CCD – Continuing Catholic Development of SSAP

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION: CCD STUDENTS AND THE LAST SUPPER

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Some gifts are so great that we remember them for a lifetime; and one such gift is the reception of our First Holy Communion. For last school year’s First Communicants, 52 CCD students received this precious gift on Saturday, 14 May, 2016, at 2.00pm at Santuario de San Antonio.

In welcoming parents, relatives and friends, the students said, “we will finally be receiving Jesus for the very first time in Holy Communion today. He is coming to make His home in us and we welcome Him with excitement, love and great joy”. And so began the Eucharistic Celebration of happiness and thanksgiving – the culmination of ten weeks of studying about and preparing for, their own Last Supper.

The Presider was Father Reu Jose Galoy, OFM, Parish Priest and CCD’s Spiritual Advisor. In his homily, he began by asking the children whether they had had lunch? “But you know, it is not all about food”, he added. “It is about what we present to one another. What you ate was the sacrifice, love , and care of your parents”. So “when we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, Jesus brings us all together. We come in communion with one another, to love one another”.

In her address, CCD Chair, Katty Roxas-Chua Qua, encouraged the children to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist regularly to nourish their souls and to give them strength throughout their lives. She thanked the parents for giving their children the blessing of learning and receiving the Sacraments; Father Reu, the Presider; the CCD committee; and all those who were involved in making this – a memorable and a joyful Eucharistic Celebration. Last but not least, she thanked the dedicated First Holy Communion Teachers: Dottie Pasia, Tess Sarmiento, Lisa So, Doris Cuenca, Micki Po and Crissy Castillo.

 

CCD CONFIRMATION RITES

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Last May 28, 2016, the CCD Ministry had the honor to mentor 62 students for Confirmation. This was the biggest batch ever to be confirmed and it is with utmost gratitude to know that the Spirit is behind its growth. Having seen the expansion of CCD in the past years, especially of those wanting to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, only attests to the need of us humans to get closer to our Creator, to fill that void deep inside us. That in the midst of all the chaos of the world, we hold on to faith and fervently pray that in learning about Him, we can better understand our purpose in this world.

To summarize the message of CCD Committee Chair, Katty Roxas-Chua Qua, the students have now been blessed with the Holy Spirit and have a deeper understanding of the faith. As the seeds of faith have been fed, the students are better able to recognize the truth with the gift of discernment. And as for the parents and godparents, she also reminded them of their responsibility to nurture these gifts and to be role
models on loving God and the Church.

The solemn event was lead by Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, and Santuario de San Antonio’s parish priest, Fr. Reu Jose Galoy. The event would not have been a success if not for the attention that the CCD Committee with Lia Te and Marivic Borromeo together with Leah Azarcon provided. Most of all, thank you for the grace that the dedicated Confirmation teachers, Mimi David, Nancy Gonewai, Yolanda Lomotan, Rolly Macabuag, and Rachelle Wenger, were given as they were able to volunteer their time, effort, and voice to share our faith to the students, aiming to always lead people we touch closer to God, closer to His purpose, and an understanding of one’s own gifts to make this world how the Creator has planned it.

As published in the August 7 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

A Taste of Silence By Conchitina S. Bernardo

A Taste of Silence
By Conchitina S. Bernardo2

A letter was sent to me by Nanise Gonewai, a native of the island of Fiji, now an active parishioner and member of Contemplative Outreach Philippines. Permit me to share:

Dear Chita,

When you had asked me to share my reflections and thoughts on “ GRATITUDE” for possible publication in our Parish Bulletin, the idea did not faze me at all solely and only because it is a word that’s daily on my mind, in my heart and on my lips . A large part of which is my new-found love for the Philippines and its people. Every morning, the first words I speak are “Heavenly Father, I bow my head this morning in prayer and in thanksgiving for my life, for all my blessings, and for bringing me to the Philippines”. And it is here in Manila, in the sunset of my life, that I have found true and enduring love through prayer, specifically Centering Prayer.

I arrived in your vast and vibrant country from Fiji in 2006. Within a week I was feeling at home and then found my niche through then Parish Priest, Father Tony Rosales, OFM – teaching catechism at the Parish’s Continuing Catholic Development (CCD) Ministry. My abiding love for children and teaching them about our faith are a channel for my serving the Lord through my work at CCD.

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I was introduced to Centering Prayer. The continuation of my spiritual journey began in earnest. Something, had been lacking in my life, which I had been searching for so long. In the silence of the prayer, I re-encountered God in different ways.

My first Introductory Retreat was a turning point in my spiritual life. I have never looked back. The prayerful life, the love, the support, and the friendship I have with my San Antonio Parish Support Group are priceless as they are constant, continuous and completely un-conditional.

