REMEMBERING OUR EUNTES JOURNEY WITH GRATITUDE

Friday, May 22, 2009

PICT1562The Synthesis of the summer programe 2009 is presented  by Fr. Giulio F. Mariani, PIME (Director of Euntes Asian Center)

This is our Integration – Reflection Synthesis day, a day of prayer and silence in which to remember our Euntes journey with gratitude. It is also the day of our Mission Sending bringing us to the closing of our summer Euntes journey, Toward a Renewed Mission in the Church.

 It is said that “Gratitude is the remembrance of the heart.” And it is with a grateful heart that we wish to spend this day in silent personal reflection and prayer, preparing to answer with our life more than with our words to fulfill Jesus’ command in today’s Gospel: Euntes in mundum universum!.

 In a nutshell, we can say that our Euntes course has been an invitation to commit ourselves once again to the perennial bidding of Jesus Christ that we bring the Good News of the Reign of God (the Basileia) to all the earth. We came to seek new ways of understanding and doing mission, faithful to the Church’s rich Tradition but responsive to the realities faced by the peoples of Asia.

 As Bishop Tagle stated in his talk at the First Asian Mission Congress (Chiang May, Thailand, October 19, 2006) “mission, a single but complex reality, is developed in a variety of ways. In continuity with the Church’s dynamic search for ways of doing mission appropriate to specific times and places our congress proposes an understanding and practice of mission focused on the Story of Jesus in Asia. A story is never just a story. A story is truly a story when told or narrated, and hopefully listened to”.

 This has been the guiding line and main point of all our Euntes modules that ended with Mission: sharing the story of Jesus!

 And now, at the very end of the course, we know that there is so much to be grateful for.

 We are grateful for the privilege of spending five weeks together without any real worries about much of anything…with good food provided, plenty of time to rest, to read and study, to pray, to enjoy each other’s company, to participate in interesting and informative modules, to share our mutual experiences, to be exposed to new and different situations, spending Saturday nights dancing, playing Bingo, watching movies and enjoying popcorn…for five weeks …(how many of our brothers and sisters in the real world can afford this?).

 Clearly, there is here an invitation to look back over the past five weeks in order to celebrate God’s fidelity to us and count our blessings, thanking and praising God for a refreshing pause in our daily routine that has taught us great lessons of life especially the “breakthroughs” in the new icon of the Church as God’s people in mission for the Basileia as we celebrated the dangerous memory of Jesus.  

 Today, in personal prayer and reflection, you can take time and look BACK to your sense of purpose in coming to the Euntes. You can do that especially during your silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament solemnly exposed in our Chapel after the conference this morning, and all throughout the silence of this day until we meet for our final Eucharistic celebration and mission commissioning ceremony.

 This being the joyous Easter Season, the undercurrent subtitle of our summer program has been: We are His witnesses. Think of the times and the ways the various Resource Persons reminded us about this grave responsibility!

 We cannot forget what Paul VI said in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelli Nuntiandi: Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. (EN 41)

 The same concept was taken up and developed by John Paul II in the Redemptoris Missio (RM 42) saying that people today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers, in experience than in teaching, and in life and action than in theories. The witness of an authentic Christian and holy life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission and evangelization.

 Yes, we must be ready to walk side by side/ hand in hand with the people we are serving, more than just ahead of them, especially with those on the margins, and walk together building the Basileia here and now, showing the way especially through our personal life witness. Yes, our life and lifestyle should always have the witness dimension.

 The authentic desire to remember the past few weeks with gratitude and not reduce it simply to an empty exercise can only be grounded in the desire to give thanks. Living in our consumerist society and taking many things for granted, there is always a great need to form in us and in the people entrusted to our care a “grateful heart”.

 We have to keep in mind that, in all our talks about the margins, the basileia, shifting paradigms, dialogue, signs of the times, migration, mission spirituality, Christian family, it was all for the sake of being ready to share the story of Jesus, and to discover and show the Asian face of Jesus.

 And, really, what is paramount in all of this, is our deepening understanding of Jesus, the Missionary of the Father/ the Missionary of the Kingdom, in his profound and intimate relationship with the One who sent him and whom He called abba.

 We know that this title, however, means nothing so trivial as “daddy”. It was, indeed, a relationship of the deepest intimacy. In the very words of Albert Nolan in his latest book, JESUS TODAY:

 “If we find it difficult to take Jesus seriously and to live as he lived, then it is because we have not yet experienced God as our abba. The experience of God as his abba was the source of Jesus’ wisdom, his clarity, his confidence, and his radical freedom. Without this it is impossible to understand why and how he did the things he did.” 

 We read in the Gospel of Mark 3:13- 15: He went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.

He appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.

