An Experience of Accompaniment and Collaboration

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For three years in a row, I have had the privilege of facilitating a module on the Discernment of Spirits for the seminarians of the St. Joseph Regional Seminary in Iloilo who are in their Propaedeutic-Discernment Year or as they more popularly call it, their PDY.  How I got involved in this is another story, but suffice it to say that I am eternally grateful to Sr. Fe Linterna for it.

 Being with these seminarians (from places such as Jaro, Kabankalan, San Carlos, Kalibo, Romblon, Palawan and even one from far Zamboanga in the first batch), teaching them the rules in the Discernment of Spirits, listening to their stories, enjoying their jokes and humor has been a God-given opportunity to truly see, feel and love the Church more.  I marvel at the courage of these young men who have taken the time to “come and see” to where God calls them.  In the Discernment Retreat that I facilitate for them a few months after the module, I have often felt awe and wonder at the way God works in souls, and no amount of experience can ever make one used to the many and multi-faceted surprises of God and how He reveals Himself.  This experience would not have been possible without two very open-minded and dedicated priests – Fr. Aris James Java, the PDY Director and Fr. Gregorio Porras, their Spiritual Director and I have immensely enjoyed collaborating with them.

There is a need for shepherds – good ones – and this is more and more felt in recent times.  There are priests who give up what they would have probably preferred in terms of ministry to give themselves to the tasks of forming future priests --- the silent workers whose labors can never be measured, and for this our thanks is not enough.  We often reap the fruits of others’ hard labor.

The support of Sr. Thelma and the continuing interest of the sisters in Mater Dei have greatly buoyed my spirits in this ministry.  I bring with me the Congregation whenever I am with the seminarians, and feel that Mother Foundress is teaching me how to come to love the Church more through my work with them.  And so I ask you to please say a prayer for 27 young men who will be making their Discernment Retreat this February, and that they may entrust their lives to a God of infinite compassion and mercy.   

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