This Summer has been a wonderful time within Saint Conforti House which hosts the Xaverian Theologate of Asia. Soon after the end of the school year 2011-2012, our Community planned a set of activities whose aim was to provide to Brothers and Fathers a meaningful and rejoicing Summer vacation.
First and foremost, priority was given to the study of the main local language of the Philippines: Tagalog. Most of the Brothers were involved in this learning in order to get at least a glimpse of the beauty of Tagalog and to come across basic words for daily conversations. It goes without saying that for us Missionaries, learning the local language of the country where we work is unquestionable. Moreover, to speak with the local people in their own “wika” (dialect) is part of our inculturation. A renowned Tagalog teacher, Ms Bien Spinoza, came over our House for more than one month and introduced the Brothers in the vast realm of Tagalog.
Fr Thiago, who has been assigned to our new Mission, in Thailand went on with his English studies. Given the remarkable progress he has achieved so far, we foresee for him a brilliant future in Thailand where he will have to pick up Thai.
Along with this language studies, our Community had the opportunity to be introduced in Buddhism and Japanese philosophy by Fr. Tiziano, sx who works in Japan. Fr Tiziano was invited to provide an intensive course of philosophy to some Brothers whose philosophy studies were incomplete. He happily accepted the invitation and gave by his presence to our Summer a colorful moment. Thrice a week, he had the whole Community gathered to listen to him as he explained the substance of Buddhism. His talks reached their climax when Fr. Tiziano presented impartially the opinions of Buddhists practitioners regarding Christianity. Some challenges where acknowledged though we Christians believe that in Jesus, God has revealed all we need to know for our salvation. For all of us, this course of introduction to Buddhism was relevant for Buddhism is one of the most popular religions in Asia.
The week that followed the return of Fr Tiziano to Japan was dedicated to rest and leisure. In the Philippines, it is a very well known custom that during Summer, groups, families and associations give themselves a time to relax a make fun. This usually takes place “out” of the house and is therefore called outing. So, for our outing, we set out for a small city in the East of the country called Infanta. The time we spent in Infanta was tremendous in the full meaning of the word. Contact with nature in its beauty and freshness gave to everyone a sense of awe. The pure air of the mountain and the waterfall added a lot to our joy. Above all, the majesty of the ocean in which we all swam every afternoon was amazing. After supper, we got lots of laughers in playing billiard and singing karaoke. We also enjoyed fishing and gazing at the loveliness of far remote mountains. So for one week, we were far from Manila and its congestive avenues. For one week, we went back to nature.
The week after the outing was dedicated to the preparation of our Community Project of Life. During five days, we all sat down in the presence of the Spirit of the Lord and reflected upon the priorities to be given to the next school year which is already dawning.
As we thank the Lord for such a great Summer, our thanksgiving arises specially for the gift of new Filipino philosophy students. After attending a week of search-in held in our House by the Vocation Team, they decided to start the path which will lead them in the Missionary Family of saint Conforti. To all, we wish a happy and fruitful school year 2012-2013.