Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
During this time of extended lock down the Verbum Dei mission to form ourselves as apostles continues.
It is precisely in challenging moments when the world needs to hear good news, but as St Paul noted: ““Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:13-15).
The Holy Spirit has gifted us with modern technology and we can use the apps like Zoom to contact friends, catch up with people, run our business and … have a school of apostles! Thousands of on line inputs are now available to listen to: masses, rosaries, inspirational talks – and all of them are great. But let’s not forget the thrust of our work, not to form more listeners alone, but to capacitate persons to become apostles!
In this way we, as Verbum Dei, remain faithful to what the Church asks of us: “to form apostles of Christ from among people of every state of life, race, culture and social condition for the propagation of the Kingdom of God.” Amen!
During the period of quarantine, many of the families of our feeding program were in need of extra food. With the help of generous sponsors, we were able to continue to nourish the families and children of our feeding program in Pansol, as well as extending help to persons in Kaingin 1 and 2 nearby.
Over the course of the last 2 months, we were able to help over 100 families on a regular basis. We distributed various goods: bread, vegetables, yoghurt, pumpkin, tuna, eggs, and more than 5000 kilos (5 tons) of rice! It is true that “the Lord hears the cry of the poor” (Psalm 34).
We are happy that the people can witness the integration of faith and charity, and find much needed support in our Verbum Dei community during these challenging times.
“Let the children come to me”
Our Verbum Dei mission also includes work with children. How vital to form the young ones in faith and not to ignore them. Sometimes we just see kids in the Church as good for singing a song, or doing a dance. In the gospels, Jesus even got angry with his disciples because they were hindering the children from coming to him. When the disciples tried to turn them away, Jesus said “Let the children come to me” (Matthew 19:14).
In Pansol, we have been working with the kids for around 2 years with a team of missionary disciples - Siony, Muriel, Jonalyn, Mylene, Helen, Cecilia, and Ericka headed by Fr Iwao. Each week we have a School of the Word for kids, teaching them how to pray and to know more Jesus. It can be a challenge to adapt and make relevant the Gospel message for young ones – our creativity is stretched, but it is so encouraging also to see how sensitive they are to God’s Word. As we hear in Matthew 21:16 "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "'From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise'?"
Recently we had a series called “Bible heroes.” In one activity, we looked at Joshua who, with the sound of the trumpet, brought down the walls of Jericho:“When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city” Joshua 6:20 In this activity, the children were asked to recreate the same bible scene, building a wall using lego blocks. Let us continue to pray for the children, and that we can continue to build up their faith.
With thanks to Iwao and the WordNews team
My kind of Valentine’s
Last February 22, 2020, Verbum Dei Pansol had a Post Valentine’s Day Celebration with the theme “Heart Speaks to Heart.” It was an evening of fun, good food, live music and learning attended by 19 participants.
The event was opened by the host, Ms. Gen Oxales of Verbum Dei Pansol. It was followed by a little introduction about the event by Fr. Iwao Ikegami, the group’s adviser. During the dinner, singer-song writer Ms. Girl Valencia and Mr. Francis Jerome Santos, Verbum Dei Disciple of Pansol, serenaded the participants with some of the most popular love songs like the classics “Maalaala Mo Kaya” and “When I Fall in Love” amongst others.
A further highlight of the event was the talk and formation about Love by Fr. James McTavish. He stressed that each of us must receive love, take care of the love and share it through mission. He also said that Valentine’s Day does not have to always be about romantic love only, because it can also be about love for God and others.
After the talk there was a question and answer portion where each group was asked to pose one question to the speaker for discussion. It helped the participants to have a deeper understanding of the topic. The night ended with the awarding of appreciation to the speaker and performers and of course picture taking.
1 Corinthians 13:13 “But these three remain, faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love. No matter what happens love is the language that all of us understand because like what the theme says “Heart Speaks to Heart.”
With thanks to Francis Santos and the WordNews team
On the third day of November 2019, the Pansol Youth Verbum Dei conducted their second mission trip at San Agustin Church, Intramuros Manila with the collaboration of the Missionaries of Charity. The 13 youth facilitators, headed by Kuya Bong, facilitated 125 participants, aged 12-23 years old, from Antipolo City and different areas of Tondo, Manila.
Both the facilitators and the participants gained a fruitful experience from the talks of Ate Elaine about love for life, and Kuya Bong about conversion. The Sacrament of Reconciliation was explained thoroughly by Kuya Bong at his homily, he stated that “if you reconcile your sins to God. He will forget and forgive you, you just need to accept that we are sinners and forgive ourselves for being weak”.
Little by little we the Pansol youth are really getting a taste for mission to other youth!
Here are some photos of the event:
The “Apo ni Jaime” (Verbum Dei Youth) accepted the challenge of Pope Francis to take part in the mission. Acting on his words, “Each of us is a mission to the world” (Pope Francis, World Mission Day message 2019), the youth of Pansol took part in giving a recollection to other young people.
