Religious Women of ACLIND during the God Is Glorious: Clergy & Religious Concert at the Caloocan City Sports Complex last November 3, 2018. (Photo credit: Minnie Agdeppa)

There are 96 Religious Congregations in the Diocese, comprised of Religious Men, Religious Women, and Secular and Lay Institutions. There are 32 Religious Congregations for the Men, 12 of which have Pious Union while the rest are under Pontifical Right. The 64 Religious for the Women, which are divided into three types: 9 are considered as Pious Union, 7 have Diocesan Right, and the remaining 48 have Pontifical Right.

Collectively, they form the umbrella organization of the Association of Consecrated Life in Novaliches Diocese or ACLIND, which officially began on June 1, 2006. ACLIND is represented by a set of officers comprising the Bishop as head, the Vicar General for the Religious as “supervisor”, the Coordinator for Women, Coordinator for Men, Secretary, Asst. Secretary, Treasurer, and Asst. Treasurer.

ACLIND began when Bishop Tobias met with all the Religious Superiors on August 13, 2004 at the Good Shepherd Cathedral Shrine. As the first meeting of all the Religious in the Diocese, the event emphasized the need for a harmonious co-existence of the Clergy, Religious, and Lay and a synergy of efforts in programs and mission work for the community and the Parish. Bishop Tobias laid out his plans for the Religious in the Diocese: all Congregations will be given a Decree of Recognition (DOR); specific Congregations will be assigned a particular work or ministry in the Diocese through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA); each of the Religious Order of Men will handle at least one Parish; and new Parishes will be created under the Religious Order of Men.

At the time, the Religious of the Diocese had no formal name yet nor a common organization. Two years after the meeting, the Religious created an Ad Hoc Core Group for each of the Vicariates (9 at that time) in the Diocese. The drafting and ratification of the Mission and Vision of the Religious in the Diocese were undertaken on March 27, 2006 and May 11, 2006, respectively. Also set were the schedule of regular meetings and the election of officers every three years.

The first activity of the ACLIND was to map out the services to be rendered by the different religious groups. A survey was held to identify what these services are and the possible areas of apostolate. Conducted from October 15 to November 30, 2007 by the ACLIND Core Group, the survey was participated in by 26 Congregations of Women and 9 Congregations of Men covering the 9 Vicariates of the Diocese at that time.

Evangelization/Education, Youth Affairs, Family Life, Social Action, and Liturgy / Rendering of Sacraments were the identified services that are either directly given to the poor or are integrated with the program of a parish or a school with which the religious organization has relations. These areas became entry points for the Diocese to further its collaboration with the Religious in its Pastoral work.

Since its establishment, ACLIND has significantly engaged in the pastoral activities and advocacies of the Diocese with the most recent ones involving socio-political transformation and electoral reform through personhood and community involvement formation/education under the Social Action Commission’s (Caritas Novaliches) Public Affairs Ministry (PAM) like the 2012-2013 Voters Education Program. ACLIND actively campaigned against the Reproductive Health Bill.