by Joyce R. Oael
The culmination of the popular summer mission of 2007 in Pilar, Bataan has drawn more fervent souls willing to reach out to the needy. Adamsonian-Vincentian missionaries maintained close contact with the Campus Ministry Office and other missionaries including those coming from the National Office. They attended a series of continuing formation held in different Vincentian institutions, including our University. There, a new mission module was applied and evaluated though the leadership of Vincentian Popular Mission National Director Rev. Fr. Rex Fortes, C.M. The biggest community of missionaries came from Adamson University.
A core group was created after the follow-up mission in Sitio Mangubat, Pilar, Bataan on December 27 and 28, 2007, headed by Fr. Vhong Navarro, C.M., NCR Mission Director. Recruitment of AdU missionaries became a priority. A big number of would-be participants registered, leading to a harvest of about 50 members—although not everyone was able to join based on certain requirements and criteria.
It was the moment we had been waiting for. Two mission teams headed to Sitio Minanga and Barangay Mabayo, Morong, Bataan. The former 11 AdU Mission Team of Summer 2007 became two teams of 32 missionaries composed of four priests, headed by no other than our University President, Fr. Gregg Bañaga, Jr., C.M., the NCR Mission Director, Fr. Vhong Navarro, C.M., Campus Ministry Office Director, Fr. Joel Rescober, C.M., and, Vice President for Student Affairs, Fr. Gerald Borja, C.M.; Four faculty members, Prof. Lally Castillo from the Natural Science Department, Prof. Roger Coloyan from IRED, Prof. Paul Belleza from the Social Science Department, and Ms. Zhenai Rabina from the Basic Education Department; Four AdU employees, Jeff Duyan from the Campus Ministry Office, Mai Forteo from the Office of the Registrar, Nelson Hermogenes, Librarian, and Joyce Oael from the Office for Student Affairs; and 18 students, Beth Bautista, Eleanor Ang, John Corod, Roz Marasigan, Julius Tamondong, Jay R Bengbeng, Chad Gumatay, Engae Dimaiwat, Lorlyn Cuna, Raniel Louise Areglado, Arnel Andamon, Erickson Osit, Rey Lagumbay, Welbert Nabong, Willy Bumenlag, Jonathan Pallaya, Bob Rudolf Fuentes, and, Christopher Siate. Mr. Roderick Baduria, a Catechist from the Archdiocese, and Maye Canlas, a student missionary from Sucat, joined the team. Before the Adamson Mission Team left for Bataan, they were informed of their assigned tasks.
A send-off concelebrated Mass was officiated by Fr. Fernando Loreto, the parish priest of Our Lady of the Pillar Parish in Morong, Bataan in the morning of April 1, 2008. In the afternoon, “Fr. Ronnie”, as he was fondly called, gave an orientation to the two teams about the parish and the mission schedules. After the orientation, the teams were brought to their mission areas to meet and come home with their host families. Everyone fully involved themselves to embark on the duties assigned to them.
The daily common schedule of the two mission teams started with a morning prayer followed by evaluation and planning, dialogue of life or home visitations, children’s catechism, rosary, preparations for the area mass and mission talk, and ended with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and Mission Talk where different topics and activities were given daily.
Some highlights of the mission were Youth and Adult Recollections, the Read Aloud Seminar Program sponsored by the Bagong Kulturang Pinoy led by Mrs. Alice Quilicot, AdU OSAS Director and BKP National President, Bonding of the Two Mission Teams, Dawn Rosary, Mission Rally, House Blessings, Validation of Sacraments—Mass Baptisms, Conversions, and Anointing of the Sick. The mission concluded with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist on April 13, 2008 officiated by the Bishop of Bataan, His Eminence Bishop Socrates Villegas concelebrated with the other priests.
An Awakening: A Personal Reflection
Mission in Barangay Mabayo was an awakening experience for the locals and AdU missionaries as well. We were informed beforehand that the mission area was teeming with non-Catholics. But when we started our dialogue of life and home visitations, the people tried to explain why they were baptized Aglipays. To our amazement, all of them suddenly became Catholics. The people clamored for religion classes in schools and a Catholic Church. They were thirsty for conversion, and before our stay ended, the number of baptisms and conversions grew larger—if only we can accommodate them all.
“The harvest is rich, but the laborers are few.” Although only a handful from Adamson University went to Bataan to experience God’s grace, a lot of souls were touched and changed in such a short period. The archaic perception about wilted vineyard was actually green and lush. It just needed some perseverance and a lot of faith.
From time to time, all of us need some sprinkling of water, cultivating, and sunlight. We all need some words of encouragement, enlightenment, and help from the Creator to move on and keep us grounded wherever we are.
The mission in Bataan has just started, and we need more laborers to cover more areas and reach greater heights.