In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:67-79

On August 15, 2022, Solemnity of Our Lady of the Assumption, we were startled by the breaking news that 16 individuals were indicted by the Department of Justice filed at the Iligan City Regional Trial Court, including four (4) women religious who are members of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Northern Mindanao Region (RMP-NMR). As members of the Conference of Major Superiors in the Philippines (CMSP), we are gravely concerned about the adverse effects of such red-tagging and indictment on their safety and well-being, and the integrity of their ministry to the poorest of the poor.

Impelled by the Gospel message “to bring the Good News to the poor and announce the Lord’s favor” (Lk. 4:18) and challenged by the call of the Second Vatican Council for “aggiornamento”, the then Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) facilitated the giving birth of RMP in 1969 as an expression of the Church’s “opening of windows so the Spirit can blow fresh air” within and outside her.

Indeed, RMP responds to the problems of the rural poor which is comprised of landless peasants, hired tenants, small farmers, agricultural workers, and indigenous peoples. In the past 53 years, consecrated women and men, priests, and lay workers have immersed themselves in the faith-life situation of the rural poor and committed to pastoral work in various ministries of RMP in far-flung communities and mission areas. Hitherto, RMP has served as a beacon of light to poor farmers and tillers of the land and has unswervingly journeyed with the rural poor in their struggles and hopes for a just, humane and peaceful society.

Thus, we, the member congregations of CMSP, reaffirm our commitment to RMP as our mission partner and its mandate to help the rural poor. We likewise stand by the dedicated and committed RMP members who are working in various mission areas in the peripheries. In like manner, we trust and assure the four (4) consecrated women who are implicated and indicted of our unwavering support and solidarity.

In God’s tender compassion, CMSP and RMP will be guided by Jesus, the light of the world, into the way of peace, justice and love.

For the CMSP Joint Executive Board:

Fr. Elias L. Ayuban, Jr., CMF
Sr. Cecilia A. Espenilla, OP


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