February 26, 2013 marked a special day for the Secular Franciscans of our Parish. We made this day count, waking up hours before the break of dawn to hop in the Coaster and Previa of fellow members, Sr. Freddy Consunji and Sr. Pet Lim respectively to drive through the roads and highways going to San Pedro Bautista Spirituality Center in Botolan, Zambales.
The Center is almost complete now and has been one of the definite cause and focus of Fr. Joel E. Sulse, OFM amongst his numerous responsibilities during his first term as Parish Priest in SSAP. Indeed Parishioners should visit to understand its beauty and spirituality. According to Fr. Joel, many pilgrim visitors and seminarians desiring to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord feel God’s presence in their hearts.
Upon reaching the Center, Fr. Joel welcomed us with heart-warming hospitality. Not long after, the Lenten Recollection immediately followed with Fr. Joel and Sr. Grace Padilla’s message gently touching the hearts of Secular Franciscans to understand the double bind Jesus was in, in the Agony in the Garden. When Jesus asked our Father God “to take His cup of suffering away from Him” He ended saying “not my will but Thine.” Jesus as man went through worst pain and suffering that we, as ‘humans’ can experience in a lifetime. Like Jesus, we pray to understand God’s purpose in one’s life, more so during every double bind we experience and in union with God in prayer may we choose “not my will, but Thine.”
After, we gathered to participate in the first Eucharistic Celebration ever said in the new Chapel of Franciscan Saints. One feels the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peaceful tranquillity as we knelt and sat . . . praying in the Chapel, a solid and junior version of our San Antonio Church. The Gospel Readings and music played were very appropriate as Fr. Joel repeated the mission of all Christians to witness, serve and take part, sharing in spreading God’s Word and Kingdom.
The Secular Franciscans ended their pilgrim visit and Lenten Recollection going back to the roots of creation, planting trees along the seashore. We were happy and thankful to have contributed to the greening and procreation of Mother Earth in the Spirituality Center. Indeed, the visit though far, is a worthwhile pilgrimage. Our body and soul were nourished to experience the greater joy and miracle of knowing God’s love for us.