MISSION CROSS: HANDUMANAN SA MISYON

Why do we love making memories?

What strengthens the bond of friendships, of families and communities are the memories (unforgettable ones) that they make together. This is what I believe, at least in my personal reflection. And there are three reasons that I see why.

First, because it was done “together.” Joy is being experienced being together with people we love and cherish. “Togetherness” is such a big word but means a lot when we have the presence of each other. The company of each one is enjoyed and friendship or family tie is developed.

Second is the opportunity to know each other more. Discovering ourselves and others brings learning opportunities for us especially of the likes and dislikes, of the differences, strengths and weaknesses of our friends and/or family members. Allowing ourselves to be discovered, of who we really are and welcoming others too, bring us towards intimacy, to a deeper friendship or relationship.

Third, this inspires growth in us, growth in the way relate with others, growth that we experience personally, as a group of friends and as a community. Behind this growth were the moments of “sharing” – in extending oneself for a friend, for a family member. This is how we share food, drinks, resources, time and our presence. We also share our stories, share our burdens as well as our joys. We share our person, our talents and abilities to one another.

Growth then, is experienced when we learn how to extend and go beyond ourselves for a friend, for a brother, a sister, a parent, a cousin or a relative. Because of these experiences and reasons of making memories, we make “memorabilia” – like photos which we commonly have. In the past, we have photo albums created and labeled each photo to remind us of those memorable events.

The Parish Mission Cross

The three-month Parish Mission in San Isidro Labrador Parish, Balabagan, Lanao del Sur, became an opportunity for me as a missioner and a pastor with the Mission Team, to make memories with the people. Aside from the photos we have, it has been the tradition of the Redemptorist Missionaries especially here in the Redemptorist Province of Cebu to erect mission cross in every chapel and community to remind us and the people of the mission that we share together.

With Ate Portia Awayan, FLARE, Ate Milgaros “Erot” Miole – Chapel Coordinator of Upper Itil, Balabagan, LdS

The Mission Cross, as it bears our Christian identity, culture, tradition and faith in the Risen Christ serves also as a “reminder to the people that as a Church, we continue the mission of God.”

The formal three-month Parish Mission in celebration of the 50th plus 1 anniversary of the Parish did not just end there. The Mission Crosses now erected in the Parish and in its chapels bear the identity that each of us, is a missionary. As missionaries we make more memories as we relive the memory of Jesus in the Eucharist and in every Sacrament that we celebrate.

As a young Redemptorist Missionary, the Mission Cross, as Handuman sa Misyon (Reminder/Sign of the Mission) imprints three realizations for me.

First is the “JOY” of being with the Mission Team and with the People of God in Balabagan. The presence of each member of the team and of the many people in the Parish paved the way towards friendship.

Second is the opportunity for me to discover myself more, my strengths and weaknesses as a team leader and as a young pastor. As I discovered myself, I also began to develop friendship with the people and to learn more in welcoming differences.

Third is the experience of personal growth by being challenged to go beyond my comforts, to take the risk to become a person for others. Moreover, what inspired more of the growth was the very experience of generosity of the team members and of the people around me. They have not just shared their resources but also their talents and abilities, time and presence, their hearts and homes. This became an occasion for me to develop more friendships and homes among the people of Balabagan even in the midst of this pandemic.

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