The Order of Friars Minor, popularly known as the Franciscans, has named Father Angelito Cortez, a Filipino, as its new vice director for the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Office in Rome.
“When the new assignment was given, I realized that this is really a year of missions, not just here in our own country, but to the world,” the priest told LiCAS.news in an interview.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines has declared 2021 as Year of “Missio ad Gentes,” or “Mission to the World.”
“A missionary always responds, whenever and wherever he or she is called,” said Father Cortez, adding that the new assignment is “not a promotion but rather a responsibility to carry out.”
Father Cortez is currently executive secretary and national coordinator of JPIC of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines.
He is also the JPIC animator of the Franciscan province in the Philippines and the congregation’s East Asia Conference.
The priest has worked closely with Franciscan International in Geneva, collaborating on human rights lobby works during meetings of UN Human Rights Council on the Philippine situation.
Father Cortez was ordained a priest on August 19, 2017, fourteen years after he entered the Our Lady of the Angels Franciscan Seminary.
The priest said he learned about “mission as a way of life” when he was a church serve in his parish in the Diocese of Imus where he got involved in various humanitarian and pastoral missions in poor communities.
Later in his life, he worked as a teacher, a call center agent, and a salesperson, “but those jobs could not give me the satisfaction that I was looking for.”
“I always find myself in poor communities, listening to the problems of other people. I always find myself in the streets, talking about faith with other persons,” he said.
Father Cortez said it is difficult to leave his many advocacies in the country, “but the Philippines is a missionary-sending country.”
“Our duty as Christians is not only for our country but for the entire human family,” said the priest. “I need your prayers, help me fulfill the mission to the world,” he said.