The first of the two keynote presentations of our Meeting was given by Cardinal Quevedo, Archbishop of Cotabato, Philippines. He spoke with deep appreciation of the education given him by the American Marist Brothers who came to the Philippines as missionaries. Pope Francis, he noted, observed that in the beginning of the Church, it was made up of missionary disciples 'This is our consecration - to proclaim the values of Jesus Christ. This was the experience of Marcellin Champagnat'.
Cardinal Quevedo encouraged us to respect cultures, to be inclusive in our approach, to welcome religious faith in all its forms and to study climate change - a reality he described as 'a time bomb'. He invited us to think with the Church, rather than just obey stating 'Where there is clarity - obedience, where there is doubt - freedom'.
The Cardinal expressed the hope that Catholic Universities be places of dialogue where a religious atmosphere is nurtured - 'an atmosphere of God where Muslims and people of other faiths participate'. He noted that the Catholic University at Cotabato has 60% Muslims. Their program includes Muslim retreats.