Last October 20, 2019, which was World Mission Sunday, the Pansol youth along with one adult from our apostolate in Christ the King School of the Word, handled an activity for around 130 participants, all young people of the Missionaries of Charity, from different communities such as Antipolo, Navotas, and Tayuman. They were aged 10 yrs old to 22 years old. It was held at Alagad de Maria, Antipolo, Rizal. It was an extra special moment of mission as it was the very first mission handled by the youth of Pansol, helped by the misionero Bong, with the presence of Ismael the General Responsible of the misioneros.
It was a great experience for both the participants and the organizers.It began with “Song/Animation,” then “Opening remarks” from Gabs to break the ice. This was followed by a talk entitled “Your Life is for Loving” that provoked a lot of fruit in the young listeners, especially encouraging them to love others. Thereafter was “Share ko lang” where the youth shared their personal experience/understanding of loving. When they were expressing their different experiences about the talk the facilitators were overwhelmed, because they never thought that the participants will be so open and trusting in their sharing.
Workshops were also held on “Time Management and Decision Making” by Tito Johnny of CTK School of the Word. This was followed by the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and Rosary of the Word, with a testimony from Thea. The day closed with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, presided by Fr. Bong, concelebrated with Fr. Ismael, with a heart-warming message of “never to lose the fire of mission in your heart.”
Here are some photos of the event:
With thanks to Gabriel Lanada, Mikaela Badilla and the WordNews team
In the Philippines and other countries worldwide, the celebration of All Souls day (2 Nov) is marked by a visit to the cemetery to remember loved ones and pray for them. In order to deepen on the reality of death, the Verbum Dei missionaries conducted a retreat for this purpose: to reflect on the brevity of this life, and to prepare our hearts and souls for death, which one day will come, and we hope not too soon.
It was held on 30 October 2019 in the Christ the King parish, with 65 participants. In the introduction, the letter of St Ignatius of Antioch was shared to us. Before being fed to the lions, he wrote “The time for my birth is close at hand” which seems at first unusual because he was about to die. However, he is actually reminding us that in death, life is changed, not ended. The first talk centered on a spirituality of death and dying. We were asked “What would you do if you only had 5 days left to live?” and more importantly “what is stopping you doing it?” “Choose now what you would wish to have chosen at life’s end” as St Anthony Mary Claret advised.
A formation was also given on Catholic church teaching on suffering, dying and eternal life. Points shared include why is there sickness and suffering as well as how to manage the care of dying loved ones. We were informed that “discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2278). Such teaching is eminently practical and useful as one tendency is to overtreat out of guilty feelings.
The afternoon dynamic was “fun” and interesting - to design your own tombstone! A rosary was prayed together with concurrent confessions nearby. In this sacrament we really touch our “dust-iness” but we also experience God’s eternal mercy. The day closed with a Eucharist, celebrated by Fr Bong Guinoo, and Fr Ismael Barros, the General responsible of the male missionaries, along with Fr James. In the homily we were reminded that love is eternal, and that we have passed from death to life when we love others (see 1 John 3:14).
By considering our end in this way, we can hope to arrive there without too may regrets because we already lived. As we heard in the movie Braveheart “All men die, but not all men truly live.”
Here are some photos of the event:
Filipino Youth Walking with Jesus
The University of Santo Thomas Quadricentennial Pavilion Arena was filled with youthful energy as they celebrated the annual Philippine Conference on New Evangelization VI (PCNE), a four day (July 18 Thursday – July 21 Sunday) gathering of the People of God of the Archdiocese of Manila and from other local churches and ecclesial movements. The Verbum Dei Youth of Pansol or “Apo ni Jaime” (“Grandchildren of Jaime”) as they call themselves were graced with the opportunity to participate in the said event. Its objective this year was to give special focus on the youth, to celebrate and thank God for the gift of youth, to walk with youth, to listen to them, and to give the youth the opportunity to be the protagonists of the new evangelization, among themselves and with those who are in their peripheries. Hence its theme: "Filipino Youth Walking with Jesus"
The said event started on Thursday exclusively for the clergy and consecrated people with the intention of recognizing the youth of today. Friday, July 19, focused on The World of New Generation and was the actual start for the participation of the youth and the youth at heart. Starting the day with the celebration of the Eucharist the Filipino way or Misa ng Bayang Pilipino with the theme: "Jesus walked with them" (Luke 24: 15) and a Marian Procession of the Our Lady of Piat, all presided by Most Rev. Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, Bishop of Daet, and giving everyone a powerful note that "To love is not only to say 'I love you' but also to say 'I will accompany you'".
Then followed welcoming remarks by Fr. Jason H. Laguerta, PCNE Director and a Heart to Heart conversation with Cardinal Tagle, that aimed to listen to the joys and pains of the young people living in the lime light of showbiz and the marginalized people of our society. Together with Austin M. D. Quick, an internationally acclaimed Catholic speaker, and Bro. Bo Sanchez, founder of The Light of Jesus Community and The Feast. Followed by a Walk the Talk: addressing the Global Concerns of the Young People with speakers: Macy Lee, founder of Talang Dalisay, Richy Orozco, founder of Catholic Connect, Joseph Cao Huu Minh Tri, of the Commission on Youth in the Archdiocese of Saigon Ho Chi Minh City, and Stacy Indrawan, of the Youth Commission of the Bishops' Conference of Indonesia.
