Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
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
Protect our Children!
A course on protection and safeguarding of minors and vulnerable persons
Jesus held the children in high esteem. In his public life he announced “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14). He also warned, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea...” (Matthew 18:6). Our Lord himself loved the children and condemned any maltreatment.
It is with profound regret that Pope Francis had to call our attention as Church to the issue of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. He announced that “The protection of minors and vulnerable persons is an integral part of the Gospel message that the Church and all its members are called to proclaim throughout the world.” (Apostolic letter On the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable persons, 26 March 2019). The Pope repeated his teaching again in his most recent apostolic letter entitled “Vos estis lux mundi” (You are the light of the world) which came into force on 1 June 2019. “The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful. In order that these phenomena, in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church.”
The “Child Safeguarding Institute” of the Emmaus Center, Ateneo de Manila, seeking to respond to this urgent call of the Church, has been running a “Basic Orientation Workshop on Safeguarding of Minors.” This is a 5-day course which overviews basic aspects of child safeguarding, and emphasizes safe self, safe community and safe ministry.
One of the Verbum Dei missionaries, James McTavish, participated in the course and the subsequent 3 day “Write shop” for policy writing for his community. He said “this was an excellent course. I was impressed by the overall content and the new emphasis on care of victims first. The inputs by Dr Gabby Dy-Liacco, (a current member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors), Msgr “Nonoy” Maculino and Dra “Titay” La Vina were both helpful and thought provoking. I realized we all need to work together to make a new culture of safeguarding towards minors and vulnerable adults.”
Further information about this theme can be found below.
New Apostolic letter “Vos estis lux mundi” of Pope Francis:
Website for the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors:
"Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." - Colossians 3:14
On a clear sunny day last May 26, 2019, Verbum Dei Pasig and Verbum Dei Manila joined together for a day of fun filled bonding: playing, singing, dancing, swimming, chatting, and what was clearly the most enjoyable... eating. There was a splendid array of appetizing food and snacks on the table as each brought something for sharing. I took notice of that sinfully delicious large chicharons, so delectable it could not be dismissed.
We took pleasure in the privacy of Greenwich Clubhouse at Corinthian Gardens exclusively for our use on that Family Day event. The lush greenery and blooming flowers covering the landscape offered a relaxing and invigorating sight to behold. It was truly a great weekend getaway to reconnect, nurture relationships and foster camaraderie with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and partners in the mission of evangelization. The activity being so essential to keep us in love and in unity. As Jesus teaches us, "If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand." - Mark 3:25
Here are a few more photos of the event:
With thanks from the WordNews team
Reaching Out Beyond Comfort Zones
Verbum Dei Singles Outreach Program in Tingo, Olango – May 19, 2019
Every year, VD Singles Reality in Cebu goes to the nearby island of Olango to give school supplies to the poor children who attended the Flores de Mayo. It is a real community activity, possible with the collaboration of many members of our Singles Reality, some of whom help in the fundraising, others in the buying and packing and finally some others join the distribution of the school supplies to 120 children. Of course, as Verbum Dei disciples, we could not give only the material supplies, but we also gave some short faith input, reflection and dynamic to the kids. This year, 16 of us volunteered to go to Olango to distribute the school supplies and give some merienda snack.
Below is the experience of Elvie de Guzman who joined the VD Outreach program for the first time.
" Verbum Dei got out of their comfortable, safe Sunday and reached out to the Tingo Flores De Mayo kids. I am embarrassed to say I did not do much except to tag along, carry some bags of bread and join in with the team. To see the VD disciples carry such big and heavy boxes, witness Arman and Bethel reach out to and be responded in equal and sometimes more enthusiastic measure by the children, to see the rest of the VD disciples joining in, working hand in hand, then to be welcomed by our VD disciple originally from Tingo - Olango, be invited along with her to a fiesta lunch (yummy), all in 36 degrees centigrade, sweltering humid weather (heavens bless Ann for her umbrella!).
Although I am new to Verbum Dei, I felt privileged to have witnessed Jesus in action through this Outreach Program. It was Jesus in each one who painstakingly sorted out all those school supplies, donated, bought and distributed the food. It was Jesus who lifted and carried those big heavy boxes across the boat’s narrow gangplank; Jesus who made time to sing, dance, play and show the Father’s love... Jesus who patiently found a way to include a baby VD member (me!), who upon seeing all the plastic garbage floating in the sea between Mactan island and Olango asked herself, “is mankind even worth saving?” and found the answer in a smiling child’s eyes while singing the faith song and shaking this little boy’s hand – I witnessed and enjoyed seeing Jesus in action!”
Here are some more photos of the event:
With thanks to the WordNews team
Two Verbum Dei Missionaries received an invitation to join the event organized by the Philippine Bible Society last May 17, 2019 launching the New English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible, Catholic Edition.
The ESV bible is a formal translation (essentially literal) meaning it tried to translate the bible from its original text word for word as compared to translating it thought for thought (dynamic translation).
