The Missionary Catechist of the Sacred Heart (MCSH) marked its 100th founding anniversary at the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Santo Tomas, a town in Batangas province, on March 1, 2023. PHOTO COURTESY OF MCSH

By CBCP News

May 4, 2023

Manila, Philippines

The most important work that the Catholic Church does is its ‘missionary outreach’, an effort that should and must be prioritized, papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown said.

Speaking during Mass for the 100th anniversary of the Missionary Catechist of the Sacred Heart (MCSH) on Monday, he emphasized that “what the Church needs is direct and immediate contact with people”.

“The missionary outreach is the most important thing to prioritize… direct contact as much as you can,” Brown said at the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Santo Tomas, a town in Batangas province.

That’s why, he said, the Church celebrates the service of MCSH for bringing Jesus’ teachings to the people, especially to those who need it most.

The archbishop went on to advise the congregation “not to get involved too much in office work”.

While administrative work is necessary, he stressed that direct contact remains the most important part of the mission because “that’s where conversions happen”.

“And that’s where miracles happen, that’s where the Church grows,” Brown said.

The papal nuncio added that MCSH also represents the “fruitfulness” of the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

“You’re one of the communities that have grown up here in this country,” he said.

“You are truly, as Filipinos, gifted to give. You have this wonderful fruitfulness of this Church that needs to be given… not kept at home,” he also said.

Also present during the celebration were Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, the archbishop emeritus of Manila, Archbishop Gilbert Garcera of Lipa, and Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista of Imus.

Founded in 1923 by then bishop of Lipa, Alfredo Verzosa, the MCSH is the first religious congregation to be established by a native Filipino bishop.

Originally named as the “Religiosas de María de la Enseñanza Cristiana” (Religious of Mary of the Christian Instruction), the congregation received its current name in 1947.

Versoza, whose cause for beatification is in process, had as co-foundress the catechist, Doña Laura Mendoza, who also served as the congregation’s first superior general.

Also involved in the foundational years of MCSH as spiritual director was then Fr. Alfredo Obviar, who later became auxiliary bishop to Versoza.

Obviar, who was declared Venerable in 2018, later founded his own congregation with the same charism as the MCSH.

Mother Julie Micosa, MCSH Superior General, assured that the congregation’s commitment to the Church remains “alive and flourishing”.

“We commit ourselves in witnessing the compassionate love of Christ through the ministry of catechesis for the kingdom of God,” Micosa said. “So wherever we are, whatever we do, we are catechists.”


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