Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
Atheism and Belief in God
On Sunday, September 29, 2019, the Verbum Dei-Tagaytay community begun a series of formations entitled “Atheism and Belief in God” facilitated by Sr. Grace Gonzales, FMVD.
It was a whole day formation attended by adult/singles and married individuals from nearby Tagaytay areas and some from Metro Manila. The formation activity covered interesting topics such as:
As one of the attendees, we asked mind-boggling questions which could be on people’s minds, like, What is the meaning and purpose of one’s life?; Where does suffering originate?; What is its purpose? These are questions foremost in our hearts and minds which oftentimes we don’t articulate for fear of being misunderstood or branded as weird.
But, our God provides the answers, because man is a thinking and religious being. The Church document, Gaudium et Spes, #19 gives us a glimpse of the answers and some insights on what atheism is all about, the meaning of human dignity and also man’s capacity to know God.
Likewise, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC, Ch.1 # 27-29) tells us of man’s desire for God which is written in the human heart; and how God never stops to draw us to Himself. As St. Augustine expressed it, man is restless until he rests in God.
Throughout history, until the present day, men and women have continued to express their quest for God in their religious beliefs and actions in prayer, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, devotions, etc. hence, man can be called a religious being.
However, due to man’s sinfulness and weaknesses, the closeness to God can be broken, forgotten, ignored, and even rejected by man (GS #19). Thus, we have atheists who continue to reject God and deny any claim of His divine existence. We also learned in the formation, the various causes of atheism, like, man’s desire for autonomy, that he can exist without divine or God’s intervention.An advocate of this belief, Rene Descartes, said, “I think, therefore, I am.” which means, man is autonomous and can be left to himself. Another German philosopher, Frederick Nietzche, even said, “God is dead.” This reminded me of the famous Beatles member, John Lennon who composed the song, “Imagine” with the famous line: “Imagine there’s no Heaven…” Lennon was tagged by many as an atheist because of this composition, among others.
Finally, a very touching and relevant video film, entitled, “God’s Not Dead” capped our formation session. It was a film which depicted a learned professor’s life of denying the existence of God because “he was angry with God for taking everything away from him.”
The question put forward by the student who challenged the professor was, “How can he get angry with someone if that someone did not exist?” Towards the end of the film, the professorwho met a tragic car accident, accepted his defeat and asked for forgiveness before he passed away.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
With thanks to Mila Abigan and the WordNews team
MUSIC FESTIVAL: “Ikaw, Ako, Mag-awitan Tayo"
Verbum Dei-Tagaytay Teens/Youth Project
The Sunday was a joyful and heart-warming September morning despite the cold and rainy weather! The rains did not dampen the spirit and excitement of the Verbum Dei-Tagaytay Teens and Youth group with the collaboration of the Adult Single and Married couples, as well as the VD-Tagaytay Missionaries. Everyone played a role in bringing delightful music, dancing, skit/role-playing and even a touching couple’s life experience and testimony to the audience.
The talents exhibited by the Teens and Youth group did not only show their heartfelt cooperation and unity, but also inspired the community to draw closer to God, to one another and to bring joy to everyone. Their opening song said it all, as they sang, “Young Man, Get Up.” It displayed their resolve to get up, amidst life’s challenges. It also expressed their hopes and dreams for a brighter future, with God as their inspiration and guide.
Some revealed their hidden skills and talents in surprising ways – a young boy, Russel who has not reached his teen years yet, showed his talent in singing and dancing to the delight of the crowd. In addition, there was also Jacob, an 11-year-old child with special needs who became a channel of peace to his family’s reconciliation and harmony; he also displayed his talent by “singing in tune” a praise song to the Lord!
For their part, the Adult Single and Married couples gathered together to sing a song of praise and thanksgiving to God who has always been present in their life’s journey through thick or thin.
Finally, the VD-Tagaytay Missionaries delighted the audience with a Spanish song that spoke about how an awesome God can make a difference in our lives. By being with Him and in Him, man’s journey becomes less difficult and contributes to his own growth.
The day was truly delightful and beautiful! To cap it, all participants, including the audience were treated to free snacks and lunch courtesy of Ms. Kathy who opted to celebrate her birthday during the Music Festival.
Yes, Lord, we will continue to sing praises and thanksgiving to You, for as St. Augustine said, “singing is twice praying.” Amen.
The Spanish Mission Group joined the Tagaytay Adult Friday SOWers in their regular Friday Prayer Meeting, last August 23, 2019.
Present to give the Prayer Guidelines was Sr. Melaine Fuentes, FMVD who was also celebrating her birthday on the same day. The group was also joined by the other Tagaytay missionaries and adult Friday SOWers. Two of the Spanish missionary visitors shared the fruits of their prayers, as well as two of the Tagaytay adult SOW members.