It has been ten year, and my blessings are multiplied: I now have two grandsons, I have a loving and a caring family, I have a wonderful group of friends, I have my CCD classes still, I have my daily Lectio Divina, I have time to smell the roses, and with His infinite love and mercy, I enjoy good health and happiness. What more could one ask for? And so YES, GRATITUDE, is a word I am very familiar with.

I would like to share with you a reflection which is based on Psalm 100 “Enter the Temple gates with thanksgiving –THANKFULLNESS OPENS THE DOOR to My Presence.” Therefore, my total and endless Gratitude to Him for everyone and for everything in my life.

Nancy
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A DAY OF RECOLLECTION AND REFLECTION FOR CCD CONFIRMATION STUDENTS

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Confirmation students with Father Edwin Soliva, SDB, Facilitator, and teachers Rachelle Wenger, Mimi David, Yolanda Lomotan, Nancy Gonewai

The morning of Saturday, 23 January, dawned cool and sunny.  With happy anticipation, the CCD (Continuing Catholic Development) level 7 Confirmation students and their teachers gathered early at the Parish Centre – it was the day of their 2016 annual Recollection.  After a full briefing on the day’s program from the teachers, and a prayer for guidance and a safe journey, the group departed in two busloads from Santuario  de San Antonio Parish promptly at 8.00am  for the first part of their journey to Antipolo and the Eugenio Lopez Centre, the Recollection venue.

For the fifth year in a row, Father Edwin Soliva, SDB, was again the Facilitator and as in previous Recollections, his lecture, his advice, his counselling, his mentoring, his charisma – held the students spell-bound from the beginning to the end of the day’s activities.   The Recollection proper started at 9.00am and his opening remarks   were “Confirmation is allowing God to bring out the best in you and saying I CAN.”   And yet, he continued, of all the seven Sacraments, Confirmation is the most neglected, forgotten, and un-appreciated of all.  Therefore, as he told the students, he would teach them and show them how to receive, to respect and to sustain the coming of the Holy Spirit into their lives which would enable them to live their lives each day, to the fullest.

Father Edwin’s first talk was on the 3Ss  – stewardship  – the realization that we are mere caretakers and that all the blessings in life come from God;  simplicity –  the realization that there is a great God Who is in control and Who is the source of all our blessings; sharing – the realization that on receiving these many blessings, we not keep them to ourselves but share them with others just like Mary, when after the Annunciation, she travelled to visit and to serve her cousin, Elizabeth.

On Reflection, student, Gabe Bautista said “………… The last S is sharing and this means I should share what I have with others.  Sharing means to give but you don’t necessarily need to share objects, you can share knowledge and when you share knowledge, it means you teach something to others”.

Student Carina Samson, reflected on the final concept Father Edwin shared in his second talk on FEAR and LOVE.  Father Edwin demonstrated the difference between saying I can and I wish.   In her Reflection, Carina  said that Fear is a powerful force which can make man say “I wish I can but I can’t”   Love also is a powerful force that can make man say “If I want to make my dreams come true, I have to wake up and make them happen”.  “Father taught us how to sing the song I CAN by Donna Cruz –  ‘I’m so lucky I could smile, I didn’t know this for a while’ were the words which touched me the most because I used to complain about what I didn’t have in life instead of finding ways to enjoy the life I’m blessed with.”

The inspirational movie Father Edwin showed the students, FACING THE GIANTS, demonstrated what can happen if we allow the giants and failures to pull us down like what happened to the coach of the football team.  But his life turned around for the better when he surrendered his fear to God.  In his Reflection, Diego Lorenzana, concluded , “I like to think that fear and love are completely opposites.  Since it’s either being mediocre and being passionate.  ‘If we lose, we praise God, if we win we still praise God’ inspired the team’s determination never to give up.  Fear is always trying to fit in while love, is being yourself and showing passion to live the best life we can”.

As always, the day ended with the celebration of Holy Mass and thanksgiving for a truly wonderful and meaningful day.   The Chapel of the Eugenio Lopez Centre was standing room only and the presence of so many parents and siblings of the Confirmandi at Mass was indeed an affirmation to the teachers in particular, and to CCD in general, of the importance and the necessity of this annual Recollection, to fully prepare the students in the reception into their lives, of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation.  Part of the Offertory were  the students’ letters  to their parents in response to the parents’ Palanca to them.  Before the final blessing, the students read out loud to the congregation their individual “love dare” to make them realize that the Recollection was not an outing but instead, it was a great Timeout with their Coach (God), asking them to do something.

This Recollection has been special and unique in two ways : the students numbered the most with sixty-two who will be making their Confirmation in May; and the attendance rate was one hundred percent, breaking all CCD records – a sure testament to the teachers in prepping them well and mentoring to them, before the Recollection.

