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Bishop urges priests to exercise caution at Mission Assembly

Bishop and Priests attended the 68th Annual National Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies, in the Philippines.

The 68th Annual National Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines, themed "Go and invite everyone to the banquet" (Matthew 22:9), began with a significant reminder for priests and mission directors to exercise caution in using the power attached to their roles.

The event, which commenced on June 17, 2024, with a holy mass at St. Joseph the Husband of Mary Parish in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines, highlighted a message from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Mission Chairperson, Bishop Socrates Mesiona.

During his homily in the opening mass, Bishop Mesiona emphasized the potential for power to corrupt and destroy communities if misused. He urged the clergy to remain vigilant and humble in their mission work, underscoring the importance of living by Jesus’ teachings, shepherding with compassion and mercy, and avoiding the pitfalls of entitlement and power abuse.

“Let's watch and be careful. As priests and mission directors, we wield power in our respective areas of assignment, in our mission area. Therefore, be careful because a sense of entitlement may also creep in slowly into our consciousness,” Bishop Mesiona warned.

He pointed out that the vulnerable sectors of society, such as the poor, elderly, women, and youth, often suffer the most from such abuses. “We may not be aware, to the point that we become abusers of power,” the bishop added.

The assembly, attended by priests and mission directors from various dioceses across the country, included holy mass and plenary talks, setting a tone of reflection and commitment to ethical leadership.

Bishop Mesiona stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy fear of power to ensure responsible and compassionate leadership as partners of Jesus.

“We need to always have a healthy fear of power, we should always have discomfort when we have the power to check our behavior and how we deal with others,” he added.

The Pontifical Mission Societies, under the supervision of the Pope, continue to play a vital role in missionary animation and cooperation worldwide.

Established in 1932, the organization’s mission in the Philippines began with the appointment of Fr. Jose Ma. Siguion, SJ, by former Manila Archbishop Michael O'Doherty. Today, the mission is supervised by Msgr. Esteban Lo, LRMS.

As the assembly progresses, the focus remains on fostering a community of clergy who lead with integrity, reflecting the core values of the faith they represent.

The event serves as a reminder of the significant responsibility carried by religious leaders and the need for their ongoing vigilance and humility in their service.


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