The Spanish prayer sharers highlighted their joy and admiration of the Filipino people despite the economic poverty they have seen. What amazed them were the Filipinos’ resiliency in the face of adversities and difficulties brought about by various causes and concerns. They also noted the deep faith and belief in the providence of God by most Filipinos the reason why they can still smile and be hospitable to people.
After the prayer meeting, a simple dinner get-together followed to celebrate the birthday of Sr. Melaine. The activity also served as the farewell or despedida gathering for the Spanish missionaries and disciples. They are scheduled to leave in two batches, on Saturday and Monday mornings.
It was an “all is well that ends well” evening to cap the mission visit of the Spanish missionaries and disciples. Hasta la vista amigas y amigos!
A leadership camp for the youth with the theme “Empowered” was conducted by the Verbum Dei Missionary Family, at the Center of Evangelization in Tagaytay City, last June 6-9. Each day was filled with activities like formations, prayer guidelines, Holy mass, games, movie screening, and star gazing.
Everyone was welcomed by a session from Joy stating the necessity of healthy self-esteem. Following this, Youth Camp Olympics started with the pledge of sportsmanship led by Fr. Bong. Each day, games like trust fall, blindfold guide, centipede walk, and acid river were played to strengthen everyone’s skills.
Next day started with Carmela’s guidelines about God’s communication to all of us, in every way. Then, Sr. Cecilia gave a formation which focused on the importance of listening and dialogue in our relationship with God. This was followed by Fr. Iwao’s formation that emphasizes traits as Good Shepherd.
The third day began with the reminder of loving despite the pain from Christel followed by Sr. Cecilia’s formation about conflict management. After that it was Abel’s guideline that left a question, “Who’s your mission?” Then everyone formed into groups for a workshop about the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, Sr. Adriana conducted a formation about the evangelization of digital natives that left a question, “Am I being truthful in what I share?”
The camp ended with the hope that the youth who experienced these will lead and spread the Word of God now and in the future. After all, youth are the hope of our motherland and our God. And we are called to be fully alive. Pope Francis said the words “I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive!” (Christus vivit, no. 1)
With thanks from the WordNews team
Formation on social media at Verbum Dei-Tagaytay Retreat House
It was an empowering day, June 9, 2019 after the Pentecost Sunday Mass at Verbum Dei Chapel in Tagaytay when participants of the on-going VD Youth Leadership Camp gathered together to attend the seminar on "Evangelizing the Digital Natives" conducted by Sr. Adriana Haro, FMVD in collaboration with the VD Missionaries and VD Retreat House-Tagaytay. The group was also joined by some members of the VD-Tagaytay Adult S.O.W. group.
The call to evangelize is not only a call for the religious, but for all people, especially the "digital natives." The young people are now being sent to be witnesses to the "digital continent," now considered as the 6th continent representing the biblical place, called the "ends of the Earth."
But who are the "digital natives?" It was interesting to note that there are different "citizens" in the Digital Continent:
Both known as the "Digital Immigrants"
Hence the Digital Natives are being called to do the work of "inculturation" which is a necessary pathway toward Gospel evangelization of cultures in the Digital World.
This new world can offer a lot of distractions, both good and bad. Every "citizen" in this 6th continent can become addicted to many digital activities which expose them to negative behaviors and problems. That is why, there is truly a need to listen to the voice of the Lord as in Isaiah 6:8 "Whom shall I send?" Can, you, the Digital Native reply: "Here I am, send me!"
Sr. Adriana told us that God has always counted on young people to transform reality. Even our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal said: "The youth is the hope of our motherland."
Finally, how and where do the Digital Natives begin? First, by knowing what they are looking for. It is obvious that they are looking for themselves, for other people and their place in the world. They need to know who they really are and to project this image into the world. Honesty and sincerity in what one posts can be a good start to real reaching out. Occasional breaks from digital connection and from social media can also be a good way of recharging and finding oneself, even others, in the real world!
Holy Spirit, guide us!
With thanks from the WordNews team
We Came, We SOW, We Conquered...
Mission update from Verbum Dei Tagaytay
The merry month of May was indeed joyful for the Verbum Dei-Tagaytay Adult School of the Word (SOW) group. Apart from our regular Friday afternoon SOW gatherings, we also come together to do various activities, like:
The month of May also saw us bonding together for a refreshing Summer Outing at Rio Villa Spring Resort, Indang, Cavite. The fresh spring water quenched our thirst for coolness and refreshment, not only for our physical bodies, but the spirit as well remembering that the Spirit is “grateful coolness in the heat” (Sequence of the Holy Spirit).
For the coming months, we look forward to strengthening more our Adult SOW group by inviting additional members, targeting at least one new member per current member.