 Over the past five weeks we, the Euntes community, (priests, Religious women, seminarians and lay people), responding to a call of the Spirit, (sometimes only through a strong ‘suggestion’ of our Superiors as in the case of our brothers Seminarians!), came together and we stayed ‘on the mountain’ (the Euntes rolling hills/ closer to God) to enter in communion with the Lord and with one another, but only in order to be sent out to go and tell the story of Jesus, and to drive out the demons of injustice and divisions so that more people could share in the blessings of the Basileia/ so that all men and women could have life and life in abundance according to the promise Jesus, the Good Shepherd, had made.

We started out saying that, in our journey toward renewed mission in the Church, the EAC sought to provide a setting where adult learning could happen and reflection on mission deepened and widened as we strove to be together a church renewed.

 We were told from the start that we were adopting a methodology not merely academic, but also experiential, inclusive, interactive and participatory.

 Today, five weeks later, we know that we have tried and have achieved this, by the grace of God and the willing cooperation of all. And now we are ready to go and reach out to our brothers and sisters in our various communities with a sense of gratitude to God and to one another. We really feel like saying, in fact, we really feel like shouting out: Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord because of our Euntes experience.

 It seems to me that the T-shirt we have prepared as a remembrance of our summer program says it quite well. We are altogether in the same boat, our mission that is actually God’s mission, we are rowing over the waters of our broken world toward our different mission assignments under the shadow of the Cross, reminding us of the sacrifices we will surely encounter in our pilgrimage to tell the story of Jesus and build the Basileia.

 Quoting Gaudium et Spes , the pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, today we can say with greater conviction that we wish to carry in our hearts the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men and women of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts.

 And thus, we remember with gratitude our daily Liturgies, creative and yet simple, where every day we were nourished and transformed by the Word and Body and Blood of Christ.

 In the past five weeks the Word of God called and convoked us every day during the Eucharistic Celebration, every day the different Resource Persons through the various modules helped us to change our paradigms on Mission and Spirituality, offering us new insights to renew our missionary call as Priests, Religious or Lay by proclaiming the Word in the context of today’s globalized world, cultures and mosaic of religions, every day the Word of God challenged us to be open to the Holy Spirit in our personal life and spirituality, every day that Word sent us into the multicultural Euntes community. Today, finally, that same Word sends us back to our people in our mission assignments to re- tell the story of Jesus in a new and renewed way.

 We always filled our Chapel with all our brothers and sisters and their concerns in order to have the courage and strength to become ourselves, more and more each day, Bread Broken and Blood Shared with the gift of our life day after day. We confessed our personal sins and the structural sins we were part of, we confessed our brokenness that makes us more often than not ‘wounded healers’, proclaiming God’s loving forgiveness, in order to be ever ready to offer/ spend our life mindful of Jesus’ command: Do this in memory of me!

 We remember with gratitude our modules and our Resource Persons who shared with us their learning in their lectures, challenging and inspiring us to see, judge and act, helping us to wear new lenses and developing new perspectives.

 Father Angel Calvo, CMF set the mood for our entire program by leading us to experience God in the margins. We remember our exposure to Basilan and also the City Tour.

 Father Chris O’Leary, OMI set us on fire with his passion for the Basileia that became a familiar word that constantly emerged in our community prayers and reflections. We were led to understand Jesus’ mission as preaching the Basileia as ‘fullness of life’.

 With the Basileia on our mind and in our hearts, we welcomed Dr. Manny De Guzman as he introduced us to the much needed shifting of paradigms. The age of MISSIONS has ended while the age of MISSION has begun.

 This brought us to move into Mission, Evangelization and Dialogue with Father Jeyaraj Rasiah, SJ. We discovered the centrality of ‘dialogue’ in the Church in our evangelizing mission.

 Father Rolando Tuazon, CM, guided us into learning about ‘the best kept secret of the Church’, the Catholic Social Traditions. We gained more insights in the importance of reading the Signs of the Times to serve our people, especially the marginalized, more effectively.

 Father Danny Pilario, CM, through the sharing of many touching experiences with migrant people everywhere, impressed upon us the fact that we are also migrants, urging us as church ‘to just be there’ next to them in order to be the sign of the presence of God’s loving compassion. Telling our personal migration story and acknowledging our own personal woundedness and brokenness, we know that we can and should be more compassionate healers.

 Bro. Karl Gaspar, CSrR, led us into the world, the minds and hearts, of our Indigenous People. Through their rituals and many of their symbols we were helped to discover the Spirit, the vivifying Breath of God present in the world of Nature and of Mother Earth. Bro. Karl, a dedicated Mindanao Church worker and anthropologist, artist and peace advocate, is also a man of God and of the world with a spirituality that embraces the poor and the oppressed; he helped us discover our ‘indigenous’ roots.

