THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
FISHERS OF MEN
gospel reading for today (Luke 5:1-11) joyfully brought me
back to the first book I ever wrote, “Fishers of Men.”
That was in early 1996.
Some years prior to that, a number of brethren had already
been asking me to write a book. Just like what many clerics
had done regarding their homilies or reflections or news columns,
they suggested I just put together my Ugnayan articles.
I was reluctant to do that. The simple reason was that, though
I had been writing many Ugnayan articles, I did not consider
myself an author.
In 1995 I put together a teaching on this gospel passage and
gave it to CFC in a number of places. Every time I gave the
teaching, my fascination for the passage grew. And the ideas
grew as well. On December 17, 1995, I started writing the
book, and finished it on February 13, 1996.
That period was a very interesting time in the life of CFC
and the world. Here are just some vignettes during the
first quarter of 1996:
Heads were appointed for the first time in Metro Manila.
met at our home at Alpadi with Archbishop Dean (Doctrine
of the Faith), Bishop Gregorio (Laity), Fr. Bobby la Torre
and Fr. Jerry Bitoon, regarding our application for CBCP
recognition (which was later granted).
gas price was raised from 9 pesos to 9.50 per liter.
whole plane (Grandair) was chartered by SFC to fly delegates
to its conference in Davao.
gay couples were legally wed in the first public same-sex
ceremony in San Francisco.
was awarded the Ozanam Award by the Ateneo.
book contains 3 major sections: (1) Seven principles of evangelization,
(2) Seven pitfalls, and (3) Seven elements of our response.
The whole book arises out of a verse-by-verse reflection on
this gospel passage about the call of Simon by Jesus.
The book is still very much relevant today for the life and
mission of CFC-FFL. Its byline says, “An urgent call
to proclaim the good news.” Well, the call is even more
urgent today. I consider this book to be our basic textbook
on evangelization. Since every CFC-FFL member is called upon
to be an evangelizer, then every CFC-FFL member ought to read
this book, and internalize and live out its contents.
20 books and 4 booklets later, I still consider “Fishers
of Men” as my favorite book. One of the most encouraging
comments I received then was from a brother who was a top
leader in another country (he still is today), who said: “The
pope should read this book!” I, of course, did not think
so, but the comment was well appreciated anyway.
If someone thinks the pope should have read “Fishers
of Men,” perhaps you should consider reading it too.
If you have already read it, read it again. The teaching here
is about the very core of who we are as CFC-FFL and why the
Lord raised us. We are an evangelistic and missionary movement.
We exist to evangelize.
We need to have a renewed passion for evangelization. The
times demand it. The Lord expects it. Perhaps this book can
So go and read. Then go and fish!
I later did precisely that in my third book, “Focused
on Christ,” which came out in 1997.
 For CFC though, is it not always exciting
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of Men [PDF]