Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
“Live with Passion”, the theme for the annual Verbum Dei Easter Encounter for Luzon was held on April 6-9, 2023 in the Reparatrix Sisters retreat house in Tagaytay. Eleven missionaries from the three missionary branches facilitated the event while a total of 105 participants, 38 adults and 67 of the youth attended. The successful turn-out was evidence that things are back to so-called pre-pandemic times. The participants could not contain their enthusiasm and passion in this Triduum Easter encounter. The collaborative efforts by both male and female missionaries from Manila, couples missionaries from Cebu and some lay members of the community made the encounter so fruitful. Each group was tasked to give a talk or guideline or lead a prayer dynamic.
The encounter started on Holy Thursday when attendees were asked to reflect on the driving force of their lives and how to live that life with passion. On Good Friday, the participants were awakened by this experience of love by Christ which led him to the cross - a love with passion. After pondering on how the quality of the life and the love of Jesus is a life and love filled with passion. As a response of the passionate love of Jesus, the participants, reflected and prayed the Via Crucis or the Way of the Cross on this day.
On Holy Saturday, the group was then made aware of the obstacles that prevent from living life fully. It is only living a life with Jesus can one conquer with passion this darkness in life. To motivate each participant to continue the journey towards the goal with Mama Mary who always accompany us especially in the most difficult moments, the Via Crucis or the Way of the Light was done with dynamics and testimonies. To deepen in the experience of Encounter, Easter Triduum was also commemorated starting from Maundy Thursday’s washing of the feet, Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday to the Easter Vigil on the night of Holy Thursday. Catechism was also given to help the attendees have a better understanding of the Paschal Triduum celebrations.
Immediately after the Easter Vigil, a fiesta was celebrated with joy in everyone’s heart. Having this new life with Jesus was meant to be shared to others and to share it with passion. The participants were then encouraged to persevere and continue serving the Lord. Sharing of fruits per community followed. The encounter culminated with the glorious celebration of the Holy Eucharist on Easter Sunday. It was a Resurrection moment for many as they felt that the encounter was truly life-changing.
Experiencing the love of God through Christ’s Resurrection inspired the participants to live, love, conquer, and share with Passion the mission of Christ.*
Verbum Dei Missionary Family of Tagaytay organized two Lenten Recollections: one for mixed group of youth and adults (ages 16 and up) and a hiking Lenten Recollection for the Teens group.
Last March 12, 2023 was the Lenten recollection for adults in VD Center of Evangelization and started with the 8am Holy Mass. The theme of the recollection was 'Naghihintay, nagmamahal… sa iyo. It was participated by young and adults coming from CYC Choir group of young people from a parish in Cavite and other new participants from Tagaytay. It was also a comeback recollection also for some old neighbours from Tagaytay who joined again after many years. The experience of being welcomed back by a loving Father waiting to be reconnected again with them has marked their experience. Afterwards, they had a meaningful Journey of the Heart, leading them to go inward to examine their hearts and discover what blocked them to be connected with God. In the afternoon, it was a journey of following the Way of Love and being one with Jesus in his Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) as a Path of Love. We culminated the recollection with an explosion of sharing from young to old with the fruit of their experiences of the day. It was full of grateful and heartfelt sharing of having experienced anew God’s love and embrace which gave them a new heart to start a new journey. As one exclaimed: “It’s my best Lenten Recollection ever!” There were many first-timers, those that just came back and the facilitators but they all experienced the same joy.
Last March 19, 2023, the Verbum Dei Tagaytay Teens group had a Lenten hiking recollection at Calaruega, Batangas with the theme, ‘Walk with Jesus’. They were 17 in the group including youth and single facilitators of the recollection. It was a day of meeting new friends, journeying with Jesus in the way of love and learning about Lent through games and in a fun way.
The hiking recollection started with “getting to know you” games and then was proceeded with the welcome talk. They then shared with the group who Jesus is for them through photos. The next part was crossing the hanging bridge as they carried their fears, conquering them with Jesus. Then they had a short way of the cross translated to a way of love. In the afternoon they had a moment to learn more about Lent through a game with prizes. Then had other team games that express their energy and enthusiasm with one another. The day culminated with a sharing of memorable experiences during the day and learnings in the hiking recollection. As many shared ‘it was fun' and they enjoyed, a few commented they had learned about Jesus and also appreciated the words of affirmation they had received from one another. At the end of the day, they went back home carrying the simple experience of joy and friendship with one another and walking with Jesus through Lent.
Twenty four (24) Verbum Dei Missionary Disciples from the Manila-Pasig and Tagaytay communities journeyed together in the Annual Disciples Retreat last April 5 to 9, 2023 at the Verbum Dei Retreat House in Tagaytay. Accompanying them was a team of missionaries from various communities – Fr. Filipe Pardal (QC), Sr. Amy Hernandez (Manila-Pasig), Sr. Cha Sulbise (Cebu) and Missionary Married Couple Cookie Abrio (CDO). It was indeed “a privileged time to be alone with the Lord” (VDMD Regulations #88) as the disciples were nourished by the retreat’s theme: “I have eagerly desired to be with you. (Lk 22:15)”
This theme resonated even more deeply, as the retreat coincided with Holy Week and the commemoration of the Paschal Triduum. Over five days, the disciples encountered the Lord and Savior who eagerly desired to be with them:
The observance of the Paschal Triduum underscored liturgically how Jesus desired to be with the disciples as they followed His life, death and resurrection – in the Washing of the Feet, in the Veneration of the Cross, in the Easter Vigil. As Verbum Dei Missionary Disciples, the Annual Disciples Retreat was a strong reminder of how the exercise of prayer and a life of prayer is central to discipleship; it is only in these that disciples can be faithful to the end.
There was also a time for fellowship and faith sharing–in the individual sharing with missionaries (including those from other communities!), in the group sharing among disciples that punctuated the retreat, and in the much-awaited Fiesta!
One article will never capture the richness each disciple’s personal encounter with Jesus. A common thread, however, was the heart-level conviction that in the Risen Lord, each one is really never alone in all the places of one’s journey and that everything has a purpose in the Father’s plan.
As the retreat ended, it was time to live out one's prayer. As one disciple shared: “Like Jesus who has brought light to darkness through His Resurrection, we too might be able to bring light to our own and others’ darkness.”
With gratitude, let us pray that we may all continue to walk with the Risen Lord – allow Him – to intimately walk with us in our concrete realities. In our lives, may we be sensitive to see signs of the resurrection in each of our crosses. In our discipleship, may we bring these signs to others. In our days, may we desire to be the Risen Lord as much as He desires to be with us.
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