Posted by Br Raymond Khan
on 29 July 2019
Twenty-eight Brothers along with facilitators and assistants gathered at The Krisalis Benilde Retreat and Conference Complex, Taygaytay City, on the edge of the Taal volcano, 70Km from Manila for the PARC 50+ Life Transitions Programme. The Brothers came from all over the Pacific Asia Region Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Pakistan, India, the Philippines and Australia. The participants from ANZPPNZ included, Br Denis Loft, Br Peter Smyth, Br Raymond Khan, Br Zafar Daud and Br Bernard Cooper.
The first week of the programme was devoted to Human Development and the Consecrated Life. Sr Dorothy Heiderscheit OSF and Dr Michael Sy from Southdown Institute, Toronto, Canada provided the input and included topics such as: aging gracefully, fostering resilience and creativity, dealing and struggling with mid-life and retirement, cultivating curiosity and paying attention to the gifts of mid-life and aging, the journey of integration in the second half of life, and healthy sexuality and well being.
One of the "gifts" of the first week was the presence of Dr Lita Carmelita AFSC from the Philippines. Dr Lita has been "sharing the mission" with the Brothers for almost fifty years.
Br Felix Joseph (India) and Br Chuy Rubio (Mexico) from the Formation Secretariat in Rome provided the input in the second week, applying the learnings of the first week to the current Lasallian context. Br Chuy's perceptive presentation focused on Br Michel Sauvage's Itinerary of "Fragile Hope". The last two days were "retreat focused" as the Brothers were asked to reflect on Lasallian Formation for Mission, and the Pilgrim's Handbook.
The other highlights of the programme included, the Filipino hospitality (and food!), attendance at the wake of Br Benildo Feliciano FSC, at Green Hills (and the 3.5 hour road trip to cover 75kms!), and the visit to De La Salle University, and De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute at Dasmarinas.
At the very moving commissioning service, each Brother was given a certificate, which included a photo of Parmenie, France and a paraphrased letter of the Founder.
The letter read:
"We the principal Brothers of the Christian Schools of Pacific-Asia Region, having in view the greater glory of God, the greater good of the Church and of our Institute, believe that it is of the utmost importance that you keep being a witness of the charism that is proper of the holy work of God which is also yours, since it pleased the Lord to make use of you to continue it for such a long time.
We are all convinced that God has given you and continues to give you the grace and qualities necessary to be a sign of faithfulness in the Lasallian Family, which is a great gift to the Church, and that it is just that we should state that you have always done this with much success and edification.
That is why, Brother, we beg you very humbly, and we order you in the name of and on behalf of the Body of the Society to which you have promised obedience, to return to your community as a faith-walker, joy-sharer, hope-giver and peace-maker. In virtue of which we have signed.
Done at Taygaytay City, 19 July 2019, and, with the deepest respect, we are your dear Brothers."
Live Jesus in our Hearts, Forever!