So I was asked to be one of the sharers in our parish’s Lenten Recollection. It happened last Saturday, March 28.
We did it differently this year. Instead of having just one speaker or resource person, seven parishioners were selected to share on each of the Seven Last Words of Christ relative to peace and peace-building. The poster above bears the theme of the recollection.
The sharers were chosen not just for their talent in public speaking (as I am clearly wanting in this department) but for the wealth of their personal experiences from which they could draw their sharing. The areas that were touched included inner peace, peace within the family, peace in the community and society, and accepting one’s mission and vocation.
I was given the first words: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:24), and I related it to peace in the society. Tita Gilda shared a reflection on the words “Amen I say to thee, this day you shall be with me in paradise” (Luke 23: 43) and connected it to the plight of OFW families. Sis. Cory, a Pro-Life advocate, also shared about the family but in relation to the third words: “Woman, behold your son. After that, he said to the disciple: Behold your mother” (John 19: 26-27).
Bro. Nelson was the fourth to share (“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Matthew 27:46) and he brought us with him in his recollection of his late wife’s final hours and how he questioned God’s seeming refusal to grant his wife more years. For his part, Bro. Leo shared about his thirst for God despite having “good” breaks in his career (“I thirst!” John 19:28).
Sr. Toni started her sharing by comparing her vocation story with that of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly, a process of dying to one’s self to heed a higher calling (“It is finished.” John 19:30). And for the last words: “Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit,” (Luke 23:46), Sis. Dolly shared the difficulty and glory of total surrender to the Lord.
In between the sharing were moments of silence, songs, and prayers said by selected kids.
Fr. Tuzzi Flores, SSP, parish priest, closed the night with a simple reminder for the community to always strive to work harmoniously together to bring about a community of peace. As a way of saying thanks, he gave each on of us this beautiful image of the St. Joseph sleeping on his side.
According to Fr. Tuzzi, Pope Francis spoke about how he would slip in pieces of paper where he wrote anything that bothers him under the pillow of St. Joseph so he could dream about it and help him pray over those problems and concerns. The Pope, he said, told this story when he visited last January. Interestingly, everybody seems to know about this, including Babs and Mama, except me! 😀
The church was full that night and we heard very positive feedback from those who attended. I was told that this may be repeated in the recollections to come. Yes, I agree. Life experiences really hit home and because of the variety of the sharings, there is surely at least one that would speak to an attendee. The night ended with the community with candles lit singing “Let there be peace.”
Lastly, I would like to make a shoutout to those who worked in the background and made sure that things are in order and smoothly flowing. Special thanks to the choirs as well: San Jose Male Choir, Mater Dolorosa Chorale, Couples for Christ Music Ministry, Simeon’s Choir, and Second Chronicle Choir. Thank you very much, beautiful people!