News, for life is all
about movement. He then recalled the recent incident that went viral on several social media
platforms in which he collapsed while presiding over a Mass. When the incident occurred, the
bishop was holding the consecrated Host and uttered "Body of Christ" while it was being
livestreamed. Despite the difficulties, he was able to finish the Mass while seated. He explained
that he felt his knees trembling, which he attributed to the hunger he was experiencing at the
time. He admitted that fear had enveloped him and was extremely worried that he wouldn’t be
able to walk with his weak legs, but with the support and prayer of the people around him, he
was able to recover quickly and walk freely again.
Bishop Bacani spoke about the need of not becoming stagnant. Just like what he went through,
he was healed not only by helping himself, but also by the love and prayers of those around
him. No one is ever sent on a mission alone. In mission, we need and empower one another. As
we commemorate the Continental Mission Year, we should be courageous in carrying out our
mission just as Jesus sent his disciples to spread the Good News to the people. He also stated
that we shouldn’t be afraid to continue in doing missionary works because the Lord Jesus Christ
has promised us that He will be with us always, and the Blessed Mother is also with us, saying,
“You are my children and I am your Mother. Go as my Son tells you. Go and remain united with
Him and you will bear abundant fruit.” Bishop Bacani concluded his homily by wishing the
Montfortian community an abundance of fruit on this Continental Mission Year and may we not
only inspire more people to believe in Jesus, but also to encourage them to respond to the call
of priesthood and consecrated life.
Even though the General Council was unable to attend the celebration in person, a video
message of the Superior General of the Montfort Missionaries, Rev. Fr. Luiz Augusto Stefani,
SMM, was played after the Holy Communion. “Rise and Shine!” This was his greetings and also
a message that the Montfortians want to share to everyone in order to proclaim Jesus’
incarnation through Mary. Fr. Luiz desires that through the celebration of the Continental
Mission Year, we would be able to rise and shine as we face darkness in the world, and
continue to fulfill God’s mission to the people. He urged everyone to pray for missionary
vocations, particularly Montfortian vocations.
Before Bishop Bacani bestows his final blessing, the Montfort Missionaries Philippine
Delegation Council Member, Rev. Fr. Federick B. Yumang, SMM, led the prayer for the
Continental Mission Year. He expressed his gratitude to all the Montfortian communities,
mission partners and collaborators, who have joined the celebration virtually. He also thanked
the community of Sta. Teresita Parish who offered the venue for the celebration and made the
wonderful occasion possible despite the fact that it was held virtually. He also acknowledged
Bishop Teodoro Bacani for gracing the occasion and presiding the Holy Celebration of the
Eucharist with the Montfortian community. Fr. Fed encouraged everyone to pray and walk in
the footsteps of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort and the Blessed Virgin Mary in proclaiming Jesus
Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom of God. Towards the end of the Mass, the youth animators and
seminarians animated the theme song of the Continental Mission Year, “Rise and Shine” that
was composed by Rev. Fr. Willy Selman, SMM. We continue to pray for God’s zeal in allowing us
to fully rise and shine as Montfortians in Asia and Oceania.
Rise and Shine, Montfortians!
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
-Sis. Jackielou D. Foster, AM