Congregated As One Brother’s Live-In Program (BLIP) Batch 1

LEAD Story 394

PHILIPPINES - The Holy Infancy Brother’s Community (HIBC), located inside La Salle Academy, Iligan City, spearheaded a program called the Brother’s Live-in Program (BLIP) for the school year 2022-2023, which aims to share the life of the Brothers to young men. The first batch of the Brother’s Live-in Program started on September 21 until 25. The program promotes the Lasallian core values - the spirit of faith, zeal for service, and communion in mission. It is a rare experience that would allows for building fruitful bonds with the De La Salle Brothers in the community, exposure to the Lasallian mission, and facilitating meaning in the 5-day stay inside the Brother’s house.

I can remember myself back then, curious and invited by Br. Eugene into the program, and able to appreciate the life of the Brothers. It is then I found a door toward opportunities for self-discovery and fruitful experiences. Nourished by these involvements, I am then motivated to become the facilitator in the program, welcoming young men to the Holy Infancy Brother’s Community - Iligan. Last September 9, I volunteered to become the BLIP facilitator and grabbed the opportunity to take part in this program. I was tasked by Br. Ivan to help the Brothers in assisting and supervising the live-inners - Marcus Cuaton, Ralph Espanio, Raphael Soriano and Rojh Balag. They are students from Grade 12 STEM of La Salle Academy and are curious about the life of the Brothers. I was accompanied by the Brothers in doing my responsibilities and was able to create shared moments with the community, as the live-inners walk through a step of knowing a purpose and meaning.

Congregated as one in faith, the live-inners and I were able to participate in morning and evening prayer services with the use of the Breviary where I was able to encounter again the regular prayer routines of the Brothers. The essence of silence and reflection were continuously observed and, praying not just for the self but also for other people as well. The community attended Thursday and Saturday masses in the Redemptorist Church of Iligan. These provide the opportunity to contemplate and communicate with God through solemnity and prayer – both said and unsaid. In expressing one’s spirit of faith, a session on faith took place facilitated by Br. Dan, where each one of the live-inners holistically participated. I was able to see myself in them, curious and interested to take part in getting to know oneself in listening and communicating to God.

Congregated as one in service, together with the community, the live-inners participated in a Confrére session together with the student organizations in the school, promoting the zeal for service through acts of love. I was able to reflect on Br. Henry’s closing remarks statement, “fall in love. Stay in love. And it will decide everything”, that in everything we do, do it with love which I can relate to the acts of service to people. To appreciate the Lasallian mission through service, a session headed by Br. Ivan took place where the liveinners participated and contemplated, as well. Together with the Aspirants and Contacts of the Iligan, the live-inners from the Holy Infancy Brother’s Community – Ozamiz, Saint Brother Miguel Academy (SBMA), we attended the session for emotional wellbeing which enabled us to revisit our emotions and self-awareness. The program involved group sharing, interactive activities, and gathering, promoting inclusivity and openness in working as one in mission.

Congregated as one in communion, the Brother’s community gave us the opportunity of building friendships with other people inside and outside the community. I, together with the live-inners and the Brothers had meals where we were able to have enjoyable interactions, listening to vocational stories of the Brothers, and sharing common interests, where most of their curiosity unlocks. This prompts my reflection on the essence of eating and praying together as a means of promoting close ties and understanding. As the BLIP facilitator, I was able to reflect on the importance of taking responsibility and nourishing camaraderie with the live-inners and the Brothers where I was able to laugh, learn, reflect and interrelate with them. To appreciate the essence of communion, they had their session on communion headed by Br. Henry and had dyads with the Brothers. I was able to appreciate companionship and brotherhood in this activity which inspires me to become a listener and companion, as well. Additionally, the community from Iligan, and Ozamiz – who also had their BLIP, were joined together. The activity involves sports, games, and going to onw of Iligan’s majestic waterfalls, Tinago Falls. It is where the fraternal celebration took place as we gathered as one.

The BLIP not only unfolds what is the life of the Brothers but also shares vocation and journey – the journey with God, with others, and with yourself. It encourages self-reflection, awareness, and hope that in life, you just have to take one step and that step moves you to many opportunities, leading you to different paths that you might take. Journeying with these young men allowed me to contemplate life and see where a “Yes, Bro!” could lead. As I continuously reflect on the experiences that I had during the BLIP as the facilitator, I come to appreciate the importance of unity, companionship, openness, and understanding. Congregated as one in faith, service, and communion, all shares one goal – to carry forward the Lasallian mission.

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever! (Text: Louie Edrozo - Iligan Aspirant; Photos: Br. Jeanoel Andaya FSC and Michael Joshua Aban - Iligan Aspirant)