The most evident impact of the opening of the Congregation in Asia is the change in the physiognomy of the Rogationist Congregation. Apart from Filipinos and Indians, we also have Korean, Indonesian, Iraqi and Vietnamese confreres. One out of three Rogationists priests is Asian. Two out of five Rogationist confreres are Asians. This trend will continue to grow given the number of vocations and the young age median of members of Asian origin.
However, a less obvious but a more important aspect of these openings is the inculturation of the Rogate in diverse Asian realities. Take the pastoral care for vocations for instance. In Indonesia this aspect is expressed in a radio station “Rogate FM” and inter-congregational institute Formation Institute of St. Hannibal (FISH) entrusted to the Rogationist by the Bishop. While in Vietnam, though in a simple way, the care for vocations is expressed in animating parish vocation clubs. In the Philippines this takes the shape of the close collaboration with the National Vocation Centers, the publication of the Rogate Ergo Asia, the vocation websites, and the Oasis of Prayer. The St. Hannibal Discernment Center in Mina, Iloilo explores the unceasing prayer for vocations and the contemplation of the Heart of the Jesus as dimensions of the charism that are as important as the work evangelization and human promotion. In a world of frenetic activism and in the context of the contemplative traditions in Asia, this attempt to highlight contemplation in the life of the Rogationists will prove to be a valuable contribution to the entire Congregation.
In the same token, the socio-educative apostolate of the Congregation takes different shades. In India, the Rogationists engage in computer schools, distant adoption and the care of street children. In the Philippines this is expressed in schools, technical training centers and boys villages; in housing projects and livelihood generation. In Papua New Guinea the apostolate includes a primary health care center. In Vietnam this is translated into the care of children with AIDS. In South Korea it can take the shape of the care of the elderly, the migrant workers or multicultural families. In Indonesia, it is in the form of care of ethnic minority groups. There are infinite possibilities for the charism to be inculturated in various local contexts.
The incoming decades of the St. Matthew Province will continue to experience a spring-time of vocations, not just from the Philippines but from the newly opened Asian frontiers. The more autochthonous members are added, the wider the possibility for the inculturation of the charism. Furthermore, the youthfulness and abundance of vocations from Asia will continue to shape the composition of the Congregation in the world, not only within one’s circumscription but even in other circumscriptions. The availability for mission in other countries characterized the Province early on in its development, will certainly continue to increase in the coming years.