Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
A new normal has immersed under the present circumstance surrounding the entire world. We are tossed about, even swamped with difficulties - inconveniences from an invisible enemy - but we walked on, kept our eyes on the goal no matter what, for we walk by faith not by sight.
Last Aug 27-31, 2020, the Verbum Dei Family in Cagayan de Oro held its first VIRTUAL Disciples Retreat. It was attended exclusively by Verbum Dei disciples from Mindanao. We had the opportunity to meet Amy Hernandez, the new Zone Responsible, who gave morning Guidelines; Lupita Granados of Verbum Dei Tagaytay, who gave the afternoon Guidelines who we happy to meet as well. Fr. Iwao Ikegami celebrated the mass for us every day.
A disciple of Christ can never be without the crosses and burdens but we just have to be convinced of His love, and walk with faith.
A discernment weekend organized by the Verbum Dei Missionary Couples branch (Philippines-Australia)
Various couples from the Philippines (Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao), USA, and Australia joined an on-line Verbum Dei Married couples discernment weekend on Sept 19-20, 2020. The theme was “Extend your Love” and the different moments included talks, times of prayer, testimonies, dynamics and sharing, formations about discernment and projects of life, and the Holy Mass.
The various participants enjoyed to discover more about the Married couples branch in the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity, as well as the difference between married couples in the Verbum Dei Missionary Family. The couples were also reminded that when the Lord wants to entrust a mission to us, he prepares us to do it well, and our response must be a process of purification, a process of discernment, a process of obedience, a process of prayer (Homily, Pope Francis).
The invite to “extend your love” arises from the call in the prophet Isaiah (54:2): “Enlarge the space for your tent, spread out your tent cloths unsparingly; lengthen your ropes and make firm your stakes. For you shall spread abroad to the right and to the left; Your descendants shall dispossess the nations and shall people the desolate cities.” It is a call from the Lord for the couples to extend their hearts, to extend the boundaries of their immediate family to embrace countless children of God who are wandering around without a true knowledge of who they are, or what their life is for.
Resti and Cecilia, a couple participant from Luzon shared:
“I have the fruits of peace and joy. I am inspired by the generous landowner who never tires of reaching out, and sharing that great love. I want to respond to that love” Resti
“To say “yes” is an act of trusting God. We feel called to go through the one-year discernment. We have a great appreciation for Verbum Dei and the journey ahead.” Cecilia
With thanks to the WordNews team
Internet pornography is said to be the fastest growing addiction in the world. It has become the new pandemic. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines noted, “Given the all-pervasiveness of the Internet, it should not be surprising that pornography has invaded our homes, workplaces, schools, and churches.” For the majority of people, including adolescents, porn viewing is another new normal, as we note with alarm the average age for first watching porn is just eight years old. The Filipino Bishops again underline that, “these young people are the future husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, of our nation, whose capacity for self-giving love has been deeply wounded.”
Seeing the urgent need to tackle this topic, James McTavish gave a formation titled “Clean eyes, pure heart – the dangers of Internet pornography” through a prepared video, and a question and answer session. The participants were University students in the apostolate of the Verbum Dei community in Sydney, as well as young adults from the Ryde Gladesville parish, led by our Verbum Dei missionary there, (and newly ordained Deacon!) Steve Drum. His brother Dan was also able to join, along with some misioneros from Quezon city - Gelo, Rudy and Iwao.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches, pornography offends against chastity, does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), and is a grave offense (see CCC n. 2354). Its effects are so widespread that it has become a structure of sin., and as an evangelizing community, Verbum Dei desires that “the Word may have an impact on the unjust structures of the world in order to transform them according to the Kingdom of God” (Verbum Dei Constitutions, n. 55).
Let us all do our part to deter our brothers and sisters from watching porn, which is known as the “new drug” (see https://fightthenewdrug.org/ for helpful resources to fight against this issue). And may we endeavor that in “in the world of the internet, which enables billions of images to appear on millions of screens throughout the world, the face of Christ needs to be seen and his voice heard” (Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, no. 113).
