LEAD Story 384

MYANMAR - Following the plan of LEAD, the Brothers in Myanmar made their retreat during the Holy Week, Holy Thursday-Holy Saturday, 2022 April 14 to 16. The locations were in Yangon and Pyin Oo Lwin. Br Justine Nge Bo FSC renewed his annual vows in Yangon soon after the retreat but in Pyin Oo Lwin (May Myo), the renewal of vows of consecration was held only on the Octave Saturday of Easter, April 23 in the La Salle Juniorate Chapel. The parish priest of the Sacred Heart, Fr. Yan Naung, and two other priests, Frs. Anthony and Peter, led the liturgy. The invited guests were Franciscan and St. Joseph’s Sisters, their Novices and Aspirants in the parish, and also the youth of Sacred Heart Parish. The Aspirants of the Brothers led the choir.

At the renewal of the consecration of vows, Br. John Win Kyaw FSC made his Perpetual Vows and Br. Lucas Ah Do FSC made his annual renewal with Br. Hilary as their witness. Br. Noel accepted their vows in the name of the LEAD leaders and Br. Superior General of the Institute. Lunch was served to all visitors.

To boost up the morale and cooperation work of the youth in the parish, the Priests and Brothers organised a soccer competition in the afternoon of the profession day at the playground of the Brothers, where three teams took part. Actually, it was quite a gathering. A trophy was given to the winning team and also special awards for the outstanding players. Thanks to the LEAD coordinators for the three days of retreat. Thanks also to the facilitators/resource speakers: Br. Bernard FSC, Br. Ernest FSC, and Br. Peter FSC. (Text: Br. Hilary Htu Kyi FSC; Photos: Polycarp - Come and See Program)

THAILAND - Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year festival from ancient times. It is a celebration that embraces goodwill, love, compassion, and thankfulness, using water as the means of expression.

The festival of Songkran falls on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of April every year. The first day is known as Maha Songkran or the grand Songkran. The Thai government has declared Songkran festival as extended public holidays to enable the people to return to their hometown for family reunions, merry-making and reuniting with others in their community.

The 13th of April is also declared the Day of the Seniors or Elderly by the government. The occasion marks the appreciation for the senior population for their years of contribution to the family and country. The 14th of April is designated as Family Day to celebrate family love and togetherness.

The Brothers and Sisters celebrated together while having an Annual Retreat together at the Redemptorist Retreat Center, Minburi. (Text & Photo: Br. Joe Klong FSC)

THAILAND - The De La Salle Brothers and Sisters of Thailand convened for the annual Holy Week Retreat (HWR) from April 13-17, 2022, at Ruamrudee International School, Redemptorist Center, Minburi, Thailand. The retreat, conducted by Rev. Fr. Apisit Kristsaralam, C Ss.R, was attended by twenty-one Brothers and nine Sisters from the sector and considered the topic, "Living a Healthy Spiritual Life and Lasallian Spirituality.”

The retreat includes the traditional Songkran festival, a customary giving of honor to the elders by pouring water with flowers and scents, and the district's annual Easter renewal of vows. This year, eight Brothers renewed their vows and were accepted by Br. Joseph Klong FSC on behalf of the Lasallian East Asia District Visitor, Br. Armin Luistro FSC. The young Brothers who renewed their vows are the following: Br. Benedict Chaiwat Phanomworachai FSC, Br. John Pongpat Khasochan FSC, Br. Eugenio S.R. De Luna Jr. FSC, Br. Philip Bancha Pichitpraipana FSC, Br. Raphael Tanet Lertwaja FSC, Br. Matthew Thawatchai Chumkhamta FSC, Br. John Worawut Chinsee FSC, and Br. Luke Thatsaworn Nonthiboot FSC.

This retreat strictly adhered to the COVID-19 protocols. (Text: Br. Eugene De Luna FSC; Photos: Br. John Pongpat Khasochan FSC)

PHILIPPINES - Holy Week Retreat is one of the most important events of the Brothers in the Philippines. Normally, the Brothers in the sector or district would gather together at a specified location for days of sessions, reflections, prayers, and liturgical celebrations. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Holy Week Retreat in the Lasallian East Asia District was held by clusters this year with a common theme of “Building New Paths to Transform Lives.” In the Philippines, the Holy Week Retreat was divided into three clusters, based on geographical respective locations.