 Dr. Joe De Mesa, a lay married Theologian, a recognized expert on enculturation, challenged us to see and put the family at the heart of our mission effort presenting marriage as discipleship for the Basileia, a real ‘domestic church’.

 Dr. Natividad Pagadut, a lay woman and a Bible expert, inspired us with her profound knowledge and deep personal love of the Word of God, helping us to see the Word of God for what it actually is, that is, source of our life and ministry/ mission. 

We remember our glorious integration groups with names that proposed the Euntes values such as Creativity, Fidelity, Hospitality, Solidarity and Serenity. It is there that we experienced many personal and liberating sharing while bonding us together in a friendship that will continue in the years to come though we will be working in different places. 

 We remember our Social Nights that certainly qualified us as an Easter community that manifested its inner joy through table-fellowship, laughter and dancing.

 We remember the exposures…. We remember the Euntes Olympics…We remember the movies and the time we spent bonding together…much of this bonding will probably continue even after we leave this place…The Euntes Blog can serve as a good link, and here let me thank those who worked on it giving generously of their time and talent.

 We remember the Euntes workers…Baby the Secretary, the kitchen girls, the ground maintenance crew, the night guards and our gatekeepers who, in different caring ways, made our stay at the Euntes more enjoyable.

 We remember Sr. Stella and Sr. Francis always ready to serve, to listen and provide for all your needs. PIME is greatly indebted to the OND Sisters for their generous cooperation in our Euntes experience.  

 Hopefully, you will also remember and say a prayer for ‘yours truly’ who sat at what was defined ‘the hierarchical table’ but only not to force you to have to talk English as gamay lang ang Cebuano ko. I can honestly say that I always shared, enjoyed and loved your presence and saw in each one of you a precious co-pilgrim and co-missionary in following Jesus in-mission.

 I can assure you that in the days and months to come, from time to time, I will go through our Euntes Directory (you will be given a copy) and will behold your names and faces.  Many fond memories of each one of you  will return to my heart and mind and  will pray that the Lord be with you!

 There is joy in your heart, eager, as you are, to go home and share what you have learned and experienced here. Your Bishops, Superiors and your local communities are joyfully looking forward to your return counting on you to bring a breath of fresh air because of your renewed mission formation and spirituality.

 However, I am sure there is also a twinge of pain in having to say goodbye to some dear people you have become close to over the past few weeks.

Fond memories of the days spent in the ‘warm and cozy nest’ that the Euntes proved to be for each of you will surely accompany you, but the time has come for you to be true to your name for you have been and are the Euntes community/ the Reach Out community!

 There is joy in the hearts of all the Euntes Staff for bringing to a successful end another batch. And I assure you that there is joy in the heart of the PIME Missionaries who, (as I was telling you in my opening talk) after working for over a hundred and fifty-nine years in the missions with a special attention for Asia and the Pacific, founding many local Dioceses and spreading the Good News revealed in the story of Jesus, see themselves prevented from going to some of these countries because of Visa restrictions, and thus they see in each one of you one very precious extension, trusting that the Euntes has succeeded in transmitting to you some of its mission charisma.

 PIME has been willing and is willing, year after year, to invest in the Euntes program for the good of the missionary Church of Asia.  And today PIME proudly salutes and welcomes each one of you as its co-missionaries, joining you in praising and thanking the Lord.

 Here are some questions/ points that can serve as a guide for your personal and prayerful reflection, but the Spirit is sure to suggest you even more appropriate ones, and so just ignore all this and just follow the Spirit.

  • Am I more ready for renewal (aggiornamento)? Ready to be more in touch with the sources (ad fontes)?
  • Did I deepen my personal encounter with the person of Jesus so as to be ready to engage in renewed mission in the Church today?
  • Shifting paradigms invites us to check out our lenses as to how we see reality and ‘crossover’ to a new way of seeing reality. Thus, renewal requires paradigm shift: Self – Others – World –God – Jesus –Mission – Church – MINISTRY.
  • Personal conversion (‘shifting paradigm’) is a pre-requisite for evangelization: to see reality through the lens of a new experience of God.
  • What are some of the most important insights will I treasure in my ministry from now on?
  • Do I try to apply some of my new learning to the concrete pastoral situations that I will soon be facing at home?

 And now, in your silence and prayer today, just remember…nothing escapes God’s loving embrace!

The Last Module “Mission: Sharing the Story of Jesus”

 

Dr. Nati

Dr. Nati

We began the last module ‘Mission: Sharing the Story of Jesus’ facilitated by Dr Natividad B. Pagadut, the resource person. She facilitated the module for four days from May 18th to 21st.

