As one big family in the Philippines, the Verbum Dei Missionary Family held their 4th National Family Encounter last October 23-25, 2015 in Sto. Niño Spirituality Center, Tolo-tolo, Consolacion, Cebu. It was being participated by the Verbum Dei communities from Metro Manila, Tagaytay, Pandacan, Quezon City, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and Musuan along with the different communities in China, Malaysia, and Japan. The theme of this year’s National Encounter is “Until Christ is formed in you” taken from Gal. 4:19. The Verbum Dei National Family Encounter started last 2009 in Tagaytay and since then, it is done every two years.
This year, the host of the encounter is the ecclesial community in Cebu. The Masters of Ceremony of the entire encounter are the lay disciples Dr. Lucio Pulmones and Dr. Jane Jacel. It started with the Welcome Talk by Richel Relampagos, a lay disciple in Cebu followed by a Sinulog dance presentation from the hosting community to welcome all the delegates. Sinulog is a traditional dance in Cebu as a form of prayer in honor of the Holy Child Jesus. After which was the first conference talk by Sr. Luisa Mesina, FMVD, the missionary superior in the Philippines. Her talk was entitled, “The Process of Incarnation of the Charism”. She presented a little history of the beginning of Verbum Dei in Spain and also in the Philippines. She also presented the present state of Verbum Dei family wherein we are currently in the process of institutionalization of our communities by organizing a government and writing the visions of our founder into documents to more effectively transmit the mission of spreading the gospel to everyone. Following her conference talk was a panel reaction from three selected people to share a testimony how the conference talk affected them and the insights or realizations that they get from it. It was also followed with a group sharing and it was then concluded with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by Rev. Fr. Lucio Arellano, FMVD concelebrated with the Verbum Dei priests.
The second day was more on fun and insightful activities. It started with a morning prayer guidelines by a lay disciple in Cagayan de Oro. It was then followed by the second conference talk of Ms. Aida Carpela, a lay consecrated missionary in Cebu, entitiled “To be Christ”. Her talk emphasized that the goal of the Verbum Dei community is to be like Christ and that becoming one entails processes of formation. She explained the different stages of formation, namely, the Initiation stage, Discipleship stage, and the Apostleship stage. Her talk was subsequently followed by a series of workshops, but unlike the previous encounters wherein the workshops were simultaneous, this year, it was done in general. The first workshop was facilitated by Sr. Adriana Haro, FMVD and Mr. Ed Lopez, a lay disciple in Manila. Their workshop centered on the Initiation stage wherein they selected disciples from the different realities and communities in the country to share how they conduct activities. The second workshop was facilitated by Rev. Vincent Guinoo, FMVD and Mrs. Isabelle Baguio, a stable committed disciple in Cebu. Their workshop centered on the assimilation of the Temario (“Theme Set”). Lastly, the third workshop was continued in the afternoon and was facilitated by one of the missionary couples, Sr. Adriana Martinez, FMVD. Her workshop focused on the different committees or ministries that a disciple can engage oneself to help in the mission and in living out the charism of Verbum Dei according to one’s talents or strengths.
After the last workshop was the VD Family Fun Festival. Different Booths were situated on different areas in the venue and the participants were free to explore wherever they want. Some of the booths were the national game “Karang” and “Palo sebo” (similar with Piñata), Pasalubong booth (for souvenirs), Photo Booth, “Just Dance” booth, Mandala art, etc. The day concluded with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by Rev. Fr. Iwao Ikegami, FMVD concelebrated with the Verbum Dei priests. After the holy mass was the VD Expo wherein all the VD communities in the Philippines, together with our guests from China, Malaysia, and Japan showcased their talents through different presentations and was then climaxed by the Musiccom in Cebu through a mini concert.
The third day began with a morning prayer guidelines by a lay disciple in Quezon City. It was then followed by the third conference talk by the missionary couples Poncho and Adrianna Martinez, FMVD, entitled, “Make and enable others to make.” Their talked focused on the part of the charism of Verbum Dei to form apostle who will, in turn, form others apostles to because of the fact that mission is urgent. Their conference talk was then followed by two panel of reactors who shared the impact of the talk to their lives and how they can relate it to their realities that they are faced with. It was then followed by a final group sharing according to their respective communities where they belong. Finally, the entire encounter culminated with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by Rev. Fr. Michael Cheong, FMVD concelebrated with the Verbum Dei priests. Before the mass ended, two testimonies were given by a Malaysian and a Chinese with regard of the fruit they received from the encounter. After the holy mass was the VD family picture and the distribution of the souvenir. This year, the souvenir is a missionary booklet which contains the “how to’s” in doing the mission (how to prepare a testimony, guidelines, a talk, how to organize SoW, RoL, etc.). This is a product of the experiences of all the English-speaking Verbum Dei communities from all over the world (UK, US, Singapore, Philippines, etc.). In this way, all the Verbum Dei disciples will be guided on how to do and continue with the mission, to “hacer-hacer” in the mind of Jaime Bonet in forming apostles who will, in turn, form others apostles too, and to persevere in doing the mission of sharing the gospel to all people through the Verbum Dei charism until indeed that Christ is formed in each and every one of us.
See some of the photos of the event:
(Photos courtesy of Verbum Dei Family - Cebu)
You may also visit our official #vdnfe2015 page for updates like videos of the talks, etc at:
Patrick Tesorio is a Verbum Dei lay disciple in the community of Cebu, Philippines and is currently part of the Communications Committee. You may contact him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org