Redemptorist, Baclaran, Philippines
Another essential program of shrine ministry is evangelization both for church volunteers and church goers. The ministry of evangelization is primarily exercised through prophetic preaching, connecting the Word of God to the daily issues, concerns and aspirations especially of the ordinary people. Evangelization in the shrine is done through retreats, seminars, short catechesis, instructions before the mass, etc. It is our hope that an organized and robust evangelization will lead to the active participation of church group members and church goers in the mission of the shrine.
Liturgical and sacramental services like masses, novenas, confessions and blessings continue to be the main services of our shrines. Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help on Wednesdays is still the main attraction of the people to the shrine, even eclipsing Sunday Masses.
Another essential program of shrine ministry is evangelization both for church volunteers and church goers. The ministry of evangelization is primarily exercised through prophetic preaching, connecting the Word of God to the daily issues, concerns and aspirations especially of the ordinary people. Evangelization in is also done through retreats, seminars, short catechesis, instructions before the mass, etc. We believe that an organized and robust evangelization will lead to the active participation of church group members and church goers in the mission of the shrine.
The original purpose of the Redemptorist in settling down in Baclaran is to do mission. This changed however, as history unfolded through the grace of God when the devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help became the primary attraction of the shrine. But the Redemptorist never abandoned their original charism. Thus, throughout these years the shrine have been going around the parishes of the local Diocese doing parish missions, assisting them in Christian community building in line with the thrust of the Philippine Church and our local church.
Today in the shrine, the proclamation of the Word from the pulpit is complemented by social services which try to address the concrete day to day problems of the people, especially the abandoned poor.
We have many young people involved in our shrine. At the same time the shrine reaches out to the youth especially those at risk around the shrine who are involved in drug addiction, juvenile delinquency, and other difficulties. An ongoing challenge to us is to become more connected to the complex and delicate demands of the youth of today and to open more our community to young people.
The shrine in the past has been known as a strong advocate of justice and peace. The continuing oppressive situation in our country-the widening gap between the rich and the poor, the pervasive poverty of our people, the exploitation and destruction of our environment, the many evils in our society-challenges us to opens our eyes and hearts to the situation of the poor and commit ourselves in journeying with them towards justice and peace and integrity of creation.
The shrine is a popular pilgrimage center. Everyday the shrine welcomes hundreds of people from even the far-flung provinces who visit the shrine to pray and express their devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. This challenges us to become more ministers of mercy and hospitality by welcoming the pilgrims who feel burdened by the weight of their sins and the consequences of injustice, violence and social marginalization.
One of the popular appeal of the shrine is the availability of the sacrament of reconciliation. Confessions are heard daily in the Shrine, except Sundays, at almost every hour of the day. On Wednesdays, the Confessional boxes are occupied all day long. The celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation makes the Shrine an important centre of spiritual renewal.
TV's at the Shrine
The aim of the TV's is to aid the active participation of the assembly especially in the songs and responses in the masses and novenas. The TV's will also be used for evangelization and catechesis especially on the liturgy and sacraments in between masses and novenas. Furthermore, the TV will be utilized for disseminating and drumming up support for the many programs and services of the Shrine and the Philippine Church. It is also envisioned that the TV will be useful in seminars and talks in the Shrine, for example, Bible, Social Teachings of the Church, etc., being planned for the future.
Reactions of the people to the TV were varied from a bit of cynicism to extreme approval. But in general, most of the reactions were positive as many affirmed the helpfulness of the TV in their participation and growing appreciation of the liturgy and teachings of the church.
Indeed media can be harnessed for evangelization. Unfortunately, media has been used in our society to a great extent to promote the values and goods of a commercialized and materialistic world. Even so, the Church has not yet fully maximized the potential of media. The church in general, has been lagging behind big businesses and other institutions in tapping the rich potential of media. Without being oblivious of the harm media might inflict on the faith of the people, multi-media and other technological resources is a great aid in proclaiming the good news in a fresh and revitalized manner.