SOME 155 delegates to the Convention of the Conference of Major Superiors in the Philippines (CMSP) have expressed their determination to “stand for the truth” and fight moral and ethical issues brought by “systematic disinformation, misinformation, and historical distortions” in the country.

“Caught amid widespread unpredictability, change and ambiguity, the thread of enduring community kept the Conference on a path reflecting the members’ initiatives to stay focused on our continuing ministry,” said the convention participants during a four-day convention online.

Following the theme, “The CMSP’s Prophetic Challenges Today,” the religious superiors coming from 116 women and 26 men institutes, together with 13 representatives from the permanent Commission of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPICC) and our CMSP Mission Partners, resolved “to speak up and do what is right,” as the Catholic Church “will not and cannot be neutral.”

“We face dangers from global and local crises in many forms-- climate emergency, worsening global poverty and hunger, the pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, the unrest in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, food and energy crises, dislocations caused by environmental degradation, migration and human trafficking, and continuing human rights violations,” the religious superiors said, as they described the volatile and uncertain past months since their last Convention in April 2021.

“Sadly, the last elections continue to be defined by money politics, elite control, and lies and disinformation machinery,” they added.

Saying that the Church was challenged by the present time and context to stand for the truth, their “prophetic vocation” pushed them to spring into action.

“In our consecration to God, we pledged to do what is right, ‘acceptable and pleasing to the Lord,’” the religious delegates said during their gathering last week.

“Some among our ranks were red-tagged; irresponsible labels and name-calling will not cow us. To serve the people of God is never wrong. To be in solidarity with the struggles, dreams and hopes of our people is demanded by our life of consecration to God and his people,” they said.

In a statement, the religious superiors called on each other to “forge and weave strengths for our shared and common love of God, love of neighbor, and love of creation.”

“Let us align and work with truth-tellers, justice and peace and human rights defenders, environmental advocates and civil society organizations. These are our strengths,” they said.

They also urged each other to “go to the margins and peripheries, the new frontiers and spheres of our missionary presence – socio- economic, political, religious and cultural, technological and minister to the vulnerable and the deprived.”

“Let us muster our courage and hold on hope; let us embrace and pursue Pope Francis’ call for ecological justice and conversion in Laudato Si’ and his dream for a common humanity based on fraternal love and social friendship in Fratelli Tutti,” the delegates said.

Meanwhile, the delegates also announced the CMSP’s newly elected Joint Executive Board for 2022 – 2025.

The board’s Co-Chairpersons are Father Elias Ayuban, Jr., CMF, and Sister Cecilia Espenilla, OP, while the Co- Vice Chairpersons are Fr. Lino Gregorio Redoblado, OFM, and Sister Mary Epifania Brasil, OP.

The board members are:

Father Dante Bendoy, OSA

Father Hector Attard, MSSP

Father Ignacio Bercades Jr., sdP

Father Hirohito Bolo Jr., CICM

Brother Luc Charest Boudreault, SC

Father Rico Ponce, O. Carm

Father Victorino Cueto, CSsR

Brother Butch Alcudia, FSC

Sister Ma Bethanie Sulleza, RSCJ

Sister Erlinda Hisug, OND

Sister Lerma Victoria Pangantihon, RA

Sister Virgencita Alegado, RSM

Sister Ella Erepol, MMB

Sister Marilena Narvaez, SSS

Mother Teodora Juan, MCST

Sister Rosemary Plaza, MSM

Catholic news site Licas.News said that CMSP, established in 1970, has “served as a common voice for men and women religious and an advocate for their individual charisms.”

CMSP is a joint forum of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Men in the Philippines and the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Women in the Philippines. (SunStar Philippines)