The First Asia Pacific Provincial Chapter opened last January 25, 2019 (feast of the Conversion of St. Paul) at the PCFC, San Lorenzo, Makati, with the theme : “Impelled by the Spirit, let us risk being at the frontiers, at the service of life. ‘Love never says, it is enough !’”
The Opening Liturgy was facilitated by the delegates from Japan.
Sr. Lerma Victoria, Provincial Superior and Presider of the Chapter, welcomed the Delegates and made a Roll Call of the 12 Sister-Delegates-by-Right and 17 Sister-Delegates-at-Large. Each one responded “Present” in her respective language.
All 29 delegates accounted for, Sr. Lerma continued :
We are “gathered in the name of Christ, and so, if we are to think, reflect and decide in the name of Christ, then the Chapter is above all, a special moment of discernment. It is a time of listening to the promptings of the Spirit who will guide us to be faithful to our Charism in this 21st Century. The same Spirit that inspired our MME and our first Sisters is active in the hearts of the members of the Province gathered here today and in the hearts of all our Sisters in our communities, as we live this ‘formal’ experience of the Chapter.”
The main task of the Chapter was a) to reflect, discern, agree and arrive at a consensus regarding the structure of Government and animation for the Province, and b) to elect the Provincial Councilors for Asia Pacific (AP) Province.
The Steering Committee was composed of Sr. Lerma as head, Sr. Ma. Josefina “Marjo” Matias, Sr. Josefina Maria Magat, and Sr. Francis Keiko Miyamoto. The Chapter Secretary was Sr. Stella Maria Sanz with her team : Sr. Mary Junalyn, Sr. Anna Marie (Phuong) and Mrs. Kat Gabriel.20190128_140344
To guide the body in its discernment, Sr. Lerma asked the delegates to reflect on the article adapted from Jim Christie, SJ’s “Introduction to the Process of Spiritual Discernment”.
DAY 2. Report on Proposed Structures
The Delegates listened to the collated Reports from the different communites on their proposed structures of Government and animation of the AP Province.
Formed into Workshop Groups, the delegates then identified 1) the New, 2) the Repeatedly Expressed, and 3) the Significant, from the Reports.
From these, the first draft of the kind of Councilors needed was presented to the Assembly for further reflection.
DAY 3. Day of Prayer and Reflection for the Election Process
After asking the delegates to review Sections 106 and 170 of the Rule of Life, Sr. Lerma presented the discernment and election process adapted from the one used during the General Chapter, to enable them to enter into the same process.
- As the existing Workshop Groups, each member presents 3 names (nominees) with her reason for each. Then, as a group, come up with 2 scenarios for a possible composition of the Provincial Council. These were then posted for the other delegates to read (Gallery Walk).
- Personal time to reflect and pray over the list of nominees, and if desired, to approach and ask any of them one or both of the given questions, followed. The latter, referred to as structured conversation, served as an opportunity for an honest and reverential manner of conversation with/about any Sister on the List of Nominees.
- A ‘Weighted List’ (a compilation of 5 names written down by each delegate) was then distributed for further prayer and discernment
The Chapter Body spent the night in Adoration, keeping in mind two particular intentions a) election of the Provincial Councilors, and b) the victims of the Jolo Cathedral twin bombings in Mindanao, Philippines that claimed the lives of 27 persons, Muslims and Christians, including relatives of Sr. Ma. Leticia Andan, r.a.
DAY 4. Election of the Provincial Councilors & Closing of the Chapter
Prepared and predisposed after a whole day of prayer and reflection, the delegates then proceeded to elect the First and then, the Second Councilors.
The results of the election were :
First Councilor – Sr. Maria Josefina “Marjo” Matias.
The Second Councilor – Sr. Estela Marie “Maitel” Roceles. Sr. Lerma then announced her choice of the Third Councilor – Sr. Maria Emmanuel Melocoton
In her Concluding Message, Sr. Lerma expressed the gratitude and hope in the hearts of the Chapter body :
Indeed, the Lord has worked wonders among us.Grace was given to us to listen to the promptings of the Spirit, the same Spirit that inspired our MME and our first Sisters…. We end this Chapter on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church. We are ending this Chapter today, but our journey has just begun. We have to set the date for our next Provincial Chapter as soon as possible so we can come up with our Provincial Plan that will guide us in the next three years and enable us to live the future with confidence and focus.
Dear Sisters and Friends, thank you for your love and prayerful accompaniment that has enabled us to sing a new song to the Lord as Asia Pacific Province, for God has truly worked wonders in and among us !
In and for Jesus,
The 1st Asia Pacific Provincial Chapter Body
Provincial Plenary Council meeting followed right after the Chapter.
The day ended with the Vietnamese TET celebration of New Year, thanks to our Vietnamese sisters.