“Christian witnessing is a way of life, formed by inspiration and commitment,” began the Most Rev. Rolando Tira-Tirona, Archbishop of Caceres during Day 4 of the 4th World Apostolic Congress of Mercy (WACOM 4) last January 19, 2017.
“The witness cannot be but in the event, caught by the event, even transformed by the event,” he continued addressing both local and international delegates that filled the National Shrine and Parish of the Divine Mercy in Marilao, Bulacan.
He went on to differentiate a reporter from a witness by pointing out that the latter is affected by what he sees in the events happening–called “conversion”–that firmly affirms the need of “knowing the Gospel intimately.”
In his talk on “Witnessing to the Mercy of God as the Church of and for the Poor”, Archbishop Tirona also called out for a need to thirst and hunger for God always. He also characterized witnessing as a community invitation to concretely call on to Jesus.
“We should never forget that our vocation…is to be witnesses of God’s mercy..(by) entering into the dynamics of relationship with the Holy Spirit,” he said. “Witnessing is not just words; Not just actions, but a concrete invitation. It is not about individual actions, but a concerted effort of each and every member of the Church.”
Chairman of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (CBCP- NASSA), the Archbishop emphasized that the core of being the Church of and for the poor is about welcoming and allowing the underprivileged to participate in the church–“a church where the marginalized are set in the center of society.”
He narrated three means to attain this: (1) there should be intimacy with Jesus, (2) there should be immersion in the life of the church, and (3) there should be involvement especially in the lives of the poor.
To drive his point, the Archbishop presented a short video documentary made by NASSA on Jose Alano Regala, a man crippled by polio who became a survivor of Typhoon Yolanda. (~Jyn E. Aragon, M.D.)