Filipino Migrant Cyberchurches in the Midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Preliminary Exposition of Two Cities (Brussels CFC-ANCOP and Athens’s MMC)
Rowan Lopez Rebustillo
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The COVID-19 pandemic has unprecedentedly altered the face of the world whose shockwaves have significantly impacted mobility, the economy, and even the area of ecclesiology. Filipino migrants are among those who are severely affected by this global health crisis.1 Nevertheless, as in most unfortunate circumstances, Filipino religiosity and resilience persist.2 They are not hailed as “God’s secret weapon” by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization without reason.3 Time and again, like the pliant bamboo tree, they have proven their ability to survive and, to a certain extent, thrive under difficult conditions. Thus, even in the midst of the pandemic, parish life among Filipino migrants continues to flourish, which has providentially migrated to Cyberspace which can be seen as a fitting tribute to the Quincentenary of Philippine Christianity whose thrust is missio ad gentes. This current study, therefore, will explore how the notion of “cyberchurch”4 has been appropriated by two Catholic communities in Europe (i.e., CFC-ANCOP Brussels Chapter and Athens’s Miraculous Medal Migrant Center) as a response to the Signs of the Times, a modality of being a church that has provided more participative leverage for the Filipino laity in terms of leadership in the context of contemporary ecclesiology and missiology. Thus, a renewed appreciation of lay participation will be highlighted and analyzed in this scholarly endeavor as these “accidental missionaries, armed with their ordinary theology”5 and popular spirituality, take on a more active role in church-building via cyberspace in their attempt to fill up an ecclesiological and liturgical lacuna courtesy of the pandemic. Hence, this is not only a powerful example of lay Filipino missiology but also an invaluable witness to the ecclesiological maxim, “Ecclesia semper reformanda est.”

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