Philippines: SIFC-13 Formally Opens
May 13, 2018 was a particularly significant day mainly because on this day a quadruple event was being remembered and celebrated: The Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord, the Anniversary of the First Apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, Mothers’ Day, and World’s Communication Day.
Added to the significance of this day, was the formal opening of the 13th SSpS International Formators Course (SIFC). This event was preceded by the Eucharistic Celebration held in the chapel of the Arnold Janssen Spirituality Center, Quezon City, fittingly prepared for the occasion, with Fr. Emmanuel Menguito, SVD, as the celebrant.
There are 10 participants to the SIFC-13, but only 9 were present during the opening. Everyone hopes and prays that Sr. Mukti Majhi from India could still come to join the group later.
This significant occasion was graced by the presence of Sr. Mikaelin Bupu from the Congregational Leadership Team, the members of the Provincial Leadership Team (PLT) of Philippines North (PHN) led by Sr. Carmelita Victoria, the Provincial Leader, the course coordinator Sr. Leonisa Andino (Nisa) and the Sisters from the communities of Metro Manila.
“Rooted in God’s Love, formed as Bridge for Formation” echoed as the theme of this SIFC-13. Before the final blessing, Sr. Mikaelin congratulated the participants for accepting the invitation to participate in the Course. She thanked the PLT and communities of the PHN for welcoming and accommodating the participants to this course. She exhorted the participants to live out conversion of heart, which leads to formation and transformation, qualities much needed as formators of the Congregation.
The formal opening of the SIFC-13 was met with a joyful round of applause by the participants and by the Sisters present on the occasion.
An Agape meal followed during which joys and gratitude continued to be shared among the Sisters as they praised and thanked the Lord for the blessing of another International Formators Course.
Sr. Frances Grace Solis, SSpS – Province of Philippines North
INTRODUCTION FOR ENTRANCE PROCESSION
By Sr. Theresia Komang Triharyani, SSpS
Good morning Sisters, welcome to our Eucharistic celebration. As the Church celebrates the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, together we are grateful because Jesus has called us as His disciples. He has given a mandate to each of us, to go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to all of creation.
In this special moment, we, the 13th SIFC participants start our journey. Our hope and prayer is that we may be more “Rooted in God’s love, be formed as a bridge for formation”. We wish that God’s love and His graces would guide us in our learning how to be a good bridge, for us to be able to participate in widening the circle of communion especially in formation ministry.
In the entrance procession, Sr. Nisa and Sr. Carmelita carry the candles, and the SIFC participants follow them as a symbol, that our journey is guided by the Holy Spirit and with your prayer.
Sr. Mikaelin carries the globe as a symbol that we come from different countries, united as SSpS to do God’s mission. Sr. Mikaelin will then offer the globe to the participants as a symbol that we are chosen by the Congregation as SIFC participants and continue our mission. Then, the participants form themselves as bridge, accept the globe and pass it on.
We are God’s instrument to continue His graces in our mission.
WORD OF THANKS AND WELCOME TO SR. MIKAELIN BUPU, SSpS
- We would like to say thank you, Father Menguito, SVD, our main celebrant at this opening of the 13th SIFC celebration in the Holy Eucharist. You support us with your special blessing today.
- We thank the CLT, now represented by Sr. Mikaelin, who gave the opportunity for us to participate in this international formators course. With your prayer, we will try to continue our mission in formation ministry.
- In addition, we thank you Sr. Carmelita and the PLT of Philippines North Province, who gave us this place – Arnold Janssen Spirituality Center (AJSC) for the use of this course. You have prepared all the facilities that we need in our course.
- We thank you Sr. Florencia and all our Sisters in BF Homes Community who help us to prepare for this celebration and for all our needs later in our course.
- Moreover, for all of you dear Sisters, thank you for your presence and your prayers for us. We know that you will continue to accompany our life with your prayer.
- Now, let us welcome Sr. Mikaelin who officially opens this course.
Some thoughts from Homily
Fr. Menguito shared about his more than 30 years in the SVD Formation Ministry and that every beginning there is always enthusiasm. He challenged the participant to sustain the enthusiasm even with the experience of anxieties, misunderstandings and all difficulties living with other people.
The Presence of the formator is very important. The kind of presence he/she has with his/her formands is what stays with them. Witnessing is an important part of journeying with the formands. It is therefore important to be in-touch with one’s self to be able to have good presence.
Fr. Meng’s words to the course participants: “The symbol of BRIDGE that you chose is very important because you are to connect yourself with them and most especially with their connection with God. You will become the facilitator of these connections. You are to be pontiffs… because pontifex comes from Latin roots meaning bridge builder. Pons means bridge, and the -fex suffix is derived from the verb facere, which means to make.”
PARTICIPANTS OF THE 13TH SSpS INTERNATIONAL FORMATORS COURSE
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Total number of participants – 10
Coordinator: Sr. Leonisa Andino SSpS