Here are some photos of the event:
Photos by Patrick Lee of Goodthiefphotography
The video formation of James entitled “Clean eyes, pure heart - Dangers of Internet Pornography” can be viewed on YouTube at:
Or you can watch it below:
Verbum Dei Missionaries Manila-Pasig held a half day online retreat on August 21, 2020 entitled "Hidden Light in Darkness".
The retreat centered on discussing how we, in our current situations, are able to find the hidden light, despite the seeming endless struggles we are faced with.
It also discussed ways and means how we can be a light to others, despite carrying our own burdens.
The talks were given by Sr. Prisci and Sr. Pearl and were attended by Verbum Dei disciples/friends from different parts of the Philippines as well as from the United States.
This online retreat is one of many retreats given by the Verbum Dei Missionaries to help us in our spiritual needs during these most challenging times.
With thanks to Marissa Luna and the WordNews team
“They all ate and were satisfied”
Loaves of bread good for 250 families were given to us today (Aug 25) for the Verbum Dei feeding ministry program. With all the bread, loaves, baked cakes and goodies, we were able to feed many people. We were reminded of Jesus feeding the 5000, such that “they all ate and were satisfied” (Mark 6:42). It is a privilege to be one with our Lord in his desire to nourish the poor. The Catholic vision on the Church of the poor is well developed in its social teaching. We are taught that “the poor remain entrusted to us and it is this responsibility upon which we shall be judged at the end of time (cf. Mt 25:31-46): ‘Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren’” (Compendium of Social Doctrine, n. 183).
On poverty, Mother Teresa said, “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty… There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love.” As we continue to dedicate ourselves in prayer and ministry of the Word, many hearts, transformed in Christ, are moved to love Him and their neighbors. I believe that authentic social works come from God who is compassionate and generous. We give full credit and a thousand thanks to all the sponsors. I'm happy to be part of these beautiful and cheerful volunteers. We can heal as one during this pandemic. Christ is with us. Let's go!
Here are some photos of the event:
With thanks to Gelo, missionary, and the WordNews team
The Word of God is indeed powerful to people and what more when spoken in their native dialect? On the 22nd of June, another mission in our Verbum Dei Community was born in Luzon through the “Tagalog Daily Shots.” They are short audio recorded reflections on the daily gospel in Tagalog which is widely spoken in Luzon.
“Tagalog Daily Shots” are heard every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, given by members of the Verbum Dei Family of the Philippines. Now, after a little time after its launch, it’s slowly making waves in the lives of many Filipinos. It is proven by the positive feedback that the team has received from the people. This is one of those shared to one of the preachers,
“Maraming salamat sa gabay pagninilay... Nagiging lakas ko ito, ate, sa pang araw-araw, lalo na sa bago kong misyon...pray for me that I may be an instrument in my own little way dito sa aking bagong trabaho. God bless, Ate, and continue to inspire others.” (‘Thank you for the reflections… they give me strength, my sister, daily, especially for my new mission… pray for me that I may be an instrument in my own little way here in my new work. God bless, my sister, and continue to inspire others.’)
Currently, “Tagalog Daily Shots” can be accessed through Messenger, Viber and on the Verbum Dei Philippines website. Isaiah 52:7 says “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news. Who announces peace and brings good news, who announces peace, and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Let us continue to spread the word of God to others and be an instrument of evangelization.
Starting a new apostolate here in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao is quite a blessing considering the stay-at-home mandate due to this pandemic. However, nothing is stopping the Word of God reaching out to many even to our trusted ‘Servants’ of the Philippine Police who are in front of this Covid 19 battle safeguarding our safety. We launched a School of the Word to the Regional Communications and Electronics Unit 10 Division last June 4, 2020, and every Wednesday at 9:30am thereafter through online and once a month face-to-face meeting. Let us pray that the Word of God can guide their lives, and may the Holy Spirit teach them how to build up a Kingdom of love and justice here on earth.
