By: Sr. Dolly Tan
In celebration of the 60th Founding Anniversary of the Fraternidad Misionera Verbum Dei with the theme “Passion for the Word”, an International Symposium on Mission will be held in Madrid, Spain from June 20-30, 2023, as one of the highlights.
In preparation for this international symposium, recently, the Verbum Dei Family in the Philippines held the National Symposium on Mission with the theme “Passion for the Word” at the Monastery of Transfiguration in Malaybalay, Bukidnon last October 21-23, 2022. This was participated by members of the Verbum Dei Missionary Family in the Philippines coming from Tagaytay, Quezon City, Manila-Pasig, Cebu, and CDO-Bukidnon. Every community is represented led by the members of the consecrated missionaries-the celibate female and male branches and from the branch of the missionary married couples. The Lay Consecrated Missionaries and missionary disciples from the different realities of the Verbum Dei family were also represented. In this gathering, all have witnessed that faith comes alive, where the Verbum Dei charism and mission live and thrive through these communities integrating in their lives the “Passion for the Word.”
The symposium kicked off in the afternoon of Friday with Mae and Regner, a missionary married couple based in Bukidnon welcomed everyone. The program started with the participants sharing updates from the different communities they represent, sharing how they were for the past three years. It was significant in the sharing the challenges and difficulties of the “new normal” faced by the different Verbum Dei communities due to the pandemic. It was also encouraging to know how each community strived to adapt and adjust to these changes and how apostolates really thrived online.
Day 2, the symposium started with a prayer guideline shared by Sr. Amy Hernandez, Verbum Dei Philippines Zone Head. In her sharing, she reminded everyone to be grateful to God for allowing members of the Verbum Dei community be heard and valued their thoughts, insights, and experiences about the mission. She also shared her joy of witnessing how far the mission of Jesus reached, especially here in the Philippines through Verbum Dei and through this symposium.
Following the guidelines and a heartfelt prayer, all participants were grouped accordingly and shared the results of the SWOT analysis brought and prepared by the different communities beforehand prior to the symposium. Many thought-provoking questions and insights were laid in the afternoon session in which the output will be taken up for further discussion in the upcoming international symposium in Madrid. During the day, holy mass was celebrated with Sr. Grace Gonzales, the responsible of the Verbum Dei female branch gave the homily, she shared her gratefulness-a moment of thanksgiving, of how the day was productive and how she was moved, especially in the contribution of each one’s journey in the mission through Verbum Dei. She ended her sharing with a reminder that as everyone received, it is time for everyone to give. Following the day’s serious thought-provoking discussions, a lively “fiesta” ensued. Fun games, dance, and lively musical renditions whether prepared or impromptu were shared by different participants in which everyone gladly enjoy the experience and fellowship to end the second day.
Capping off the symposium on the 3rd day, the last prayer-guidelines from Fr. Filipe Vaz Pardal, responsible of the VD male branch in the Philippines was shared, Fr. Felipe reminded the participants that the passion for the Word is passion for Jesus and passion for humanity. He invited everyone to constantly look and learn from Jesus and enter in his mindset to live and integrate that passion for the Word in our lives as missionaries of Verbum Dei.
The guidelines was followed by a brief summary of Bro. Darwin Capuras a Verbum Dei missionary from the male celibate branch serving in Vietnam , he eagerly shared a summary to what has been the highlights and challenges on the different issues or concerns shared by everyone during the symposium and ending his sharing with an invitation to continue the work together with the important matters brought about in the symposium as each one is preparing to go back in their respective local communities. As everyone leaving the symposium, it brought a great sense of gratitude among the participants for being called and entrusted to live and share the Verbum Dei charism and mission, and inspired of being co-responsible in the Verbum Dei Missionary Family, the passion for the Word—passion for Jesus and passion for the mission reaching out to the people in all nations of the world to have a living encounter of Christ’s mercy and love.
With this as we go back to each of our mission field, we humbly pray, “Lord, increase our faith, increase our passion for the Word.”
Watch the video highlights of the event here:
Sr. Dolly Celeste Tan is a Verbum Dei Missionary in Temporal Bonds from Singapore assigned in Verbum Dei Pasig-Manila Community.