It is a revision of the Revised Standard Version or RSV. The original ESV was published in 2001 by Crossway and in 2018, in partnership with an Indian company, Asian Trading Corporation (ATC) launched this Catholic Edition. A group of 20 bible scholars in India worked on checking the translation. We give thanks to people who dedicate their lives spreading the Word of God!
Into the Heart of Every Family
(May 18, 2019 School of the Word)
Yesterday’s School of the Word was extra special. It was special because the family in Verbum Dei Cagayan de Oro was able to do something extra creative and candid. Each family present was asked to make a poster of how love has been communicated in their family, based on the Gospel of John 13,34-35 “I am giving you a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you.”
The youths, single men and women who were there, were grouped accordingly, and individually were also asked to draw how love has been present in their homes. Each group came out with their unique drawings and theme – one group had their theme as ‘Banquet of Sharing, another ‘Fixed Love’ and another ‘ Extended Love’. Each may have had different depictions and themes but we all share the same struggles and limitations when it comes to love in marriage and in the family. However, at the end of the day, we choose love above and over everything.
Even with challenges and trials, love triumphs! Love conquers! “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away” (Songs 8:6). Love wins over all!
Here are some other photos of the event:
With thanks to Rey Bagares 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
It is not always that the new General Responsible of the Married Couples Branch can come and visit us! (see Mt 8,8). Alfonso Martinez, or commonly called as “Papa Poncho” or “Poncho” to us in the community in Cagayan de Oro where he and Adriana stayed for almost 4 years until they had to go back to Mexico.
Poncho spent a day with us apart his busy schedule last Saturday, May 11 at Lestonnac Youth Center, giving guidelines deepening on the Joy of the Father (Luke 15), formation on the Language of Apology, and finished the day sharing to us the letter of Rodri Carrizo, the Verbum Dei President.
Everybody then went to celebrate mass at the CU Chapel officiated by our dear friend from the Columban order, Fr Enrique Escobar; there was a salo-salo after the mass as part of a three-part celebration : Welcoming Papa Poncho (although for only a couple of days because he needs to return to Mexico soon), secondly, it was also a send-off party for the Paguia Family who will be relocating to Cebu as part of Regner and Mae’s apostolic mission to form apostles in couples and their families, and lastly, to celebrate Mothers’ day.
With the goodbyes the day was a little bittersweet but in faith we can be joyful as we are called to fulfill the mission mandate of Christ to GO TO ALL.
With thanks to Rey Bagares and the WordNews team
Dear Verbum Dei Family,
Yesterday, May 7, we bid farewell to Sister Ana Miguel who passed away in Siete Aguas, Spain at the age of 90 years and 56 years as a missionary. She was the first Verbum Dei missionary, pioneer of the female branch, who opened the way for many others to live and proclaim the Gospel.
As heirs of the same charism that Ana lived in a discrete and faithful way, we are grateful for her life and above all, for her testimony of fidelity and peace. We ask her and all those who have already preceded us, to continue to encourage us to live our mission with confidence and joy as they did.
We join all the Verbum Dei Family in Siete Aguas who will surely be celebrating this moment so significant for all.
“Everything I have is yours” (Luke 15:31)
Discernment retreat for Verbum Dei missionary couples
Sometimes people are surprised to hear that we have married couple missionaries in Verbum Dei. When they think of missionaries, they might only think of priests and nuns. Actually, there is a call to holiness for all, and Pope Francis reminds us that we are all missionary disciples. For this reasons, Verbum Dei has 3 branches - the consecrated women (misioneras), the priests and brothers (misioneros) and the missionary married couples.
The married couples branch of Verbum Dei is headed by Poncho and Adriana, a missionary couple from Mexico. They were guiding a retreat to 9 Verbum Dei couples who are coming to the end of their 2-year formation course. The couples are currently based in Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Sydney and Brisbane, Australia.
The discernment retreat was held in Cebu to pray about the next step for each couple. The retreat (or “Spiritual exercises”) was for one week, with the theme of “Everything I have is yours” (from Luke 15:31). The reflections were based on two talks from the Verbum Dei theme set (temario) called “Mercy” and “Call to Love.” The mercy of God can really change and transform us. “From a sinner he draws out a marvelous Saint and, maybe, more grateful than others, who loves more because he has been forgiven more. Seeing that he has been forgiven so much, he loves madly” Fr Jaime Bonet, Verbum Dei founder. In prayer we can experience this mercy. Pope Francis wrote “In order to be capable of mercy, therefore, we must first of all dispose ourselves to listen to the Word of God. This means rediscovering the value of silence in order to meditate on the Word that comes to us.” (Misericordiae vultus, no. 13)
Rey Bagares, one of the couples on retreat said, “If I was to summarize my prayer during the silent retreat in Cebu, attended by fellow couples in formation, it would be with Luke 24,32. They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" The charcoal fire that Jesus started in my heart can only carry on through my faithfulness in prayer with the Word of God, so that I too can heat up cold hearts - hearts that have stopped caring about God and others.”
We continue to pray for all the married couples. May they be faithful to their baptismal consecration and to their calling! So to all the married couples out there, perhaps the Lord is calling you to participate in the mission. What are you waiting for? Come and discover the joy of working together to build up the Kingdom.
With thanks to the WordNews team
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