Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
Married Couples on Fire!
Spiritual exercises of the Verbum Dei missionary married couples
The Verbum Dei Married Couples Branch (MCB) in the Philippines did a 3 day on line retreat recently from May 28-30, 2020.
The topic was the Holy Spirit and various themes were addressed including the Spirit helps us to pray, the Spirit battles for our consecration, and the Spirit gives fire in the mission. Guidelines were given via Zoom by Poncho and Adriana Martinez, the General responsibles of the MCB worldwide, Marisol and Antonio (Spanish members of the MCB with perpetual bonds) and by James McTavish.
The couples were invited to “Seize the fire, missionaries of the Word of God!” (Fr Jaime Bonet, FMVD). The retreat was also a time for the couples to pause, reflect and breath in the Holy Spirit knowing as Pope Francis stated that families and “the Church urgently needs the deep breath of prayer” (Evangelii Gaudium, n. 262). The missionary married couples are also guided by our Verbum Dei directory: “We will strive to make real a contemplative-active life from our various personal, marital and family situations” (Directory, Married couples, n. 22).
The couples experienced various fruits from the retreat such as joy, perseverance and boldness - “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). How great is the Holy Spirit - he is never in lockdown!
We continue to pray for the growth and spread of the Verbum Dei married couples branch.
Visit of the General Responsible of the Married Couples Branch in CDO (October 18, 2019)
Cagayan de Oro family got a surprise visit yet again from the General Responsible of the Married Couples Branch, Alfonso Luna Martinez (without Adriana) last October 18, 2019. It was for him a short break from his jam-packed schedule - an opportunity he would not miss for it would be his last visit for a long time to the city he considers his second home.
However, a man on fire could not keep himself hidden. His missionary heart and spirit led him to the ‘deserts’ of the those who heard him give a formation on Mary, Mother of evangelization, which was timely as most of us were to go on a mission that weekend.
As the visit days ended, we bade Poncho goodbye and wished him all the best as he continues his journey into the deep waters looking for people better than him, forming them so that in turn they too can form others to be disciples of this charism and of Christ above all!
Safe travels dear friend, from your Verbum Dei family in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. Many thanks or as we say “Daghang Salamat”
With thanks to Rey Bagares and the WordNews team
Last October 13, 2019 at Sacred Heart church, Cebu City; four couples from Cebu professed their first temporal bonds as Missionary Married Couple of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity with the theme “I chose you…to bear fruit that will last” cf. John 15:16. The Fraternity is composed of 3 branches; consecrated men, women and couples. This is the 2nd batch of the Missionary Married Couples here in Philippines, after the 1st batch professed their bonds five years ago.
The church was filled with the family and friends of the four couples, members of the Verbum Dei family in Cebu, Cagayan De Oro and Quezon City, members of the Verbum Dei Fraternity, and some consecrated persons from other communities. People started arriving in the church at 1pm and were welcomed warmly. Lots of chatting, hugging, picture taking; it is like a mini reunion of the members of the Verbum Dei community in the Philippines.
Josefina and Ponciano Catacutan (one of the four couples) gave their warm welcome address and introduction to the mass. The Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. James McTavish, FMVD (Principal Celebrant) and co-celebrated by four other priests. The readings and psalms were read by the selected children of the four couples. They were seated among the people and were called one by one by Sr. Maricor Radan, FMVD. Each couple (Kristofferson Ty & Elena Mae Ty, Ponciano Catacutan & Josefina Catacutan, Eryle Payos & Mary Ann Payos, Leo Marquez & Maria Ginabeth Marquez) standing together, answered the calling: “We are here, Lord, You have called us” and walked together towards the altar.
After the homily, the four couples were called by the General Responsible of the Married Couples Branch (Poncho and Adriana Martinez) in front of the altar. They were interrogated as to their intention to make the bonds. In this way they express before the people of God that they are aware of the meaning of the commitment they profess and that they do it freely and voluntarily. They knelt down and read the formula of consecration of the missionary married couples. After, each received the Crucifix and the Constitutions of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity, symbols that they are a missionary married couple of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity.
The celebration was gracefully ended through the testimony of Eryle and Mary Ann Payos, with the final blessing from the principal celebrant and co-celebrants of the mass. Picture taking at the altar followed, then snacks were served outside the church - another moment of chatting and picture taking with the family, friends and members of the Verbum Dei community.
The common fruit of the new missionary married couples is:Gratefulness to God for His unfathomable faithfulness and love for each one of us, He made everything possible for us, possible for a married person to live a consecrated life and like our mother Mary we only said Yes and allowed His grace to fulfill His plans through our lives. And each one receives authentic Joy and Peace, a happiness and great consolation in our hearts that God alone can give. But this is just the beginning of our mission in living out the evangelical counsels of poverty, conjugal chastity and obedience, according to the norms of the Catholic Church for matrimonial holiness and the family, following the Constitutions and other norms of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity. In everything we trust in God, with the accompaniment of our Mother Mary. So be it.
Here are some photos of the event:
On 18 October 2019, the Feast of St Luke the evangelist, an ecclesial group from Verbum Dei went to visit His Excellency, the Most Rev. Jose S. Palma, DD, Archbishop of Cebu. The purpose of the cordial visit was to update him on the progress of the Verbum Dei in Cebu – to present to him the Married Couples missionary branch, and the couples who recently took their first bonds, as well as to meet the General Responsibles of the misioneras branch (Antonieta Vargas) and married couples branch (Poncho (Martinez).
During the visit, the Archbishop thanked us for the contribution of the charism, as well as discussing with us the preparation of the Church in the Philippines for 2021, which will be the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines. We departed in good spirits having received his apostolic blessing.
We continue to pray for Abp. Palma and his ministry of shepherding.
With thanks to the WordNews team
Start of Formation course for the 2nd batch of Married Couple Missionaries in Philippines
On the 13th of May, 2017, we celebrate 100 years of Mother Mary’s first apparition in Fatima, Portugal. It was also on this same day that we celebrated the inauguration mass for the formation course of the Verbum Dei couples’ branch in Cebu, Philippines. Thus, for nine couples (seven from Cebu and one each from CDO and Sydney), together with the team of formators, begins a two year program of formation and further deepening in the Verbum Dei charism. We were also honoured with the presence of Lucia, president of the Verbum Dei Fraternity, James, ecclesial responsible for the Philippines zone, and Miguel-Angel, general administrator for Verbum Dei. It truly was an ecclesial moment that hopefully would have put a smile on Jaime’s face had he been there to participate, as we really felt like the early Christians in where the females, males and married members of the first Christian communities would celebrate and worship Jesus as one.
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