DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines - In the morning of June 15, 2021, after a year of academic program, two aspirant brothers: Bro. Jessie James Datulayta and Bro. Ivan Benedict Dadula, together with the Collegians Director, Rev. Fr. Federick B. Yumang, SMM, went to Dagupan City for Pastoral Exposure. Before they left the Collegians Formation House, a send-off liturgy was held with a blessing from Rev. Fr. Richard Magararu, SMM, who is staying in the community while waiting for his new mission in United Kingdom. The program for pastoral exposure is a month of firsthand experience for the aspirants on how the Montfort Fathers do their missionary apostolate. They were asked to help the Chaplaincy of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort in Bolosan District, Dagupan City, Pangasinan through the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Rene Bustillo, SMM, to journey with the youth of the parish.
Upon arrival, the Collegians Community were asked to stay at St. Joseph Chapel in Brgy. Salisay, Dagupan City for the rest of their pastoral immersion in Dagupan and had a short orientation from the Parish Pastoral Council President, Mrs. Edith Sta. Maria, who asked the brothers to have their quarantine and to observe maximum health protocols before delving into the mission. Three tasks were given to the Collegians Community: to help in the Youth Encounter program of the chaplaincy, to assist in the Music Ministry and formation of the Legion of Mary. After the quarantine period, the collegians began to engage themselves in the pastoral work of helping in the preparation for the big event for the youth in August - the Parish Youth Encounter (PYE) by extending help to organize a Youth Encounter every Saturdays in the different chapels, namely Sto. Nino and St. Buenaventure in Brgy. Salisay, St. Andrew in Brgy. Mangin and St. Ferdinand in Brgy. Pantal. It was done to give importance to the significant role of the youth in the parish and at the same time to encourage them to be active in the church activities and to lessen their exposure to gadgets, bad influences. It is a way also to let them see that the Church is essential during the pandemic, still with the guidance of the Parish Priest.
Then, Bro. Ivan Benedict Dadula, who has a gift for music also helped in organizing and facilitating one of the choir groups in the chaplaincy. He taught a variety of songs which will encourage the parishioners to be active and participative in singing during the Mass, together and under the guidance of Mrs. Charisse Disu, the Music Ministry Head Coordinator.
In collaboration with the Senatus of the Northern Philippines of the Legion of Mary through Sis. Elizabeth Infante, AMM (Associate of the Montfort Missionaries) and Fr. Rene, it was also the intention of this pastoral experience to form a group of legionaries in the Chaplaincy. With the consent of Fr. Rene, the invitation to join the Legion of Mary was formally done after the Sunday Masses last June 20, 2021. After each mass, the collegians will station themselves outside the church for the registration of those interested. Then, on the following Sunday, June 27, 2021 after the 8AM mass, the orientation about the Legion of Mary was given by Fr. Fed and the collegians and on July 3, 2021, the first Saturday of the month and the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, the first presidium meeting was held in the Chapel of St. Joseph in Salisay after the first Saturday devotion of praying the Holy Rosary, the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Two Praesidia of the Legion of Mary were established in the chaplaincy, namely the Senior Praesidium of Mary Queen of All Hearts and the Junior Praesidium of Mary Seat of Wisdom, composed of 22 young people from the chaplaincy.
Last June 28, 2021, the collegians community with Fr. Rene and the Scholastics went for a pilgrimage in celebration of the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. The group visited the designated Pilgrim Jubilee Doors from the nine churches in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan.
Indeed, God has been gracious to the SMM Collegians for letting them experience the generosity and love of the people of Dagupan City, Pangasinan and to take part in the work of the Montfort Missionaries. Everything has been provided to them and it shows how God has been faithful to those whom He called and sent. The two brothers can attest this love of God with their experience of Mission ‘a la Montfort’ for the Glory of God Alone!
Bro. Jessie James C. Datulayta