The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) is changing its name after 50 years.
The association decided to rename itself into the Conference of Major Superiors in the Philippines (CMSP) during its biennial online convention last week.
Franciscan Father Cielito Almazan, co-chairperson of the association, said the decision was made “to reflect the more inclusive nature” of the organization.
He revealed that as early as February last year the association’s joint executive board has been discussing a proposal to change the name of the group.
Formed in December 1970, the AMRSP is a joint forum of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Men in the Philippines and the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Women in the Philippines.
After more than a year of consultation, the proposal to change the name of the association was adopted with the help of Father Elias Ayuban, CMF, provincial superior of the Claretian missionaries in the Philippine province.
Father Ayuban is a canon lawyer who worked for many years in the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life until 2019.
“He walked us through the rationale, the process and the implications of this change of name,” said Father Almazan.
In a statement released on May 5, the AMRSP said the decision to change its name “was the fruit of a long synodal process.”
It said that the decision “was born from the desire to use the more inclusive term ‘consecrated persons,’ as defined in Saint John Paul II’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, in place of the limiting term ‘religious.'”
The statement also said that from being in line with the norms under the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the change of name is also in line with “similar acts of renewal adopted by the Holy See.”
In 1988, the Vatican renamed the “Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes” to the “Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines also renamed the “Episcopal Commission on Mutual Relations between Bishops and Religious” into the “Episcopal Commission on Mutual Relations between Bishops and Consecrated Persons” in 2020.
The association said that aside from the change in name, “this renewal process will also entail the merger of the two constituting associations of AMRSP.”
The CMSP is presently composed of 362 religious institutes and societies of apostolic life, out of 453 such congregations in the Philippines, representing 80 percent of the total institutes and societies present in the country.