Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
The Fraternidad Misionera Verbum Dei continues to grow in the Philippines, with the formal launching of the 4th Formation Course for Married Missionary Couples last February 18 and 19, 2023 at the Apostolate Center in Banawa, Cebu City. Despite the hurdles and challenges the pandemic has posed, two married couples and their formators have persevered for the past three years to bring this project of life to the next stage.
Imelda and Manuel Manceli are well-known and beloved disciples who have been serving with the VD Family in Cebu. Cecilia and Resti Bautista are the first couple from Luzon to participate in the Formation Course. They are currently part of the Pasig-Manila VD Family. Formators for this batch of the Formation Course are Cookie and Bimbo Abrio from Cagayan de Oro City, assisted by Anne and Eryle Payos from Cebu City. Accompanying the group is Sr. Grace Gonzales. Advisors for the course are Marisol Diaz and Antonio Miralles, Formators for the Married Couples Branch, who are based in Madrid, Spain.
Taking on the theme “I love you with my everlasting love.” (cf. Jeremiah 31:3), the 4th Formation Course begins with much joy and expectation for these couples, their families and their formators. As one community, we ask the Trinity to bless their simple and humble ‘Yes’ — that from their lives will spring forth the fountain of living water, which will well up for the eternal life of many.
Contributor: Resti Ma. Bautista
Last February 12, a select number of Verbum Dei members from Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon attended an in-depth talk entitled “TRANSMISSION ON PREVENTION AND PROTOCOL OF SEXUAL ABUSE AND AUTHORITY ABUSE” by Father Renato "Atong" Dela Cruz of the archdiocese of Ilagan, Isabela. He is a license counsellor and therapist of the ongoing renewal program of clergy, religious sisters, and the lay faithful. He was quite candid and elaborate in sharing some abusive practices that occur in the church in the Philippines.
He opened our eyes to the horrible facts of church abuse, which is predominantly perpetrated by those we referred to as shepherds, or vanguards of our faith - abuse that we typically ignore due to reverence for the religious.
“In 2019, Francis summoned presidents of all the world's bishops conferences - the leaderships of the national Churches - to Rome for a summit on sexual abuse. By the end of that year he enacted two major pieces of legislation.
The first instituted new reporting procedures and made bishops more accountable. It also broadened the definition of sexual crimes to include vulnerable adults and abuse of office in sexual molestation of seminarians and women religious.
The second was the removal of pontifical secrecy around abuse cases.
"We have to fight against every single case," he said. "As a priest, I have to help people grow and save them. If I abuse, I kill them. This is terrible. Zero tolerance," he said. (July 8, 2022, Reuters.com)
The Verbum Dei Handbook for the prevention of abuse in our community and apostolates was thoroughly discussed in the afternoon by our very own Sr. Cecilia Teo, a missionary from Singapore who is currently finishing her Masters degree in Counseling here in the Philippines.
The day's activities could be summed up in two words: accountability and responsibility. Children of God, members of the body of Christ, are accountable to one another and should care for one another. We are reminded that we are our brothers’ keepers.
Contributor: Rey Bagares
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