Farewell to Final Year Philosophers was held on Feb 21, 2018. Special Eucharist, followed by felicitation and dinner.
Fr Rector’s Message
My dear friends,
As we bid farewell to our third-year philosophers, we feel a sense of loss, but also of re-assurance – that as they journey on from our Home of Love, our brothers will continue to do well in their respective dioceses. After listening to the sharing of two of our brothers from the third-year philosophers, we feel a deep sense of fulfillment and gratitude witnessing the growth during this stage of their formation. They have learnt to discern and experience the unseen hand of God in their personal growth, the Spirit of God leading and guiding them during their formation. The formation they have received here was an opportunity to encounter God in all that they experienced, in every situation of life. An important lesson to take from this stage of your formation is to look back and learn from some of the mistakes you may have made. Learning from our mistakes in life is a source of great blessing for our growth and formation. From such lessons in life, you can draw strength to encounter the challenges that you may face in life; you can encounter the challenges in life by remaining faithful and committed to your vocation.
As you return to your respective Dioceses for regency, you will be entrusted with greater responsibilities – with the guidance of the faithful / students entrusted to your care. You will expect accountability from them, as you need to be accountable to your Bishops, Rectors and Parish Priests. What is countable has to be accounted for. Material resources like money are countable and thus you need to be accountable for them. The blessings you have received from God during your formation are countable and there you need to be accountable to God for the blessings He has showered on you.
For those of you who will be sent to schools or hostels for regency, on e of your key responsibilities will be administration – as you accompany, support and ensure a sense of discipline among the staff, students and the parents of students. Live a disciplined, lead by your example, so that your leadership, through witness, will bear fruits and results. You have grown and blossomed in your formation through freedom with responsibility. The formation that you have received was meant to prepare you for greater responsibilities, and not freedom from responsibilities. Take up the responsibilities assigned to you in your stride and commit yourself to the responsibilities assigned to. Please never stop teaching the catechism. Catechism is very important in deepening your faith and the faith of the faithful in God and in one another; it will strengthen your relationship with God and with others.
You have, as said by one of you, experienced the mystery of God’s love. Let this mystery become mission for you. My prayer for you is that you become signs of God’s love in our times, in our context, that you share God’s love with others, especially those at the margins of society. Let others know how God loves them. Always respect the poor and the needy. As you have all thanked each one of us, I would on behalf of our Home of Love like to thank each one of you for the services rendered to our Home of Love. Special thanks for your prayers, presence and giving of yourselves. We have learnt a lot from one another. All the best! Do well in your ongoing journey – in love and service! Thank you!
Dear Amigos, Enfugos
Sent out to be God’s signs! Of his enduring presence, unconditional love! It is truly difficult, not impossible.
“The falling tree makes more noise than the forest that grows steadily,” Pope Francis reminds us. The many mistakes and failing, symbolised by the falling tree, is louder than the still and silent Goodness, symbolised by the steady growing forest.
That is what you have been here. In your two to three years, you have made some noises and sounds; more than that you have also steadily, soundly grown… some mistakes, some painful experiences and through them also you have grown. Some of you have grown more than others. Truly, the years at the Home of Love have transformed you. Radically. For this, the rest of us are proud of you.
At the same time, today’s both readings (Jon 3: 1-10 & Lk 11: 29-32) urge us to perceive the presence of God in the ordinary people, even in their failures, mistakes and darkness. To discern the Jonahs around us, even when the goodness is not loud enough. The still small voice of God’s call and his presence is ever present, most of the time, drowned in the din and bustle of daily life…
And the challenge, when you leave the comforts of the Home of Love. Life will surely be more demanding, more troublesome…. But I am sure that you are prepared to travel the more uneven and unexpected path, especially in the coming year of regency. Furthermore, dear Amigos and Enfugoes, you are called to be the presence of God to the students, teachers , parish priests and others, who will always look upon you the new brother, who has come.
Expect trouble. Remember you were Amigos and Enfugos. Two Spanish words for friends on fire. But the fire of friendship, the presence of the still small voice, the confidence of the Joy that comes only, ONLY from God, may they truly accompany you. It should remind us of the Emmaus disciple on the way: “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” (Lk 24:32).
Dear Final Year Students, ware grateful that you have been part of our lives. You have changed and inspired us. Thank you. As you depart us, we know that you are capable of leading lives that are more demanding, more painstaking and more discerning. Yes, discern. The still voice of God. The unassuming presence of love. The unpretentious power of Goodness, in the people you will be with: the students who may be naughty, the teachers who may be lazy, the ordinary women who may not be smart, the priests who may be overpowering!
God, the loving Abbha of Jonah and Jesus, is in the hard-headed people. Perceive him. Discern him. Experience the fire of friendship with Him and with his people. Let our hearts keep burning, with love. May you be little Jonah’s and Jesus to them, since you may be the only Sign or Gospel, some of them encounter in their lives.
So on behalf of the Rector and the whole community, we want to assure you of our continued support, accompaniment and blessings! May you always remain signs of God’s abundant love and joy!