Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
Filipino Youth Walking with Jesus
The University of Santo Thomas Quadricentennial Pavilion Arena was filled with youthful energy as they celebrated the annual Philippine Conference on New Evangelization VI (PCNE), a four day (July 18 Thursday – July 21 Sunday) gathering of the People of God of the Archdiocese of Manila and from other local churches and ecclesial movements. The Verbum Dei Youth of Pansol or “Apo ni Jaime” (“Grandchildren of Jaime”) as they call themselves were graced with the opportunity to participate in the said event. Its objective this year was to give special focus on the youth, to celebrate and thank God for the gift of youth, to walk with youth, to listen to them, and to give the youth the opportunity to be the protagonists of the new evangelization, among themselves and with those who are in their peripheries. Hence its theme: "Filipino Youth Walking with Jesus"
The said event started on Thursday exclusively for the clergy and consecrated people with the intention of recognizing the youth of today. Friday, July 19, focused on The World of New Generation and was the actual start for the participation of the youth and the youth at heart. Starting the day with the celebration of the Eucharist the Filipino way or Misa ng Bayang Pilipino with the theme: "Jesus walked with them" (Luke 24: 15) and a Marian Procession of the Our Lady of Piat, all presided by Most Rev. Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, Bishop of Daet, and giving everyone a powerful note that "To love is not only to say 'I love you' but also to say 'I will accompany you'".
Then followed welcoming remarks by Fr. Jason H. Laguerta, PCNE Director and a Heart to Heart conversation with Cardinal Tagle, that aimed to listen to the joys and pains of the young people living in the lime light of showbiz and the marginalized people of our society. Together with Austin M. D. Quick, an internationally acclaimed Catholic speaker, and Bro. Bo Sanchez, founder of The Light of Jesus Community and The Feast. Followed by a Walk the Talk: addressing the Global Concerns of the Young People with speakers: Macy Lee, founder of Talang Dalisay, Richy Orozco, founder of Catholic Connect, Joseph Cao Huu Minh Tri, of the Commission on Youth in the Archdiocese of Saigon Ho Chi Minh City, and Stacy Indrawan, of the Youth Commission of the Bishops' Conference of Indonesia.
Then an Evening Prayer presided by Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo with the theme: "Stay with us... the day is almost over" (Luke 24: 29) to end the session. Then Saturday, July 20, with its theme: "Discerning: A Listening and Accompanying Church" focused on the relationship between the Mentor and the Mentee. It started with the celebration of the Eucharist presided by Most. Rev. Leopoldo C. Jaucian SVD, Bishop of Bangued, with its theme: "Their Eyes Were Opened" from Luke 24:31, where he told everyone with conviction that 'the Young People are the Treasure, Light, and the Power of the church!' and invited them to 'Be like Mary in discerning the will of God in our lives'. This was followed by 'A Listening and Accompanying Church', hosted by Fr. Jade Licauan and Sr. Helen Palacay FMIJ, a talk show segment which aims to listen to the experience of the youth ministers and their youth disciples and explore the best practices of youth ministry in different contexts. With Benedict Sanchez, son of Bo Sanchez, Bro. Audee Villaraza, Sr. Maria Anunciata Sta. Ana, Dr. Raul Sunico, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson and Cory Villafania, and their son John Mari Francis Villafania as their guest panels. Then followed by a talk about: the Importance of Kindness in the world of today by Serge Gabriel, a spoken word poet, A testimony from Michael Shimamoto by sharing his stories of hope and faith through music, and an impromptu song composition by Fr. Manoling Francisco and Toto Sorioso with the help of asking lyrics from the audience. Then a concurrent session about the New Trends in Youth Ministry by Christina Lamas, where she talked about 'learning the language of the youth', their needs and interests as part of the catholic church, and what we can learn from them. And an Evening Prayer to end the session with the theme: "Were not our hearts burning?" From Luke 24: 32 presided by the Cardinal himself, Luis Antonio Tagle, where he invited everyone to change roles by "treating each other as persons that can be a mentor and mentored." Then Sunday, July 21, the last day of the congress with its theme: The Filipino Youth in Mission: Beloved, Gifted, Empowered. The atmosphere of arena was filled with love and music as they sing their hearts out to God by starting the session with Praise and Worship, followed by a 1-hour drama presentation of Genesis to Jesus, A Musical Narrative of Darkness and Light concert, Live testimonial videos of the Youth and A Holy Mass with commissioning of Missionary Disciples with the theme: "They set out at once" from Luke 24: 33 presided again by Cardinal Tagle, where he invites everyone in his homily to 'pass on our song'.. "Let us pass on the Word of God through our stories. Let us dine together and tell our stories. Especially the stories that tie our generations to the next." - Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle
Overall it was a wonderful youth filled and life filled event!