CCD TEACHERS’ WORKSHOP By Marga Gregorio

CCD
To kick off the new CCD (Continuing Catholic Development) school year, 2015- 2016, CCD organized a special workshop for its teachers last August 08, 2015, from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm in the Parish Center.

In the light of our fast-paced age of technology and digital world, which our students have lived in since birth (digital natives in fact), teachers were equipped with more updated teaching techniques, principles and tools to more relevantly and effectively transmit God’s truths to their students.

The speakers were Mary Ann Tantoco-Eala, 31 years in the academe, the Director for Academic Affairs in Assumption College San Lorenzo, Basic Education Division; her daughter , Mara Eala , also in the academe; Marie Anne Carina Villalon (Rina), 12 years in the academe, an Academic Assistant of Assumption College San Lorenzo Basic Education Division, also an English Teacher and a former team leader of the English/Literature Department; and Marie Katherine Villarruz, 15 years in the academe, a team leader of the Social Studies Department of the Basic Education Division of Assumption San Lorenzo.

The focus of the workshop was Brain-Based Learning (BBL) – Its essence is to learn in ways that are compatible with the way the humans naturally function. Thus, BBL is the purposeful Engagement, of effective Strategies, derived from Principles.

The workshop tackled seven main principles. The first principle focuses on Attention and Input Limitations with the mantra “Too Much Too Fast Won’t Last.” This challenges educators to keep things brief, and yet maintain the students’ attention by creating a connection between the lesson and the lives of the students. The second principle spoke of Rough Drafts, which suggests that our brain makes sketchy “rough drafts” until there is a better reason to hold, revise or drop the new learning. The third principle is Developmental Learning, which teaches that there are ideal types of learning for each stage of our developing brain. With teens for example, the basic recipe is lots of love, bonding and good nutrition. The fourth principle is “Emotions Rule,” which asserts that emotions organize and create our reality. It stresses that emotions release hormones, which affect our memory and preferential retention thereof. The tool “Emotional punctuation,” for example, is a tool to evoke an emotion so the brain “locks in” a memory of the event. Principle 5 is Mind and Body, which says “ body influences mind and mind influences body”. It points out that physical exercise improves classroom behavior, academic performance, social skills, motor fitness and attitude toward school. Exercise and physical activity can actually change brain structure and increase brain cells. The sixth principle is Adaptive and Flexible. The good news in this principle is the concept of Neurogenesis, where humans grow neurons or brain cells, such that enrichment programs can actually increase IQ. It maintains that our brains are not static or fixed; they are constantly changing.

This means that SMART and GOOD teaching can positively affect brains for the better. The seventh principle is “Perception, not Reality” which, explains that “brains only know what it takes in perceptually”. Also, “how you see yourself and your life” determines how you see and treat others. On “tips” on how to change students’ perceptions about themselves, they listed * Affirmations * Structured Journaling*Framing (redirecting attention and focus, which can alter states) * Stories/Biographies *Experiences debriefed * Sharing your own personal experiences.

Overall, the very engaging workshop ended by highlighting the Ideal attitude in GRATITUDE, that unlocks the “fullness of life,” and turns…
What we have into enough and more
Denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity
A meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend

Organized by the CCD Committee (Katty R.C. Qua, CCD Chairperson, with the CCD Committee Members, Lia Te & Marivic Borromeo), assisted by Nancy Gonewai and Office Assistant Leah Azarcon, under the guidance of Fr. Reu Jose C. Galoy, SSAP Parish Priest – who opened our workshop with a prayer – the Teachers’ Workshop was an enormous success. It was indeed a deep and enriching learning experience for all the teachers, an excellent opportunity to bond with co-teachers highlighted with a sumptuous lunch that recharged, inspired and delighted the entire CCD team. The Workshop facilitators were indeed engaging, dynamic and effective in transmitting this very novel, timely and necessary concept of Brain Based Learning, which elicited vibrant, lively and spirited interactions between the facilitators and the teachers.

CCD Confirmation Rites

On the Saturday of May 23, 2015, from 8-10 am, the level 7 CCD (Continuing Catholic Development) students (aged 12 – 14) were blessed to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, for the school year 2014-2015. The confirmandi were fifty-eight (58) in all, the largest number of recipients in CCD history. The presiding Bishop was His Excellency, the Most Reverend Francisco Mendoza de Leon D. D., Auxiliary Bishop of Antipolo, and the Concelebrant, our very own Parish priest – Fr. Reu Jose C. Galoy, OFM.

