Towards A Synodal and Shared Mission: Fr. Rhoel Gallardo Mission Encounter 2024

May 21, 2024 | Apostolate, Fr. Rhoel Gallardo

Palayan City, Philippines. Lay leaders and Claretian Missionaries (CMF) from Fr. Rhoel Gallardo Province’s different institutions and mission posts, representatives from the Religious of Mary Immaculate (RMI), Missionary Sisters of St. Anthony Mary Claret (MC), Kapatiran Claretiano Incorporated (KCI), and the members of Fraternidade Ecclesial Claretiana (FEC) gathered in Palayan City from May 7 to 10, 2024 for the CMF organized Claretian Mission Encounter.

The Claretian Mission Encounter aimed to provide a brief but comprehensive and realistic update on Fr. Rhoel Gallardo Province’s missions over the last six years. It also sought to listen to the voices of the missionaries, members of the Claretian family, and collaborators regarding the Province’s direction as it approaches the 16th Provincial Chapter in January 2025. The encounter was organized by the Prefecture of Apostolate headed by Fr. Larry Miranda, CMF, with the full support of the provincial government. Fr. Arnold Abelardo, CMF, and the Ako Ang Saklay Foundation team took care of the hosting and venue of the gathering at the Sierra Madre Suites in Palayan City.

The encounter had not only the main objectives but also aimed at a shared mission between the lay partners, collaborators, and the Claretian Family in the Province. Therefore, it involved the participation of the RMI, MC, FEC, KCI, and the lay people working in the institutions. The first session with the Provincial Superior, Fr. Elias Ayuban Jr., CMF, focused on shared mission.

The second and third days of the encounter focused on discerning leadership contextualized in the Claretian Family and lay collaborators’ context in the Province. Fr. Amador Tumbaga, CMF and Bro. Joseph Roy Villarin, CMF, facilitated the talks and dynamics.  The participants were asked about the marvels and attractiveness of their respective institution/parish/mission area and how each member contributes as a valuable asset to it. They were also asked about their aspirations for their institution, parish, or mission and the involvement of missionaries and lay partners in realizing these dreams. Participants from urban and rural parishes, basic education, formation, indigenous people’s mission, social development, sisters, lay partners, and the curia administration gathered and answered questions and honestly expressed their positive and negative observations about the mission and their hopes, dreams, aspirations, commitment, and dedication.

The discussions on both days highlighted the beautiful interconnectedness and mutual impact of all the mission posts in the Province of Fr. Rhoel Gallardo. The missionaries gained insight into the province’s overall health and the numerous challenges that lie ahead. All collated materials and inputs from the participants will be used during the preparations for the coming pre-capitular assembly and the next provincial chapter in January 2025. The encounter concluded with a Mass on the final morning. Before heading home, the participants visited state-run institutions in the province of Nueva Ecija, known as the rice granary and agriculture center of the Philippines. They also made a courtesy visit to the Governor, who sponsored their accommodation and is a continuous partner of the ministry of the Claretians in his political jurisdiction.

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