Today, the On-Going Formation of the Logos and Sacerdos group ( 1-5 years in the ministry) formally commenced in Mabini, Batangas. After more than 2 hours of travel, the 18 young and energetic priests, who came from various places of assignment, arrived at the lovely place. In the afternoon, the priests listened to the sharing and insights of Miss Leanne Rosal, a lay Salesian youth minister, regarding the Understanding the Youth of Today. She said that the young are longing for an authentic witnessing from the priests. There is a great challenge and responsibility of the shepherds to become patient accompaniers and emphatic listeners to the young. Before sharing the supper together as brothers, they had the celebration of the Holy Eucharist which was presided by Fr. Ariel Tecson. In his homily, Fr. Ariel confided that these young priests are the present and the future of the congregation. He thanked their generosity and availability for responding to this aggiornamento and renewal program. He reminded them the importance of 'docibilitas' in their daily journey towards the fullness of their configuration to Christ. After dinner, the priests enjoyed the jovial presence of each confreres and serenely embraced the tranquility of the place. What was mainly the invitation on this first day of encounter is on how will the priests become "AUTHESTIC" (AUTHEntic & realiSTIC) in their priestly identity.
Each day is a gracious day. The Logos and Sacerdos priests commenced the day by praying the lauds together. The resource speaker for today and for the next two days is Msgr. Noel Deslate. He hails from the Archdiocese of Capiz and a silver jubilarian priest this year. He spoke about the compassion fatigue (burnout) and stress in priestly ministry. It was said that the principal source of these realities spring from their pastoral ministry itself. The young priests were also given moment of sharing and listening of their personal experiences of compassion fatigue and stress. Father Noel helped them to identfy these things and eventually discussed how to handle them appropriately and prudently. Late in the afternoon, some of the confreres enjoyed the gentle warmth of the sea. During the Eucharistic celebration, Father Noel shared that difficulties are real in the priestly ministry. We face and endure these things only because of our love to the Lord. We persevere because of love, he reiterated. After the delightful dinner, the young confreres cherished each others' presence through fraternal sharing and singing. Ultimately, what transpired today was the 3S in the priestly ministry (Stress, Selfcare, Sanctity).
The 3rd day of the Updating and Renewal Program of the Logos and Sacerdos priests was unfolded with the recitation of the Lauds. In the morning session, Father Noel spoke about the real-existential experience of loneliness, which he stressed, is a normal human experience. During the course of interactive discussion, many young priests shared their own experiences of loneliness and how they coped up with it. Then, the afternoon meeting, started with the mid-afternoon prayer. Our good speaker presented the models of coping styles in dealing with the issue of stress and loneliness. While connecting these issues with Self Esteem and Intimacy, Fr. Noel strongly pointed out, that they are meant to be owned and embraced, not to be ignored nor denied, and need to be healthily addressed with appropriate attitude and disposition. After the enlightening session, everyone enjoyed the cool breeze of the gentle wind. At 6:30 pm, they recited the Vespers and the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary followed. Father Giovanni Gamaya was the main presider, while Father Jose Gasta was the homilist. In his sharing, Fr. Joe said that discipleship is our authentic offering in following Jesus. He added, that we have to continue to learn from the Master and even to consider that one’s limitations, imperfections and infidelities as parts of the crosses we need to carry and can be an offering to the Lord. Today’s journey then, can be summarized in 3A’s (Awareness, Assessment, Acceptance).
Each day is a blessed day! On the fourth day of encounter, Father Noel focused his sharing on the topic on Addiction. He shared that addiction is something incurable, but it can be treated and managed. He elaborated the different types of addictions and its symptoms. He gave the young clergy moments of sharing in their group insights, reflections and realizations. At 3:00 pm, the conference started with mid-afternoon prayer. Father Noel tackled the topics on trauma and self-esteem. Before the session ended, the young priests shared their personal insights, summarizing their experience on this updating and renewal program. Notably, the young priests were glad and thankful for having given this opportunity of renewal. At 6:00 pm, they had the common Rosary for Vocations, which was followed by the Vespers and the Holy Eucharist respectively. Fr. Wilford Urmaza was the main presider while Father Kristian Taok delivered his insightful reflection on God's redeeming love and man's restless heart. After dinner, the young priests enjoyed videoke break and continued on their fraternal colloquy and refreshments. At the close of the day, they just felt the rated R - rested... relieved... revived..!
Today marked the ultimate day of Logos and Sacerdos Aggiornamento and Updating program. They started the common activity with the recitation of the morning offerings and lauds. At 8:00, each group convened and made their respective statement of commitment. At around 10:00, Father Ulrich Gacayan passionately gave the final conference which was about the peculiarity and identity of the Rogationist Charism. He said that every Rogationist should win souls for the kingdom of God as what Father Hannibal Mary did. He added that this winning of souls must not an option, but must be a charismatic obligation. At 11:30, the Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Orville Cajigal with Fr. Welbert Suarez who delivered the homily. During the offertory, each priest handed to Fr. Orville his personal realization as an outcome of the just concluded on-going program. Before the final blessing, in behalf of the Sacerdos, Fr. Jonrey Lauron read their group statement of commitment, while Fr. Sherwin Valenzuela on the other hand, represented the Logos group. After which, Fr. Joseph Thinh gave words of gratitude to Fr. Noel Deslate for his gentle presence and committed service. After the sumptuous lunch, Father Orville had the open forum and meeting with the young clergy. Fr. Orville thanked the presence of all the participants. He emphasized further the importance of fraternal correction and community life. Then, some had a personal dialogue with the provincial superior. Afterwards, they packed their things, bade farewell and thanked the personnel who served them lovingly, and they left the place with a grateful heart. This 5-day journey will be summarized into 5 H’s (Happy, Harmony, Healthy, Healing & Holy).
We praise and thank Our Lord and Our Lady for a meaningful On-Going Program of the Logos and Sacerdos. St. Hannibal Mary be with your young priests so that they may be faithful and zealous laborers in the harvest of the Lord!
Bro. Christian Allan R. De Sagun, RCJ