Then an Evening Prayer presided by Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo with the theme: "Stay with us... the day is almost over" (Luke 24: 29) to end the session. Then Saturday, July 20, with its theme: "Discerning: A Listening and Accompanying Church" focused on the relationship between the Mentor and the Mentee. It started with the celebration of the Eucharist presided by Most. Rev. Leopoldo C. Jaucian SVD, Bishop of Bangued, with its theme: "Their Eyes Were Opened" from Luke 24:31, where he told everyone with conviction that 'the Young People are the Treasure, Light, and the Power of the church!' and invited them to 'Be like Mary in discerning the will of God in our lives'. This was followed by 'A Listening and Accompanying Church', hosted by Fr. Jade Licauan and Sr. Helen Palacay FMIJ, a talk show segment which aims to listen to the experience of the youth ministers and their youth disciples and explore the best practices of youth ministry in different contexts. With Benedict Sanchez, son of Bo Sanchez, Bro. Audee Villaraza, Sr. Maria Anunciata Sta. Ana, Dr. Raul Sunico, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson and Cory Villafania, and their son John Mari Francis Villafania as their guest panels. Then followed by a talk about: the Importance of Kindness in the world of today by Serge Gabriel, a spoken word poet, A testimony from Michael Shimamoto by sharing his stories of hope and faith through music, and an impromptu song composition by Fr. Manoling Francisco and Toto Sorioso with the help of asking lyrics from the audience. Then a concurrent session about the New Trends in Youth Ministry by Christina Lamas, where she talked about 'learning the language of the youth', their needs and interests as part of the catholic church, and what we can learn from them. And an Evening Prayer to end the session with the theme: "Were not our hearts burning?" From Luke 24: 32 presided by the Cardinal himself, Luis Antonio Tagle, where he invited everyone to change roles by "treating each other as persons that can be a mentor and mentored." Then Sunday, July 21, the last day of the congress with its theme: The Filipino Youth in Mission: Beloved, Gifted, Empowered. The atmosphere of arena was filled with love and music as they sing their hearts out to God by starting the session with Praise and Worship, followed by a 1-hour drama presentation of Genesis to Jesus, A Musical Narrative of Darkness and Light concert, Live testimonial videos of the Youth and A Holy Mass with commissioning of Missionary Disciples with the theme: "They set out at once" from Luke 24: 33 presided again by Cardinal Tagle, where he invites everyone in his homily to 'pass on our song'.. "Let us pass on the Word of God through our stories. Let us dine together and tell our stories. Especially the stories that tie our generations to the next." - Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle
Overall it was a wonderful youth filled and life filled event!
With thanks to Gabs (Gabriel Cinco Lanada) and the WordNews team
Called and Chosen
Last May 19, 2019 was an important day for the Pansol, Quezon City Youth Group because it was the day of the Youth Election.
Before the election began Fr. Bong Guinoo gave us some guidelines of prayer to help the participants in choosing the next leader that will be elected. He said that a leader must be someone who follows the example of Jesus. He shared also about Saint Peter and how he was chosen as the first leader of the Catholic Church.
There was a short sharing after the time of prayer, and immediately after that the voting began. After the counting of votes, it was Gab Lanada who was elected as the new Head of the Pansol, Quezon City Youth Group.
Here are the Official Core Members of Verbum Dei Pansol Youth Group:
The Core Group already had planning afterwards about the activities for the second quarter of the year.
Congratulations Gab! We wish you the best in your new mission as the Pansol Youth Head.
We make our prayer like the psalmist “Grant success to the work of our hands Lord, grant success to the work of our hands” (Psalm 90). And may our work help many youth and bear much fruit in the lives of many young people!
With thanks to Francis Santos and the WordNews team
Lenten Season is a journey with Jesus. It is when we travel with him to prepare for his Passion, Death and Resurrection. That was exactly what happened in the last March 17,2019 when a total of 15 individuals that comprised of Singles and two priests had gathered together in the Lenten Pilgrimage Recollection organized by the Verbum Dei Pansol, Quezon City at Holy Land, Subic.
On our way to the Holy Land the participants were asked to draw of what describes their present situation in life which ignited the reflective mood of the event.
The activity of the day formally started with a Holy Mass and it formed part of our way of the cross. In the succeeding stations, there were different dynamics and testimonies given for the participants to enter more in the passion and death of Jesus on the cross.
Lent is a great time to journey within. It is a time to examine our lives and see on how we are doing in the journey. It is a time to view our lives in the perspective of Jesus Christ who gave his life for us (see John 15:13) “There's no greater love than this than a man would give his life for his friends". May this season bring us closer to Him.
Thanks to Francis Santos and the WordNews team
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