Remembering with sadness but also with thanksgiving for his life, COP sent its condolences to the family of the late Fr. Romeo Intengan, S.J., who passed away on Oct. 10, 2017. Fr. “Archie” significantly helped in the recognition and promotion of Centering Prayer in the early ‘90’s, as a spiritual practice approved by the Archdiocese of Manila. He was always available to the community for guidance and moral support up until around 2005 when his responsibilities in the Jesuit community demanded more of his time.

Thank you, Fr. “Archie” for your invaluable help to our faith community. May you enjoy forever the radiance of God’s light and rest forever in His love.

The Circle of Service held its annual Planning Meeting on Oct.10, 2017 at Santuario de San Antonio parish. The different committees or circles reported on their respective activities as well as their plans for the coming year. During the meeting, the Revised Vision of Contemplative Outreach was also read, discussed, and reflected on for a better understanding of the theological and administrative guidelines. This “Guidelines for Contemplative Outreach Service” will be cascaded to the different centering prayer groups for their own reflection in the coming year. For 2018, the COS has chosen as its theme: “To Discover, Recover and Renew the Christian Contemplative Service”.

Fr. Manny Domingo, COP spiritual adviser, has a new assignment that will take him to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He will be with his Salesian community in their convent near the Cathedral. The COS gave him a farewell lunch at Happy Garden Café in Sunshine Place, Makati, on Oct. 13, 2017. It was during Fr. Manny’s stint as parish priest of Don Bosco, Makati, that he invited COP to have a secretariat in the parish. This was 9 years ago. Fr. Manny has always been very supportive of our community thru his ready availability and encouragement. We have been blessed with his friendship and guidance. We wish Fr. Manny many blessings in his new ministry at Santiago de Compostela, a place close to his heart, having done the whole route of the “Camino” twice in the past few years. Vaya con Dios, Fr. Manny!

An Introductory Workshop in Centering Prayer was held at the parish center of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes last Dec. 1, 2017. There were 31 participants who attended the whole day workshop facilitated by Rita Go and Susan Rivera. It was sponsored by Our Lady of Lourdes CPG led by Jhulie Teh. The ff. are some of the comments by the participants after the workshop:

“Ang natutunan ko ay kung paano mag patawad sa kapwa.” ("I learned about the importance of forgiveness.”)

“Isasabuhay ko o ipapractice ko ang natutunan ko sa workshop." (“I will put into practice what I learned in the workshop.”)

“Salamat sa lahat na mga leader sa Lectio Divina na dagdagan ang kaalaman ko sa panginoon”. (“Thank you for adding to my knowledge about the Lord.”)

“The workshop exceeded my expectation. God bless you all. “

“Marami po akong natutunan.” (“I learned a lot from the workshop.”)

The Annual Post-Intensive Retreat was held on Nov. 24-29, 2017 at St. Scholastica’s Center of Spirituality in Tagaytay. Twenty-one long-time practitioners of centering prayer attended the retreat which was staffed by Betty Florendo and Billie Trinidad. In an atmosphere of deep silence and prayer it afforded everyone an opportunity to spend five special days with the God of Silence in the quiet of their surroundings and especially in their hearts. Photos: click here

This year’s COP Christmas party was one event that had everybody celebrating the holiday season with much joy, fun and camaraderie! It was held in the well-decorated roof deck at Sunshine Place, Makati. After the Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Manny Domingo, SDB, and “Monsi" Oracion, the day’s festivity was keynoted with an inspiring Christmas message by former COP director/formator, Lita Salinas.

For a moment, a prayerful silence was observed by everybody as the names of the deceased members of COP was read. We remembered Naty Barros, Jasmin Jongco, Monina La’O, Vina Avancena, Bert Uson, Maritess Climent, Josie Tordesillas, Rachelle Rule, Rosh Ramirez, Nancy Guevarra, Daisy Vergara, and Fr. Romeo “Archie” Intengan, S.J.

As the well-planned program unfolded, enthusiastic participation by individuals and CPG groups alike in all the games and other party activities was heartwarming! There were a lot of prizes for the raffle and “contests”. There was even Sta. Claus in his oh-so-authentic “persona” (thanks to the well-suited John Sun, a long-time COP member) who was the “star” of the party! Photos: click here

COP Christmas Party 2017 was truly a memorable event that will live long in our memories. Big, big thanks to over-all Socials committee chairperson, Tess Castaneda, and her team who worked so hard to make it the smashing success that it was! Special thanks also to Gilda Reyes and other members of the Santuario de San Antonio CPG for all that they did re the beautiful décor, and the smooth registration of attendees. Last but not least, a rousing applause to the remarkable party emcees, Anna Marie Llanos and Len Hizon who did their act like “pros”! And to the whole Circle of Service, kudos for the all-out support for our Christmas celebration! A wonderful time was had by all! Deo gratias!

RETREATS & WORKSHOPS

An Introductory Workshop in Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina was held at Don Bosco Parish, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, on June 14, 2017. Twenty-five parishioners and non-parishioners attended the event which was facilitated by Billie Trinidad and Susan Rivera. The workshop was sponsored by two groups: Don Bosco, Sta. Rosa and Pedro Calungsod CPLD support groups. Helping staff the day’s activities were Fely Ramos, Mary Rose Martinez and Minda Villamayor.

