Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
Verbum Dei Cebu Singles Reality organized an overnight recotreat (recollection/retreat) last September 28~29 in St. Francis Seraph Retreat House in Talisay City, Cebu with the theme "Born for Love".
The recotreat aimed to make the participants realize and experience that Christ's love is the only Love that can fully satisfy the human search for true love and happiness.
Although the recotreat was meant for single people, the whole VD Family collaborated in giving the talks/guidelines, testimonies and dynamics. Adriana from the misioneras, Ate Mau and Kuya Jess from the couples and Jay Anne and Jane from the singles reality inspired and make the participants question what they are searching for in life through the talks and testimonies they have given.
Through the activities which consisted of talks, guidelines, testimonies, dynamics and a film showing, the participants were able to discover that it is only God who can truly satisfy the longings and void one feels inside. Material wealth, fame and success, human relationships can bring happiness in one's life but nothing compares to the happiness and fulfillment one can have when they have Christ in his/her life.
"My first recotreat experience. It was a wonderful and an unforgettable experience. The VD members were kind and approachable. The talks were inspiring and it helped me examine myself and life." - said one of the participants afterwards.
“I had an amazing encounter with Jesus during our Recotreat last week and this is my remarkable experience this 2019. I had peace of mind and was able to receive the grace of Jesus and I am so grateful about it. I realized in the recotreat that I have to put Jesus in everything that I do every day and be a living well to others.” - from Anna, another participant.
See some photos of the event:
Been There, Done That... What More?
Last August 25, 2019, a recollection for working adults was held at the Verbum Dei Apostolate Center in Brgy. Palatiw, Pasig. The event was spearheaded by VD missionaries and attendees of the Ortigas School of the Word. The recollection aimed to awaken new perspectives as a working person. The 22 participants of the activity hailed from newly-hired graduates to veterans in their field of work.
The program commenced with a fun ice breaker by Sister Gabriela Rocha, followed by an invigorating introduction by Carmela Badajos. Next was an enjoyable dynamic by Katreen Eslava wherein the participants created a collage of clippings symbolizing their accomplishments in various aspects of life. Ed Jose then gave a talk on our continuous search for something more, something beyond the daily routine. After his talk and a sumptous lunch, Sister Gabby again led the group to an animation song to kickstart the afternoon session. Another dynamic by Katreen was done focusing on future plans. The last talk by Sister Pearl Rebusit deepened on Jesus being the ‘more’ that we are searching for, who has a great plan in store for each one of us. The program ended with a mass by Fr. Iwao Ikegami who reminded us that in order to achieve God’s plan we sometimes need to ‘enter the narrow gate’. Overall, the recollection stirred me to continually seek Him who yearns what is best for us. May we find Him in our daily work so that we will bear much fruit in accordance with His Master Plan.
Here are some photos of the event:
With thanks to Christel Mendoza and the WordNews team
Last August 18, 2019, 23 participants gathered for “Connect” - a Singles Recollection at Verbum Dei Apostolic Center in Pansol, Quezon City. It was a whole day event which consist of talks, animation, testimony, Holy Rosary, confession and Holy Eucharist. The event aimed to remind the single participants that amidst the busy world of today, it is still important to connect to the real source of life and energy who is God.
Jonnalyn Estrada, gave the Welcome talk. She gave an introduction about the Verbum Dei Community and encouraged the participants to give the whole day to the Lord by participating well. Belen Desilos gave a talk about Life and Love which showed the relation of the two to each other, that love is the motor of life and it is seen in the example of the life of Christ. Helen Desilos gave a testimony about identity and how she found herself coming out from her shell when she got to know more about Jesus, and joining the Verbum Dei missions. Francis Santos gave the talk about God the Father. He shared that he is always there with us, ever since we were born and will always remain in us because his love is limitless. Francis encouraged the people to connect to God because he is more than the Wifi or the internet but the source of everything.
The recollection ended with a Holy Eucharist celebrated by Fr. Iwao Ikegami. He reminded everyone the importance of being connected to God in every season of our lives and to be able to share the light that the participants receive from him for the benefit of others.
With thanks to Francis Santos and the WordNews team
"Receive the Power"
Verbum Dei Pentecost recollection in CTK Parish
The Verbum Dei recollection was held on June 12, 2019 at CTK Parish. It was aptly entitled "Receive the Power" (see Acts 1:8).
Who is the Holy Spirit? This was the question Fr. James McTavish used for openers at the day's talk. Because the Holy Spirit is probably the least understood person of the Trinity. It is important for us to know the Spirit, learn to relate to Him, and understand how He manifests Himself.
The Holy Spirit can come as a dove, fire, wind, water; but most importantly ... He is a Person! He has intentions. He shows willfulness and discretion. He loves, intercedes, teaches, advocates, consoles, and prays. He is the Principal Agent of the Mission.
We receive the Spirit when we believe in Him, and we build a relationship through prayers and faith. Jesus promises the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who seek Him. We know the Spirit is working through us when we are drawn to Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is the result of His presence in our lives. In Galatians 5:22-23 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The Celebration of the Holy Eucharist followed after an hour of prayer and sharing.
