We are still in Kolambugan and are halfway
through our mission work. Though the response was quite slow at the start
of the mission, we are picking up now and, in fact, very much occupied
with many activities.
Let's start with statistics.
After six months, there are 185 GSKs (Gagmayng
Simbahanong Katilingban) now in the whole parish, distributed among the
four sub-teams: Guso, Copra, Sari-sari and Nipa. Each of
these GSKs has its own prayer meeting known as the GSK prayer. Those GSKs
situated outside the poblacion have their own KP (Katilingbanong Pag-ampo)
in the barrio chapel every Sunday. In terms of structure, the mission has
completed its work in the GSK level.
As of now, the concentration of our efforts
is in the training and formation of leaders. For the months we had activities
like Men's Fellowship, recollection and retreats and the Festival of Faith
(FoF). The latter is an "imported" program from Davao. Fr. Picx had tried
it, together with the SAT students, in our GKKs in Davao. Last month, Fr.
Picx came all the way from Davao to try it in the mission. The FoF was
done in the area of Bert last October 20-21, 2001. The response was
overwhelming despite the "brownout" in the first night. The team is now
planning to do it in other areas.
For the month of November, seminars for
"mansibados" were done. Mass weddings were already done in sub-team Guso.
sub-teams schedule their mass weddings for December. Also in these months
of November and December, Leadership training seminars are scheduled by
the different sub-teams. This is a preparation for the election of leaders
in the barangay and zone level in December.
We had our major activities too. We tried
our capacity to gather the people in the town for a parish activity. In
October 31, we had a parish-wide celebration of the culmination of the
Rosary month. From the quality and their response ,we found out that we
can now mobilize the people.
Another major activity that we have planned
is the celebration of the "Mindanao Week of Peace" scheduled for November
29 until December 5. The highlights of the celebration are: the opening
parade on November 29; the visit to the Muslim mosques by Christians on
November 30, and to Christian churches by Muslims on December 2; and the
symposium on December 5. We have invited one Muslim and one Christian speaker
to speak on the theme: "Peace: Sharing the Vision of Unity and Hope" and
to share their own experiences on Muslim-Christian relations. The Christian
speaker is a professor of history in MSU-IIT in Iligan and the Muslim speakr
is a leader in the Muslim-Christian dialogue in the town of Kauswagan.
This is the first ever celebration in the
Parish of the Holy Cross and we are pushing it through because Kolambugan
is 33% Muslim and memories of past conflicts are still fresh in people's
minds. The need for healing is there. We are aware that this celebration
will not heal the wounds but we hope to start a healing process.
Two weeks before the celebration, we, in
RIMT (Redemptorist Itinerant Mission Team), scheduled reflection sessions
to be done in the GSK and chapel level. The first week focused on our (Christians)
biases and prejudices against the Muslims and the need for reconciliation.
The second week was a study on the similarities of Christianity and Islam.
Other seminars and training sessions were
also held. The Creative Dramatic Seminar-Workshop was accomplished in sub-team
and sub-team Copra. Red Dalogdog came all the way from Sindangan
to help us in the CD seminar. Studies on faith, sacraments and basic evangelization
also took place.
We have time to rest and recreate too.
Aside from the Monday day-off, we have regular team recreation once
a month. Last month, we had it on the beach in Barangay Mukas. We went
out boating, looking for shells and watching the fishermen gather fish.
It was fun-filled day for all of us.
We are now looking forward to the celebraton
of Advent and Christmas in the area.
The Redemptorist Itinerant Mission Team
Bert Cepe, CSsr with the GSK members
Conducting a seminar