With thanks to Gabs (Gabriel Cinco Lanada) and the WordNews team
“Write down all that you see”
Recently an essay of James McTavish won 1st place for best essay in the Scholarly magazines category of the 2019 Catholic Press Association (CPA) awards of the United States and Canada. The essay, entitled “Jesus the Divine Physician,” was published in the Linacre Quarterly, the journal of the Catholic Medical Association of the USA.
The essay discussed the ministry of healing of Jesus and how the Church and her members have the ongoing task of continuing this healing work in the world of today. Various questions were dealt with including what did the healing work of Jesus consist of? What is the role of faith in healing? Is it wrong to desire good health? How to live with sickness? Is there a connection between sin and sickness? What reasons can maintain our hope?
On being asked about the award James said “I was happy to receive the award this year. Last year, an essay of mine won second place so now it is nice in 2019 to get a 1st place although I always remember that all glory and honor is yours Almighty Father! I believe that as Verbum Dei we have a great richness to contribute which is the written Word coming from our prayer and our theological reflections.”
James is still writing his reflections and his latest article is called “Priesthood and Same Sex Attraction.” He is a member of the Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC) and is supportive of their efforts to enhance connections and networking between theological ethicists.
We are encouraged in our Verbum Dei spirituality that the Word have an impact on the society around us (see Verbum Dei constitutions, no 55).
May we all be faithful to the Holy Spirit in transmitting our written reflections to the world of today - from our posts on Facebooks, to the news items we share on the Verbum Dei webpage, and even our theological reflections – knowing that as 1 John 1:4 tells us “We are writing this to you to make our own joy complete.”
The essay “Jesus the Divine Physician” can be viewed on the link below.
Or download the PDF file below.
Midlife is Real!
We were 6 consecrated women, 1 religious brother, 1 religious priest and 27 diocesan priests from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao who signed up for the 14 day Midlife Integration Process (MIP), a program offered by Tagbadbad foundation. Held in a retreat house in Tagaytay city, we all were accompanied by a team of priests, consecrated persons including the help of three of our very own Verbum Dei Missionaries. We began each day with mass with the priest participants taking turns in presiding.
The mornings were spent listening to talks which gave us a lot of light what midlife transition and crisis is all about. They gave us many tools how we can navigate what could be a challenging, dark, lonely moment in our life so as to realize how this stage actually provides a great opportunity to live the paschal mystery and let God bring us to our fullness!
The afternoons gave us space for deeper reflection, processing and ample rest ending with holy hour. They provided us individual counselling and Spiritual Direction sessions. The last 3 days of the process culminated in a retreat led by our Verbum Dei Missionaries, Grace and Margarida, helping us pray and discover that this isn’t just about a process or program but in reality it is about a person... MIP - “meet in person” Christ, participating in His Paschal Mystery, in the deepest darkest corner of our inner life.
The feedback of many participant priests and sisters to the Verbum Dei retreat given here was very positive. We felt so happy to see our Verbum Dei charism at the service of the life of the Church, enriching and nurturing the connection with God of Christ’s ministers, recharging their inner batteries and filling their inner dryness with the life giving of God’s Word.
One of the participants said ‘This was a real retreat, the first real retreat I’ve ever done… the Word was alive, not just theory that filled our heads but touching our lives, helping us to be renewed in our vocations as priests. Thank you so much sisters’,
Midlife Integration Process: June 1-14,2019
Verbum Dei Missionaries who joined as participants: Percy Sy, Marla Galvez
Verbum Dei Missionaries helping out Tagbadbad Foundation:
Grace Gonzalez - Preacher, facilitator of retreat
Margarida Londral as speaker for 2 mornings on the topic of Shadows, served as spiritual director, preacher and facilitator of the retreat
Rachel Lumain - served as spiritual director
Tagbadbad foundation - A non-profit organization offering psycho-spiritual programs for the clergy, consecrated and lay faithful.
With thanks to Percy Sy and the WordNews team
"Receive the Power"
Verbum Dei Pentecost recollection in CTK Parish
The Verbum Dei recollection was held on June 12, 2019 at CTK Parish. It was aptly entitled "Receive the Power" (see Acts 1:8).
Who is the Holy Spirit? This was the question Fr. James McTavish used for openers at the day's talk. Because the Holy Spirit is probably the least understood person of the Trinity. It is important for us to know the Spirit, learn to relate to Him, and understand how He manifests Himself.
