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Vision 20/20: 20 Goals for the Catholic Church for 2020

by Fr. Jason Laguerta and Margaux Salcedo

with Clyde Nolasco, Jefferson Quintero, Bro. Jesus Madrid

To see Thee more clearly,

love Thee more dearly,

follow Thee more nearly.

- Day by Day

This 2020, let us see the Lord more clearly. Let us have 20/20 vision!

It may not mean having "perfect" vision but it does mean having a clear vision of what lies ahead.

In the words of Father Jason Laguerta, head of the Archdiocese of Manila's Office for the Promotion of New Evangelization: "We do not have the power to predict the future. But we can see the horizon. It is thus crucial to know where we stand and which direction we must go."

Here are 20 things we want to see more of and more clearly this 2020:

  • A 24/7 Church for the Poor

  • The Church as a Safe Space

  • Dialogues Towards Harmony

  • Action from the Laudato Si Generation

  • Evangelization from the Evangelii Gaudium Generation

  • See the Full 20/20 Vision Below ...

1. A 24/7 Church for the Poor

Is it possible to have a church that never closes its doors? That does not have opening and closing hours?

It is!

Just last December 9, 2019, the first church in Italy that is now open 24/7 was inaugurated: The church of the Santissime Stimmate di San Francesco, or Holy Stigmata of St. Francis.

It is the site of a new initiative by Spanish Catholic NGO Mensajeros de la Paz (“Messengers of Peace”) with Father Angel Garcia Rodriguez.

Pope Francis' dream for a 24/7 "church for the poor" came true with this effort, noting in his letter to Fr. Angel that "churches with closed doors should be called museums.”

"I wish that the doors to the House of God are always open because it walks among the peoples, in the history of men and women”, Pope Francis said in a letter to Fr. Angel.

The Pope added, “I want God’s House to always have open doors, because it walks among the peoples, in the history of men and women; on the contrary, churches with closed doors should be called museums.”

The Pontiff also noted noted that it is said in the Gospel that “the ecclesial community is a tent able to enlarge its space so that all can enter, an oasis of peace, of the love of God, a place of hospitality, reconciliation, and forgiveness.”

See full story here:

Watch: Pope Francis gets a sneak peek at the 24/7 "oasis of peace" and breaks bread with the homeless before its official opening.

2. A Safe Space for the Abused

More than ever, we need a church that is welcoming and healing, a safe space for the abused and even the accused, a sanctuary for the hurt and the lost.

It can be done!

Remember the woman caught in adultery whom the Pharisees brought to Jesus? Instead of condemning her, he said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.”

The Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) continue this kindness that Christ showed. They offer a hand to prostitutes to help them back to the right path and "sin no more". To date, they have helped prostitutes from Pampanga to Metro Manila (Quezon Avenue, Pasay, Ermita, P. Burgos in Makati), to Batangas and Cagayan de Oro by helping with medical check-ups, legal services, and counselling. They have also tied with with Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Makati where, through Martha's Kitchen, prostitutes and victims of sexual abuse are fed and assisted. The Good Shepherd nuns also have drop-in centers, shelter care and after care programs.

Watch how they do it in this feature by TV Maria:

3. A Sanctuary of Hope for Drug Addicts

Imagine a drug addict who, after going through not only rehabilitation but also spiritual formation, later becomes a priest?

It is possible!

Fr. Bobby dela Cruz was once an addict. Today, he leads the Sanlakbay para sa Pagbabagong Buhay, a pastoral accompaniment program helping addicts in their healing, recovery, & restoration from the enslavement of illegal drugs - a program launched by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle in October 2016 in response to the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte's "war against drugs".

Through this program, drug addicts undergo spiritual formation, counseling, livelihood projects, skills formation training, as well as arts and cultural program and sports activities to help them develop holistically.

Watch what the Sanlakbay program is all about here:

In fact, just last December 6, 2019, another batch of rehabilitated and now spiritually formed addicts graduated from the Sanlakbay program.

We pray for a church taht will continue to help drug addicts recover and become restored members of society.

4. A Place of Love: Welcoming the LGBTQ+ Faithful

We envision a church that is welcoming, not polarizing, guiding us to become our best selves, living morally upright lives in the fullness of faith and filled with love for the Lord.

We take the lead from Courage Philippines, who is incidentally celebrating its 25th year in the Philippines this 2020. Watch this video to know how Courage Philippines helps the LGBTQ+ rekindle and strengthen faith in the Lord.

5. A Source of Joy: Addressing Mental Health

With the rising number of people struggling with mental health issues, we need to explore a spiritual solution to the psychological concerns. During times of personal darkness, our faith community can be an important source of support. Churches and church-related organizations can also provide educational resources, programs, and connections to qualified help. Pastoral care should include assisting the flock to live life to the fullest! So we pray for a church that leads and inspires in recognizing the incomparable worth of each human person.

6. A Common Home: Sharing the Journey with Refugees

We can open not only our minds and hearts but also our homes to refugees.

“Share the Journey” was launched by Pope Francis in September 2017 as part of Caritas’ response to his vision of a “culture of encounter”, bringing migrants, refugees and host communities closer together to strengthen them, confront prejudice and to recognise our common humanity.

Helping refugees has been a big advocacy of Caritas Internationalis. Cardinal Tagle, as its President, has argued that refugees who becoe migrants can be bridges of peace instead of a threat to the economy.

Cardinal Luis Tagle visits a refugee camp in Bangladesh, December 2018. Credit: Caritas Bangladesh
Cardinal Luis Tagle visits a refugee camp in Bangladesh, December 2018. Credit: Caritas Bangladesh

We take inspiration from those who have opened their door, among them:

In Brazil, a report showed that Venezuelan refugees found sanctuary and later even jobs in Brazil, thanks to Catholic efforts.

In the United Kingdom last Christmas, a report revealed that there are now 65 Catholic-led projects for hosting the United Kingdom's Syrian Resettlement Program, with 23 groups having already welcomed families.

Now isn't that the true Christmas spirit?

7. An Open Mind and Heart: Dialogues towards Harmony

ECUMENISM. 2020 was declared by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines as the Year of Ecumenism, Inter-religious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples (logo above). This is part of the nine-year “spiritual journey”, which started in 2013, to prepare for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021.

The CBCP's objectives for this year are: (1) to celebrate the human fraternity by promoting the culture of dialogue as a path to peace; (2) to work for unity and harmony while respecting diversity; and (3) to recognize indigenous peoples’ identities, spiritualities and ancestral domain.

Cardinal Tagle, in a 2014 talk in Australia, mentioned the importance of having a three-fold dialogue: with cultures, with religion, with the poor.

We can also follow the example of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement, created to promote a culture of dialogue as a path to peace. They seek to delve into a deeper understanding and create better relations among people of different faiths, cultures and traditions. (For more info, visit The movement was founded by Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra PIME, with a group of Muslim and Christian friends, in Zamboanga City on May 9, 1984. Today they continue to reach out and hold courses on Muslim-Christian dialogue. Recently they opened a theological school with the end in mind of educating people on harmony among religions.