The Teresian Association has participated in the 23rd Biennial National Convention of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines (Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas) held on October 27- 29, 2023 in the Diocese of Palo, Eastern Visayas.
The Convention, with the theme United in Mission as a Synodal Church, was attended by 299 participants representing the 28 Lay Organizations and Movements and the 37 Arch/Diocesan Councils of the Laity of the Philippines. Among the participants were five members of the Teresian Association: Lucia Subaldo, Rolinda Jover, Maricar Cabanig, Isidro Porras, and Mayette Bugaoan.
It was the first time the participants from all over the Philippines came together face to face after the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a gathering held simultaneously with the Synod on Synodality at the Vatican. The Pontifical Church sent messages that were read at the Opening Ceremony. Various speakers were invited from both the clergy and the laity to deepen on the theme and to challenge the participants to reflect and be moved to action.
Culture of dialogue
The Keynote Address was delivered by Most Rev. Broderick Pabillio, D.D. the Former Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). He reminded everyone that, “the gift for one is the gift for all.” He continued, “may we be one as we listen to the ones we reach out to so that we may give what they really need.” He concluded by rallying everyone to promote a culture of dialogue for this is what a synodal Church ought to do.
A back-to-back talk entitled, “Co-responsibility as Servant Leaders in the Life and Mission of the Church” by Rev. Fr. Jason Laguerta, Director- Office for the Promotion of New Evangelization Archdiocese of Manila, and Dr. Erickson S. Javier, Chairman- Commission on Integral Evangelization in Manila Ecclesiastical Province Educational Association Systems. And lastly, an input on the “Formation of the Lay Faithful” was given by Bro. Roquel A. Ponte, past President- Sangguniang Laiko.
The Teresian Association was in-charge of facilitating the Spiritual Conversations where participants shared resonances, insights, and inspirations by the Holy Spirit in their small groups. Notes that were gathered from these conversations were collated and presented as resolutions which are as follows:
As lay members of the Church, we are aware of the urgency to provide an integral, integrated formation for different age levels, cultures, languages, social classes, gender, etc. We are called to provide structures and spaces for this endeavor emphasizing the spiritual, doctrinal, and social dimensions, we resolve to:
→Deepen our relationship with God through prayer, contemplation, and silence that disposes a discerning and listening heart in all our activities and gatherings.
→Provide a common integral formation program on the role of the laity in the Church through the Apostolic Exhortation, Christifideles Laici that is made available to all Lay Organizations and Movements (LOMAS) and Arch/Diocesan Councils of the Laity.
We recognize that we all called to serve through the gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit. Each one has equal opportunity to serve for the mission. As lay, we need to find ways on how we can complement and not compete with each other. We can only do this if we know who we are and where we are coming from, we resolve to:
→Foster an environment of open dialogue and collaboration between lay and clergy for the fulfillment of the mission of the Church through listening, respecting each other and walking together.
→Promote affective collegiality among members of the Church to bring about a sense of owning in its activities and life.
→Journey together as a synodal Church with its structures of better listening that all voices are heard and valued.
A great challenge of a synodal Church today is a desire to be converted from our own pre-judgements and see things in the eyes of God; to be firm in our faith, to do what we believe and be able to respect others. We are convinced that dialogue is a way of building bridges to break boundaries that divide and foster unity in the midst of differences, we resolve to:
→Reach out and welcome everyone in the community, journeying with them in the different teachings and sharing our faith life experience.
→Provide opportunities of participation for the young people, those who are considered in the peripheries, and those with special needs to engage in the mission of the Church.
→Collaborate with people of other faith, Christian groups and denominations, and indigenous people in addressing our common concerns like working for peace, care for our common home, pursuit for good governance, and alleviation of poverty.
All these, we entrust into the hands of God with Mary as our icon of synodality to accompany us, as we commit ourselves, dedicate our time, and economic resources for the fulfillment of these resolutions in the next two years.
The Convention also held the election of a new set of Officers of the Board whose two-year term begins on 1 January 2024 until the next convention in 2026. Mayette Bugaoan of the Teresian Association was elected Secretary.
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