On the Feast of the Holy Innocents marked the beginning of the 5th Provincial Chapter of the Philippine-Australia-Saipan-Taiwan Province. The Eucharistic Celebration was presided over by the Bishop of the Diocese of Caloocan and also the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Most Reverend Pablo Virgilio David. In his homily, he invited us to reflect that the truest, the noblest and holiest in ourselves is represented by a vulnerable little child whose light shines brightly like a radiant star in the dark night, and which guides travelers to their destination. No wonder Jesus would later ask his disciples to become like little children.
We dedicated two days of spirituality. A talk was given by Fr. Rey Sotelo, OCD with the theme of Becoming a Community. It was a reflection to help us deepen the theme of the 10th general Chapter, especially on the aspect of becoming ever more integrated, missionaries and vocational communities. We also reflected on the message of Pope Francis to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2022, we feel invited to contemplate and to examine ourselves and “to realize clearly that in reviewing our lives and our past, we should always begin with the remembrance of all the good we have known.”
We concluded the Chapter last 3 January 2023, with the Holy Eucharist was celebrated by the Provincial Superior of the SSP, Rev. Fr. Rollin Flores, where we raised our hearts to thank God for the numerous blessings showered on us during these days of the Chapter. With the theme, “Delighted in the sapiential reading of the pastoral Charism, we become integrated, missionaries and vocational communities,” he drew our attention on three important key words in order to be delighted in the continuous reading of the charism: The desire to follow the will of God, to be open to doing the will of God, and the familiarity with God’s ways as indicated by the Word of God.
We consider this a blessing because all the sisters in the Province, 54 were present in the Assembly and seven sisters in Australia followed all the Chapter proceedings –online. We felt the presence of our sisters who did not participate due to health reasons: Sr Estelita, Sr Letizia and Sr Catherine.
With heart full of gratitude for the grace of communion with the Trinity and with one another, we concluded the First Phase of the Provincial Chapter. It was an occasion to revisit the beauty of our pastoral charism, enjoy the presence of each one and to contemplate on the works of the Lord in us and among us, in the ecclesial realities we are in.
After the Provincial Chapter, we continued to reflect of the theme of the 10th General Chapter with the Spiritual Exercises last 4-10 January 2023, facilitated by Fr. Mariano Agruda III, OCD. We reflected on our vocation-mission in fraternal relationships and in the care we have for the people entrusted to us. It was an itinerary of discernment which made us more aware of our being beloved children of the Father in Christ Jesus, revisiting our inner selves as indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
We thank the Lord for the gift of journeying together, enjoying the presence of each one during the Provincial Chapter and the Spiritual exercises.
Sr. Saturnina Caccam, sjbp