Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
The October 21 “Missionary Festival” was the first fund raising activity of its kind organized by
Verbum Dei in the country. It kicked off with the Holy Mass in which Fr. Filipe Vaz Pardal, FMVD,
invited the assembly to pray not only for the success of the event, but for missionaries around the
world, who face all sorts of hardships in trying to announce Christ.
The Mass was followed by a fun-filled program conducted by members of the VD Family, including
the performance of the “Catalyst” teenage-band, an international fashion show by the Verbum
Dei Kids, as well as a Mexican dance and Zumba, where everyone was invited to participate.
All throughout the event several booths offered local and international food; videoke, games and
services such as reflexology, massage, face painting and many more were offered, creating a
festive and enjoyable atmosphere for all the families who attended.
The fund raising activity was first and foremost a gathering of all members, families and friends
that are happy collaborating and supporting the mission of Verbum Dei. The money gathered from
the event will be used to support Verbum Dei’s missionary work of evangelization and the
different needs of the missionaries in Cebu.
Sr. Mico reminded us all the relevance of supporting missionary work, “The work of evangelization
is very important in our time. Our people nowadays need to have a fresh encounter with the Word
of Life. Only the Word of Life can give us the hope, meaning, and courage to face the different
challenges of our present situation,” she said.
This weekend, 8 married couples in the formation course and 2 couple formators, from the Philippines and Australia, gathered with the Adriana Martinez, the new General Responsible of the Married couple branch, and Mico Maricor their formator, to have a 3-day School of talks based on the temario.
The “temario” or theme-set is a great gift we have inherited from our Verbum Dei founder, Jaime Bonet. It is a series of talks like God the Father, Eternal life and Mission, which explain the Christian faith in an existential way to the world of today. Fr Jaime taught us that “The Word is written with fire, but it is the fire of the speech of the preacher that will enflame in the hearer, the speech of the person who is tremendously affected by Christ.” It is beautiful to spend time dedicating to the preparation and preaching of the Word of God, and to see lay people dedicating to the ministry of the Word.
Why to evangelize? Most Christians say that example is enough because actions speak louder than words. But the Church teaches us that “even the finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run if it is not explained, justified - what Peter called always having <<your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have>>” (Pope Paul VI). Actually, many lay people would love to learn how to share their faith and that is precisely what Verbum Dei offers. It is vital for the Church to evangelize and to form the lay people to do so. Jaime Bonet writes “Why do I want to evangelize? … Because I desire to change hatred into love, sadness into joy, anguish and desperation into optimism and hope, sickness and death into life and resurrection.”
We also remember what Pope Benedict XVI has told us “Sometimes we tend, in fact, to reduce the term “charity” to solidarity or simply humanitarian aid. It is important, however, to remember that the greatest work of charity is evangelization, which is the “ministry of the word”. There is no action more beneficial – and therefore more charitable – towards one’s neighbor than to break the bread of the word of God, to share with him the Good News of the Gospel, to introduce him to a relationship with God: evangelization is the highest and the most integral promotion of the human person” (Lenten message, 2013).
Article on Gender identity confusion
At this address for a limited time you can download a new short article of James McTavish on gender confusion.
James said “I wrote this article because of the tremendous confusion we are seeing around us. Now 10% of males aged 15-14 in Manila are confused abut their gender. This is a massively high rate, seeing as in the USA only 0.4% of people identify as transgender. One major factor is probably the media here spreading a message of confusion. We cannot sit idly by and do nothing. The grave concern in not calling out the danger of gender ideology is that many young people, who often are exploring their sexual identity, may become swept along by it. The gender ideology tends to promote the idea that one can choose their gender, and thereafter the sexual orientation and then behavior. We need to ensure that amidst all the celebrations of gender diversity we don’t get swept along only by the hype. Like the little boy, who did not just go along with the celebratory flow, but was able to point out the truth of the matter: the Emperor did not have new clothes on - he was actually naked. In uncovering the reality of gender ideology, and its concomitant confusion, we may guide youth and also reassure parents. I feel sorry for those parents who are now told that if their boy feels like he is a girl, then they must support that feeling. Just because the child feels like superman, he shouldn’t be allowed to put on a cape and jump out the window.”
The article was published in the November 2018 issue of Ethics and Medics, the monthly publication of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in the USA.
The last leg of the Art of Marriage formation was in Pasig last weekend, October 14 2018. The day started with a mass celebrated by Iwao as the main celebrant, and James who gave a remarkable homily of how we should entrust our families to the Lord who is the best person to take care of our family (better than us). After the mass, those who were attending the Art of Marriage formation were treated to an early snack after which they were asked to join the formation team in the conference room for the start of the morning formation.
There were sixteen people (7 couples and two came without their husband) who attended the formation, and were right away amused by the unique spouse to spouse introduction. They then spent the rest of the morning listening to the formation on the Art of Marriage (Six Reasons Why God Designed Marriage) by the Missionary Married Couple, Jess and Mau. After a delectable lunch of Filipino Chicken Tinola and Filipino spring rolls, they then went back to the conference room for the second part of the formation that was the talk on the Joy of Loving deepening on the First letter of St Paul to the Corinthians 13, 4-7, the characteristics of love. The day ended with all 18 of them sharing their fruits of the day in the form of an artwork. We didn’t call this the Art of Marriage for nothing!
In behalf of the team, we thank you for this opportunity to be given such a huge task in bringing the Word of God “to all nations” through the Art of Marriage formation. Kudos to the Misoneros and Misioneras who helped us from the preparation to the invitation and for taking care of us with the delicious meals and relaxing accommodation. We felt we never left home. Your presence and work made it easier for us. It is great to be Verbum Dei!
