Becoming a Redemptorist Lay Missionary
By Leo D. Santander (Cebu Lay Missionary)
I remember one night in Kanto, Matina Town Square, Davao City, my friend Louie asking me what I am going to do after resigning from my previous employer (Cor Jesu College). Firmly I answered him “I want to become a missionary”. Suddenly, he exclaimed “What kind of crazy decision you’ve made in your life”. I answered, “ I have made my intention to join the Redemptorist congregation because I firmly believe that this faith-based organization would broaden my knowledge specially in dealing with people and communities; and hone my skills in community organizing, planning and evaluation. I also believe that with the Cebu Redemptorist Urban Mission Team, I will be able to grow not only personally but professionally.”
My first pre-exposure was in Sta. Maria, Lapu-lapu City, Cebu April 29-May 2 this year. Together with Alex Pausal, my co-lay missionary we have immersed ourselves in the area. I met a lot of good-hearted people with strong dedication to family values who zealously exhibited their Christian faith. My pre-exposure in Lapu-lapu City affirmed my decisions that this is what I wanted to do, to be with the people. Moreover, I also believed in our principle as a development worker that “People are intelligent and have numerous experiences”.
After the pre-exposure, a Santa Mission was my second exposure to the Redemptorist areas in Tabunoc, Talisay City. The theme of the mission entitled Santa Mission: Pagsaulog sa Atong Kaluwasan involved pre mission meetings with Msgr. Trinidad Silva, P.C., last May 4 and May 11 with identified BEC formators on May 11. I and Alex served as emissaries to the target areas to inform the identified BEC formators of the upcoming scheduled activities. The activities outlined to be undertaken were conducted from May 13-June 1. Scheduled activities included liturgical activities, holy mass, house blessings, anointing of the sick, medical mission, feeding, gathering of women and youth and the blessing of motorcycles, motorsikad and livelihood implements of the people. Conducted activities were done in three zones, namely; Zone 4, Mananga 1 and 2 and Zone 7.
The mission in Tabunoc, Talisay was a reverberating experience. I was able to share my talent and skills in community organizing and facilitating activities that would perhaps help make the mission successful. But it has just started and I am expecting more experiences, deepening, and confirming our vocation and helping us grow individually, intellectually and spiritually. I now say thank you my dear colleagues especially to our priests Fr. Fonso Suico, Jr., Fr. Ryan Joseph Parantar, Fr Carlo Villaflor and Vietnamese Br. Tinh Hoang for sharing their life with me.
Now, we head south to Mission in Maramag, Bukidnon. We are tasked to do the preliminary ocular survey, gather initial data and come up with a dossier or file for the various CSsR communities to study and discern and help decisions at the Provincial Chapter on January 2015.