Provincial Superior's Circular no. 12
December 12, 2016
Grace and peace to you all on this liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Guadalupe, she who was first to welcome the coming of our God! We follow her example in this blessed time of fruitful waiting, creating in our hearts that “sacred space” where Jesus our Master could dwell, in all humility and glory.
At the conclusion of our year-end meeting, we, in the Provincial Government team, would like to present to you the calendar of activities for the Year 2017 (please see attachment 1). This is to help us organize our communities and other activities at the local and provincial level, even as the Congregation looks forward to the Celebration of the 9th General Chapter on April 28-May 30, 2017.
Our Annual Retreat for next year carries the theme of Missionary Discipleship, with the objective of “rekindling the missionary spirit in us, with attention to the signs of the times and the recipients of the mission.” For the details of the formative session and retreat next year, as well as for the topics for the monthly recollection, we will wait for the communication from our Spirituality Team.
As we all know, the Provincial government team is already in its last year in the ministry of governance since our term ends in early October next year. Hence, we also find it opportune to respond to some of the issues presented by the communities during the 3rd Provincial Chapter. Two of these were submitted for consultation to all the members in survey form last month. We thank you for your collaboration and we communicate to you now the result and recommendations flowing from this common process of discernment (please see attachment 2). I trust that the things needing clarification and orientation are sufficiently answered in this communication.
In this Advent Season, the local Church of the Philippines opened the 5th Year of the 9-Year Plan of Preparation for the 500th Year Anniversary of Evangelization of the Philippines in 2021. This year 2017 is dedicated to “The Parish as Communion of Communities,” with its objective of “forming BECs as agents of communion, participation and mission.” For more information about this year-long celebration, please visit http://cbcpbec.com/?p=3227. It is our hope that we can truly participate in this initiative of the local Church, knowing full well the mutual benefit that can be derived from this participation, both in terms of the renewal of our faith life and the sharing of the gifts of our charism and mission.
In this circular letter and the ones following, I intend to resound some of the insights gathered at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress as a way of addressing the needed renewal of our community life and relationships - one issue that also came up during the 3rd Provincial Chapter. I would like to begin here by re-echoing the insight of Cardinal Tagle on the Eucharist as an experience of another culture, the culture of convocation, taken from the word “convocare” – called to be with others. Cardinal Tagle enlightens us how in the Eucharist, we “are called to be with others in a meal that the Lord hosts.” He says, “When the Lord hosts a meal, be prepared to be with surprising others. In a meal hosted by the Lord, persons recognize a close neighbor, a fellow sinner, a sister, a brother, with a place at the family table. In each one, I see myself, as I see a brother or sister. I also discover myself: sinful but loved; undeserving but invited; shamed but embraced; lost but trusted. This is how Jesus hosted and participated in meals, by calling together the most unimaginable combination of people to a community to become his family, his Body because he has convoked them.” Applying this to our Eucharistic vocation and community life, this can be a way of renewing our awareness that we are called – not alone – but to be with others, with our sisters and lay collaborators, to witness to the beauty of the PDDM consecrated life and the nobility of our mission. May Jesus Eucharist – our God-with-us – grant us renewed joy of “being-with-others,” born of a loving acceptance of every person, especially of those who share our common calling and mission.
I greet you all a joyful and meaningful celebration of the Christmas mystery, in the name of the Provincial government team!
Sr. M. Gemma Victorino pddm