Theme: TO BE SHEPHERDS WITH THE SMELL OF SHEEP
When: Oct 13, 2015
where: Training room 1, 8th flr., Xavier hall, Ateneo de Davao University
On Holy Thursday 2015, Pope Francis called on all priests to “be shepherds with the smell of sheep.” Adding this olfactory dimension to Jesus’ favorite metaphor, he emphasized not just a positional but also a very physical closeness to the flock, to the people. He further described this as “put(ting) his own skin and own heart on the line.”
Lest there be confusion, the Pope further described the “people” as those in “the ‘outskirts’ where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters.” In other words, he meant the poor, the deprived, the marginalized, oppressed, and exploited. In Mindanao’s context, this especially means the lumads and farmers. The Pope challenges the clergy then to smell of the lumads and farmers, to be physically close to them, to go where they live, to journey with them.
His message was unmistakable. Throughout history, Church people have been in the forefront of journeying with the lumads and the farmers, immersing themselves in their communities and becoming deeply involved in the development of the people through services in education, health, and agriculture. In the process of such involvement, they have contributed their time and resources. There were also times when the journey called for so much more and they had to contribute even their very lives, like what Fr. Pops did. Yet, as Pope Francis said, only by going out and giving of oneself will one become fully alive and flourish. By doing so, one avoids becoming “dissatisfied, lose heart and become in a sense collectors of antiquities or novelties.”
The Pope might have addressed this to priests but he could very well be addressing this to the rest of us. Dissatisfaction, depression, and unfettered consumerism have plagued people all over the world, including us in a Third World country. “Empathy” manifests only in the virtual world, in social media where one can just “like” or “comment” or “share” the misfortune of others. For this, he recommends one clear solution: smell of sheep. Smell of the people.
The smell of the people of Mindanao is the smell of the sun, of hard work, of the most minimum of hygiene as they till the land from dawn to dusk to produce food. It is the smell of malnutrition, illness, and lack of education. It is also the smell of fear and violence, of bloodshed, as their lands are continually at risk of being taken away from them. Yet, it is also the smell of courage and struggle, of prayer and hope for a better tomorrow.
For 33 years, Fr. Pops answered this call to smell of the people. Four years ago, he took on the smell of violence and bloodshed, not unlike the lumad leaders and people who were killed in defending their lands and people.
On the occasion of Fr. Pops’ Fourth Death Anniversary, the Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio Foundation will be holding a Biblico-Theological Reflection on these words by Pope Francis. We are inviting the clergy and the religious, people from the academe and students, and other sectors.
The following is the proposed programme for the BTR:
|7:00 – 8:00 am||Holy Mass||Celebrants|
|8:00 – 8:15 am||Welcome Address||His ExcellencyRomulo G. Valles, D.D.Archbishop of Davao|
|8:15 – 8:45 am||Video: Lumad and Farmers’ Situation|
|8:45 – 9:00 am||Rationale and Introduction of the Main Speaker||Fr. Peter Geremia, PIME|
|9:00 – 11:00 am||Main Reflection||His EminenceOrlando Cardinal QuevedoArchbishop of Cotabato|
|11:00 – 12:00 nn||Sharing and Open Forum|
|12:00 – 12:30 pm||Call to Action|