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Statement of the Asian Liturgy Forum held at the University of Santo Tomas on Oct. 26-30, 2015

FORUM Manila, Philippines



In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

In the wake of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, we, the 56 delegates to the  19th Asian  Liturgy  Forum  from  Cambodia,  Indonesia,  Malaysia,  Myanmar, Philippines,  Taiwan,  Thailand,  and  Sri  Lanka  gathered  together  at the Blessed Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, OP Building of the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines on October 26-30, 2015 to share our pastoral experiences and concerns related to the Liturgy and the Family.  We are happy to share some conclusions from our enriching and refreshing discussions.

1. We affirm that the family is of divine origin.  It is the Triune God who has given birth, sustains, and fulfills the life and mission of the family.  With the Holy Family as model, the family is called to grow together in holiness and to bring each other to God, it is also called to build up the Church and become witness of God’s goodness and mercy to the world.

2. The family, as mirror of the mystical Person of Christ, is accorded the special mission of proclaiming the Gospel to the modern world.  It  is called to bring vitality to the Church by bearing witness to Christ’s love for everyone through effective  involvement  in  the  Church’s  ministries  and  active  participation  in worship.  As a domestic Church, the family is a vital structure that prepares for and extends in it the liturgy of the whole Church (cf. FC, 61).  The important qualities of liturgy as Jesus’ prayer to the Father and as a communal act related to life are qualities that can be nurtured and sustained in the family prayer, thus, “the family that prays together stays together” and builds up the Church.

3. As we recognize the indispensable role of the family as a school of prayer and the power of the liturgy to strengthen the fiber of family life, we candidly admit that it faces a number of difficulties and challenges. Economic needs force parents to seek better opportunities leaving their children without the necessary guidance and support; secularism in its various forms adversely destroys moral values and weakens the capacity for Christian marital commitment and respect for human life;   migration in  pursuit  of  better  economic condition and to escape hostile environment  draw family  members  apart  from one  another;  various  forms  of mass media and technology promote values inimical to the Christian faith andmorals; cultural and religious diversity within and outside families pose obstacle to achieving unity in the family;  being a minority religious group and  political pressure make it more difficult for Christians to witness to their faith. 

4. The Church, therefore, must constantly accompany   the families as they strive to respond to the call of building themselves as Christian families. The Church, through diocesan and parish programs and vibrant Basic Ecclesial Communities, must  continue  to  follow  up  and  connect  with  married  couples   even  after receiving the sacrament of Matrimony, and with children, even after receiving the Sacraments of Initiation. There is a need to make our liturgies relevant and appealing to both the young and adult members of the family.

5. In conjunction with the pre-sacramental programs of the parish, families must assume a more active participation in preparing children for the sacraments of Christian initiation.  The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults offers a journey of faith that can be very enriching to the family and to the community if properly adapted to the concrete situation of the local Church.

6. On the eve of the special Jubilee Year of Mercy, we recognize that the family where one is wounded is also the place where one is healed, for it is in the family that one first experiences being forgiven and learns to be forgiving.  We humbly raise all families to the healing grace of the God who “loves us, seeks us out, thinks of us, knows us, touches our hearts and waits for us” (cf. Message of Pope Francis at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family), knowing that He takes delight in our return.7. We invoke the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Woman of the Eucharist, that our families may learn in her school of prayer how to be true disciples of her Son.  We are grateful to His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, D.D., Rev. Fr. Genaro O. Diwa, Rev. Fr. Carmelo Arada  Jr.  and their lay  collaborators  in  the Archdiocese of Manila, the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Malolos, and the Dominican Fathers of the University of Santo Tomas for having graciously hosted our meeting.

That in all things God may be glorified.