     In History and mystery there are full of stories. Our life is unimaginable without stories. Many at times stories tell us who we are and how they connect us with our fellow human beings. Through stories we explore our lives deeper within ourselves. We might have heard from our story tellers that stories can play a vital role in forming the human communities. Dr Natividad B. Pagadut, our resource person of ‘Mission: Sharing the Story of Jesus Christ,’ said that human experience is one of the fundamental in telling the stories. When the stories emerge from the human experience they transform the peoples’ lives. The module was very interesting because she explored the topic from her own experience with Jesus and applying the stories of Jesus to day-to-day life.

Integration Groups presented the biblical stories by enacting

Integration Groups presented the biblical stories by enacting

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     Do we have the experience with Jesus like Mother Mary, St. Paul, Blessed Mother Theresa and like other people? If so do we share our experience with others in order to enrich our own experience; does the story of Jesus transform our lives? Such questions brought us the importance of telling the story of Jesus Christ in our day to day life. How do we know about Jesus? In this four days sections our primary sources are the four gospels. Through Gospels we know that Jesus is a story-teller. As a rabbi, a teacher, his favorite method of instruction is telling the stories in the form of parables, insightful vignettes that revealed the depths of God’s Reign (Basilea).

Prayer dance during the session

Prayer dance during the session

Presenting a token of love to Dr. Nati at the end of module

Presenting a token of love to Dr. Nati at the end of module

Group picture with Dr. Nati

Group picture with Dr. Nati

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Memorable Weekend Exposure Activities

CITY TOUR

On our first Sunday April 26 at EUNTES, we boarded the Zamboanga Export Zone tourist bus and was treated to be a grand tour of Zamboanga City.  Making this journey with Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF, we were generally given a panoramic view of the beauty of Zamboanga and how slowly marginalization encroached in the history of this City of Flowers.  It is a tour that continued to educate us on the history of marginalization of society from the vantage of Zamboanguenos.  It unveiled to us the different players of society that contributes to increasing poverty among common tao.  It brought us to historic places that enriched the culture and history of mission in this first Diocese in Mindanao.DSC06864

      PICT1235Crossing the roads of Sinunic, Pitugo, Talisayan, and Ayala, we were listening to the rich history of the Muslim-Christian communities we pass by.  Then we reached the Zamboanga Export Zone.  It was a visit to the home of this tourist bus we are riding.  The area is generously planted with bougainvilleas that highlight the well built modern structures, offices, communication facilities and residential buildings.  We also had a view of the cozy retiring boat houses, which of course as religious women and clergy men we all could just dream of.   Oh, maybe our lay companions would one day invite us to their retirement boat houses. DSCN3024

Then we went to the SAN RAMON PENAL COLONY that truly touched our missionary hearts.   We saw the numerous prisoners behind layers of barb wires, to whom we could only give a warmth smile of recognition at that moment.  We interacted with minimum risk prisoners who are selling wood carvings and other products produced from this colony.  We could not forget their persistent but friendly trading for a reason.  I guess, most of us bought an item not much because we need it but we know our act would help them and their income will be spent wisely for their personal needs.  Of course, we could not say goodbye to the place without taking pictures with the penal colony and the open sea as background!     DSC06952 On our way to the City Proper or Pueblo, as commonly called here at Zamboanga, we pass significant places, which when taken as one landscape has actually an interweaving implications to the development of Zamboanga then and now.

  • Badjao Evacuees’ Community
  • Yakan Community
  • La Vista Del Mar
  • Ebenezer Bible School
  • Western Mindanao Command Camp
  • Zamboanga Golf Course
  • Contiguous properties of religious institutions and the local diocese

 We also made a quick stop by the landmark that honors Fr. Salvatore, PIME.  While strongly working for peace and dialogue, he was killed by a gunman on his way home.  Yet, his death did not stop the PIME from carrying out mission in Zamboanga, even along the same advocacy that took his life. Then, we found ourselves in the Zamboanga Museum and Fort del Pilar where Fr. Calvo told us the early history of Zamboanga, the significance of the Fort and the Pilar Shrine.  It was truly a history class shared from the heart of a missionary who witnessed the unfolding of a harmonious relationship between Christians and Muslims, until other elements badly influenced it.DSC06933

Finally, we made it to our last stop – the Catholic Church’s Cathedral. It was a self explanatory visit. Yet, I guess most of us wondered and was in awe (a feeling that comes when we visit extravagantly constructed churches).  At times, when we let our social conscience come to a fore, we cannot help but think of the necessity of such a structure.DSC06926

As we get off from the bus at EUNTES, we know the tour has not stopped yet.  Actually, it has just begun.  This trip that opened us to worldly realities will lead us to something more.  This journey of Zamboanga and her streets will continue on the coming days, as we would individually or as a group explore the Reign of God in this city of flowers.IMG_1467

