That day, 2nd February 2020, was the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It was a fitting ceremony for the Launching Mass of our Batch 13 Participants (School Year 2020).
As the Lord was being presented at the temple, we are also lifting up to God our 12 participants coming from 7 countries (Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam) as they embark on a year-long journey to be formed as Missionary-Disciples.
As in tradition, the ceremony started with the Candlemas where each one is given a candle. Before the procession going to the RVA Chapel, the candles were lit as a sign of the entry of Christ as the light of the world.
We are very thankful to have Rev. Fr. Conegundo Garganta (Executive Secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth) as our mass presider.
Together with him who con-celebrated the mass are some of the priests who have sent their youth to our formation.
Like Simeon and Anna, venerable people dedicated to prayer, it is to give gratitude to all these pastors who have opened their selves to the breath of the Holy Spirit.
Through their vocation and sacrifice, these 12 young lay leaders are given the opportunity to be equipped to become servant leaders for the church and the whole world.
During the mass, the participants also signified their covenant with God through the rite of commitment as they enter this year of formation.
Unity in Diversity
After the mass, everyone proceeded to IFFAsia’s Session Hall for a fellowship. Everyone was at awe by the very colorful and lively decorations prepared by our participants.
It was a beautiful sight of different people with different nationalities coming together. All brought together by their support for our 12 participants.
We are also blessed by the presence of Bp. Roberto Gaa (Bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches, our home diocese). He led the prayer to open the fellowship and to bless the food.
While the guests are having lunch, the Batch 13 participants were introduced using a video showing each student’s background and vision for their lives.
(watch video below)
After the delicious meal, the program was officially started by our dynamic, energizing and amazing MC’s – who are also our participants – Air (Laos) and Paula (Myanmar).
It was followed by the welcoming remarks of the Director of our Institute, Florence Alexius.
The participants continue to surprise the guests with their dance showing their joy in the beginning of their formation saying “When Jesus say YES, Nobody can say no!”
(see their performance below)
It was indeed a celebration filled with beauty, joy and friendship as the batch 13’s formation year will also be. Yet, we all know that the formation will not be a bed of roses. There will be obstacles and crosses to carry. Each participant will be challenged to be transformed.
The feast of the presentation of the Lord is also a sign of contradiction. It is also called the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. With the Joy of Jesus’ coming to our world as the ‘light,’ Mary is also reminded that a sword will pierce her heart.
The journey will not be easy. That is why we need your prayers and support as our participants undergo this process.
As with our participants, this formation will purify their hearts in preparation to becoming ‘lights’ to their own communities and countries.