By Dario T. Tupas

May 23, 2016 was a very significant moment to us – Clinch Hussein Cabatingan, Kevin David Castaños, and Dario Tupas – it was our first day here in Saint Gerard Majella Aspirancy Program. The general objective of the program is to aid the candidate to understand the nature of their vocation. In the context of community living they are helped to grow to a level of human and Christian maturity such that they can make a human response to the call to follow Christ in religious missionary life, particularly the Redemptorist. This program covers the following aspects: physical, community, apostolate, affective, academic and spiritual. We are under the guidance and direction of Bro. Hernando “Dodong” Perez, C.Ss.R.

For the past few weeks, I came up with several realizations together with the Redemptorists. First, affirmation – my journey in entering the congregation was not a smooth sailing. I have to face and to clear up first my concerns in my work place and in my family. During the opening mass for us, Rev. Fr. Copernicus Perez, C.Ss.R., the Provincial Superior shared that our decision comprised: bold, courage and generosity. For sure a lot of people questioned such decision we made but then he added that, “we can do a lot of things when we are open”. Such words of affirmation given to us opened myself for greater opportunities in the program.

Second, the sense of belongingness – we are from different family orientations and varied experiences, however, as the day unfolds I feel more comfortable with my co-aspirants, seminarians, formators, priests, staff and acquaintances. I am able to express myself willingly. I value certain limitations, learn our individual uniqueness, and cherish rich memoirs and put them together towards better understanding of myself in relation to other people.

And lastly, the joy of  the heart – from the warm welcomed, retreat, planning of our activities, integration in HRPC and in SACFH, visited the AYP 2016, group counselling, household chores, acquaintances and the life of being a student once more – brings a lot of delight from time to time because of the companionship, integrations and quality time I have experienced. Every instance has inevitable reason that calls for a continual conversion of living a meaningful life. True happiness does not come from material security but from spiritual maturity. With this, I will never cease praying for God’s grace and mercy to sustain us, aspirants, in our journey with Him with a great cause.

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