Rock to lead (Part2)

Rock to lead (Part2)

May 11 will forever be memorable for me for three reasons. First, I am ever grateful for the chance to celebrate small wins after a long working week. Second, I am graced to prepare spiritually for Mother’s Day 2024. My Sabado is my Sabado for self-care, I love to call it my ‘Me time.’ I got to go to Holy Cross for an F2F theo convo, buy my Bulletin newspaper, eat my Goya white choco comfort food, and stay in the Holy Cross adoration chapel for silent prayer. I believe that self-care is not selfish. 

Third, I am very blessed to be part of the Ignatian Institute of Religious Education Foundation Family (IIREF) attending the Theological Conversation on Journeying Together as a synodal church living out the spirituality of stewardship in our basic ecclesial communities (BEC). 

Definitely, my Sabado is a Sabado for my faith.

The angel among us sent by God to me that day was Rev. Bishop George Rimando. He spoke so eloquently yet gently on the beauty of serving in the grassroots, in the basic ecclesial communities. 

Amazing keywords I remember are Pundok Banay, community of faith, BEC has sociological and organizational dimensions, lay leadership, living out my baptismal promises and calling and centrality of the eucharist as the source and summit of our faith life. 

I truly did not regret my quality of presence this Sabado. I was touched by the input of Bishop Rimando; he has truly inspired me to serve with much fervor and zeal in our Gagmay’ng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK) San Jose Uraya which is poised to become a future parish according to good Bishop Muloy. 

As a lay collaborator myself, together with my spouse Nelson, we serve in the GKK choir as Choristers for the Lord. I cannot help but be grateful to the Lord for blessed years of service since 2008 when we were still raising funds to buy chairs and Yamaha organ for the GKK needs. 

Nelson and I belong to Couples For Christ and we have been steadfast in our service in the GKK since 2005 upon our CFC graduation. It was beautifully mentioned that faith communities are integral to this journey of renewed BEC.

R.O.C.K. this day stood for Remember/One/Charismatic/Kristohanong Katilingban. But I wish to propose my own set of Code ROCK which is Reflect/ Opportunity /Care /Kindness. From Bishop Rimando’s input, I was led to reflect on my unique role in the GKK. I can sing for the Lord. I will do that well for Jesus. 

Next, I was given another opportunity to go out of my comfort zone which is the academe and exercise truly sincere self-donation which I learned from St. John Paul II and Mother Teresa. Then I was reminded gently to never stop caring for others especially the poor and marginalized in my community. This I promise to do for the rest of my life. 

This realization then moved me to practice all the more kindness and love in my service, for only through the lens of kindness and love can I truly integrate mind and heart amazingly well.

The panel of reactors was just as amazing as Bishop Rimando. Their testimony of life captured not only my mind but touched deeply my heart. Indeed, Rock to Lead was coined creatively by Sir Geovanni Udtohan that morning in his synthesis. But that is going ahead of my story.

Ms Vicky Estoque graced us with her experiential pedagogy. How she journeyed with her own set of BEC leaders on Simbang Gabi and how this inspired her to see in some of our GKK servant-leaders a semblance of heroism and daily martyrdom. 

The pedagogy of human experience is the wonderful standing point of Ms. Vicky’s sharing. Her many years of immersive experiential work in the GKKs must have brought her such clarity of vision and mission. Her sharing led me to recall so many brave men and women of faith in our very own GKK San Jose. I can name a few. Team Cordova, Team Borres. Our CFC in Uraya. I have been edified by their dedicated service since 2008 till now.

I also remember Tito Ed Pacana, a fellow lay leader serving Bukas Loob Sa Diyos for the last 30 years. His sharing delved deeply on the pedagogy of Transformative Leadership. I honor him for bringing his zeal for service from Bukas Loob Sa Diyos (BLD) to St. Paul Parish. 

BLD together with other faith communities like Couples for Christ are committed to our mission of journeying together as a synodal church living out the spirituality of stewardship in these challenging times. 

Together, we build up beautifully the Body of Christ in this amazing Archdiocese of Davao. Tito Ed made me look deeper into my faith. I am moved all the more to continue to blaze on keeping the fire of service in the GKK.

Bro. Diosdado Mondejar talked about a pedagogy of the here and now, that we are called to be more mindful of the present. He also made me appreciate more the vocation to teach as he is also an educator himself. He enfleshed for us the real calling in the fertile grounds of evangelization in schools. His saying Yes to his vocation as a brother of the Sacred Heart is truly a gift to the church. His smile and his dimple show his joy deep inside. Truly to teach is to touch a life forever.

Finally, my best professor ever stood up to give his 4th reaction and I came prepared. I recorded every word he uttered. His insightful presentation was done the usual Fr. Bani way, with utmost sincerity and passion. He led us through code connect. His pedagogy was always tied up to Jesus, the supreme sacrament of love. 

I loved it when he proposed to us higher thinking level questions. What are the prospects and hopes as we prepare for our 75th year as an archdiocese? I also was led to think critically yet reflectively. What are the graces I have received for the last 27 years as a Misyonerong Bisdak In Mindanao? 

As Fr. Bani led us to come home to our true identity as a people of faith in this archdiocese, we are called not only to act with justice and mercy but also to reaffirm our God-ordained identity. He spoke so lovingly about the gift of the sacraments; how this is celebrated at each stage of our faith life in the GKKs; how we lovingly come together to celebrate the Eucharist in our GKK fiesta masses. How we are healed miraculously in the sacrament of reconciliation. How our lives are transformed day by day by day in our living out of the spirituality of stewardship of time, talent, resources. Who are we and why are we called a church? What makes us a community if not to be a real worshipping community? Trust and faith were highly emphasized. 

I am truly blessed to have met Fr. Bani. Yes indeed, trust and faith are what we need today. The best pedagogy is truly a pedagogy of trust and faith.

L.E.A.D. means Leadership/ Experience/ Advocacy/ Delivering, the core message of the Gospel. But today I wish to propose my new code LEAD which is L for Look Beyond to what is laid out before us and look forward to a future full of hope. E for Evoke and draw out from the depths of your own sacramental journey, your pilgrimage of faith and trust. A for Adore God Most High. This I commit to do for the rest of my life. My faith and trust in Him I solemnly reaffirm today. D for Dream big dreams for God, particularly for my GKK San Jose. I will fully cooperate with the leading of the Holy Spirit as we prepare for our 75th year as a people of faith and trust.

Now the real work begins. So help me God. All for Jesus. Through our GKK Patron San Jose Esposo ni Maria. By Frances Nina Fernandez Bitang/Contributor


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