Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
Music is very powerful. It has the capacity to make other people happy and be transformed especially in this time of pandemic when many people are looking for inspiration. That’s why the Ephphata Singles Group of Quezon City organized an online Song Forum entitled Hope and Healing last October 24, 2021.
It was an event open for all which was attended by over 30 people, through Zoom and Facebook Live. The activity consisted of ten songs rendered by some of the Verbum Dei Missionaries and disciples. There were also two testimonies given by two of Ephphatha Singles Group members.
As the saying goes “Music is the language of the soul.” May the uplifting songs inspire the people to have hope and healing amidst the difficult situation that we are in today. As Psalm 100 says, “I will sing of your love and justice; to you, LORD, I will sing praise.”
With thanks to Francis Santos
We marvel at God’s handiwork in the midst of these difficult times when this pandemic proves daunting more than ever after reaching the highest number of new Covid-19 cases a day at over 26,000 in our country. God has shown his faithfulness in choosing Reverend Jojo David to serve His people like Christ who had come “not to be served but to serve.” (cf. Mt 20:28)
The ordination to the Holy Orders of Deacon of Joseph V. David was held in the Parish of Holy Sacrifice in UP Diliman, Quezon City last September 11, 2021. The ordaining prelate was Most Rev. Honesto F. Ongtioco, D.D., Bishop of Cubao.
Following strict government guidelines, only a handful of relatives, members of the FMVD, and parish eucharistic ministers were allowed to be present. Despite this limitation, the event turned out to be grander than expected as people all over the globe united in prayer were able to witness the event virtually.
Bishop Ongtioco, in his homily, enthusiastically marked the words of Christ to Jojo “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.” (Jn 15:16)
Jojo worked as a professional for more than twenty years and held high positions in several companies. He had his own plans but still, the Lord never left calling him to follow him closely and be his ordained representative in the world of today. Through his life, we can witness that “God is with us.” Truly, the spirit of Christmas is here as we start the “ber” months.
Filled with joy, Jojo echoed the words of our Mother Mary in his thanksgiving saying, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” (Luke 1:46-47)
Let us continue to pray for fidelity, fruitfulness, and felicity of our beloved and chosen apostle, Reverend Joseph V. David, as he prepares for his priestly ordination in 2022.
In the month of August 2021, a recollection given to a group of young working adults by the Manila VD missionaries (Ecclesial). It was a 3 full days online recollection with the theme: Many Parts, One Body inspired by 1 Cor 12. Below is a testimony given by one of the participants.
My retreat experience began with me feeling a bit of excitement but also feeling anxious from thoughts with regards to work and things from my daily life. One of the many moments of grace that I experience in the retreat was in the very first session. The question that stuck in my head is a simple how are you and yet, I don't quite know how I really am. I am glad that session was followed by moment of silence where I can once again reconnect with my interior self and be present with Jesus. in my interior mind: I see myself sitting in a room playing or just worrying with my own things yet I forget that Jesus was at the door waiting for me and to give me what true joy is. That moment of joy then came throughout the rest of the retreat. From the moment of affirmation of gifts to a heartfelt conversation with community members and also, the joy of the Lord that was clearly shown from the facilitators of our retreat! This testimony is written a week from the retreat and what changed is definitely my morning routine. A song from brother Isaiah (a youtube channel introduced) now often become the start of the day to get myself back into the right disposition. Life is still the same but that clarity with my inner self with Jesus and knowing I always have the backing of my community members helped me to retain that joy the Lord has given to me during the retreat.
The Verbum Family in Cebu and Cagayan de Oro (in the Philippines) conducted a webinar titled DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION ON FAMILY MEMBERS on September 5, 2021, in collaboration with the Department of Health Treatment and Rehabilitation Center- Cebu City. Members of the Verbum Dei community from both communities attended the event, as did the majority of police officers from the Philippines National Police Regional Communications and Electronics Unit Region 10, which is led by Police Major July Love Galvadores, who is also a Verbum Dei disciple.
The event started planning in the second quarter of this year. This Department of Health advocacy aims to raise awareness, improve health, and prevent drug abuse, all of which we at Verbum Dei as a community of families totally support and believe in.
The community in Mindanao organized a school of preaching in two sessions – June 18 & July 9, 2021 respectively, with special guest speaker Sister Cecilia Teo. The organizers thought that this is necessary as a response to an earlier mention of the need to equip the disciples in preparing, developing and delivering Guidelines in the Schools of the Word. It is imperative that being in this charism, one has to have the fundamentals in preaching the Verbum Dei way. We cannot yield to complacency & timidity thus it is recommended that coaching and training of this kind is indispensable adding growth and maturity in this charism, thus should be done recurrently.
