Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
“Trust in the Lord, now and forever” (Psalm 131:3)
The pandemic is like being caught in a storm while in the middle of the sea. It is scary. But the Word of God is the anchor that keeps us from being carried away by the waves of fear, anxiety, and hopelessness. It brings us peace and calm amidst the uncertainty. And the School of the Word’s (SOW) “to be Christ”, reminded me to trust the Lord, and at the same time, extend help and comfort to others in whatever way I can. We have a small SOW group that meets every week where we share stories and ponder the Word of God. I believe that by listening to, encouraging, and praying for each other, we are being Christ to each other in our small way.
With thanks to Jenn Balajediong and the WordNews team
The Verbum Dei-Tagaytay community held a series of online talks about prayer. The first 2 were given by Sr Grace Gonzales. The subsequent sessions were given by Srs Rachel and Rana:
Talk 3 (September 18, 2020). How to Pray with the Word of God. This was guided by Sr. Rachel Lumain, FMVD. The 3rd topic on the series was How to Pray with the Word of God. A Church document called, Gaudium et Spes (GS), no.19, says that we are called to establish a relationship with God – from our origin we “already invited to converse with God.”
How do we pray and listen with the Word of God? “Prayer should accompany the reading of the Word of God…” (Dei Verbum # 25). The dynamism of the Word: is the essence of the Verbum Dei character, and is the “vital encounter with the Word of God.”
When we pray, we use the acronym: LALA, for Listening, Assimilation, Living the Word and Announcing/proclaiming the Word. Sr. Rachel also mentioned the brief history and importance of Lectio Divina. In the document Verbum Domini, no. 87, it says, this prayer opens us to the treasures of God’s Word and leads us to an encounter with Christ, the living Word. It is indeed a transforming prayer, leading us to grow in our relationship and union with God. It leads us to become contemplatives in action. Participants were also taught the steps on how to pray through Lectio Divina.
Talk 4 (September 25, 2020). Blueprint of Prayer with Workshop, which was directed by Sr. Rana Elisino, FMVD. The last topic on prayer was The Blueprint of Prayer and Workshop of Prayer. Sr. Rana taught participants that when we pray, there are some preparations we need to do, like:
Presence: External preparation (establish a Time, a Place and Position)
Internal preparation (there has to be Inner silence and Detachment)
Thanksgiving: We recognize the goodness of God in our life
Forgiveness: Ask for forgiveness from God, Others and Ourselves
Petition: Specific graces needed in prayer, like:
Willingness to do the will of God
Fruit of prayer
Holy detachment of petition
Session 5 (October 2, 2020). This last part of the Formation series gave participants a brief summary of the Prayer topics which was facilitated by Sr. Grace. It was also an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and to clarify on what they have heard and learned during the month-long Formation.
The participants appreciated these talks and helped them to grow more in their relationship with God through a closer dialogue with him prayer.
With thanks to Mila Abigan and the WordNews team
The Verbum Dei-Tagaytay community freshly concluded its month-long series of Formation on various topics on Prayer. Those who attended were current missionary disciple of the community as well as newly invited/recruited adult individuals. The prayer topics served both as a refresher and a reminder course to all participants. The Formation was conducted online via Zoom every Friday evening, with attendees coming from different places in NCR, Cebu City and Cavite.
The Prayer topics included the following:
Talk 1 (September 4, 2020): An introduction on What is Prayer? It was conducted by Sr. Grace Gonzales, FMVD. Briefly, Prayer is described as both a relationship and a dialogue with God; and that human beings are unique because they are able to connect and relate with other humans. Communion is possible through prayer, where there is a conversation, a sharing and a dialogue with one another. Prayer becomes possible because God allows it and a relationship begins.
Sr. Grace tells us that there could be three (3) kinds of relationships when we pray: (1) A relationship between father and child; (2) A relationship between friends and; (3) A spousal relationship, i.e., between husband and wife.
Talk 2 (September 11, 2020). Praying with the Word of God and was also facilitated by Sr. Grace. On Praying with the Word of God, one method of prayer being practiced by the Verbum Dei family is ‘praying with the Word of God’ which is very similar to Lectio Divina (Latin for Divine Reading), an ancient practice that teaches people how to read, meditate and live the Word of God. Three points about prayer were highlighted, (1) The Church insistence on the reading of Scriptures guided by several Church documents; (2) Relevance of the Word of God in our life and; (3) The Word of God is a gift and a treasure.
