Special Message, Milagros Maravilla, SSJ
To my co-workers in Christ,
As we gather together and celebrate this special day, our 25th anniversary as a mission partner of the AMRSP, I could not help but journey back in time savoring the unique beauty of our humble beginning. Like plants that sprout from an ordinary minute seed, our work as Urban Missionaries began 25 years ago as a small response to the outcry for justice by the workers of the La Tondena factory in Manila. This seemingly insignificant clamor shook the very core of our being giving birth to the other facet of mission and our missionary life. At that point, missionary work can no longer be confined in the realm of catechesis or the witnessing of God’s existence in remote or rural areas. Rather, missionary work necessitated the development of programs that promote a deeper appreciation and a living application of the Gospel in our day to day living. It challenged us to re-evaluate our attitudes and relationships with the marginalized workers of our society thus advocating a radical shift in our personal mindsets. Our task has never been easy. We grapple with concrete realities such as poverty, prejudice, apathy and even with the belittling and/or rejection of our mission to journey with and help uplift the plight of the Filipino worker. But just as the Church has evolved for over two thousand years, our organization has gained valuable insights from 25 years of existence.
And now, Christ challenges us onward. Humanity’s quest for the fullness of Life urges us to move forward. Christ knows that there is no time to waste. There await more communities to be built where women and men workers, religious, local churches and laity would unite and built on each other’s ideas and resources and together implement plans and programs that will serve the needs of workers, their families and communities. There are communities that anticipate the enfleshment of the Spirituality of Work. Yes, we all anticipate the recreation of the Kingdom of God in our milieu and it is in this waiting that Christ urges us not to rest in our laurels, but to work with greater zeal and enthusiasm.
Here’s to the 25 years of being sojourners and here’s to the next 25 more years of making Christ truly alive in the midst of our realities and in the persons of the workers. Congratulations and Godspeed toward the next quarter century.
Milagros Maravilla, SSJ
[Former] Chairperson, Board of Trustees