Here are some photos of the event:
Bringing couples to the sacrament of matrimony
In the month of July we celebrated a meaningful, significant and joyful moment in the lives of nineteen couples whose long dream to receive the sacrament of matrimony came true. The theme of the celebration was “Love never ends” (1 Cor. 13:8), and it was a fulfilling moment to see couples wedded in holy matrimony at last.
This is part of the Pasig Urban Poor Program that started three years ago, to respond to the concrete reality of many couples living together for many years outside marriage. We congratulate the happy couples for their option to receive the sacrament in the midst of the challenges of processing their documents, receiving the formation online and sourcing out of the funds for the expenses in this time of pandemic. They are part of the 38 couples whom the community and our couples core group have accompanied in their preparation and formation collaborating in the dream of God to build their lives and relationship with each other and their families in His faithful love. Indeed, God’s love is stronger than the Covid 19 bearing fruit of a life changing experiences to these couples and their families, a spring board to an integral change in the society.
We are grateful as well to all our mission partners who have been generous in their self-giving supporting and making this cause possible.
Here are some more photos of the event:
Reflection on Night of prayer and Vigil with the Lord
On August 1st, we, the Verbum Dei Missionaries, organized a night of prayer, songs and silent reflection open to people from all walks of life. The theme of this night was “Remain in Me as I remain in you” John 15:4. The objective was to awaken the call and be reminded of Jesus’ promise in our vocation - a life of loving especially in this time of pandemic when there are many uncertainties be it in our career, our dreams and choices in life.
There were about 55 participants who signed in on Zoom individually and as a family. It was an experience of how many are hungry for the time and space to be with Jesus whether personally or as a community praying together as one. It reassured us to keep holding on together on the certainty in life believing and knowing that Jesus walks together with each one of us on our unique journey towards the same goal.
A time also to strengthen His love for us was when we sang the song “No greater love.” We invited the participants to type in the chat the word or phrase that spoke to their hearts. I recall reading many of them that wrote “No greater love than a man would give his life for a friend” and “there’s no higher sacrifice than a man would give his life, he has paid a precious price for me.” These two sentences really spoke to my heart there and then, the greatness and value of our friendship with Jesus, that nothing can be exchanged for. Our Lord and God calls us his friends and invites us to the call to share this special friendship to others. As it was shared in the introduction before the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament that “Many are awakened by an alarm while some are awakened by a call.”
Though we may not always get the response immediately, we know to whom we can find the answer to our many questions in life. We ended the night with a couple of sharing from the participants on their experience and fruit of the prayer vigil.
The fruits on this night were gratitude for the time and space that was provided and the awareness of hunger and thirst of many to be with Jesus. The personal invitation was to listen to Him in the silence of our hearts where He is able to speak to us.
With thanks to Priscilla Su and the WordNews team
The on-going pandemic is causing continued unemployment leading many poor families to go hungry. With the help of generous sponsors, we were able to provide 75 families with rice, monggo beans and vegetables. Our feeding program ministry is supported by 7 generous volunteers. We continue to pray for those who go hungry in this time remembering the words of our Lord, “I was hungry and you fed me” (Matthew 25:35).
All Advent Articles Bohol CDO Cebu Christmas Couples Ctk Disciples Retreat Easter Encounter Family Bonding Fmvd FMVD President Formation Friends Of Verbum Dei Fundraising General Congress 2018 Gift Giving Hiking Holy Week International Kids Leadership Camp Lenten Local Assembly Luzon Manila Marrried Couple Missionaries Mission Trip Music Festival Musuan National Family Encounter 2015 National Family Encounter 2017 Newsletter Olango Online Retreat Outreach Pansol Pasig Pentecost Philippines Pilgrimage Prayer Camp Quezon City Recollection Retreat School Of Apostles School Of The Word Semi-silent Retreat Senior High School Siete Aguas Silent Retreat Singapore Singles Song Forum Spiritual Exercises Tagaytay Teens Testimony TGIS Toledo Valentines Valentines Celebration Vietnam Visit To The Archbishop Working Group Workshop Youth Youth Days