The mass was presided by Fr. Bong Guinoo and Fr. James McTavish. Readings were taken from Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11 and John 29:19-23.
Fr. Bong gave an enlightening homily on the Spirit's role in molding us into the image of Christ, so that we may live in His likeness. Just as the Apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we too can enjoy the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives, enhancing our relationship with God.
I. Afternoon activities were the 'the Spirit and Mother Mary'.
Testimonials of the Fruit of the Spirit: Sr. Cecilia shared her experience on fortitude. The gift that helped her overcome fears and gave her courage to take risks for Christ. Enabled her to stand up for what is right even if it meant rejection.
Ms. Judy Tan talked about the fruit of generosity by giving time, talent, and treasure selflessly to glorify God and make a difference.
Dr. Resti Bautista spoke on the fruit of faithfulness. It is the result of the Spirit working in us. For the Spirit is our seal of faithfulness, our witness to God's promise of salvation.
II. Recitation of the Rosary of the Spirit was led by Sr. Cecilia and Sr. Iria (a German Verbum Dei missionary working in Budapest) in different languages symbolizes friendship and solidarity. It was a beautiful moment of collaboration and harmony. We were also blessed to have the presence of Sr Pearl and Brother Jojo, two Verbum Dei missionaries in formation.
What a spirit-filled day it was! Nothing can fill more our hearts with peace and contentment, than the certitude that the Holy Spirit loves us and lives in us. Awareness of His presence in us lead us to renew ourselves and to respect and care for one another. It gives us courage, wisdom, and strength to communicate the Word of God to others.
Let us call on the Holy Spirit to awaken and unleash in us His love and power, so that we may be renewed, empowered, and encouraged to become Apostles of Jesus Christ.
Let us ask the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so that we too can be faithful to the promptings of the Spirit. As Fr Jaime Bonet, FMVD, the Verbum Dei founder prayed “Grant me, dear Mama, a detailed and meticulous fidelity, delicate, attentive and grateful to the Holy Spirit. Help me to respond promptly, immediately and sharply to his insinuations.”
Here are some photos of the event:
With thanks to Grace Chan and the WordNews team
Last April 7, 2019, a youth recollection entitled “I Choose You” was held at the Verbum Dei Apostolate Center in Brgy. Palatiw, Pasig. The event, organized and facilitated by VD missionaries and disciples, aimed to nourish the youth with the Lord’s love and mercy amidst the different realities and difficulties they face daily. A total of 39 participants attended the activity, most of which were first timers.
The program started with an ice breaker and animation song, followed by a short skit and welcome talk by Pamela Matienzo, a Verbum Dei disciple. Pam encouraged the participants to have the right attitudes as they enter into the retreat and to make the most out of this opportunity to bond with Jesus and with one another. This was followed by another skit entitled The Man in the Garbage which illustrated how we tend to collect different types of ‘trash’ in our search for genuine happiness. This skit was further deepened on by Carmela Badajos, another Verbum Dei disciple, who related the events in the skit with her own personal struggles and victories. According to Mela, “there is a hole in the heart of each one that only its Creator can fill”.
The second part of the program kicked off with a game and a dance headed by misioneras, disciples and some youth volunteers from Pasig. Afterwards another skit entitled The Divided Teenager was performed by the Pasig youth. The skit was about the different voices heard by the teenager which also reflects the dilemmas the youth face today. The second talk given by Sister Pearl Rebusit further elaborated on the difficult realities faced by the youth and how to choose Jesus despite all these.
The jam-packed day was culminated by a mass celebrated by Fr. Bong, who in his homily challenged the participants to appreciate God’s love through the people around them, and, in turn, reflect that genuine love to others as well, using the metaphor of the moon reflecting the light of the sun.
How wonderful to be chosen by the Lord and to choose to respond to Him!
Here are some photos of the event:
With thanks to Christel Mendoza and the WordNews team
"Into the desert with Jesus"
Around 85 people, many new, joined the Verbum Dei one day Lenten recollection in Christ the King Parish, Greenmeadows on 20 March 2019. The opening dynamic helped us deepen the Lenten means of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The 1st guidelines by Fr James focused on the Lenten message of Pope Francis where we were invited to enter into the desert with Jesus to allow Him to transform the barren land into a fruitful garden - Isaiah 51:3 “Her deserts he shall make like Eden, her wasteland like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness shall be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of song.”
The participants were also invited to enhance the perspective of their Lenten journey and transformation in line with the invite of Pope Francis: “by concretely welcoming Christ’s victory over sin and death into our lives, we will also radiate its transforming power to all of creation.” (Pope Francis, Lenten message 2019).
In the afternoon, Stella Deriquito, a Verbum Dei apostle gave a beautiful talk on the effects of sin. We were invited to see our sins not as a LIST but as a LOSS – where we lose out on our relationship with God, with others, with self and with the whole cosmos. We were reminded that our prayer during this time is not to close ourselves off in a purely private world. “To pray is not to step outside history and withdraw to our own private corner of happiness. When we pray properly we undergo a process of inner purification which opens us up to God and thus to our fellow human beings as well.” (Pope emeritus Benedict XVI).
