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Lay speaker talks about teachers’ ‘vocation’

NAGA City, Jan. 29, 2015 – Before the “Pope Francis fever”, there was joy and zeal emanating from an educational encounter when an inspirational speaker reminded more than 700 Catholic educators about their calling to transform young people into better versions of themselves.

According to Bro. Roberto “Obet” Cabrillas, who gave the keynote address for the recent 5th annual CEACAL Teachers’ Congress at the Unibersidad de Sta. Isabel (USI) Auditorium on Jan. 9, educators are “phenomenal people.”

Inspirational speaker Bro. Roberto "Obet" Cabrillas gives the keynote address for the 5th annual CEACAL Teachers' Congress at the Unibersidad de Sta. Isabel (USI) Auditorium, Jan. 9, 2015. (Photo: Natalie Hazel Quimlat)

In a the speech themed “The Transformative Role of Catholic Educators in a Changing World”, Cabrillas, one of the most in demand motivational speakers in the country, said teachers’ remarkable contribution in the field of Catholic education as “builders, reformers and healers” cannot be underrated.

Better versions

Even Pope Francis cannot stress the importance of quality education enough, said the speaker, more popularly known as ‘Daddy O’. Teaching means going out of oneself and into the streets to teach, to enlighten and to bring the joy of the Gospel, said Cabrillas.

At the heart of the lay preacher’s message is the ordinary word: teacher. The author of Spell out your Love and Tanong mo kay Daddy O redefined the common term, giving it a deeper and more profound meaning. According to him, the word, TEACHER, is an acronym that stands for the most important characteristics an educator must have:

  • T-ransforms
  • E-mphatizes
  • A-ccepts
  • C-ares
  • H-armonizes
  • E-mpowers, and
  • R-estores

Cabrillas explained that what makes a teacher an agent of transformation is not his syllabus or his lesson plans, but his attitude towards his vocation as an educator, his ability to bring out “better versions” of his students, while being one with them.

Keep extending yourself

He said the noblest profession is not a day-to-day job but is life itself; life to the fullest. Hence, the act of educating, Cabrillas stressed, must be “life-giving.”

In addition, the speaker emphasized the need to focus and target the six life quotients, not only in transforming students but more so in restoring and healing them. These life quotients are the IQ (intelligent quotient); EQ (emotional quotient); SQ (spiritual quotient); AQ (adversity quotient); WQ (wealth quotient); and PQ (physical quotient).

Cabrillas exhorted that “teachers [should] be agents” of a child’s development.

“A great teacher inspires and the key is to keep extending yourself,” he said. (Natalie Hazel Quimlat/CBCPNews)

Grateful PH religious celebrate ‘Year of Consecrated Life’

QUEZON City, Jan. 29, 2015—Stressing there is much they have to thank God for, members of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) have placed gratitude at the heart of their observance of the “Year of Consecrated Life” themed “Prophetic Witnesses of the Gospel of Joy among the Poor.”

The Catholic Church celebrates 2015 as the "Year of Consecrated Life." (Photo: CBCPNews)

“We remember the past with gratitude. With joy that comes from Christ (cf. Jn 15:11) and is fruit of the Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22), we thank God for the gift of Religious life which He has filled with a rich diversity of charisms for the life and mission of the Church in and for the world,” shares AMRSP in a collective statement signed by co-chairs Sr. Eden Panganiban, SSpS and Fr. Leo Dalmao, CMF; and co-executive secretaries Sr. Michaela Gaudelia Gotangco, FdCC and Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM.

“We remember with joyful gratitude the day of our consecration, when we entered into a special covenant of love with God, turning us into prophets, missionaries, and servants so that all “may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10). We also remember with gratitude the generous and courageous consecrated women and men who, in crucial moments of the history of the Filipino people, stood up for the Gospel as what had happened in those turbulent years of dictatorship, which was put to an end through a peaceful exercise of People Power,” it adds.

Live present with passion

According to AMRSP, the religious are called to “live the present with passion” in keeping with the Holy Father’s reminder that “Religious life is prophecy” (Conversation with the USG, 29 Nov 2013, Rome).

“More precisely, it is prophecy from the margins. We are called to go to the places where the great majority of our sisters and brothers have been driven away from the centers of power, wealth, and opportunities and from there – with the marginalized – proclaim the Gospel and act on its demands. Passion for the Reign of God means, first and foremost, focusing single-heartedly on the ‘weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith” (Mt 23:23),” the group explains.

“In other words, we are urged to join the victims of typhoons, earthquakes, and floods, of injustices and corruptions, of neglect of one’s social and personal responsibilities to be the prophetic voice of the Spirit, who, deep in the hearts of the marginalized and abandoned, is crying for mercy, justice, and compassion. Let our words and actions be signs of assurance that a better life is possible for those who have been pushed to the social, economic, and political peripheries,” it stresses.

AMRSP also underscores the need for consecrated people to “embrace the future with hope,” viewing religious life as an “eschatological sign,” a constant and living reminder of the mystery of the Church as a Pilgrim People, journeying towards the “new heaven and new earth” (Is 66:27).”

Vital role

Keeping in mind their important role in the Church in the Philippine’s own journey to the ultimate future,” women and men religious declare, “Our consecration is a sign of total faith: the Reign of God is worth abandoning everything and dedicating one’s whole self and entire life for its sake. Our fraternal life in community is a sign of inclusive love: the grand design of God includes the communion of all peoples in their diversities.”

According to the group, missionary life is a sign of “radical hope” as they proclaim God’s Word and work towards the complete transformation of society.

They note, “This is all because we hope in the God of the Covenant, who promises fullness of life and love for all peoples.” (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)