From 14-25 October 2019, I attended the CIL formation program, "Great Things Are Possible: Lasallian Association", inspired by the theme of III AIMEL (with the same title), held at the Casa Generalizia. The twoweek program was attended by some 60 participants coming from all five Lasallian Regions. From PARC, there were six of us - LEAD (Br. Mawel Pajarillo and I), India (Br. Tambi Poturaju), Sri Lanka (Br. Henry Dissanayake and Maximus Perera), and Vietnam (Br. Joseph Nguyen). About one-third were women, the rest divided among Brothers and male lay partners.
The Brother Superior, Br. Robert Schieler FSC, welcomed the participants. He talked about the Lasallian Association in Mission and offered three questions for reflection: (1) Reflecting on your experience, how would you describe the attitudes and actions of a committed Christian in today’s Church? (2) Conversion or a “change of heart” are essential to the Christian life: as you consider your own lived experience, can you describe the people and events that are leading you to move into the unknown, to go beyond your comfort zone and to encounter those who are different? (3) Lasallian Scholar Brother Michel Sauvage, when considering whether association was essential to the Institute, turned the question around and asked “What is essential to association?” His closing message of hope was "Let us pray that we continue to be open to God’s Holy Spirit as we reflect on the diverse forms of Lasallian association – the many paths that lead to the same summit.”
The overall goal of the program was for participants to create a "toolbox" of ideas and "itinerary" for formation to promote association in our respective districts. The term "itinerary" was used to mean pilgrimage or journey due to translation into two other languages (Spanish and French), it was the term deem most appropriate. And by "toolbox", the participants were encouraged to assemble a set of ideas, tools, activities, events and programs that would promote association in our respective districts.
Several Lasallian documents on Association (like Circular 461 and 469, Stories of Hope - Bulletin 254, Set out in Haste: Association for the Lasallian Mission - 2017 Pastoral Letter and the Pilgrim's Handbook) were used as reference to study and discuss the development of the involvement of lay partners or associates in the Lasallian Mission. Participants were engaged in lively small group discussions, personal reflections and sharing at plenary sessions. Each day began with Eucharistic celebration and evening prayers.
On the last day, each participant was given a chance to share their dreams and reflection on their experience of the past two weeks. And it was evident that all were deeply moved and inspired by the program to more actively promote and continue their involvement in the Lasallian Mission "together and by association”.
Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever. (Text & Photos: Mr. Jay Gervasio)
PARC representatives - (Standing left to right: Br. Joseph Nguyen (Vietnam), Mr. Keane Palatino (Coordinator, International Lasallian Youth Council), Br. Tambi Poturaju (India) and Sr. Thoa Ta (Vietnam, La Salle Sisters). Seating left to right: Mr. Jay Gervasio (Philippines, LEAD), Br. Mawel Pajarillo (Philippines, LEAD), Mr. Maximus Perera (Sri Lanka) and Br. Henry Dissanayake (Sri Lanka).