The Holy Spirit can come as a dove, fire, wind, water; but most importantly ... He is a Person! He has intentions. He shows willfulness and discretion. He loves, intercedes, teaches, advocates, consoles, and prays. He is the Principal Agent of the Mission.
We receive the Spirit when we believe in Him, and we build a relationship through prayers and faith. Jesus promises the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who seek Him. We know the Spirit is working through us when we are drawn to Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is the result of His presence in our lives. In Galatians 5:22-23 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The Celebration of the Holy Eucharist followed after an hour of prayer and sharing.
The mass was presided by Fr. Bong Guinoo and Fr. James McTavish. Readings were taken from Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11 and John 29:19-23.
Fr. Bong gave an enlightening homily on the Spirit's role in molding us into the image of Christ, so that we may live in His likeness. Just as the Apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we too can enjoy the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives, enhancing our relationship with God.
I. Afternoon activities were the 'the Spirit and Mother Mary'.
Testimonials of the Fruit of the Spirit: Sr. Cecilia shared her experience on fortitude. The gift that helped her overcome fears and gave her courage to take risks for Christ. Enabled her to stand up for what is right even if it meant rejection.
Ms. Judy Tan talked about the fruit of generosity by giving time, talent, and treasure selflessly to glorify God and make a difference.
Dr. Resti Bautista spoke on the fruit of faithfulness. It is the result of the Spirit working in us. For the Spirit is our seal of faithfulness, our witness to God's promise of salvation.
II. Recitation of the Rosary of the Spirit was led by Sr. Cecilia and Sr. Iria (a German Verbum Dei missionary working in Budapest) in different languages symbolizes friendship and solidarity. It was a beautiful moment of collaboration and harmony. We were also blessed to have the presence of Sr Pearl and Brother Jojo, two Verbum Dei missionaries in formation.
What a spirit-filled day it was! Nothing can fill more our hearts with peace and contentment, than the certitude that the Holy Spirit loves us and lives in us. Awareness of His presence in us lead us to renew ourselves and to respect and care for one another. It gives us courage, wisdom, and strength to communicate the Word of God to others.
Let us call on the Holy Spirit to awaken and unleash in us His love and power, so that we may be renewed, empowered, and encouraged to become Apostles of Jesus Christ.
Let us ask the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so that we too can be faithful to the promptings of the Spirit. As Fr Jaime Bonet, FMVD, the Verbum Dei founder prayed “Grant me, dear Mama, a detailed and meticulous fidelity, delicate, attentive and grateful to the Holy Spirit. Help me to respond promptly, immediately and sharply to his insinuations.”
Here are some photos of the event:
With thanks to Grace Chan and the WordNews team
“Holy Spirit, be with us!”
Spirit Filled VDMFa-Cebu Celebrates Pentecost 2019
Last June 9, 2019, the Verbum Dei Missionary Family Cebu celebrated the Feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, or Pentecost, with the theme “Holy Spirit, be with us!” at Verbum Dei Apostolate Center in Banawa, Good Shepherd Road, Cebu City.
The event started with an animation dance, “Live by the Spirit” led by the vibrant VDei teens and youth. The people were warmly welcomed by Jean Pulmones in her Welcome Talk. Then, they learned more of who is the Holy Spirit in their lives with the talk on ‘Who the Holy Spirit is? The Fire from Above’ which was given by Ann Payos. After which they were led to pray with the Holy Spirit, the Faithful Companion of our soul. Then, to deepen on the ‘Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit’, the participants were assigned to seven booths of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit wherein each gift was explained, elaborated and there was a sharing of experiences of living out that particular gift of the Spirit. Thereafter, the group made a collage that expressed their understanding of that particular gift of the Holy Spirit.
The VDei Kids had their separate talks and activities handled by two Couple Missionaries in the Formation Course: Elena and Kristoffer Ty, Emily and Owen Rapirap.
In the afternoon, the group was on fire as they played some games. A talk on ‘Holy Spirit, the Fire of the VD Mission’ was then given by Lucio Pulmones. It was followed by a time of prayerful reflection of the call of the urgency of doing the VDei Mission. Right after that, the group joyfully shared about the concrete call of Mission that each one received in prayer. The Pentecost celebration culminated with the Holy Mass presided by Father Felix.
During the mass, the VDei Missionary Family warmly welcomed the new member of the VDMFa-Cebu, a missionary couple and family assigned in Cebu. They were Regner and Mae Paguia with their four children. Souvenirs of the Gifts the Holy Spirit were given to the participants. We were more than a hundred.