A GLIMPSE OF SILSILLAH

 DSC07203Sunday is always a day of opportunities for the Euntes Participants of Summer Program 2009. Last May 3, 2009, we were privileged to visit the Harmony Village, Silsilah. We were awed by the hospitality shared by the Staff. We were first welcomed by Minda the President of Silsilah who just arrived from the Netherlands. Then, at the Silsilah Hall, Fr. Sebastian, PIME gave us an orientation and proposed tour of the village. After the meeting with Fr. Sebastian, we were brought again by Anne, one of the Staff, to the gym for another sharing by Sr. Marion, RGS and Jo. They shared about their life in Silsilah and what brought them this life. They experienced peace and harmony in all humanity and all creation. Jo as an agriculturist came to realize that she learned from the simple people many things that she never learned in her studies of agriculture in University of Philippines (UP).

Practically, we were brought around the different corners of Harmony Village. Indeed, we too experienced peace and harmony and we were edified by the kind of life that they have in Harmony Village. Finally, we went back to the Silsilah Hall where Fr. Sebastian showed us a film by Marilou Diaz-Abaya, one of the movie directors in the Philippine movie industry. The movie shows the history of Silsilah, the different components of the program, and its advocacy to dialogue and peace for all Muslims, Christians and people of other living faiths. DSC07236

Altogether, it was for all of us another added learning experience that there are such groups of people who are committed to work for dialogue and peace. We are grateful to the kagandahang-loob ng mga Silsilah Staff and Fr. Sebastian, PIME. Indeed the Silsilah Visit is a continuing celebration of the Eucharist.DSC07237

Exposure to the Shelters of Zamboanga

 Sunday, 10th of May:  In an effort to actualize the Eucharist’s invitation “to stay united with Christ and love and serve him in people”, EUNTES participants found their way to two shelters in Zamboanga City:  Akay-Kalinga Center and Pangarap Youth Drop-In Center.  These two centers are under the supervision of Katilingban, an NGO led by Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF. IMG_2021

Akay-Kalinga Center welcomes children of the street yearning for a home experience. It is a two level house that opens its space to anyone who comes for food, shelter, and the opportunity to create a new path of life.  As part of their program, the center offers literacy and skill-training opportunities for children and teenagers. Akay-Kalinga believes in the importance of family, thus, their social workers conduct home visitation to explore possibility of reuniting the child with the parents. At the time of our visit, we were warmly welcomed by the children, the center’s staff and Ms. Loida, who gave us the orientation.  It was also a timely visit as we joined one child in celebrating his birthday!    IMG_2030

Meanwhile at the Pangarap Youth Drop-In Center, we were greeted by youthful smiling faces of young men and women, along with their coordinator Mr. Marvin.  It is a small modest shelter along the road that caters to teenagers who do odd works in the evening, but have been seeking opportunities to reshape their life’s direction.  At Pangarap they experience going home to a place of rest, where food maybe limited but decent and lovingly shared among newly found brothers and sisters.   They are also offered formal education, skills training and possible employment.  If possible, the center also looks into individual cases of abuse.

 

The whole experience was one best way to spend a warm beautiful Sunday and live our faith in union with a living person (more than faith expressed through recited prayers and confines of churches).  It was a joyful living of the Eucharist. An opportunity to put faces and names to the word Margins, to the very concerns of our Catholic Social Teachings, and encounter Migrants.  It was a possibility to live the values of the Basilea, to dialogue with other faith, and to embrace those abandoned or seeking for home.  IMG_2087

YES!  We made one baby step to cross barriers and allowed ourselves to be evangelized by young men and women, even children, who give life to the words: street children… beggars… parking boys… rugby boys… babaeng kalye… illiterate… deportees… migrants.  In many ways, we differ with one another.  Even in faith expression.  But one thing I felt and firmly believe in:  we all trust that there is God – regardless of how we put name and gender on God.  And in God’s loving embrace, with our seemingly insignificant effort to embrace the other, each one of us will be led to experience home, justice, peace, hope and harmony.  After all, in our own life stories and varying degrees, we all wish to experience God.

The little time we spent to exchange stories with the children and youth is one little act of planting the seed of love and experience The Other.  So, as I end, I recall your faces, children and youth of Akay Kalinga and Pangarap. Thank you for trusting us with your life stories.    You inspire us to share more of ourselves to realize the values of the Basilea and live our faith beyond dogmas, doctrines, rituals, theories, concepts, or memorized /written prayers.  With your stories entwined with our journey, we are renewed for Mission!

