Tuesday Jul, 16 2024 05:36:37 PM

OND Synodal Gathering: Journeying together, coming home

Church • 22:00 PM Thu Jul 4, 2024
Sr. Marilou P. Fernandez, OND
A total of 146 OND sisters are in attendance for the OND Synodal Gathering at St. Joseph Retreat House in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte. (Photo from OND Vocation)

The Oblates Notre Dame (OND) convened for their OND Synodal Gathering at St. Joseph Retreat House Convention Hall, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte on July 2 -6, 2024.  Indeed, it was with great joy and gratitude that the 146 sisters gathered together as one big family “Journeying together and Coming Home.”

Home is our place of safety and joy, of arguments, heartaches, and tensions. It’s the place to which we all want to return; it is a bond, a relationship which we create with one another. Being OND sisters, this is the place where we were formed, and born as ONDs. This is also our resting place, the land where we will be buried side by side with our other sisters who have gone ahead of us. 

The 4-day synod focused on the theme “Listening, Discerning, and Moving Beyond.” The first day started with the creative opening liturgy and introduction of the different districts/areas of the OND namely, the OND National Capital Region Area, the Cebu-Leyte District, the Kidapawan-Marbel District, Midsayap-Cotabato District, District of Cotabato, Houses under the Generalate and the Zamboanga-Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi Area.

In her welcome message, Sr. Erlinda C. Hisug, OND, the OND Superior General stressed that this event was crafted with intention and care. “We are all encouraged to partake in moments of conversations: to listen deeply, speak out boldly, and engage insightful sharing that strengthens the fabric of our shared journey as a reconciling community engaging in synodality.”

Day 2 started with the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Rev. Fr. Ronald Abad, OMI at Our Lady of Hope Chapel, OND Compound in Tamontaka, D.O.S. Maguindanao del Norte. Fr. Ronald in his homily emphasized the day’s gospel which is the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, for the sisters to look into the valuable insights exhibited by the story: first by Listening – Thomas’s initial disbelief highlights the importance of listening deeply to others’ experiences and doubts without judgment. The disciples listened to his refusal to believe without ostracizing him. Similarly, on our journey, we must listen to each other’s stories especially those who struggle with faith and those who struggle in their own communities, creating a space where everyone feels heard and valued. Second by Discerning – Thomas’s journey from disbelief to faith underscores the process of discernment. When Jesus invited Thomas to touch His wounds, it was an act of love and understanding. We must discern ways to show Christ’s love to those who are struggling, helping them to see and believe through our actions and compassion. Third by Moving Beyond – the transformation of Thomas from a skeptic to a believer encourages us to move beyond our fears and doubts. By embracing this journey together, we strengthen our faith and the faith of those around us.           

The sisters’ morning and afternoon sessions were focused on listening to inter-generational experiences of Sr. Hilda Tajonera, OND, Sr. Nelda Balaba, OND, Sr. Vilma Esmael, OND, Sr. Maria Theresa Arzagon, OND and Sr. Ana Marie Emar, OND journeying together as Missionary Disciples, as they strove to live synodality in their respective context, mission, ministry, community relationships and ecology.

Rev. Fr. Daniel Franklin E. Pilario, CM – President of Adamson University, Manila, our Resource Person, directed the sisters on Identifying New Challenges/Calls of their Synodal Journey on the 3rd and 4th day. The sisters concluded their synodal activity by sharing creative pathways towards becoming a more reconciling community ---Listening, Discerning and Moving Beyond.

His Eminence Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, OMI, DD concluded the OND Synodal Journey with a Eucharistic Celebration on the 5th day. 

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