By Jon Rey Ismael Batayola
New Challenges, New Opportunities
May 07, 2014- this marks the start of the new formation program of the Redemptorist Province of Cebu, the Post-Graduate Aspirancy Program (PGAP). The program aims at helping graduates of the Saint Alphonsus Collegiate Formation House (SACFH) grow more in their human person and nurture their Redemptorist vocation through work experience and immersing themselves in a new and different community for a year.
The pioneering formands, Thomas James Basaca (Mandaue City, Cebu) and Jon Rey Ismael Batayola (Palo, Leyte), arrived full of aspirations and expectations for growth under the guidance of their formators, Fr. Glenn Tito Pascual, C.Ss.R. and Br. Hernando Perez, C.Ss.R. They were accommodated in the Gerard Majella Aspirancy House (GMAH), where, during the course of the new program, they will have the time to integrate with the regular young professional aspirants, their future batch mates in the next stage of formation.
On the next day, Fr. Tito gave the orientation. He presented the general schedule and possible activities of the program and facilitated concerns which may be dealt with in the formation year. These concerns were then thoroughly discussed during the two-day planning held in the Pacific Cebu Resort in Lapu-lapu City. Also, during the planning, the seminarians together with their formators planned the colloquiums, recollections, spiritual direction, and counseling intended to foster growth in their journey, both as workers and as Redemptorist seminarians.
So to prepare themselves spiritually and physically for the new program, the formands had a retreat with Sr. Rosalyn Onate, R.C. in Cenacle Retreat House in Banawa, Cebu City. The three-day retreat once again reminded the seminarians of the great importance of prayer in their lives. It also served as an avenue to take a good physical rest and also gave time to raise up all their concerns and aspirations to God.
As it is a part of the program that the seminarians will be exposed to a different environment outside the four walls of the seminary, so they rented a house in Sitio Abellana, Brgy. Luz, Cebu City. This will be their home as they work and live in the outside world. The following days then were used in transferring things to the boarding house. After all were settled, the house was then blessed by Fr. Tito. Aside from the two formands and Br. Dodong, also present during the house blessing were two SACFH staff, Ms. Daisy Sansait and Ms. Rosemarie Rebese, and Irvin Jonathan Balio, a SACFH collegian.
Also, the following days were used in job hunting and job preparation. Prior to the start of the program, Thomas got the job of being the Redemptorist lay vocation promoter for the Cebu-Bohol area. He started his work on the 26th of May. Meanwhile, Jon Rey, after some days of job searching, got the job of a merchandiser in a sportswear company in Mactan Economic Processing Zone 1 (MEPZ1), Lapu-lapu City and started his work on the 2nd of June.
This new program, brings new challenges which will surely stir the vocation of the formands. But through God’s grace and relying the special care and intercession of Mama Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help, they can make these challenges avenues to Christian maturity.