As a VD Missionary Family, we are challenged by our founder, Jaime Bonet, “Our flesh and blood, vivified by the Holy Spirit, become fruitful throughout the Church. Faithful to the Spirit, our life opens up like Jesus’ side so that many may be born to the Life of God. Marked by the rhythm of the Spirit of love, owner and spouse of our being, this tent of ours in this world will extend for generations without end, for the vitalization of the whole Body of Christ.” (see Verbum Dei Constitutions, no. 71). And our prayer is “Come, Holy Spirit, be with us!
Here are some photos of the event:
With thanks from the WordNews team
When it rains, it rains…
There was an outpouring of gifts, talents and of witnesses(and even tears of joy) that day in the Capitol University Multi-purpose Hall. In collaboration with the Campus Ministry of Capitol University, the Verbum Dei Missionary Family in Cagayan de Oro celebrated Pentecost which is the ‘birthday’ of our church, last Sunday, June 9 with the theme ‘Filled with love’ (cf Acts 4,3). More than 100 people congregated to the newly renovated hall draped mostly in red embellishment to accentuate the occasion. The day was highlighted with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, presided by our dear Zone Responsible, James McTavish, FMVD.
There were talks/formation given in the morning and in the afternoon, there was a empowering formation given by Rey Bagares on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This was followed by testimonies in song forum style. Seven disciples were each assigned one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit - to share their testimony on how they unraveled the gift and lived it out. Before each sharing, a spirit filled song was rendered by the music ministry to set the mood. As each of the disciples shared their testimony, you could hear a pin drop, as everyone in the hall was drawn to the beauty and the mystery of each of the gifts – gifts that are also a task as once received we can choose to nurture it. The day ended with everyone in attendance trooped to the stage, for the iconic family picture taking.
Also, happy to mention of the newly formed Jesus and Music Ministry (JaMM), and the animation team for spicing up the occasion with music and dance treats.
Happy Birthday everyone… Go and make disciples of Christ! Fill the world with love!
With thanks to the WordNews team
On 9th of June, 2019 Sunday, the Verbum Dei Missionary Family held a Pentecost celebration themed "Renew the face of the earth" in Verbum Dei Apostolate Center in Pasig, which was attended by around 80 persons, from Metro Manila and Laguna.
The morning started with dancing in the tune of animation song, “Live by the Spirit” which was the theme song of the said celebration.
Attendees were enlightened about the Holy Spirit through a faith-enriching dynamic and talks given by Verbum Dei disciples Maribeth dela Cruz, Regina Flor Peña and Lichel Layoso.
In the dynamic, Maribeth introduced to the attendees the Holy Spirit. She elaborated the images used to give form to the Holy Spirit namely Dove, Water, Fire and Wind.
Then followed a talk full of emotions given by Regina which situated the attendees in the same upper room where the apostles encountered the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. She also elaborated the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit, and related it to her fruitful life as a Verbum Dei disciple. Her talk was followed by the rite of calling the Holy Spirit and accepting its gifts and fruits.
In the afternoon, Lichel Layoso woke up the attendees in giving a talk about living in the Holy Spirit, and the realities of humans living in flesh. She explained in her talk the spiritual disabilities a person experiences in living in the flesh and the remedy they could have in living in the Spirit through its fruits and gifts.
The attendees were then able to join in workshops aimed to give them more knowledge on how they could encounter the Holy Spirit in their daily lives. Lastly, the day ended with a celebration of Holy Mass presided by Rev. Fr. Iwao Ikegami, FMVD where “Jesus breathed on them and said ‘Peace be with you. Receive the Holy Spirit. As the Father sent me, so I am also senidng you.’” (See John 20:21-22).
With thanks to the WordNews team
A leadership camp for the youth with the theme “Empowered” was conducted by the Verbum Dei Missionary Family, at the Center of Evangelization in Tagaytay City, last June 6-9. Each day was filled with activities like formations, prayer guidelines, Holy mass, games, movie screening, and star gazing.
Everyone was welcomed by a session from Joy stating the necessity of healthy self-esteem. Following this, Youth Camp Olympics started with the pledge of sportsmanship led by Fr. Bong. Each day, games like trust fall, blindfold guide, centipede walk, and acid river were played to strengthen everyone’s skills.
Next day started with Carmela’s guidelines about God’s communication to all of us, in every way. Then, Sr. Cecilia gave a formation which focused on the importance of listening and dialogue in our relationship with God. This was followed by Fr. Iwao’s formation that emphasizes traits as Good Shepherd.
The third day began with the reminder of loving despite the pain from Christel followed by Sr. Cecilia’s formation about conflict management. After that it was Abel’s guideline that left a question, “Who’s your mission?” Then everyone formed into groups for a workshop about the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, Sr. Adriana conducted a formation about the evangelization of digital natives that left a question, “Am I being truthful in what I share?”
