DAY 1 – July 20, 2019 (Saturday)
Today, the first day of the first ever National Rogate Youth Assembly and Workshop kick started with the registration and welcoming of the youth participants coming from different Rogationist communities. The theme of the Assembly and Workshop is “Rogate Youth: Inspired, United, and Empowered to be active collaborators in promoting vocations.”
After a brief introduction and welcome remarks by Rev. Jose Roque Arreza, RCJ, the first input immediately was given to them. Fr. Jessie Martirizar, Postulant Director, delivered a conference on the “Union of the Prayer for Vocations: Backgrounder, Nature, Mission, Spirituality and Identity.” He reflected on the history of the UPV, beginning with St. Hannibal Mary Di Francia, and on towards the legacy of the Rogate throughout the years. After the short break, Fr. Ulrich Gacayan, Provincial Councilor on the Sector of the Rogate, delivered the second input. The topic was about “The Rogationist Charism.”
The morning activities culminated with the celebration of the Holy Mass, which was presided over by Fr. Alfonso Flores, Provincial Councilor on the Sector of Laity, Youth and Parishes. The content of his homily is summarized as follows: "The Rogate Youth Movement is about finding focus because the youth today have a lot of values. The RYM will give identity to you if you value it with attention, time, and commitment. We value many things because it is part of our identity. When you value things, that means you have chosen it. Once you have chosen something, you have studied about it. When you have chosen a value, you will be changed by that value. If you are changed by the value, you will be happy to proclaim show it to others. If you become an RY and it becomes a value to you, then it becomes a moment for you to change, and you will be happy to proclaim to others, especially the experience of the Rogationist Spirituality: prayer and charity -- and hopefully, may it grow on you." The usual liturgical celebration followed, concluded by a group photo, and eventually, lunch and rest.
In the afternoon, after a simple invocation to the Holy Spirit, the participants were divided into four groups. They studied, commented, and gave their suggestions and feedback to the Manual of the UPV-Rogate Youth in its first draft. Groups were assigned to study the following: Shared Values, Structure, System, and one group who studied Style, Staffing, Skills, and Strategy altogether. The study took considerable amount of time thanks to the active and lively discussions among the young participants and the helpful interventions of the facilitators.
After dinner, the groups assigned to present the Shared Values and Structure prescribed by the Manual delivered their comments and suggestions. To cap the night, Fr. Arlene thanked the youth and asked them to prepare for the next day's activities.
DAY 2 – July 21, 2019 (Sunday) - MORNING SESSION
The second and final day of the National Rogate Youth Assembly started with the Holy Mass, which was presided over by the Provincial Superior of the Rogationist St. Matthew Province, Fr. Orville Cajigal. In his homily, he reflected on the need of listening to God and to one another. From this reflection, he integrated the reality of much needed organized collaboration between the Rogate Youth and the Rogationist Fathers and Brothers. (For more details on the homily of Fr. Orville Cajigal, please see follow-up post.)
After the breakfast, the participants gathered again for the continuation of the presentation of the rest of the groups. Each group took turns in presenting the group work on one of the assigned 7S in the Manual of the UPV-Rogate Youth. The rest of the groups presented System, Style, Staffing, Skills, and Strategy. The groups also solicited comments and suggestions, which were welcomed by the Assembly.
As soon as the groups finished their presentations, Fr. Orville had his intervention and encounter with the youth participants. They were given time to share their insights, expectations, feedback, suggestions, comments, and experiences about how the Rogationists and the Rogate Youth, in general, can be enriched with each other's experiences, values, and expectations. From time to time, Fr. Orville appraised, commented, and assured the youth participants that the Rogationists are striving their best to cater to the needs of the UPV-Rogate Youth, considering their various situations. The youth participants were coming from the contexts of parishes, schools, seminaries, and inserted communities, spread throughout the four main regions of the Philippines (NCR, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao).
The morning concluded with the awarding of certificates and appreciation of the presences of Fr. Orville Cajigal (Provincial Superior) and Fr. Alfonso Flores (Provincial Councilor on the Sector of Laity, Youth and Parishes). Midday Prayers and lunch finally capped the morning session.
DAY 2 – July 21, 2019 (Sunday) - AFTERNOON SESSION
In the afternoon, the youth participants had their workshop on commenting on the three-year plan and annual plan for the UPV-Rogate Youth. They were then asked by Fr. Arlene to submit their comments and suggestions to the Technical Committee, who will integrate them in the upcoming revision of the Manual of the UPV-Rogate Youth. It was then followed by the appointment of the representatives of sectors/contexts, which are parish-based, community-based, school-based, and seminary-based communities, for the Technical Committee. Fr. Arlene then convened the Technical Committee, who provided contacts for the Secretariat Team in preparation for the upcoming UPV-Rogate Youth meetings and assemblies.
A simple program followed, which were facilitated by Mr. Benedict Andrade and Ms. Rubi Rose Tosoc. Both the Rogationist Fathers and Brothers, and the youth participants enjoyed the games prepared by the organizers.
Certificates of Attendance were then given to the organizers and participants.
To conclude with words of encouragement, Fr. Alfonso Flores, Provincial Councilor on the Sector of Laity, Youth, and Parishes, assured the participants that this National Rogate Youth Assembly will be followed by future gatherings and assemblies. He asked them to pray for meaningful and fruitful gatherings. In an effort also to assure the presence of the Rogationists in their journey, he asked his fellow priests and deacons to give the final blessing.
The atmosphere was filled with love and devotion as they sung the hymn: "We love you, Father Hannibal."
Dinner was served for all the participants and organizers.
May the Lord of the harvest continue guiding the young people towards the realization of their vocation. May the Holy Spirit inspire the ministry and collaboration of the Rogationists and the UPV-Rogate Youth as they strive to organize the Manual, Pastoral Plan, and other meaningful initiatives and orientations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bro. Christian Allan R. De Sagun, RCJ