The organizers would like to thank those who attended especially disciples coming from our community in Manila and some VD members in some parts of the US.
“Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15)
Work is an integral aspect in lives of the people. It is also one of the major concerns of the singles. In line with this, the Ephphata Singles Group of Verbum Dei, Quezon City, Philippines, organized an online formation last June 12, 2021 entitled Beauty and Spirituality of work. The formation was headed by Fr. James McTavish FMVD and attended by 24 participants.
Fr. James reminded the attendees that work is gift. He also shared that not all stress that a person experiences is bad, but that there is also “good” stress that can help the person to function better. He also shared that Jesus himself was a worker and that his example must be emulated. He said that work and spirituality can go hand in hand. By being good in work the person can give glory to God.
Amidst the challenges that the world is facing, Covid-19 pandemic, unemployment and other factors that can affect the lives of the people and with singles in particular - it is very important to be connected to the source, God. He will give us the energy to survive the different challenges. Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Let us enjoy our work , and serve the Lord in this way.
With thanks to Francis Jerome Santos and the WordNews team.
On the 13th of October 2019, my wife Cecilia, my son Santino and I each received a small gift from Marisol and Antonio, a visiting missionary couple from Spain. Through a series of happy coincidences, our family was able to fly over to Cebu to witness the First Temporal Bonds of the second batch of missionary couples in the Philippines. I remember, we were seated directly behind Marisol and family at the church. At one point Marisol quietly turned and, with a twinkle in her eye, gave each of us a small wooden cross necklace along with a bookmark with the verse “Por ti me daré a conocer” (Isaiah 49,3).
On that very day, I wore that simple cross and whispered a very small and happy ‘yes’ in my heart. Upon our return home to Manila, I wrote a short prayer on a small piece of paper. I folded it up and inserted it into my small statue of the ‘Sleeping St. Joseph’ with much confidence that my prayer will come to fruition.
Fast forward to 2021 the Year of St. Joseph, and Cecilia and I are now on our 7th month of the Discernment Course. This totally new experience has allowed us to encounter our Lord in a deeper way and as a couple. We find ourselves getting closer to Jesus, our hearts desiring to know him even more. As we come to know Jesus in new ways, we also rediscover each other. Through our weekly conjugal dialogue, we are able to share how God is moving in our hearts and what is moving us in different areas in our life. Also, understanding that God has joined us together and in our union we are designed to be one another's helper, there is greater motivation to be more loving, sensitive and supportive.
We are following God's call when we do all these and are joyful in the other's happiness. Through the different means: the weekly prayer guidelines, monthly revision of life and formation with other couples, our spiritual directors and accompaniment, we become more aware and responsive to God's presence in our married life and in our family. We are also able to learn more about the beauty and gift of marriage and God's plan for us and through us. We see in a different way the mission that we have in this vocation.
From the start, we have felt that our journey is very much like that of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24,13-35). Cecilia and I have always treasured our own individual faith walk, each full of miracles and adventures. But this time, God Himself comes near and walks with us, as a couple. And maybe, we are just beginning to recognize the voice of Jesus in this unfamiliar exercise of conjugal prayer and dialogue, interjecting with a question here and making a subtle suggestion there. Often we don’t seem to be in synch or even on the same path, with many looming doubts and insurmountable fears. But always, the gentle wind on the road reminds us, “For you I will make myself known.”
And so, like the two disciples we beg for the Word to stay with us, to grant us eyes of faith and hearts afire, as we forge onward on this road of discovery and great love.
Resti Bautista is a physician and university professor, while Cecilia is director of Antioch School Manila. They are part of the Verbum Dei apostolate in Quezon City. Their 13 year-old son Santino Noel is an active member of the VD Teens Formation in the Philippines.
