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East Asia Province holds 1st Marist Volunteers Annual Gathering

16/08/2019: Philippines

To laud volunteers’ services in impoverished communities, and commission new volunteers for the different missions in Asia and the world, Marist Volunteers Program- East Asia Province held the First Marist Volunteers Annual Gathering on August 3-4, 2019, at Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Philippines.

With the leadership of Br. Edgar R. Ceriales, FMS, Marist Lay Volunteer Program Coordinator of East Asia, the event sought to contextualize the vision-mission to provide the lay people with opportunities for the actual experience of sharing in the mission of Jesus, of being available to serve people on the margins.

The affair underscored the calls of 22nd General Chapter and the dream of Br. Dominador Santiago, FMS, Provincial of East Asia, for a praying, caring, and daring Province.

The on-boarding activities highlighted sharing of experiences of volunteers: Mrs. Noemi Silva, Ms. Kimberly Camiring and Ms. Emelyn Cangrejo focused on the importance of needs assessment and the realities that awaited them in Pailin, Cambodia; Mrs. Grace Balde and Mr. Jose Leandre Valdez shared their life-changing encounters in doing cultural mapping and product development for business enterprise in Malutok, Palawan; Ms. Ella Alyssa Aguirre and Ms. Ophie Marcelino focused on the need for the significant presence of people on the lives of the children in Marcellin Home in General Santos City. The activities were facilitated by Ms. Agnes Reyes, Co-chair of the Laity Commission-Rome.

Also in attendance were Br. Allan de Castro, Chairman of the Mission Commission for East Asia, who gave an overview of the mission areas and underscored the need for lay volunteers, and Bro. Jeffrey Guinoo of Vocation Ministry-Philippine Sector, who stressed the roles of the laity in the invitation of the young for Marist vocation.

Bro. Valdicer Fachi, FMS, Director for Mission International, in his video message encouraged the volunteers, “Becoming a volunteer demands a responsibility, openness, availability, and the capacity to serve. In encountering other people, the one who gains the most is yourself”.

Br. Ceriales, during the commissioning and send-off liturgy of the volunteers, said, “the children and the young people in the margins can’t wait any longer to experience how Jesus love them through you”.

The preparation of new commissioned volunteers will start soon after.

By: Christy Loida E. Legad

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