E-CLASS

Written by Fr. Joseph Ly Van Thuong, OP

000

We are living in the spirit of Laudato Si', a very topical Encyclical Letter of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on "Care For Our Common Home".

Fortunately, all students of Spirituality and the Environment: JPIC of ICLA, AY 2016 had a nice opportunity for a two-day visit to the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary, a green museum in Baguio City of the Philippines, on October 14 - 15, 2016.

I would like to share some aspects of my own personal experience about the interesting journey of our class.

First, Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary is situated in a 2.8-hectare land in the heart of Baguio City. It is not a wide place compared to many other places, but it is a very peaceful location covered by green pine trees, bamboos and other trees and decorated by many different kinds of multi-color flowers. Here, we breathe in and out the very fresh air, and we seem to hear the whispers of our mother earth through the rustling and fluttering of pine leaves. Here, too, we raise our voices with the birds' singing and insects' chirping of "Praises to the Lord."

Second, Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary, as a green museum, encourages us to become more conscious of the earth's limited resources and be aware of how our actions affect their power to sustain life. “The earth's resources are being plundered… The loss of forests and woodlands entails the loss of species which may constitute extremely important resources in the future…” (Cf. LS, no. 32).

Third, Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary not only enlightens us to love nature and to live with the simple and natural things that are very familiar to us in our daily life. A small landed house with its thatched roof and without the material conveniences of the modern world remind us about the spirit of Christian poverty, as the example of "the poverty and austerity of Saint Francis [to be] no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled" (LS, no. 11).

Fourth, as its mission, Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary not only promotes a holistic understanding of the Earth through scientific data, but also preserves the values of ancient customs and traditions of the indigenous cultures and the rich spiritualties of all great religions of the world through the language of symbols. In this sense, it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and cultural traditions and true religions of the peoples all over the world (Cf. LS, no. 146).

Finally, visiting Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary help us to love all things that God created with the spirit of deep thanksgiving, to live a peaceful mind and to be satisfied with simple things in life in order to deeply sympathize with the poor and share the suffering of our mother Earth. In other words, to live the ecological spirituality we are invited to sacrifice a part of our life to God, to the happiness of others, to the fraternity, to justice, to peace, to human dignity, to the universal cosmos and to all God’s creatures. In short, to be close to nature is to be closer to God.

001

                                                                                                                                                       

 

 

A retreat is a special time in our community life in ICLA to consciously focus on our Lord Jesus and let him be the center of our lives and our vocation. In our annual retreat on this Jubilee Year of God’s Mercy, may we encounter the Lord in a surprising way, that we may see everything more clearly, love God more dearly and follow him more nearly, especially at this stage of our spiritual journey.

The resident students’ annual retreat is one of the highpoints of ICLA’s academic year. It is usually held on campus for five days and the retreat master chooses the theme and designs the dynamics taking into consideration the students’ needs and the recommendations of the CARES staff. In the past 4 years, the organizers invited retreat facilitators from India (2012) the Philippines (2013), Belgium (2014), and Japan (2015). This year, the Institute has opted for an 8-day (October 29 - November 5, 2016) silent, directed retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. The Retreat Master is Fr. Paulini Zhai, a Jesuit priest from China but residing in the Philippines. During the preparatory meeting with the CAREs staff, he emphasized that this particular style of retreat is not so much about listening to “great input” or “power – talks.” Rather, it is primarily about making a wide space for God who is already here and who wants be found, encountered in all things. Generosity in prayer, openness to the Spirit and to the spiritual director/ companion can help in making the retreat fruitful and effective.

The Holy Spirit is the real director of the retreat, but the role of Spiritual Directors or Spiritual Companions is so vital in the process. The students will meet individually with a spiritual director for about 30-45 minutes every other day (or four times during the 8 days), to share their experience of prayer or about whatever is going on between them and God throughout the day. For majority of the ICLA students, going for Spiritual Direction is something new, but those who already have been seeing their Spiritual Companion on a regular basis attest that it has been helping them grow in knowing the Lord more closely, having self-awareness and in integrating prayer and life. Serving as Spiritual Directors / Spiritual Companions during this retreat are competent spiritual guides. They are men and women who have personally undergone Ignatian retreats and received training in the dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises.

ICLA Director Fr. Sammy Canilang, CMF hopes that this very first experience of a silent, directed retreat will help the ICLA students to truly experience God in a more personal way and deepen their relationship with Christ. He also envisions that the different forms of prayer that they will use during the retreat such as Lectio Divina, imaginative contemplation and praying over one’s life-experiences will enable them to be grounded in God amidst their daily activities.

Prepared by Ms. Menchie Rojas

 

 

 

 

Orientation of ICLA’s First Year Students: 4-6 August 2016

The CARES Team facilitated a three-day orientation for the First Year students last August 4-7. The main objectives of the event were (1) to provide the students an initial experience of the reality of ICLA as their ‘home away from home” for the next three years, (2) to enable them to understand and connect with ICLA’s Vision-Mission as an intercultural community, and (3) to impart a spiritual perspective for the academic-formative processes that they will have to go through as resident students of the Institute.

001

On the first day, the new students were given opportunities to get to know one another and received some basic training in community building and communication. The facilitators were Ms. Menchie Rojas and Ms. Lettie Taberdo.