Picture with the boys and girls of Akay Kalinga Center
Picture with the boys and girls of Akay Kalinga Center

Reflections on “Mission of the Family”

JONG

JONG

REFLECTION ON FAMILY

Marjeo (Jong) L. Delfin, OMI

The family has an important role in a society because of its basic characteristic as the smallest unit that composes a community. It has undergone a lot of changes throughout history and it has evolved from one character to another. In looking at the character of a family, it is interesting to know that its nature is closely related to the soil/land. One might wonder how family life is closely related to that of its native soil. Let me explain.

Historically, family has a patriarchal trait portrayed by ancient literatures. This however appears a bit influential even today’s generation. It has evolved into another trait though it still manifests such influence in one way of another. The dynamism of the family made it survive for years immemorial. Patriarchal family is so related to the soil because in this kind of family, every action in the family surrounds only in the land as a source of monetary needs. Fathers have been the strict implementer of the law at home. Going to school has been discouraged since the knowledge learned in school which is to be used in finding a living is simply not applicable. The farm then has become their school where they learned the basic form of earning and living.DSC07768

From being patriarchal, it has evolved into something personalistic where the children started to go away from home to work and study in schools where they learn the way of finding a living. This is one of the effects of the ongoing industrialization in every society today. Lands have been abandoned and buildings have been erected so that people little by little reduce the contact with the soil. Machines took place the job of humans and the nexus between the members of the family has become fainter and fainter. This is an unfortunate situation because a lot of factors in human growth have been affected by this.IMG_2397

As a result of industrialization and extreme materialism, parenting has become difficult. Moreover, religion also plays an important role in perpetuating this situation instead of severing it because of some influences of dualistic perspective. Realization in the Vatican II as it did an aggiornamento and as it went back to the sources (ad fontes) that attempt to revision this problem. Even to the present, the struggle continues and the fight goes on as regards this matter. The challenge for those who work in the church lies along this line of service. The call of Jesus Christ is to break barriers in any form, promote justice and live love among one another.P1010058

The unifying factor in every Christian family should be Christ by keeping alive the love for one another. John 13:35 expresses this, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” This not only unifies our families but also evangelizes others whose faith has been ravaged. The manifestation of love could be God’s instrument of letting others to know Christ better. When we evangelize we are then not limited to preaching the word of God but also but way of example. What we need to day are families who are not only teachers but more so witnesses of his Basileia. This is therefore our challenge; to make love the center of our families.001_1616

CALL TO BUILD THE NATURE OF FAMILY TODAY

By: Renato (Don) Caballero Jr.

Don

Don

We, Filipinos are family centered. We deeply value and cherish our family, including our extended families. We sacrifice a lot for our loved ones. Some of us even sacrifice marriage for the sake of our younger brother and sister and for our ageing or sick parents. We gain support from, find refuge in, and go back to our families.  However, this deep family value is slowly vanishing today.

But what is more tragic is that our families are being broken by poverty and unjust economic and political structure of our country. As commercialism and materialism take center stage, we find ourselves being carried away from our families to the pressure of living the high consumerist quantities of life, fashion and what is in. We find ourselves competing, becoming more individualistic, and even materialistic and hedonistic.  When gathered, we are glued to the television viewing movies, soap opera from Asian or Latin countries, which have no relevance to our families and sometimes violent in nature. The evolution of global technology also impacts on the family as children are exposed to violent computer games.  DSC07914

All these realities prevent the family to have quality time together.  As material security is given to children, put aside is the quality of emotional security and values formation for the growing child.  Nowadays, parents have less and less time to play with their kids, to listen to their stories and share stories.  Stories on families unveil the tragic reality of violence in family life as well as family separation.  Moreover, in Mindanao and other parts of the country, families are torn apart by war, animosities and deep prejudices against various faith communities. The culture of violence and death prevail.  

As we talk about families and revelation of God’s love, as the value of being instead of having came across more clearly, and the blessing theology prevailed over the salvation theory –  I ask myself these questions.

     How can we enrich the spirituality of our families broken by poverty?

     How can we commission our families to be agents of socio, political and economic change in our countries?

     How can families all over the world unite so we can fight the ill effects of globalization?

     How can we families become social agents of a culture of peace and dialogue?

I may not have the answers to these questions but for the sake of our families. I pose these because I believe these are the right questions today!

Continuation of the “Mission of the family”

Friday, May 15, 2009:

The day of the Liturgy is animated by the Fidelity Group members.

The fidelity group members (Connie, Burns, Chandar, Jiji and Jer)

The fidelity group members (Connie, Burns, Chandar, Jiji and Jer)

Fr. Chico is presiding the celebration.

Fr. Chico is presiding the celebration.