With thanks to Rey Bagares and the WordNews team
God’s Providence led us to give a recollection to the staff of Human Nature store of Banilad, in Cebu. About a month ago, Sr Adriana went to buy an ant repellent in the Human Nature store, and surprisingly, she was asked if we, Verbum Dei, could lead a recollection to their staff. With joy, we scheduled to give this recollection on Sunday, October 14. The topic was Holiness in the Workplace. It was a lovely day, with time for personal and group reflection, laughter and team building, being inspired to make work an opportunity to grow in holiness.
Here is some of their feedback:
‘My main realization is that we are called to be holy every day, especially in the workplace. The topics were very relevant, with a variety of activities suited to the group.’
‘Holiness is beyond physical beauty. I found the day helpful, especially to the team work communication and communion; with interesting and adequate topics, excellent materials; fun, entertaining and spells teamwork.’
‘It was an interesting and touching day… realising how the call to be holy can be applied in my real life, to my work and family relationships. The activities were fun and the style of the facilitators was understandable and friendly. Hope we can have another recollection next year.’
‘I realise that to be a better team, we need activities like this recollection. It improves my relationship with others…. I have lots to do to become holy… Sr Adriana and Sr Margarida are very good, capable, simple and inspiring. Thank you so much. God bless you more.’
From the WordNews team
Read an article written by Fr. Michael (Mike) Cheong, a Singaporean missionary priest once assigned here in Cebu, Philippines as he shares his experiences in Rome in his studies and missionary life.
Women’s Retreat (October 6-7, 2018)
During the weekend of October 6-7, we held a Women’s Encounter Retreat, in our Verbum Dei Apostolic Center in Banawa. There were about 25 participants, with ages between 20 and 65; a combination of Verbum Dei disciples and new participants in Verbum Dei.
It was a very inspiring weekend, with talks, workshops, time for prayer and sharing of different experiences. We reflected about how we, women, are wonderfully made, created by God in our uniqueness and called to reflect God’s beauty. We also explored the call to complementarity and some challenging betrayal experiences when God is not at the center. One of the highlights of the weekend were the workshops at the end of Sunday morning. They helped us to deepen in the self-awareness and reconciliation with our bodies.
Many of us felt this weekend was an ‘appetiser’ for further exploration; some expressed the desire to continue to pray and share about the gift and potential of being a woman in today’s world.
Monina Torregosa, one of the first time participants in a retreat organised by Verbum Dei, shares here what she took from this retreat:
‘I am wonderfully made… Genesis 2 tells us how God created women to be men’s partner, calling both to rule over the entire earth. And so this means that we, women, are not born as a ‘lower class’; we are called to bring forth love and care, to nurture, share & complement men and each other. Before we were born, God had a plan for each one of us, as Jeremiah 29:11 points out. But we need to continue seeking and praying about what our purpose is and about what God wants for us to do. We may be called to be like Queen Esther who saved the Jewish people from the hands of Haman or as Ruth, loyal to her mother in law, Naomi, or like Susanna, to give witness of being firm in faith. Either we are a daughter, sister, mother, wife; a working or consecrated woman, we are here to enrich the world’s understanding, to unite reasons and feelings with true determination and confidence, and to help make human relationships more honest and authentic.’
Here are some of the photos from the event:
From the WordNews team
Last Sunday was a full and enriching day, which started with the celebration of the Holy Mass. Then, two events took place, one for the couples and another one for the youth.
The Art of Marriage was a Formation for couples given by Jess&Mau and Rey&Tina. These two couples came from CDO to give this wonderful formation, enriched by the Word of God, Church teaching and their own life experiences; real witness of God’s power in their relationship.
‘It rekindled the love and faith in each one of our marriages, reminding us of the importance for our relationships to be grounded in Christ’s love (1Cor 13). Jesus accompanies us and Mother Mary helps us to keep His light ablaze in each of our homes.’ (Randy and July)
At the same time, in the grounds outside our center, about 30 young people gathered to play sports (mainly basketball and board games) and enjoy the fellowship with one another. Many of our Verbum Dei youth took this as an opportunity to invite their own friends and introduce them to Verbum Dei. Here is the feedback given by some of them about the day:
‘It was fun.’ (Angela)
‘It was great for bonding and meeting new Catholic friends.’ (Joshua)
‘It was a time for remembering our childhood memories… in spite of all stresses in life, we had time an enjoyable time.’ (KP)
‘I met new friends and I feel blessed for having been here today.’ (John Rey)
‘It was fun and tiring. I feel blessed to meet new friends.’ (J Boy)
In thanksgiving for the 5 years of Fr Lucio in Cebu, he said a mass for our FaMVD, giving his ‘last words’ to us in the homily:
‘I leave Cebu in peace as I can see there are many apostles here to continue to proclaim the Good News. Today, the St Matthew, Apostles and Evangelist Feast Day, God reminds us all of our call to be apostles. As Matthew left behind his table where he worked as tax collector, we too need to leave behind something if we want to follow Jesus… and go beyond ourselves to reach out new places waiting for the Good News to be proclaimed. Following this call, I go to Rome… I ask the Holy Spirit to guide you too, to know your next step in life. Let’s ask Him to renew our following of Jesus so each one of us, here, can be truly apostles of Christ.
I leave Cebu full of gratitude for these years here, for giving me a joyful experience of being misionero, priest and responsible of the community. My time in Cebu has contributed to be who I am and you are part of who I am too. In community, sometimes there are ‘fights’, disappointments… but we grow together and through it all, God works within us, to be His apostles.’
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