Beginning the school year last August 2014, the students were prepared for the reception of the Sacrament by basic catechetical instruction, immersing themselves more about Jesus’ life through Bible reading and film showing, learning prayers and doctrine through the aid of their textbook, “The Story of Jesus” in the Blessed Are We series, plus lessons on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. To assist and enhance the students along this path of their religious learning, CCD also provided a supplementary program consisting of a one-day Recollection, attendance to which was mandatory; and an afternoon set aside specifically for talks and discussions on the Holy Spirit. A program of prayer and praying was also an integral part of the Confirmation syllabus; and with the encouragement of their teachers and the support of the CCD committee, the confirmandi translated into action their acquired knowledge and faith through their outreach activity in ”TOPS”(a facility dedicated to the prevention of juvenile delinquency).

The elegant and regal apparel of the students (with the girls clad in a uniform “off-white” beaded dresses, and the boys in their jusi barongs and black trousers) on the rite itself, made them both interiorly and physically prepared to receive the Holy Spirit in this Sacrament. The confirmandi renewed their Baptismal promises with the pledge of support by parents and godparents. The “Laying of the Hands” and the “Anointing with Chrism” by the presiding bishop, and his invocation of “Gifts of the Holy Spirit,” implored our Lord God to fill them with his Spirit and seal them with the sign of the cross of Christ so that they may obtain everlasting life.

The CCD ministry, through guidance of the Holy Spirit, the benign pastorship of our parish priest Fr. Reu and all the SSAP priests, the dutiful compliance of the students, parents and godparents, the unwavering, generous leadership of the CCD committee (Lia Te- CCD chairperson, Katty Qua and Marivic Ortigas-Borromeo), the cheerful support of Leah Azarcon- office assistant, the guidance of CCD teachers Nancy Gonewai, Rachelle Wenger, Mimi David, Yolanda Lomotan and Marga Gregorio, the staff of SSAP, worked together as a team to realize yet another milestone in this Confirmation rite.

The beautifully captured photography of Lino Tey, the angelic voices of the Lester Delgado choir, the fresh and dramatic floral arrangements by Tony Padilla in the venue of our very own Santuario de San Antonio parish Church, contributed to this most memorable occasion.

“By the Sacrament of Confirmation the faithful are more perfectly bound to the Church and are endowed with the special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread the Faith by word and deed “(VATICAN II, Lumen Gentium, no. 11).

CCD-TOPS Feeding Outreach By Marga Gregorio

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For two Saturday mornings, April 18 and 25, the level 6-8 students of the CCD program engaged in another outreach activity. The beneficiary was the community of the TAHANAN OUTREACH PROJECTS AND SERVICES (TOPS), located in Sta. Ana Manila area where the children travelled to. TOPS is a pioneer organization dedicated in assisting street children, runaways, endangered and disadvantaged youth, with the main goal of preventing juvenile delinquency. The organization provides direct health, social work, educational, economic and crisis intervention services.

The CCD Outreach event last April jumpstarted the sponsorship of a weekly feeding program for 100 disadvantaged children between the ages of 5-10, for a duration of 6 consecutive months.

Fifty (50) CCD students were assigned on each Saturday of the designated outreach days. They were divided into four (4) groups: Food Preparation, Servers, Decor and Entertainment.

The décor group put up banners and tarpaulins, cleaned and set-up the venue, with all the energy and creativity they had. With great enthusiasm and a cheerful spirit, the food preparation group mixed the milk formulas, prepared ham and cheese sandwiches, hotdogs on sticks. They also helped in the preparation and cooking of pancit and spaghetti, by chopping the ingredients, sautéing, boiling the pasta, mixing, and packing them in Styrofoam containers. After the food preparation, servers eagerly served their wards or “alagas,” the food they themselves prepared, with joy in their hearts and a twinkle in their eyes. The entertainment group made sure to elicit from the children laughter and glee, with games and a simple program. We were heralded by the angelic voices of the childrens’ songs. The children of TOPS were also given ”loot bags” by the end of the activity to complete their fun-filled day. The CCD Committee led by Lia Te, Marivic Borromeo and Katty Qua supervised the event with the help of CCD teachers Aphro Abarquez (who served as host), Rachelle Wenger, Gabby Trinidad, Noel Amaya, Patrick Castaneda, Rolly Macabuag, Mimi David, Marga Gregorio, and our secretary, Leah Azarcon.

In this activity the CCD children somehow reflected Jesus’ attitude of servanthood as he manifested when he washed the feet of his disciples…for ”it is in giving that we receive,” as the prayer of St. Francis aptly states.

The CCD Outreach Programs throughout the year are mainly funded by our Light-A-Parol project, which is held every December. The main thrust of CCD for these outreach activities is to fulfill the “Faith In Action” aspect of its curriculum — to put into action Christian values and virtues taught to them in CCD. In this particular outreach, the children manifested virtues like humility, industriousness, cheerfulness, kindness, generosity and charity.