Our gathering started with the Holy Eucharistic Celebration. The Mass is presided by Fr. Chico. Sr. Connie shared her faith and reflection in the context of Mission and Family, integrating the story of the foundation the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Family – her congregation. Her sharing brought us closer in understanding the family ministry in word and deed. Fr. Chico broke the bread for us. Br. Burns led us with devotion hymns, while Fr. Emmy, Sr. M, Br. Shant and Sr. France offered the prayers of the faithful representing an idol of family.

The Opening Prayer before the session starts

The Opening Prayer before the session starts

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IMG_2414Our continuing module on Mission and Family with Dr. Jose de Mesa took on the metaphor of dance.  He said that Marriage is a dance. We all know that dance is an art. Masterpieces of an art don’t just happen. He substantiated this message with a video clip of handicapped persons’ ballet performance. We can see the hard work, planning, dedication, and love from the dancing partners. This leads us to believe that the family is a work of art that God has commissioned to each of us.

The Mission of the Family provides a road map for the journey through insights on the Holy Family of Nazareth; by seeking God’s call to serve Him. Many at times family ministry is seen as ‘problem centered approach.’ But Dr. Jose says that it is ‘blessing centered approach.’IMG_2407

Saturday, May 16, 2009:

The liturgy and the opening prayer were animated by the coordinators (Sr. Pat, Sr. Dom, Sr. Jerome, Burn and Eking) who are representatives of the five integration groups.

Coordinators (standing: Sr. Jerome, Sr. Pat, Sr. Dom and Sitting: Eking and Bro. Burns), sacristan: Bro. Rani, Presider: Fr. Giulio and Musician: Sr. Roselle

Coordinators (standing: Sr. Jerome, Sr. Pat, Sr. Dom and Sitting: Eking and Bro. Burns), sacristan: Bro. Rani, Presider: Fr. Giulio and Musician: Sr. Roselle

 The day started with the creative liturgy was prepared by the sisters from Myanmar. The liturgy started with a welcome ritual from the sisters, they put wristbands as a sign of welcome and friendship bonding to all the participants. The Eucharist was so solemn and memorable because of the creativity done during the offertory. They offered different kind of fruits, incense sticks, the bread and the wine. After the recessional, the final blessing followed by throwing flower while dancing as a blessing. DSC07762

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Flowers of blessiings being received after the Mass

Flowers of blessiings being received after the Mass

For the prayer service, which started the session in the morning, the group led the community into prayer by having a “mantra” in Burmese language, “Shitchen Shee Thaw niya, Thaki piya Shedee”, which means “When is love here, God is here.” While singing the mantra the participants poured water into the plants as a symbol of nourishment for them through the good virtues and values of the family. The plants symbolized the family/community. And it ended with a prayer of the family led by Eking, the coordinator of creativity group.

The opening prayer before the sessio begins

The opening prayer before the sessio begins

 

Symbolically pouring water to the plant

Symbolically pouring water to the plant

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During the session today Dr. Jose de Mesa gave us reflection pointers for the group discussion. 

EXPERIENCES OF FAMILY LIFE AS THEMES

 

  1. EXPERIENCE OF BEING WELCOMED.
  2. EXPERIENCE OF BEING AFFIRMED.
  3. EXPERIENCE OF SHARING.
  4. EXPERIENCE OF BEING INTIMATE.
  5. EXPERIENCE OF LEADERSHIP.
  6. EXPERIENCE OF BEING FORGIVEN.
  7. EXPERIENCE OF BEING STRENGTHENED WHEN FEELING DOWN.
    Sr. Celz is sharing her group' story.

    Sr. Celz is sharing her group' story.

After the group discussions each one of the group member shared to us all their own story of family life. It is really enriching for us to hear their stories in order to reflect over the values that are existing in our families. At end of the session with our greatful hearts we thanked our resource person Dr. Jose de Mesa by giving a ‘token of love’ on behalf of the Euntes community and the participants. At the end we loved to take a picture with Dr. Jose.PICT1700

The Module “Mission of the Family”

First day- Thursday, May 14, 2009:

We began the new module ‘Mission of the Family’ facilitated by Dr. Jose de Mesa, the resource person. He will be facilitating the module for three days (May 14th to 16th).

The Liturgy:

The Liturgy of the day is animated by the serenity group.

Serenity Group members (Pat, Cora, Rose, Danny and Chico)

Serenity Group members (Pat, Cora, Rose, Danny and Chico)

Fr. Dong

Fr. Dong

In view of the beginning of new module ‘Mission of the Family,’ the liturgy of the day mostly focused on families in order for reflection.  The opening Eucharistic celebration highlights the realities of family life today.  It includes displacement of families due to war and violence, separation resulting to moral degradation of family values, and forced migration due to extreme poverty and unjust socio-economic and political structures.  These realities challenge us to evaluate the quality of love that we reflect on the quality of our love for others and how to concretize this love in words and deeds. The Eucharistic celebration is presided by Fr. Dong, the guest priest.

