3rd Secular Institutes Philippines National Assembly
Held in historic Cebu’s Talisay City Don Bosco Retreat House from 29 November to 3 December 2017, the 3rd Secular Institutes-Philippines (SIP) National Assembly brought in 33 participants from 9 institutes.
These are the Associate of Notre Dame (AND), Secular Institutes of the Daughters St. Anne (SIDSA), Fils de Notre Dame de Vie (FNDV), Madonna della Strada (MDS), Missionaries of the Kingship of Christ (SIM), Regnum Mariae (RM), Servitium Christi (SC), Notre Dame de Vie (NDV) and Volunteers of Don Bosco (VDB). Added to these were two participants-speakers Archbishop Emeritus of Davao Fernando R. Capalla (NDV) and Fr. Joel Sulse (OFM-SIM).
Nov. 29 Thursday saw arrivals of participants, their room assignments, Holy Mass integrated with evening prayer, and welcome dinner. Formal assembly opening took place on Friday December 1 with Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo presiding the Eucharistic Celebration together with Archbishop Capalla and Fr. Sulse as concelebrants. A colorful introductory ritual preceded the Holy Mass and a group photo with Bishop Villarojo followed later.
The so-called nitty gritty of the assembly were the SIP Resolutions. SIP Council of Leaders’ head Mary Almonte refreshed everyone’s memory with a clear power point presentation of previous assembly resolutions of 2013 and 2015. From these she presented by way of suggestion the following concerns that must be addressed by the present general assembly. As a help to future assembly decisions Atty. Angie Dy of SIM shared some highlights of her
meetings with CBCP Commission on Mutual Relations (ECMR)and Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP).
Three speakers shared their reflections on the life of consecrated persons. Archbishop Capalla shared his experience on interfaith dialogue as co-founder, co-convenor and board chairman of the Bishops-Ulama Conference as well as the lessons he learned and risks he had to undergo.
Fr. Godofredo Atienza, SDB provincial superior, through a power point presentation very clearly showed how consecrated persons can live their consecration by following the Blessed Virgin Mary in they way they internalize the Marian expressions.
In his talk on Secular Institutes: Redeeming its Spirituality and Formative Challenges Fr. Joel Sulse, OFM, presented six issues to help SIP appreciate their life of consecration: * the contribution of women for the growth and renewal of the Church; * the growing tension between piety and spirituality; deeper understanding of commitment; * inter-religious dialogue; * partnership with the laity; * technology and media.
After voting on suggestions consolidated by Council Leaders, the participants and the Council agreed – * to include all the approved suggestions in the SIP statement to be drafted; * to have a launching of the YCCP during 6:30pm December 3 Eucharistic celebration; * to read the Statement before the end of the Mass; * to celebrate and express one’s commitment to the Statement.
After the report by Connie Gonzales on the previous Asian Conference of Asian Secular Institutes she attended and her announcement of this year’s Conference in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in September, the election of the Council of Leaders for 2018-19 was held. The former members were re-elected except for Esmie Roxas (MDS) as new media coordinator.
The day was capped with an evening where the participants regaled themselves with colorful and beautiful songs and dances. And they ended the Third National Meeting with a tour of Cebu’s historic places.
Lou Q. Solijon
SI-P Council of Leaders