Superiors’ Seminar focuses on leadership and youth ministry

Eighteen superiors and seven members of the Provincial Government of the Philippines-Malaysia-Papua New Guinea-Thailand Province (PMPT) participated in the seminar Nov. 5-9, 2019 at the seminar hall of the Paulines Communication Center, Pasay City.

“Arise, Lead and Serve” was the theme of this year’s gathering. 

On the first day of the seminar, Fr. Filadelfo Estrella, a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), gave a talk on leadership in the religious life. He stressed on the maturity that is needed to lead and serve as leaders, that is, the ability to accept one’s own and others’ imperfections and its eucharistic aspect: the capacity to die so that others may live.  He also said that governance is the responsibility of all the members, not just the leaders.

The highlight of the seminar came on the second day with the review of the Manual for Superiors: Norms for the Exercise of Government (FSP Generalate, 1992).  A few of the participants said they had never seen the book.  The 143-page manual is divided into two parts: Part 1 considers the structures of the institute’s government on the levels of local, provincial, delegational and general communities.  Part 2 pinpoints some of the rights-duties of the members of the institute.  The participants tackled the articles on the local community and religious house (Art 8-50). In the afternoon they listened to the echoing on two international encounters (on formation and on the apostolate-economy) by the attendees.

On the third day, the participants had a deeper grasp of the youth ministry, which has yet to be established in the institute as mandated by their recent 11th Provincial Chapter (27 Dec. 2018-10 Jan. 2019).  Fr. Mario Baclig, SDB presented the Basic Catholic Youth Ministry that focuses on the youth of today, the youth ministers, the youth ministry and the contexts in which they live – social, political, economic and cultural – and their effects on the youth and the challenges they pose to the youth ministry.  In the ecclesial context, the young are a special treasure in the church and in society. When they are formed, organized and mobilized, they become a dynamic force ablaze with youthful energies.

In the afternoon, Lee-an Rosal, a youth minister, came to share with the sisters. In her sharing Rosal stressed that the way of beauty (via pulchritudinis) is the pathway of engaging Generation Z (born between 1999-2015) in a dialogue, leading them through the beauty of creation, beauty of the arts, to the beauty of Christ.  Evangelization, she noted, is similar to marketing. The youth (Gen Z, digital natives who have only an eight-second attention span), are targeted by digital marketers, and YouTube influencers. Another way to engage the young is the way of storytelling, she said.

The participants took a day off for recreation in Laguna on the fourth day.

The last day of the seminar tackled the different concerns of the houses: apostolic, finances, formation, lay mission partners and updates on various matters. During the open forum, questions were raised, entertained and clarified.  – Sr. Anna Yap, FSP