Part of the formation of those preparing for the priesthood is to spend time with two apostolic religious communities and one contemplative community. For the contemplative experience they go to the Trappist monks. Bro. Nico is the eightth seminarian to spend one month with the Good Shepherd Baguio community. The program started in 2014 and so far the experience has been mutually enriching and positive. The seminarians join the community for prayer and meals, and they work in the apostolate. They do home visits of applicants to our program, conduct values formation, work in the food production and the store.
When the sisters asked Bro. Nico what aspects of the ministry challenged him the most, his reply was 'cooking peanut brittle and dealing with customers in the store'. Brother Chad, a previous seminarian, shared that he appreciated how we 'take care of each other in community, specially caring for the elderly sisters'. Another seminarian could not sleep after visiting the houses and homes of the student-worker applicants. He wondered if the family members took turns in sleeping as there was hardly any space for so many people.
Hopefully this experience of seminarians living and working with sisters will have an impact in the future when they become parish priests and collaborate with religious in parish and diocesan programs.
Above Brother Nico, Sisters Cecilia Torres, Jeva Sumbillo, Veron Nobleza.
Click here for more photos - Seminarian reflects upon ministry exposure experience
Reflections of Bro. Nico Angelo Mendoza posted at his Facebook account June 9, 2018 at 8.45am
Beloved friends of the Good Shepherd, today I end my month-long exposure with the Good Shepherd sisters here at Baguio City and I am leaving with a heavy heart precisely because mine is full of gratitude.
Allow me to frame my realizations under three headings: RGS - Reality and respect, giftedness and generosity, and sisters in the Lord.
The first R stands for REALITY and that is the first thing I carry home with me. In my encounter with the sisters, I realize that some realities should not only be accepted but confronted. There are realities calling each of us to alleviate, to improve, especially when it concerns the many injustices, the many forms of inequalities that permeate our society.
Here at Good Shepherd, I met many outspoken sisters who are not afraid to speak up, not afraid to make enemies if only it could bring about positive change in the community. I am inspired. And I endeavor to be more like them.
The second R stands for RESPECT. Having gone through the many processes in production, I have met many mothers, many students who refuse to give up, who refuse to let their situations in life tell them that life will always be so and so. Here I met dreamers, go-getters. I have so much respect and admiration for all of them.
The first G stands for GIFTEDNESS. Everyday I meet new people. Everytime I transfer from one section to another there were always angels who guided me, who made me feel accepted. I thank the Lord for the many good people who have been gifts to me. I am blessed beyond measure because of their person.
The second G stands for GENEROSITY. Part of realizing that I am blessed immensely is the call to live generously. One smile goes a long way; an aura of approachability is finer than respectability. In my dealings with everyone, this has been my daily prayer - to be more generous with myself, to be more open to others, to be more welcoming.
I learned this precisely in the store where many customers come and go bringing with them their baggages, their weariness from their travels. When we endeavor to be more generous than what is required, we become gifts to the people we meet. We put them in a situation where the only thing left to do is to relax, to be more understanding, to be more positive.
S stands for SISTERS. Prior to coming here I have always said to myself that whenever I have problems, some kind of difficulty along the way, I could always count on my brothers to help me. They have my back. As I leave today, I am assured of sisters and mothers praying for me, admonishing me to be good and to be faithful to my vocation.
Wherever the journey will take me, will take all of us, I am most grateful for the friendship, for the concern and the motherly reminders you have imparted me with. Thank you RGS sisters for teaching me to confront reality and allowing me to grow in respect. Thank you for the many gifts of our encounters and for enabling me to be generous with myself. And finally, thank you because we are friend... There's nothing more I could ever ask for.
I assure you of my prayers and I keep all your motherly reminders, pondering them in my heart.