 

 

The beginning of the session:

           Flores de Mayo is a Catholic festival held in the Philippines for the month of May.  To stress this traditional celebration, the group offers flowers to Virgin Mary in her honor as a way of recognizing her role to all families during the opening prayer of the beginning session of the module. DSC07718

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At the start of the module Fr. Giulio introduced the resource person, Dr. Jose de Mesa.

Fr. Giulio is introducing the speaker- Dr. Jose de Mesa
Fr. Giulio is introducing the speaker- Dr. Jose de Mesa
Dr. Jose de Mesa
Dr. Jose de Mesa

Jose M. de Mesa, Ph.D. a married Filipino Theologian, is a professor of Applied Systematic Theology at De La Salle University, Manila. He obtained his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the Catholic University, Louvain, Belgium. He is a member of the Louvain Theological and Pastoral Monographs and is on the advisory board of Concilium. His publications included: In Solidarity with the Culture; Studies in Theological Re-rooting; Basic Realities and Processes and Doing Christology, the Re-appropriations of a Tradition.

 

The speaker started by introducing himself as a married person which established certain veracity in speaking about family life in the perspective of a non-celibate. He also presented the preferred approach in seeing marriage, which has undergone lots of humiliation throughout the history of the Church, that is, “blessing-centered” rather than “problem-centered”. He traced back the vision of marriage from the time of the Church Fathers and the succeeding epoch as highly influenced by Hellenistic dualists’ philosophy. Such philosophy influenced a lot in the way of thinking of the church and the implementation of her practices, which has become a tradition that is carried from one century to another.

The beginning of Dr. Jose' lecture

The beginning of Dr. Jose' lecture

 

 

         The Church has been living in the medieval way of thinking for which Dr. de Mesa proposed a re-visioning of the church’s view of marriage as well as our negative (subconscious) accusations of marital commitment. Dualism has become problematic and has been marginalizing a good number of the faithful. It has an enormous influence in Catholicism and the consequences of its paradigm have reflected so much in many of her doctrines, beliefs, and traditions. Missionaries and the clergy in this regard have become problem solvers and experts of marriage which they never experienced themselves.IMG_2359

       For centuries, the vision of marriage and everything that is related to sexuality have been looked down and considered second class or low class as it were. This made the Church hierarchical and put married couples below as inferior with emphasis on the fallenness of women and weakness of children.

          The proposed approach, that is, the “blessing-centered” or “creation-centered” approach makes missionaries and the church hierarchy as human witness who are able to listen to the threshold of marital life. This was made possible in the implementation of the double thrust of Second Vatican Council which is aggiornamento in her doctrine and ad fontes as regards our traditions. This basically is not innovative but rather a process reclaiming the lost piece of the original Christianity as Jesus envisioned.

             Marriage, which majority of the world population is engaged with, sparks a certain interest that demands a particular response from the church that neglects its importance for a long time. By the lecture on the mission of the family in the church, new paradigm has been opened for further reflection. As an epilogue for the lecture on this day, Dr. de Mesa showed us a movie about a married couple which serves as a prologue for tomorrow’s session.IMG_2404

Embracing My Migrant Father’s Love

By: Diosdado (Ai) Manzano

Ai

Ai

            I am a son of a migrant family. My father first left home when I was 4 years old to work in abroad. Once in three years he comes home and goes back after one month of vacation. More than half of my father’s life has been spent working in abroad that’s why I grew up without experiencing my father’s guidance, care and moral support. I think those were the reasons why I did not like him much. For me, he’s more of a stranger than a father. There were even times when I denied him before my classmates and friends, said bad things about him, and worst, ashamed of him for being my father.

            The other day I was crying while sharing to my integration group because the movie (Anak) reminded me of my own story and my father’s story. It reminded me of the time when I saw my father crying while talking to my mother. “I don’t want to leave this house anymore because I miss this family so much,” were the words that he uttered to my mother. However, those remain only in words for there’s no other way but to leave. He must to leave or else our family will not survive. However, on that day I realized how much he loves us, especially me. A love that I could not imagine anymore.

            The module “Mission and Migration” facilitated by Fr. Danny Pilario, CM helped me a lot to see and understand more the life of a migrant. Their pain, struggle, joy and excitement continuously remain in me. Thus, it made me to realize that God is always there to protect, comfort, and accompany all the migrants as what he did to the early Christians. For this I am very thankful to Him for taking care of my father.IMG_1986

            Earlier I denied my father before my classmates and friends, now, I’m very very proud of him. I thank God for enlightening my mind and heart for all the darkness of hatred and anger that made me a migrant to my father’s love. God bless all the migrants. IMG_2149

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