002

003

004

005

On the second day of the Orientation Program, Fr. Edgar Javier, SVD, Head of the Missiology Department of ICLA, introduced the students to the concepts of Culture and how these can be applied to the community life in ICLA.

007

008

009

On August 7, Sunday, the First Year students had a city tour to visit some key places in Metro Manila.

 

 

header

On September 1, 2016, the ICLA Community held the welcoming rites, celebration of the Eucharist and prayer vigil in memory of a faithful and trustworthy member, Mr. Leo Salomon, who passed away on August 28, 2016 due to gastrointestinal bleeding that led to cardiac arrest.

001

003

In his homily during the Mass as part of welcoming the remains of Leo, Fr. Samuel Canilang, CMF – current ICLA Director – mentioned that the first person whose body was brought to ICLA was that of Fr. Domingo Moraleda, CMF – first Director of ICLA – and the second was that of Mr. Leo Salomon, who worked in ICLA for 18 years as Liaison Officer and Support Personnel. Fr. Sammy also narrated that he got three calls from Mrs. Eisen Villanueva, Operations Manager of ICLA, when Fr. Moraleda died and three calls when Leo passed away.

004

To Fr. Sammy, Leo was not only an employee of ICLA but an integral part of the Institute – as integral as Fr. Moraleda was and as Fr. Sammy and Eisen are to ICLA. The four of them were at the infancy stage of the Institute. Fr. Moraleda was the Director, Fr. Sammy was the Secretary, Eisen was the Operations Manager, and Leo was the sole Support Staff.

006

Leo’s dedication and commitment as well as his sense of responsibility, trustworthiness and reliability are some of the good qualities worthy of emulation.  Fr. Sammy also narrated his observation that at 5:30 every Monday and Tuesday morning, one of the cars got started to fetch Sr. Amelia Vasquez, RSCJ – professor and Head of the Spirituality Department. It was always Leo who did it faithfully. He was a silent worker who never complained and about whom nobody ever complained.

007

Fr. Sammy ended his homily with these words: “I personally felt the impact of Leo’s passing away. But I am consoled by the fact that in heaven there are two persons praying for us – Fr. Moraleda and Leo.”

008

After the Eucharistic celebration, some members of the staff paid tribute to Leo’s outstanding qualities as a person and as an employee and thanked him for his valuable service to ICLA.

009

The ICLA students took turns as groups to stay in vigil until the body of Leo was fetched at midnight on that same day. Some groups had songs, Scripture readings and prayers while others prayed the rosary for the eternal repose of Leo, for strength and courage to carry on for his wife Rachel and his sons Rando and LJ (Leo Jose), for his relatives and friends, as well as for ICLA, for peace in the Philippines and in the world.

009

Dr. Tessa Rosana, Secretary and the Biblical Ministry Department Head, wrote this short testimonial about Leo.

To the Staff, he was their Kuya Leo – one with whom they could share their problems or concerns; one with whom they could celebrate their respective birthdays and other occasions.

To the Professors, he was the faithful driver who fetched them and brought them back after their classes. He was very well-mannered and gracious.

To the Administration (Academic Office, Treasurer’s and Physical Plant), he was the Liaison Officer who was most reliable, trustworthy and readily available.

To the CMF Community, he was one of the pillars (together with Fr. Domingo Moraleda, Fr. Sammy Canilang, and Mrs. Eisen Villanueva) in the foundational year (1997) of ICLA.

Indeed, Leo will be missed – but actually he is in a much better place now – in the absolute embrace of the Loving God.

010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

000

The new academic year in ICLA officially opened on August 8, 2016 with the Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. James Kannanthanam CMF, Resident Spiritual Director/Counselor of the Institute. This was attended by the faculty, the students, the administrative staff, the support staff, and some guests. 

002

003

The Academic and C.A.R.E.S. Orientation began with the Welcome Address of Fr. Kristian Paskalis Cangkong CMF, Head of the ICLA Library as well as the St. Anthony Mary Claret College (SAMCC) Library. 

004

Ms. Amalia Teresita Rosana, Ph.D, Secretary, Registrar and Head of the Biblical Ministry Department, presented a brief history of the Institute, its Vision and Mission, the degrees offered, and the features of the curriculum with some sample courses. She also explained the Ethical Norms observed in ICLA.

005

007

Ms. Carmencita Rojas, C.A.R.E.S. Coordinator, introduced the supportive role of the Center for Accompaniment, Renewal and Empowerment of Students in the academic-formative program of ICLA. She also introduced the formation program to be implemented and the C.A.R.E.S. Team.

007

Sr. Elvisa Camilion, FCJ explained the payment procedures for various fees to be paid by students like tuition fees, student’s documents requested, library locker, photocopying, and conversion/renewal of student visas.

009

10

2123

324

err3

eeer

332

1112

553

w422

3rew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. Carmencita Rojas, C.A.R.E.S. Coordinator, introduced the supportive role of the Center for Accompaniment, Renewal and Empowerment of Students in the academic-formative program of ICLA. She also introduced the formation program to be implemented and the C.A.R.E.S. Team.

Copyright © 2016 Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia. All Rights Reserved.