Faithful to their commitment to become indispensable partners of the Churches in Asia in promoting dignified, meaningful and life-giving celebration of the Liturgy, the apostolic sector heads of the Disciples of the Divine Master (PDDM) Philippine-Taiwan-Hongkong Province held their annual meeting and formative session last June 12 to 14, 2017 at the PDDM Apostolic Center in Ermita, Manila.

The gathering was launched with an exhibit where different novelties like liturgical vestments and vessels were featured.

In her welcome address and introduction on this year’s theme New Wine in New Wineskins, the Provincial Superior, Sr. M. Gemma Victorino expressed her profound gratitude to all the sisters for their prayers and support especially during the recently held PDDM 9th General Chapter in Rome, Italy. She opened the meeting by refreshing the sisters’ mindset with the chapter’s objective—“that new life may flow, fruit of the Paschal Mystery so that our presence may be qualified and the joy of the Gospel may renew the world.” Also, she challenged the sisters to be mindful of the abovementioned commitment of the PDDM Liturgical Ministries, Incorporated (PLMI) as the goal of their encounter.

The meeting was also an opportune time for the three Filipina capitulars, Sr. M. Bernadette Martinez, Sr. M. Virginia Velez and Sr. M. Gemma Victorino, to share about their experiences, and present the Final Document of the General Chapter entitled Life which flows. Sr. M. Gemma who was tasked to share the content of the chapter highlighted the emerging challenges that each sister ought to embrace especially in the aspect of the PDDM mission. For instance, the Eucharist must be regarded, more than celebration and adoration, as the “giving of self”; the Liturgy, more than art and beauty, as life; and priesthood as both baptismal and ministerial. Also, she pointed out that mission always flows from the Paschal Mystery. She said, “we renew our wineskins by necessarily going through suffering and death which eventually leads us to the resurrection.”

Other highlights of the said encounter were the thesis presentation of Sr. M. Christine Aroa on The Perception of the PDDM Sisters and the PLMCs on the Centralization of Production and Distribution of Liturgical Vestments; the talk of Fr. Guido Everaert, CICM which was an in-depth rereading of the PDDM Rule of Life especially in the aspect of mission; and the thorough discussion with Sr. M. Anthony Basa and the Gatesoft staff on the update and evaluation of the flow of digitalization process of the Philippine-Taiwan-Hongkong (PTH) Province apostolate.

As in previous years, new proposals were presented and approved, as well as reports and evaluations on the reality of the liturgical ministries were facilitated by sisters in charge of the different apostolic sectors. Of course, presentation of recommendations and resolutions to better fulfill the PLMI’s commitment was also done.

Lastly, Sr. M. Gemma Victorino closed the three-day session first, by presenting a video which reflected the importance of creating a beautiful symphony out of diversity both in communal and apostolic life of the sisters. Then, she reiterated and explained in the context of the PTH Province the discourse of the Holy Father Pope Francis to the participants of the PDDM 9th General Chapter last May 22, 2017, which had emphasis on communion, listening, discernment and prophecy. The Pope especially encouraged the Disciples of the Divine Master to be prophets of hope.  Together with these challenging thoughts of Pope Francis, Sr. M. Gemma concluded the session with an affirmation that indeed this kind of hope is based upon Him for whom nothing is impossible (cfr Lk. 1:37). Thus, as she thanked the sisters for the success of this year’s Sector Heads Meeting, she encouraged each one not to lose this kind of hope in straining forward to fulfill what God has set for the congregation according to His opportune time.