The first International Mission Congress of the Roman Catholic Church opened Sunday in Manila (2 December).
GV EXT PAN Manila Cathedral
GV PAN Churchmen standing with Mass in progress
SV Special Papal Envoy Cardinal Angelo Rossi addresses gathering with Churchmen listening (4 shots)
SV Mass in progress with nuns singing
SV Recessional led by Papal Envoy Rossi
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Background: The first International Mission Congress of the Roman Catholic Church opened Sunday in Manila (2 December).
SYNOPSIS: The five day congress started with a celebratory mass conducted by special Papal Envoy Cardinal Angelo Rossi and the Archbishop of Manila Cardinal Jaime Sin.
More than two hundred Church leaders from around the world are attending the meeting which is being held in Asia's only Christian country.
The churchmen will discuss missionary work in the modern world. A spokesman for the congress said a survey made by the Asian Social Institute showed that interest in missionary work has declined.
The conference takes place a few months away from a anticipated visit to the Philippines of Pope John Paul.
This would be the second visit by a Pontiff to the country where the 400 year old Catholic Church claims at least the adherence of 85 per cent of the population.
The visit will take place at a time of some tension between the Church and State over the continuation of martial law imposed seven years ago by President Ferdinand Marcos.