There may be one other Introductory Workshop in CP/LD in the Sta. Rosa area before the year is over which will be announced as soon as possible.

An Introductory Retreat on Centering Prayer was held at the St. Scholastica’s Center of Spirituality in Tagaytay City on Aug. 18-20, 2017. Charit Montalban was the facilitator of the retreat which was attended by 36 participants, six of whom came from the Marikina area. The six ladies have expressed their desire to form a weekly centering prayer group in their parish as soon as possible.

Staffing the retreat were Betty Florendo, head of the Retreats and Workshops Circle, and Herbie Aquino.

FORMATION CLASSES

Monthly Formation Classes are offered to the members of Contemplative Outreach Philippines at Santuario de San Antonio parish. As Billie Trinidad, head of the Formation Circle of Service said: “We listen to the needs of our members, and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the classes are given with the intention of providing nourishment to our members who are in a way, "nourish-ers" themselves at home, in the community, in their prayer groups, etc.

Different speakers are tapped to share their wisdom and experiences, on matters that are relevant to our spiritual journey. Thru the informative, inspiring and enriching talks, COP members are nourished and nurtured in their relationship with the Lord with the fruits cascading into daily life.

On June 17, 2017, Fr. Phil Estrella, OMI, gave a Formation Talk to COP members at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish. Below is a reflection on his talk by Len Hizon of SSA Centering Prayer group.

“As I sit in this little space in my life, I am struck by how overwhelmed and stressful things are, how anxious and powerless I feel when confronted with mean-spirited people, or things around me are not going the way I want them to. Then I realize that this is part of the Dark Night of the Senses that St. John of the Cross wrote about and that Fr. Phil explained so well. Rather than feeling cheated or embittered, I am encouraged to view these trials as an opportunity to learn how to cope, a challenge to understand and appreciate God’s place in my life, and a gift that the Holy Spirit brings to prepare me to grow beyond myself. Whatever that is, I do not yet know. What I do I know is that I need to trust in the movement of the Spirit. That out of this misery, when I stop negotiating with Him, when I stop asking why me and switch to why not me, and when I am able to rely on Him and Him alone, something bigger, better, and greater will emerge.”

For our Formation Class in July, Fr. Francis Gustilo, SDB, shared with us some facts about Christianity in the Phil. in the context of the forthcoming commemoration of 500 Years of Christianity in the country in 2021. One of the plans to help the 85 million catholic faithful prepare for the big event is to spread the Word of God thru Scripture, specifically using the Gospel as a means of internalizing God’s Word. Mr. Mon Arguelles, a layman who has admirably taken on the mission of bringing Scripture to the masses both here and abroad, explained to us the simple but effective method of helping individuals and groups reflect on the Gospel and bring it into daily life. (Click here for photos.)

For the COP monthly Formation Class for Aug., the topic was “Going Deeper into Our Senior Years” presented by Fr. Mon Bautista, S.J. There were 106 attendees, many parishioners of Santuario de San Antonio joining the regular COP community for an enrichment and deepening of our spiritual life. The formation class was held at SSA on Aug. 8, 2017, organized by Billie Trinidad and Minda Villamayor of the Formation Circle of COP. (Click here for photos.)

The following is a reflection on the formation class:

Fr. Mon's talk was filled with so many realizations, many of which I have actually experienced and continue to impact my life. At the end of it all, it is what I do by God's grace thru a faithful relationship with him that keeps me going in living, loving and forgiving.

The spiritual journey is one of continually falling on your face, getting up, brushing yourself off, looking sheepishly at God, and taking another step." (Aurobindo)

Our Lord says: ”Trust Me. Do not so much seek to understand in order to believe...”At this point in my life, one of my most important realizations is to learn from my life lessons, challenges and changes; to accept, to let go, and to diminish. All this done in a spirit of joy, gratitude and humility.

-- Tina Quiros, member of Our Lady of the Rosary Centering Prayer Group

Some notes from Fr. Mon’s talk:

Senior years are “serenity years’, a time for slowing down, becoming more peaceful, contented and relaxed with life. The time for being busy with careers and other activities is over.

It’s also a time for saying goodbye to some people, experiences, places. relationships, etc. So grieving is part of it.

They are transition years, a time for shifting from the known to the unknown. It can be unsettling, giving way to depression.
Spirituality (our personal relationship with God) helps us deal with the challenges of aging.

Being grateful, reaching out to others, seeing the bright side of life are ways that mitigate the feeling of loneliness, confusion and sadness.

The Serenity Prayer of St. Ignatius is a beautiful prayer where we offer our whole being to God, trusting in His abiding love and presence in our lives. It reminds us of Mary’s Fiat when she said to the Angel Gabriel: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to Thy word.”

There is much to celebrate in the Serenity Years. A Gratitude Journal is a good way of reminding ourselves about the many blessings that God has sent us and continues to send us every day of our lives.

A sense of humor goes a long way in preserving our sense of well-being and joyfulness.


 

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