So we invite you to come, "taste and see the goodness of the Lord" (Psalm 34:8) at the Verbum Dei - Tagaytay for a refreshing experience of the Word of God.
We hope to see you soon!
With thanks from the WordNews team
Last April 18-21,2019, 105 participants from all walks of life participated in the 2019 “I Love You and I Give My Life To You" (cf. Galatians 2:20) Easter Encounter (Semi-Silent Retreat) 2019 at Tagaytay City Philippines. This year, the annual event also welcomed participants from Misamis Occidental and Guiwan, Samar.
The annual event is one with the Holy Catholic Church in commemoration of the Easter Tridium. There was the Holy Thursday Mass where the participants commemorate the Washing of the Feet, Veneration of the Cross, Way of Light and the Easter Vigil. There were also talks, dynamics and testimonies given to help deepen the understanding of the participants about the passion and death of Jesus on the Cross. There were moments that both the youth and adult were together in a session and there were moments separated to focus on the needs of each reality.
It's nice to see people with different background gathered to journey with Jesus in this this most important moment of our journey of faith as Catholics. The participants were given a chance to be involved in different committees to help them have a more meaningful experience.
One of the participants, Lola Tamar felt that attending the Easter Encounter helped her to deepen her faith more. She appreciated the catechesis given before important liturgical celebrations. She also liked the part of the Way of Light where we gave importance to the role of Mama Mary in the life of Jesus.
After the Easter Vigil, everyone eagerly participated in the Fiesta where the participants got the chance to represent the Resurrection of Jesus creatively through different group presentations.
Lent is over and Christ already conquered death through Resurrection. May this amazing gift of our faith fuel us with hope and love each day.
Watch a video summary of the event:
Some photos of the event:
With thanks to the WordNews team
A semi-silent retreat was conducted by The Verbum Dei Missionary Family over the weekend of March 23 and 24, 2019 at the Verbum Dei Center of Evangelization in Tagaytay City. Open to people from all walks of life, participants were invited to a weekend of prayer and silent reflection for a more meaningful celebration of the Lenten season.
The retreat started with a simple dynamic where participants shared their expectations for the retreat followed by a talk given by Sister Amy. She welcomed participants and invited them to a deeper prayer and encounter with God. She also introduced participants to the attitudes of prayer to be adopted during the retreat after which they were then given time to pray and reflect in silence.
The participants were then gathered again to delve deeper into the theme of the retreat with the second talk of the morning. Given by Sister Amy, she dove into the heart of the invitation to come home, exploring what it means to have a home and also what being ‘beloved’ by God entails. This was followed by lunch and then a short time of sharing where the participants were divided into small groups to share among themselves the fruit of their morning in prayer. Sister Marla then gave the first talk of the afternoon. With Jesus as an example, she explored with the participants how they can live being at home with God.
Later in the afternoon, Sister Amy had the participants reflect more inwardly with her talk. She invited participants to look at where they could have turned away from the home of God in their lives. This was to prepare for the moment of confession made available to the participants in the evening. During this time, Shiela Marie Ramos, a lay disciple of the Verbum Dei Family, also shared about her own experiences with God’s mercy and His constant invitation for her to come home in her life. The day was completed with the participants gathering together to pray the rosary and meditate on how Mary can help and accompany them in staying at home with God.
Sunday was started off with participants joining the Verbum Dei Tagaytay community in their celebration of the Eucharist at the chapel. Mass was then quickly followed by the last guidelines of the retreat. In it, Sister Marla challenged participants to the missionary nature of the Lenten invitation of coming home. Participants were led to reflect on sharing the joy they received in being at home with God as they had experienced during the weekend. To round off the whole retreat, participants broke up into their small groups again for another round of sharing, after which a few participants gave testimonies of their entire retreat experience to the whole group. It was truly a blessed weekend of coming back to and being at home with God.
Here are some photos of the event:
With thanks to Abel Paune and the WordNews team
“The memories we make with our family is everything.” –Candace Cameron Bure
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” –Mark 10:9
The family is where the heart is…it is the basic unit of society, therefore, it must be holistically honed. Every family encounters different faces of ups and downs. Through these experiences, the relationship becomes stronger.
The Lord said in the Third commandment, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work.” Through this, the Verbum Dei-Tagaytay community held its “Union Familiar”/ Family Bonding at Caleruega, Nasugbu, Batangas last March 24, 2019. It was an activity/formation which made the family members united as one with God. Quality time was wisely spent… no negative thoughts in mind, no worries, no hesitations, and most of all, LOVE and UNITY dwelt with one another. It was the time when the working wives and husbands took their break and felt the essence of each family member. The time we spent together made us feel blessed and thankful to the Lord for allowing it to happen.
It was an activity to cherish and remember wherein each one of us did not do any work and kept it holy as the Lord has commanded.
With thanks to the WordNews team
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