The camp ended with the hope that the youth who experienced these will lead and spread the Word of God now and in the future. After all, youth are the hope of our motherland and our God. And we are called to be fully alive. Pope Francis said the words “I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive!” (Christus vivit, no. 1)
With thanks from the WordNews team
Fill Me Up
A Prayer Camp for Teens and Youth
From May 31-June 2, thirty-six teenagers from different parts of Cebu came together to attend a Prayer Camp with the theme “Fill Me Up.” It was facilitated by the youth missionary disciples led by Sister Adriana Haro, and supported by other members of the Verbum Dei Family. After a change of venue from Toledo City to Mt. Manunggal in Balamban, we were treated to a real camping experience in a forest. Here is a sharing of Cherry Miñoza, a camper from Toledo City.
It was my first time to join a prayer camp. Just thinking about the camp, I was really excited and at the same time worried. I'm scared with the thought of being alone throughout the prayer camp, but I was totally wrong. As soon as I arrived at the camp, someone introduced herself to me and I also introduced myself. That was the time I've met a friend at the camp and found other new friends during the first day. We had a game and an opening speech from one of the campers. We've also set our tents and I really find it funny because all of us in the group didn't know how to set up a tent, but later on we were able to set it up, that was already an achievement. When it was time for sleeping, we all went to our assigned tents and I was excited because I'd be sleeping with my new friends.
The next day was such a wonderful day because we went to the falls to take a bath. Even though the path or road was quite tricky, I was more excited of seeing the falls. When we reached our destination, I was mesmerized with the beautiful scenery right in front of me. God is so amazing for letting me see his beautiful creation which is the nature. The atmosphere was really relaxing with the cold breeze. We also played different games and I love how my teammates were so energetic during the games. Then we were asked to have some sharing with my team, and I was happy because all of us were able to share. Their openness with me allowed me to open up with them as well. Also the talks by the facilitators were really inspiring, I just love how open they were about sharing their experiences with God.
On the last day of our prayer camp, I was really sad because it's time to say goodbye to all the people in the camp. The weather wasn't good but that didn't stop us from enjoying the moment. We had our breakfast, last talk by one of the facilitators, and a mass. After that, we cleaned and arranged our things then we had our lunch. A few minutes later it's already time to say our goodbyes to everyone. Then someone asked me, "Did you regret joining this prayer camp?" and I answered, “No, I didn't regret because it was such an awesome experience. I learned lots of lessons and it brought me closer to God.”
I was filled with so much happiness and the memories during the camp were all worth keeping.
Here are some photos of the event:
With thanks to the WordNews team
Formation on social media at Verbum Dei-Tagaytay Retreat House
It was an empowering day, June 9, 2019 after the Pentecost Sunday Mass at Verbum Dei Chapel in Tagaytay when participants of the on-going VD Youth Leadership Camp gathered together to attend the seminar on "Evangelizing the Digital Natives" conducted by Sr. Adriana Haro, FMVD in collaboration with the VD Missionaries and VD Retreat House-Tagaytay. The group was also joined by some members of the VD-Tagaytay Adult S.O.W. group.
The call to evangelize is not only a call for the religious, but for all people, especially the "digital natives." The young people are now being sent to be witnesses to the "digital continent," now considered as the 6th continent representing the biblical place, called the "ends of the Earth."
But who are the "digital natives?" It was interesting to note that there are different "citizens" in the Digital Continent:
Both known as the "Digital Immigrants"
Hence the Digital Natives are being called to do the work of "inculturation" which is a necessary pathway toward Gospel evangelization of cultures in the Digital World.
This new world can offer a lot of distractions, both good and bad. Every "citizen" in this 6th continent can become addicted to many digital activities which expose them to negative behaviors and problems. That is why, there is truly a need to listen to the voice of the Lord as in Isaiah 6:8 "Whom shall I send?" Can, you, the Digital Native reply: "Here I am, send me!"
Sr. Adriana told us that God has always counted on young people to transform reality. Even our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal said: "The youth is the hope of our motherland."
Finally, how and where do the Digital Natives begin? First, by knowing what they are looking for. It is obvious that they are looking for themselves, for other people and their place in the world. They need to know who they really are and to project this image into the world. Honesty and sincerity in what one posts can be a good start to real reaching out. Occasional breaks from digital connection and from social media can also be a good way of recharging and finding oneself, even others, in the real world!
Holy Spirit, guide us!
With thanks from the WordNews team
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