A summary of talks 3-5 will appear in a subsequent article. Stay tuned …
Reflection on a movie
That day (31 August 2020) when Verbum Dei Missionary Family had a film showing of “Tuesdays with Morrie” was a special moment for me to recognize what has been going on in my life and to reflect on these.
The movie was a treasure trove of insights on self-awareness and on relationships. I was particularly moved with scenes where Morrie and Mitch would have intimate conversations. There was just loving kindness and sincerity whenever they engaged in discussions about their lives. I was deeply moved with how God allowed them to spend precious moments together just when they needed each other. I was also touched with how Morrie and Mitch responded to God’s invitation for openness and acceptance.
The movie made me more grateful and more understanding of the ups and downs of my life and where I am now. Their story also made me more hopeful for the beautiful surprises that God has in store for me. Finally, of all the beautiful lines from the movie, this was the one I found most challenging and inspiring: “Accept who you are; and revel in it.” Someday, I also would like to be able to say what Morrie said, “The truth is, part of me is every age. I’m a three-year-old, I’m a five-year-old, I’m a thirty-seven-year-old, I’m a fifty-year-old. I’ve been through all of them, and I know what it’s like… I am every age, up to my own.”
With thanks to Imee and the WordNews team
A course to Novices on Spirituality and Sexuality
There is much joy in bearing fruit in our lives. This is the desire of our Lord who said, “Remain united to me and you will bear much fruit” (see John 15:4-5).
This week, James McTavish, a Verbum Dei missionary based in Manila, gave an on-line Zoom course titled “Be fruitful!” The course was for 15 hours (3 hours per day) on Spirituality and Sexuality. The course was given to the Exodus group. Exodus is an inter-congregational formation program for young religious men and women (novices). The international group was composed of 60 novices (from Philippines, Vietnam, Malawi, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Congo and other countries) from 18 different Congregations.
The content of the course looked at foundational elements of human sexuality (it is a gift and the complementarity of the sexes), consecrated chastity (intimacy with God, boundaries etc.) as well as apostolic concerns including the dangers of internet pornography, gender (gender dysphoria, gender roles and gender identity confusion) and same sex attraction.
Cecilia Teo, a Verbum Dei misionera, was also invited to give an input on consecrated chastity. Sr Ceci covered aspects such as the meaning of chastity, loneliness and how to deal with it, as well as growing in healthy friendships. The novices said they were enriched also listening to her feminine perspective!
It was great to see so many young religious, at the beginning of their vocation, taking the call of God seriously. Writing to the youth, Pope Francis underlined “we need to remember that God created us as sexual beings. He himself ‘created sexuality, which is a marvelous gift to his creatures’” (Christus vivit, n. 261). St James wrote that “all good gifts come from God above” (James 1:17).
We too can give thanks to God for our sexuality, as a wonderful gift of being able to share life and love to the world of today. Let us ask the Holy Spirit that we can all live to the maximum the gift of life and love to the fullest, and to be fruitful in the world of today!
“Hope is Not Quarantined!”
To aid in overcoming hopelessness, fear, sadness, and suffering brought by the pandemic, the Verbum Dei Youth-Cebu initiated their 4th #KamustahanWithTheYouth last September 19-20, 2020. The theme entitled “Hope Is Not Quarantined” was spearheaded by Sr. Charisma Sulbise, the youth adviser and KP Artajo, the youth reality head, via Zoom and Facebook Live. This is an annual song forum activity of the Verbum Dei Youth-Cebu. This year, the aim was to spread positivity and the love of Jesus through music in the midst of the crisis brought by the pandemic. There were 20 plus participants coming from different places in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. This fun-filled activity consisted of talks, a workshop on how to keep Hope alive, testimonies, games, sharing, and highlighted by the song forum that touches your heart. We had an evening rosary and the event was ended with the mass celebrated by Fr. Iwao Ikegami. To sum up, the activity provided excitement, encouragement, and self-reflection.