The closing homily centered on the importance of the mission of the Church and that the whole of creation is waiting with “eager expectation” (Romans 8:19) to learn how to pray. “Let us not allow this season of grace to pass in vain! Let us ask God to help us set out on a path of true conversion. Let us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption, and turn to Jesus’ Pasch” (Pope Francis, Lenten message 2019).
Happy onward Lenten journey!
With thanks to the WordNews team
Each one of us has our own dreams to fulfill in life, dreams that will motivate and shape us to become a better individual in the future. Dreams that will make us happy once these dreams will turn to goals, then goals will in turn become our achievements. Isn’t it joyful when you tell yourself that you finally had the chance to fulfill your life with these goals and move on in making another dream? When you think about, it is a great sense of fulfillment and you try to walk on the right path for the rest of your life.
But the question is, have you ever dream big? Have you ever thought that your dreams in life will soon become reality? Do you trust yourself enough to make all your dreams come true despite of fear, hardships and obstacles along the way? Are you afraid of taking each step towards achieving your real-life goals? If you cannot answer these deep - thoughtful questions, then let me share to you how I understood life and embrace it’s significant in gaining experiences to achieve your dreams.
The night before the recollection, Father Bong told me that I will be in-charge of the Powerpoint Presentation. I will be his assistant during his presentation for the program as he will be one of the speakers for the recollection. I have never done this before to be honest, it was my first time. I knew that even though I never had the experience with a powerpoint presentation, I took the liberty to ask Father Bong to teach me how. At the back of my mind, I was actually nervous and excited at the same time because I know it will be easy just like using a Microsoft word or Excel.
On the day of the recollection, I arrived 7:35 in the morning so I had time to prepare and to practice the presentation before the program started at 8:00. Father Bong gave me the handouts of the program and taught me everything in order for me to assist him with his presentation smoothly without any issues and difficulties during the program.
As I was preparing, the Senior High students of Balara High School arrived on time and they were properly assisted with hospitality. As we started, Father Bong welcomed the students with such a lively song entitled ‘I Have a Dream’ by Verbum Dei. The Senior High students were so very eager because Father Bong added some actions to the song. The students had fun and loved the song to their hearts’ content. Who wouldn’t be when the song was full of thrill and excitement.
The speakers were amazing with their presentations. The first speaker talked about the actual example of 1,000 peso bill and at this moment, the students were seriously listening as she crumpled and stepped on the money. She showed it to the students, asking if they still want the bill to which they delightedly replied “Yes!”. The bill is still significant because they do all know that it is still the same amount of valued money but what was the main lesson of the speaker’s talk?
The point was for us to understand how important our lives are in the Eyes of God, how Jesus still loves us no matter what we are going through in our lives. The bill she showed represents us as we human beings encounter awful experiences, heartbreaks and lost. He will never abandoned us despite our shortcomings, fears, troubles, problems and all those negative things that make us undervalued by those obstacles and hardships we encountered in our paths. He will never stop believing and will forever be patient with us with welcoming arms no matter how sinful we are.
Sometimes it’s really hard to have faith when we are in a worse kind of situations; situations of disappointments in life, sorrow and death but there is always a reason for everything. At times we wonder why these things happen to us as we tend to be frustrated and cursed the life for giving us the hard time to live but one thing is for sure, surrender everything to God and trust that His plans for you will never fail. Timing is everything and time is gold, never forget the saying “Patience is a virtue.” as being patient leads us to the right path that God will be given to us. Just keep on believing in your dreams and trust God’s perfect timing.
The Senior High students actively participated in the activities. Those activities were the best part of the program because we got the chance to get to know them about their life experiences. We learned more about them as they shared their pains, sorrow and sad stories of how hard life was to them within their family, friends, love, school and among other things that lead to becoming an obstacle. I was so deeply touched when Father Bong taught them how to view life as they went further throughout the activities. I had learned so much and I am forever thankful for this wonderful opportunity.
As the recollection came to an end, I am so grateful to see such amazing students of Balara High School! I was really amazed by by their expressive hearts and joyful personalities. When I was observing them during the program, I was reminiscing myself wayback in high school. I was this high school student with full of determination and was so focused in achieving my life goals. Those memories will always be missed because I also had my recollection in High School and the best part was to be able to graduate and made a huge step to enter College. Oh how time flies! It’s so good to have those memories when I was still a student. It is such a great experience! I survived and learned so many things. It was the end and yet the beginning of another chapter in my life.
It was indeed a fun-filled and fruitful recollection I’ve ever had; bringing all those memories back in my mind reminded me that no matter how hard life was and still is, I will always be a strong and independent woman. Always remember, don’t stop believing in yourself. Life is short, live it and embrace it. DREAM BIG!
With thanks to Mylen Samson 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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