Continuing Process of Conversion and Renewal: Clergy of Novaliches undergoes Annual Renewal
By Sr. Emelina A. Villegas,ICM
“It was thought-provoking and challenging! A bit overwhelming pero,ok lang. Nakakapagpasigla at nakakapagpabago!” This was the general feeling of around 53 parish priests and guest priests who participated in the Novaliches Clergy Renewal Session held last June 15-16, 2015 at the Sacred Heart Novitiate.QC There were three timely Themes which were expounded by three resource speakers who are well grounded in life.
The first theme is ” In Union with God We Hear a Plea: The Inclusion of the Poor in Society” which was developed by Bishop Broderick Pabillo, DD based on the Evangelii Gaudium. He clarified the stand ofPope Francis on the church. The church is always in a state of Mission and not to be lost in administrative matters. The church herself is a missionary disciple. It is always in a missionary mode. What she passes on to people is mission-life not simply values, techniques or technologies. Her service and spiritual care for the poor are privileged and preferential religious care of the church.
He summarized the scope of the exhortation:
- the reforms in the church,
- the temptation faced by pastoral workers
- the church as people of God is the agent of evangelization
- homily is part of evangelization
- inclusion of the poor in society
- peace and dialogue in society
- spiritual motivations for mission.
The second theme is “Preaching the Gospel:Words which Set the Hearts on Fire“. Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, OP of UST Office of Grants, revealed that the Philippines is still a mission territory considering that each priest is to take care of about 10,000 Catholics,” most of whom are Christians but not evangelized”.
He stressed that Preaching is evangelization. The message is important and has to be clear. Equally important is the reception of the message. Who is receiving the message, what is her/his need and how is it received? In preaching, the message is not only received by the people but also by the preacher himself. “Preaching is an act of charity in obedience to the Father. Mercy and truth meet together because truth reveals itself in the embrace of the Father.”He identifies some keystones for preachers to follow.
The third theme: “Wake up the World: Evangelical Radicalness is not only for Religious” by Fr. Victor Sadaya, CMF, President of St Anthony Mary Claret College of Philosophy, asks “wake up from what and to what? The Pope wants to wake up the religious from their complacency and wake up to their inspiration, creativity and communion. The gifts of religious life are consecration, communion, mission and charism of each congregation .The three evangelical counsels are the3-fold YES of the religious and the goal is to attain perfect charity. The counsels are practiced in various ways according to the charism of each institution. The evangelical counsels are also inherent in the Priesthood although there is no public profession of these counsels. Fr. Vic discussed 12 tasks to be able to journey towards CONSECRATED PRIESTHOOD with PASSION.
In what way would these thoughts and insights help to bring about a renewal of oneself, the church, the care of the poor, evangelization and priesthood? Fr. Vic says that renewal happens, first, when we become aware of our present perspective and way of thinking and secondly, when we are willing to change them according to the new demands. It starts with a change of frame of mind and then action and new practices follow.
The MAGNIFICAT was indeed a fitting prayer of praise and thanksgiving to end the session.