Dominicans in the Philippines have long been recognized for their achievements in the field of education. Among the first colleges and universities in the country were those established by Spanish Dominicans. From these schools emerged in numerable alumni among whom are canonized saints, martyrs, heroes, government, and church leaders, as well as trailblazers in industry and business. Together with the schools established by Dominican sisters, the extent of influence of Dominican educational institutions in the country is, indeed, immense.
The Dominican Province of the Philippines has vowed to cherish and nurture this unique legacy. Dominicans schools under the care and administration of the Province continue to promote the “integral formation of the human person and foster a milieu that would facilitate a life of harmony with God, community, and the whore of creation” (FDPE). Despite difficulties created by shifting political and economic structures in the country, Dominican schools strive to produce prominent men and women actively engaged in nation-building, and paragons of moral integrity, professional excellence, and faith-witnessing.
Aware of history's triumphs and failures, but ever trusting in Divine Providence, the Dominicans in the Philippines see the educational apostolate as a powerful means to achieve the purpose of the Order. Preaching, through education of the young not only enables individual men and women to experience the Saving word of God, but also gives a salvific dimension to arts, sciences, and culture (GE, 8). Education, therefore, continues to be one of the priorities of the Province and our legislation should aim at furthering the quality of this apostolate.
Today, the media of social communications have become the most effective means to proclaim, in a uniquely Asian and Filipino context, the Good News to our contemporary world. In our preaching, we utilize the mass media without losing sight of our unique charism as preachers of the word, and thus avoid the danger of becoming mere broadcasters, commentators, entertainers, media producers or technical experts. As preachers of the word, we are impelled by our love for truth to evaluate, criticize, conscienticize, and ultimately, to evangelize both the media of social communications and their practitioners.
lt is the Spirit of the Lord who inspires, leads, and guides us to perform His work of evangelization in this world of modern communication technology. We therefore resolve to place all these effective means at the service of the Gospel so that, at God's own pleasure and time, He may manifest Himself more as the lncarnate Word-among-us-now.
As a priority of the Province, media evangelization is pursued in close coordination with the other priorities, for it is from them that media evangelization derives its inspiration and substance; and it is also through media evangelization that the other priorities realize more extensively their communicative dimension.
As the Church enters the new millennium, which is prophetically called the "Asian millennium”, she confronts powerful challenges: the challenge of ancient world religions and cultural traditions; the challenge of a post-Christian culture; the challenge of consumerism, individualism, and secularism; the challenge of the "culture of death" and its manifestations, like violence and disregard for life in its various stages; the challenge of nationalism, sexism, and racism; the challenge of globalization and of fast-shifting economic, social and political realities (cf.Acts of the Bologna Chapter, 43.3; 45-46) ln the face of these challenges, the church cannot but undergo some form of renewal in order to remain relevant and continually function as the light ofthe world.
The Church invites us to contribute to this development by hastening its emergence as an authentic Asian Church bearing the face of the Crucified Christ (1998 Bologna, 46:6). This involves a creative way of theologizing and preaching the Christian message.
As Dominicans in the Philippines, we respond to this invitation by engaging in higher theological reflection in a nuanced way, i.e., a theology addressing the problems of the Philippines and Asia, and utilizing a methodology that allows the possibilities and potentials of our varied cultures to unfold.
At the heart of our preaching are justice and peace. Morethan discourse, it is the reality and truth of our engagement inthe graced powerlessness of our evangelical poverty; in our journey with our people in their joys and sorrows; in their aspirations and struggles for a just society (Cf. Gaudium et Spes, 1 ); in our common and confident search for the truth of our world, our humanity, and our faith; in our vocation and option for this strange discipleship to Christ the Preacher (Cf. Caleruega20.7).
ln the face of the challenges of globalization at the dawn of the new millennium and amidst a society fragmented by conflicts and afflicted by massive poverty, our justice and peace ministry is an act of hope and healing, of binding and blessing, of prayer and presence, of love and solidarity with the Church of the Poor (PCP-Il).
Where can we situate Christianity—its influence and contribution—in the socio-economic and cultural map of Asia? It may not be presumptuous to say that in this continent teeming with peoples of varied cultures and- religions, only in the Philippines is Christianity an essential component of civilization. Among the Provinces of the Order, therefore, the Dominican Province of the Philippines, born of the missionary Province of the Holy Rosary, enjoys a privileged position of being a missionary of the Gospel in this part of the world.
With 29 years of experience, the Dominican Province of the Philippines can promote effectively the missionary vocation of the Order. It is not mere coincidence that among the Dominicans, a new understanding of missio ad gentes, emerged from the heart of the Philippines itself, in Quezon City, the site of the General Chapter in 1977 (Cf. Caleruega 46.7–46.8). From then up to the recent General Chapter in Bologna, missio adgentes has ceased to be a mere acquisition of a mission territory for a Province. Missio ad gentes, as the phrase suggests, means sending people to people. The frontiers that mark the preaching apostolate of the Order are not just places, but also persons. Now that human mobility is greatly facilitated by modern means of transportation and communication, peoples of the world are getting closer and closer to one another. Nobody is far; everybody is near. Indeed, everyone is a neighbor.
Love of neighbor is the motive behind missio ad gentes. The "neighbor" may be our own fellow Filipinos in Mindanao, or our next-door Malayan relatives, or a people geographically distant from us, as the Singhalese and Tamils of Sri Lanka. Racial and ethnic differences should not divide us. It is the living principle of our unity. Thus, with the guidance of the Spirit, we shall venture even into the unknown and unfamiliar. In communion with the church in Asia, we will work and pray, "that in the Third Christian Millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital continent" (Ecclesia in Asia. 1).
"One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world."
- Saint Dominic