God’s message for me in this activity is that “HOPE IS NOT QUARANTINED”. God is always present in every moment of our lives All we need is to hope and overcome our fears by having faith in Him. To all my fellow youth, always know that after every storm, there is always sunshine. You may not be feeling well right now but soon you'll find inner peace in your heart through Jesus Christ our savior. Keep on praying, do not lose Hope and have Faith in Him.
With special thanks to Josephine Marie “Pinpin” Saberon Ensalada
The saying, "The family that prays together stays together.", popularized by Fr. Patrick Peyton, aptly inspires the Verbum Dei family online Rosary, which was led by different families and Verbum Dei groups. While we receive grace when praying the Rosary individually, we believe that praying as a family - in a group - not only strengthens marital and family ties in love; but, more so, makes prayer more powerful.
The Verbum Dei way of praying the Rosary, which includes Bible verses for reflection, prayer intentions, and inspirational songs, are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. since the COVID '19 quarantine started. It was initially livestreamed on Verbum Dei YouTube channel. Likewise, the Rosary of the Word on Mary's birthday last September 8, led by the Verbum Dei missionaries in Pansol was extra special, because a great number joined this joyful celebration.
We invite you to join us, and invite others as well, to pray the Rosary as one family. It is the most beautiful way of honoring Blessed Mother Mary and imploring her protection, guidance, and assistance. Father Patrick Peyton, was amongst the many, who was granted miraculous healing through Mary's powerful intercession. He knew in his heart that this gift of healing was for a purpose, and from then on, he advocated tirelessly and with great success, the Family Rosary Crusade worldwide. Indeed, the Lord has shown, time and again, that the Virgin Mary is blessed to be a conduit of His immeasurable divine grace.
With thanks to Luisa Frio and the WordNews team
Youth School of the Word (SoW) for Manila-Pasig started to go online last June 27, 2020 with the goal of reaching out to young people during this time of pandemic.
Youth SoW started with a formation about prayer and moved on to two different kinds of series. The first series introduced the Verbum Dei way of prayer which is Listen-Assimilate-Live-Announce (LALA). The second series then guided the youth to discover the six dimensions of one’s self, namely, body, interiority, mind, will, relationship, and feelings.
For the month of October, a new series was launched. This month will be about Mary’s journey and faith. Angelyn Enriquez (a Verbum Dei misionera currently in her formation course) shared with the youth on how the memories of each person affects one’s life. She also elaborated how the memories of the love of God helped Mary stay connected with Jesus and God. Angelyn reminded everyone that remembering memories of love with God will help everyone to restore their strengths.
By Justine Clare Bajados
Youth of Mania-Pasig
PLM University SOW
" I am hungry, you feed me... whatever you do it to the least of your brethren you do it to me." (cf. Matthew 25)
This is the theme of the food packs distribution and the feeding programs within these months of the pandemic. Food packs were accompanied with the Word of God that feeds as well the hunger of the people for hope, faith, love and the living & loving presence of God journeying with them in this time. Beneficiaries of the food packs distributed once a month are 230 families, while the feeding programs done once a week in Pasig, to the areas of Palatiw and San Miguel with 190 and 100 people respectively.
You can just imagine the expression of joy and the gratitude of the beneficiaries. Our utmost gratitude to our Verbum Dei Family mission partners for their generosity and for joyfully and selflessly responding to the hunger of Jesus in our brothers and sisters, who are most in need especially in this time. He is the first one giving gratitude to them for their sensitive love that gives life and hope to many people.
Here are some photos of the event:
An on-line Recollection for Kids organized by the Verbum Dei teens from Cebu
Last September 26, 2020 was an unforgettable day for us, the Verbum Dei teens from Cebu, as we facilitated our very first online recollection ever.
After several weeks of planning and preparation, the day finally came to bring 32 kids ages 6 to 12 to have an encounter with Jesus through Zoom.
The recollection consisted of three 1 ½ hour sessions packed with fun activities such as games, a workshop, guidelines for prayer, a mini formation on friendship, and even a United Nations costume contest. It was a wonderful challenge for us as teen facilitators, but we enjoyed seeing the kids enjoy.
Here is the sharing of Gersey Armaine, one of the participants: "It was my first time in the Verbum Dei Kids Recollection. I thought it would be serious, like my mama's Verbum Dei School of the Word. Instead, it was fun! It kept me active and engaged, and I made some friends. Looking forward for the next one!"
Here are some photos of the event:
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