CAVITE, Oct. 22, 2016 – Sometimes, it’s not just what we say but how we say it. Bearing this in mind, a bishop reminded seminarians and religious sisters to bring the Good News with joy.
“Our vocation is to love, and we have to joyfully bring Christ to others, especially to the poor,” said Imus Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista, D.D. to about 200 postulants coming from different religious congregations gathered at the SVD Holy Spirit Chapel in Tagaytay, Friday, Oct. 21 for the 4th day of SINAI’s culminating activity.
“If you go to the apostolate with a long face and a heavy heart, do not go … better go back,” said the prelate during the Mass.
His name is ‘mercy’
Throughout his homily, the 56-year old Bishop of Imus expounded on the theme of the postulants’ SINAI culminating activity: “Conformed to the Face of Mercy in Joyful Sharing of Love with all Humanity.”
He began his homily by affirming what Pope Francis emphasized in his book The Name of God is Mercy. “The face of God is Christ, and God’s name is mercy,” said Evangelista.
In line with this theme, Evangelista called on the participants to “(b)e configured, conformed to Christ.”
Reminded of an analogy given by Manila Archbishop-Emeritus Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Evangelista showed the idea of being conformed to Christ by joining his two hands. One palm represents one’s life, he said, and the other palm symbolizes Christ. According to him, to be conformed and configured to Christ is like the two palms facing each other, as if in a prayer posture.
Citing John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis and the Vatican II document on the Church, Lumen Gentium, Evangelista reminded the formands about their vocation to “the fullness of Christ’s love.”
Not at the human level
“Your vocation is God’s initiative, first of all, not on the human level”, he explained.
Before the last day, the postulants also celebrated daily Masses, opened their Sportsfest and Palarong Pinoy activities, and had a short recollection to integrate all their learnings from the past modular classes. The modular classes took about 6 months, most of which were about vocation discernment, human and values development, and self-discovery.
On these days, daily morning Masses were also held, beginning on Oct. 18. They were presided over by Fr. Jerome Marquez, SVD, Vice Provincial of the SVD Central Province; Fr. Eduardo Apungan, CMF, Provincial Superior of the Claretian Philippine Province; and Fr. Jose Maria Ezpeleta, RCJ, Vicar General of the Rogationists.
About 20 religious congregations participated in this year’s formation dubbed SINAI, which stands for “Sharing Interculturality, Nurturing and Aspiring Integration”. (Br. John Francis Aberion, RCJ / St. Hannibal Rogate Center / CBCPNews)