The Visayas and Mindanao cluster comprised of the Bacolod Brothers’ Community, the Ozamiz Brothers’ Community, and the Holy Infancy Brothers’ Community (Iligan), together with Br. Mikey Cua FSC, held its Holy Week Retreat at Chali Beach Resort and Conference Center in Cugman, Cagayan De Oro City, Misamis Oriental, from April 10 to April 17, 2022. The majority of the Brothers arrived on Palm Sunday, April 10, 2022, at the venue, but the entire group was completed on Holy Tuesday, a day before the official commencement of the retreat sessions.

Each day from Holy Wednesday until Black Saturday, a prayer service prepared by the Lasallian Formation Center began the session. On Holy Wednesday, a short sharing of experiences and reflections based on the Gospel was followed by the Brothers, while for Maundy Thursday until Black Saturday, the Brothers were divided into three groups based on the age group for the sessions. Each group was given a modular style of video-recorded sessions and reflective activities facilitated by a speaker. The Senior Brothers listened to the session of Br. Bernard LoCoco FSC of SFNO. The Middle-Aged Brothers’ session was facilitated by Br. Ernest Miller FSC of DENA. The Young Brothers had Br. Peter Ryan FSC of ANZPPNG as their speaker.

As members of the Catholic Church commemorating the Paschal Mysteries, the Brothers participated in the usual liturgical services. On Holy Wednesday, a simple Mass was celebrated in the chapel of the resort, with an invited local priest as the presider. On Maundy Thursday, the Brothers attended the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the San Vicente Ferrer Parish near the venue. On Good Friday, while some Brothers visited the Archdiocesan Shrine of Divine Mercy at El Salvador, Misamis Oriental for the Veneration of the Cross and Communion, other Brothers stayed and celebrated the same liturgies at the San Vicente Ferrer Parish. Finally, the Brothers welcomed the Risen Christ during the Easter Vigil, still at the San Vicente Ferrer Parish together with the rest of the parishioners. Brothers Irwin Anthony Climaco FSC, Michael Vincent Roli Paildan FSC, Henry Gyi FSC, Ivan Karlo Umali FSC, Jeanoel Endaya FSC, and Abram Michael De Leon FSC renewed their vows thereafter in the chapel of the Chali Beach Resort and Conference Center in the presence of the rest of the Brothers. The Young Brothers’ renewal of vows was accepted by Br. Mandy Dujunco FSC on behalf of the community directors.

While the Holy Week Retreat of the Brothers ended on Easter Sunday, the Good News of the Risen Lord remains in each Brother’s spirit as the Brothers continue to be renewed in building paths of transformation for the sake of the mission. (Text: Br. Ivan Umali FSC; Photos: De La Salle Brothers - Bacolod Official Facebook Page)

PHILIPPINES - Finally after years of hiatus, the Brothers Live-In Program (BLIP) resumed at the Residencia De La Salle last March 20–26. The program had four participants, AJ Remorosa and Reine Cruz from De La Salle University – Dasmariñas and Karlo Dayawon and Lee Asuncion from De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute. Not only was it an activity to facilitate vocation discernment, it was also a project where the members of the community contributed and worked together.

After the participants cleared the safety thresholds, their sessions began right away. Their first session was with Br. Jun Estrellas on the basics of prayer. The next session was a walk with Br. Gus at the Annex Property of DLSMHSI where he shared his experiences and reflections on the Lasallian Mission. The dining area (lobby) was inspiringly noisy and the community chapel was full again.

During the day, the Brothers and the participants went on with their usual grind of work and studies but after dinner there were sessions as well. Br. Sockie facilitated a discussion on the basics of discernment. Br. André was also very present and engaged the participants during meal times. The BLIP staff – Br. Arian, Br. Marvin and Br. Aikee shared their personal stories. Br. Weegee from the De La Salle Lipa Brothers Community also joined and presented the formation journey of a Brother. There was a province- wide holiday within the BLIP week so we took the chance to have a peek into the Shrine of St. John Baptist de La Salle at the Laguna Campus of De La Salle University. (Text & Photos: Br. Aikee Esmeli FSC)

Here are some of the messages of the participants to the Brothers community:

“I would like to thank you, the Brothers, for sharing your stories to me. Your stories were full of reflection, a lot of learnings and it touched my heart.”

“I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to remember God’s presence in my heart. This program opened my eyes once again that I am worthy to feel his love and compassion.”