On April 1-4, we had our Easter recollection for the teens. The theme for this year was " There's no greater love than this," and our theme song, "No Greater Love," was sung by one of the teens, Angel Paguia. We played games, listened to songs, listened to talks, and learned about God and many of us enjoyed the time we had during the Recollection. We all enjoyed the recollection and felt really happy. The Holy Week Recollection was amazing and nice and I really liked it because I learned a lot of things and I enjoyed the games, trivias, and talks. I learn that God's love is not like human love because God's love is unconditional while human love may disappear from us. Holy Week is not only for external activities but it is also about the love that gives meaning to it all. One of our teens, Eunice Rama shares her testimony to us:
“Sometimes we are ashamed of who we are, but only a person who sacrifices you knows your true worth. God's love will never leave us and Jesus never stop find us even in the darkness. One passage that helped me during the recollection was: ‘The lord says, your thoughts are not like my thoughts your ways is not like my ways.’ (Isaiah 55:8) I understood that Jesus’ love is stronger than our challenges, and he gives us new life! Then it was said to us that, "Mission is the best way to pay it forward," so we have many chances to give God's love to other people, when other people help us, embrace us, loves us the only thing that God wants us to do is to pay it forward by being a missionary of life in our own little ways. Jesus made us a question during the recollection: "Do you understand how much I love you?” And my answer to this question was: “Yes Lord I understand your love for me because I can feel it the way you bless me, you give me happiness, and by giving me a family and love. And I know that God will never stop loving me until I die. That was the testimony of one of our teens, Eunice Rama.
To sum it up all, the Easter Recollection was a fun and peaceful experience to everyone even if it was only held online, it was still successful and it helped us to get closer to God.
Tim Cain from Verbum Dei England shares with us his experience in participating in Daily Shots Season 6, which has just ended.
When Margarida invited me to join a Daily Shot team, to make a reflection on the readings for the Day, I accepted happily but later, started to get a bit anxious. What if the readings said nothing to me? What if they didn’t relate to my life experiences? What if my life experiences were simply too boring to share with people? Fortunately, a solution soon came to me. When we were involved in the Married Couples group in England, I always gave talks with my wife, Ann. We prepared these talks together and, when I was not inspired at all, she helped me and vice-versa: when she was struggling, I helped her. So I asked the missionaries in charge of the Daily Shot, ‘could I do this with my wife?’ and of course, they agreed.
And as we began to prepare for our first Daily Shot together, we started, for the first time, to really pray together. In the past, we had prayed family prayers with our children – thanking God for the good things that had happened during the day – and later, when the children grew up and left home, we prayed the Office of the Day together, but now we prayed the gospel reading of the day, in order to give to other people. We asked the Holy Spirit to inspire us – we asked him what he wanted us to say to the listeners. We tried to listen to God and then we shared together what we had prayed. What was new about this was that I now knew what Ann was praying to God and vice-versa. And through praying together, we have become closer to one another.
We often hear people in the Verbum Dei community say that, when their prayer is something to be preached, it is more fruitful because God’s word is not only for us. And this is something we have found to be true, through our contribution to the Daily Shots.
We invite you to listen to the new season of Daily Shots through our website. The Shots are also available in Spotify, Apple Podcast, or Google Podcast. You can also join the WhatsApp or Viber groups to receive the reflections daily.
The Verbum Dei Tagaytay disciples had the possibility to facilitate a one-day face to face Lent Recollection to the 12 staff of one Center for abused girls in Cavite.
The recollection was held at the Verbum Dei Retreat House last March 14, 2021. With the theme: “God’s love renews us.” This was drawn from the Lenten message of Pope Francis to a call for renewal.
It started with a mass together with our neighbors, after the mass Ofel one of the disciples welcomed the participants preparing them to dispose themselves with attitudes that can help them have a fruitful and grace-filled experience of the power of God’s love that can bring renewal.
Lucille another disciple preached the second talk on God the Father. Sharing with strong conviction on the love of the Father that has sustained her difficult and challenging journey in life. God’s love has not only sustained her but has also changed her relationship with her family and also a powerful experience of reconciliation and forgiveness with her biological father. “Mountains and hills may crumble but God’s promise of faithfulness remains.” (Cf Isaiah 54:10)
The third talk was given by Rachel a Verbum Dei Missionary in Tagaytay, the sharing was focused on the question: Who is my neighbor? Our neighbor are the concrete people that God has placed on our way each day. Our love for God can be shown in a practical way to our neighbor, to the person close to us and those far from us. Our love for God is not separated with our love for our neighbor. We were challenged to let Jesus renew us on our way of loving the persons around us and to learn from the way how he loved us. It was indeed a renewal of our concept of what perfect love is, it entails a compassionate heart that stoop down where our neighbor is and not running away from them especially when they need most the help.
Renewed by the power of God’s love, we can make a difference in our world. Alice also a disciple shared on her talk that we are sent to tell the world of the love we received and experience from God.
The whole day was indeed a gift of renewal, some participants shared the experience of coming back to God, being reconciled and forgiven and also renewed on their faith and hope in the midst of the difficult situations due to the pandemic. God’s love renews us with a new perspective of hope, faith and love in facing this challenging time. His love brings newness to the way we see the people and situations that surrounds us!
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