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Ad Gentes Project

08/06/2010: General House - Photo gallery

From the 2nd to the 28th of May, I made my first trip as Coordinator of the Ad Gentes Project. I had the chance to visit and to meet with people deeply involved in this project both in the Philippines and in Thailand. In the Philippines, at the MAPAC compound in Manila, I met the current “Davao 2010” group that will begin the three-month training mission in Davao, Mindanao, southern Philippines. They will start on June 15. This training program is administered in a way which should lead to a discernment regarding each one’s future in the mission. At the end of this phase, all participants must find the future path that the Lord is reserving for them within Mission Ad Gentes and find the path in each one’s proper way.

This group is composed of seven lay people and five brothers. They have been in Manila since October 2009 in order to learn English. A good, basic knowledge of English is of great importance because it is the language of communication in the Ad Gentes sector. As in any group, there are those who pick up languages quite easily and those who have more difficulty. With few exceptions, all members of the group felt confident in their ability to master the basics of the English language: just what they need to follow the course of Davao, since it is given in English. This will not prevent the General Council from assessing and evaluating this and other similar courses, nor from trying to find ways of organizing them properly, in order to produce better results. All participants will have a great advantage if they arrive in Davao with a good preparation in English.

The group contains some features not found previously, most notably presence of lay people. Also for the first time, there is a couple “applying” to move into the Mission Ad Gentes countries, after the Davao course. This has led the leadership team to seek new housing arrangements to respond in the best possible way to this situation. We left the house of the Sisters and opted to rent several houses to accommodate the new group. Economically, it was worth it: the rental price is much more affordable. More important than financial considerations, however, is the possibility that this new situation offers us for a better distribution of candidates: all the women well be in a house; the couple will remain alone in a different house; the brothers and one layman will be in a quite big property where there are three houses, which means three small communities. This distribution into different hostels will solve many problems we would face if all were living in the same house without appropriate spaces. We thank all those who contributed their time and efforts in Davao city searching for such houses, so that this new situation became possible.

I was able to interview all the brothers and all the lay people. In doing so I was very happy. All of them have great qualities and can be builders of projects that are arising constantly in the new communities of Mission Ad Gentes. However, it is true they have to make a personal effort to find the best way to find a convenient rhythm fitting for a community made of both brothers and lay people. This is not always easy. Yet the experience of this group can enlighten the decisions that can be taken for future groups of lay people and brothers. Apart from this organizational principle which must still be studied and lived with great flexibility, an idea was emphasized by all: you cannot conceive the future of the Mission Ad Gentes, without lay Marist missionaries. Together with the brothers, they play a significant role in the mission, not only as collaborators but as people who, whether married or single, are living the same Marist charism. The call of God is for everyone, as some said. And they said, I came to Davao to respond to my Marist vocation.

They will make their presentation on our website in the near future because they are about to start the course of Davao. It is good that the Institute gets to know these men and women who have committed themselves to this wonderful adventure of Mission Ad Gentes. The course of Davao will help them to discern the next step: to set out like Abraham, in an attitude of faith-based obedience to the country that the Lord will show them.

___________
Br. Teofilo Minga
Project Coordinator Ad Gentes

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