ucanews.com reporter, Manila
Updated: December 04, 2012 07:56 PM GMT
About 50 priests, nuns and their lay partners gathered yesterday to mark the creation of a local chapter of the rights group Vivat International, which has special consultative status in the United Nations.
Oblates priest Eduardo Vasquez, assistant program director of the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation office of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, said the birth of Vivat in the Philippines signals the beginning of “intensified efforts to defend or protect human rights and to give voice to the poor.”
Vivat International, which derives its name from the Latin word verb meaning “to live,” is an international organization of religious congregations and individuals that aims “to promote justice, harmony and reconciliation in the world.”
The group was established by the Society of the Divine Word and the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit in 2000.
"The valuable inputs on justice and peace in the Bible and in the Catholic social teachings helped us to deepen our understanding of [social] issues and invited us to renew our commitment to the original covenant relationship between God and his people," read a statement issued by the group in Manila.
“Inspired by the inputs and motivated by the vision and mission of Vivat International, we renew our commitment to uphold human rights by working towards the eradication of poverty, restoring the rights of indigenous peoples, preserving creation, promoting sustainable development and working for structural and political change,” the group's statement added.
Fr Vasquez said religious congregations in the country decided to organize a local Vivat chapter to learn how groups in other parts of the world carried out “the ministry or advocacy on justice, peace, and integrity of creation” in their missions.
Vivat International-Philippines counts among its members the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, Divine Word Missionaries, Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary, Comboni Sisters, Congregation of the Holy Spirit, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus.