Celebrating our Missionary Spirit.
Alma Misionera” (Missionary Spirit)
This year the Philippines is celebrating the Year of the Youth with the Theme: Youth in Mission: Beloved, Gifted, Empowered. As part of our vocation ministry in promoting the missionary vocation to the young people, last February 2, 2019 Minerva and I celebrated a Thanksgiving Mass at St. Michael Parish, Tangub City. We invited 150 youth from the different places through the coordination of the pastor, Fr. Fred Malalis.
It was a very solemn celebration as Minerva and I renewed our vows, witnessed by people who were part of our missionary religious vocations: our families: the Dangaran and the Mozo, the Columban Sisters, relatives of our sisters, friends and the school teachers of Sacred Heart High School, Molave, St. Matthew’s High School, Alloran and St. Michael’s High School, Tangub City.
Like the theme of the Year of the Youth, I continue to respond to today’s call to the universal church, with a thankful heart to the Beloved and being affirmed of God love in my life and mission as a Columban Sister in the Philippines, Chile, Pakistan and the U.S, that love was felt the day I made my final profession as I engraved in my ring, my motto: Remain in my love. Gifted, not in terms of financial or material but the gift of Joy of the gospel, the service, values and passion as well as my commitment to mission. Empowerment: to go and to reach out with others, God had invited me to respond to be with the people of the Philippines, South America in Chile, Pakistan, the U.S. and now in Mexico, which our Lady of Guadalupe had planted the seed.
After our renewal of vows, the Spanish hymn: “Alma Misionera” (Missionary Spirit..) was sung by Riza Mae GuillenTucong one of the teachers of St. Matthew High School, Aloran. This hymn is very meaningful for me personally as a missionary religious.
In gratitude for all those who had made this celebration possible and very meaningful, to the pastor and parishioners of St. Michael Parish, the principal Mrs. Luz Ferarrin, teachers and students of St. Michael High School for decorating the stage and preparation and clearing the place.
I end my reflection with the message of Pope Francis in the World Youth Day held in Panama, the youth not the future but the present empowering young people to be agents of positive change.
In gratitude, Sister Virgie Mozo
Minerva writes: The singer of the responsorial psalm brought the church into silence, a taste of heavenly peace. The note was high, taking everyone’s heart the assurance of the love and compassion of God’s unimaginable mercy and love.
The flow of God’s love and forgiveness continued in the readings… There is no need to worry, like the lilies of the field, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the ocean are well taken care of, what are the humans consecrated to God, that Christ gave himself up for us all?
The story of food and a Muslim child brought a new perspective in the celebration. At this time as believers in God, the Missionary Religious consecrated to Christ, bring assurance to a little girl not to worry, whenever she comes to the house consecrated to God, she is welcome and can have her fill from hunger of food.
The response of St. Michael’s Parish “payback time” tasting the assurance of the Columbans, both men and women are one in the reign of God’ working together to uplift both faith and the economic perspective of the people, working together for the reign of God has no distinction. The missionaries are one mind and heart. All said thank you for giving us the payback time. How are the Sisters who had been here? We remember Sisters Mary Oliver, Patricia McGuinness and Fr. Campion to name a few. “I am a scholar of Mother Teresa Devins” and the names of both Columban Fathers and Sisters united as one for the reign of God. Amen
I will go Lord If You Lead Me…I will hold your people in my heart… the hymn still echoes in my heart as it plays the highest note of gratitude. Thank you Lord and gratitude to the Columban Sisters for having touched our lives at some stage.The Missionary Sisters of St. Columban, are the women whose feet walked the untrodden roads across the East and the West, their legacy of Catholic education. These memories came rushing back as Sr. Virgie Mozo and Sr. Minerva Dangaran walked down the aisle of the well lighted and well decorated yet serene church of St. Michael the Archangel Parish church of Tangub city.
We were wondering why did they choose Tangub and not Molave to celebrate their anniversary? The answer came later, as we celebrate the Year of the Youth with the theme Filipino Youth In Mission: Beloved, Gifted, Empowered, the Columban Sisters were in the school before and they surely shared love, their talents and empowered the people in this place. The young people present were able to witness this.
Thirty five years of living in the mission and in loving service to the people in many countries is a life worth celebrating and emulating. Hence a lot of friends of the Columban sisters near and far, the family of the sisters and the community of sisters happily met and greeted, sang and celebrated a milestone.
The choir set the solemnity of the Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Fred Malalis, the historical background of the Columban Sisters gave more understanding who they are as Missionary Sisters of Saint Columban “To Go Out to the Whole World and Proclaim the Good news.” Our candidates did an awesome prelude interpreting a song. “Here I am Lord…” the mass was beautiful, both Sr. Virgie and Sr. Minerva shared their reflection / messages after the Gospel. Both thanked the Lord profusely for not only calling but choosing them. Obviously they are happy in the vocation they have chosen. It’s amazing to hear from them the story of their mottos: Sr. Minerva’s is “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” while Sr. Virgie’s is “Remain in my love.”
After the mass we crossed over to the covered court of St. Michael’s High School, one of the Columban Sister’s legacy, where sumptuous lunch awaited the attendees. Nothing beats the feeling of belonging, for it seemed a reunion of the old friends of the Columban Sisters. Though some new faces through the presence of the young people, somehow the MSSC is the common link. The cultural presentation of the famous Sinaduloy dancers and Sr. Virgie’s niece Gabriella and the stories about the vocation and mission shared by Sisters Tammy and Ashwena made the program superb and completed the celebration.
Ms. Evangeline Bacus