INTO THE HEART OF MERCY
We are the 12 students of Batch 10 at the Institute of Formation Fondacio Asia, based in Manila, Philippines. We come from 9 Asian countries, namely: Cambodia, China, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam. We are undergoing formation to become lay missionaries in our respective countries.
We did a Mission Project in four dioceses in Thailand from 16 August to 10 September 2016. Our purpose in being there is as follows:
- To study different realities about Asian society
- To apply the knowledge and skills that we learned in IFFAsia through the activities that we facilitated for Thai students
- To build relationship with people of other faiths
- To share our faith and collaborate in a mutually beneficial way with the Church in Thailand
- To learn from the Church in Thailand through the exchange of mission experiences
We encountered individuals and organizations and learned from their vast experiences on sustainable ecological development and poverty alleviation. We experienced the generosity and strong faith of the indigenous people. We exposed ourselves to interfaith dialogue with Muslim and Buddhist people, and saw their openness for this. We experienced the richness of Thai culture and history. We had a glimpse of the suffering of the poor and marginalized (persons with HIV/AIDS and special children), and the concerns and care that people shared with them. We encountered the reality of human trafficking in the country. We experienced how the local Catholic Church responds to the challenge of meeting the needs of the people, including educational and spiritual needs.
We realize that the suffering of the poor and marginalized is not found in just one part of the world, but all over. We feel sad that people have not given enough concern to migrants and refugees. Through our experiences, we realize that we need to learn to respect our own culture and that interfaith dialogue can bring peace to the country. We realize that we, as young people, have a role in bringing hope, justice and peace to those who are suffering. We need to continue to bring an awareness on the importance of education to the society.
We call on the young people in our respective countries to be more involved in society, and be active witnesses of God to respond to its needs. We encourage each one to work for justice, peace and harmony in our common home. We appeal to our local communities to learn from the wisdom of the indigenous people, about being close to nature and protecting the environment. We invite the Church to help in restoring the values of family.
We commit to share our life experiences and faith with our respective communities as witnesses of God’s love, so that they also can be strengthened in their faith. We commit to apply the knowledge and skills to be able to respond to the needs of our society. We commit to continue to be aware of society, to collaborate with other organizations and to build networks with the youth groups in our respective countries. We thank God for the fruitfulness of our Mission Project. We thank Him for all the blessings, including the rich experiences, that we gained through the people who supported us in different ways, especially our IFFAsia formators, sponsors, Churches, priests and religious, families and friends.
We pray for creation and the harmony among religions. We pray for the alleviation of the sufferings of migrants and refugees, and victims of human trafficking, so that they can feel the compassion of God. We also pray for the Churches in Asia to be united in Christ. We ask you, Lord, to send your Holy Spirit, so that we can carry the spirit of Mission with fervor. Strengthen us so that we may overcome our fears, and help us to remember that You are the center of our life. We make this prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen.