In response to the challenge of the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Life, with the theme “Renewed Servant Leaders for the New Evangelization”, the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus – St. Matthew Province, through Fr. Ariel Tecson, RCJ, the Provincial Councilor on Formation, Religious Life and Pastoral Care for Vocations, organized a 5-day updating course on Spiritual Direction on May 21-25,2018 held at the Oasis of Prayer in Lalaan II, Silang, Cavite. The course was attended by 18 participants composed of Rogationists and the Daughters of Divine Zeal.
The course featured conferences and workshops, with the following major topics:
Prayer and Religious Experience
Sacred Space and Time
Introduction to Spiritual Direction
Blocks and Resistance
Basic Helper’s Skills and Group Facilitation
Practicum and Case Discussion
This 5-day event was facilitated by Ms. Dalisay “Daisy” Aniag Santos, IMSA.
The first session started with a simple prayer led by the facilitator herself. The morning schedule focused on gaining understanding about Religious Experiences. A moment was provided for the participants to share their personal religious experiences. The afternoon schedule was spent learning about Sacred Space and Sacred Time. A workshop on the said topic followed. The participants were divided into groups and were asked to create sacred space that radiates messages about mercy, discipleship, suffering and renewal. The whole group was then instructed to visit and to contemplate each sacred places. In each sacred places, each one was asked about what each space speaks to them and what they felt as they contemplate them. Fr. Ariel Tecson presided the mass in the evening. Dinner followed afterwards.
The session began with a special morning praise facilitated by Group 1. The facilitator followed-through on yesterday’s activity and how it has affected the participants and given them new perspectives on life and realized new layers of meaning in their experiences. The morning conference for the 2nd day focused on the nature of Spiritual Direction and its vital connection with the goals of formation. The nature of the Spiritual Direction Relationship was also brought to light, highlighting the truth that it is a 3-way relationship between God, the Director, and the Directee. The fundamental qualities of the Director and the Directee was also tackled. After a short break, a live demonstration on spiritual direction was witnessed by the group for their perusal. A follow-through on the demo was had. The afternoon discussion zeroed on the differences and similarities between Spiritual Direction and Counselling. The discussion also tackled on the blocks and resistances for a fruitful spiritual direction. At 6:00 in the evening, the vespers and holy mass was celebrated presided over by Fr. Nicolas Villora. Supper then followed.
The morning session began with a solemn morning prayer facilitated by Group 2. After the prayer, the group was divided by two’s. They were asked to have 15-min Spiritual Direction. After the activity, the facilitator processed the experience of each one. She asked everybody how they felt being the Directee or the director. She inquired for new insights and for affirmations of lessons that they have already come to know. The discussion that followed the activity was on Basic Helper’s Skills as applied on Spiritual Formation. In the afternoon, the focus was on learning to facilitate group spiritual conversion. 4 volunteers were asked to make themselves available for a demonstration which was later on processed and commented upon. Later, the group divided themselves once again into smaller groups for their group spiritual direction. The day was concluded with the celebration of the vespers and the mass presided over by Fr. Ricardo Caperiña.
The 4th day began with a morning prayer animated by group 3. The group once again tried to get in touch with their feelings and thoughts as affected to them by the animated prayer. The group then continued their one-one-one spiritual direction. This time there is a change of roles. The Directee of the other day will have to be the director and vice-versa. After the practice spiritual direction, the experience was then processed by the group. A short break followed, after which a lecture on fostering contemplative attitude was given. The afternoon session tackled the topic on Discernment and was all talk and no more practicum. After the talk, the group had the adoration for vocations presided by Fr. Jessel Bangoy. The mass and incorporated vespers was presided by Fr. Kristian Taok. After supper, the group went to San Juan de Dios Educational Foundation - Hospital to pay a visit to Fr. Enrique Raveza III who was very sick. They prayed for him and sang him songs. Fr. Kristian Taok took the opportunity to annoint him.
The last day of the seminar began with the celebration of the mass in the morning presided by Fr. Silvestre Robiñol. After breakfast, the session started with a symbolic morning prayer organized by group 4. After processing their feelings and thoughts, the group was given a talk about the importance of supervision as a way to nourish spiritual directors of their own skills, dispositions, and relationship with God. The group was also given a lecture on ethical issues. The afternoon session was spent synthesizing all the insights and learnings the group had during the 5-day updating. They were given time to discuss with their respective groups and present a creative report about their realizations and inspirations. After this, the group formally thanked the speaker and each other. Each one was awarded a certificate of participation. There was the picture taking after.