BIÑAN, LAGUNA, Philippines – The SMM Philippine Delegation Vocation Team had participated in the 4th Vocational Festival of the Ecclesiastical Province of Manila (E.P.M.) last November 4, 2017. There were more than 2,000 young men and women who joined in the said event. This year’s theme was “Your Call Sounds Familiar”. It was held at Alonte Sports Arena, Biñan, Laguna. The Diocese of San Pablo accommodated this whole day event on vocation awareness for young men and women. The activity was participated by the different Dioceses under EPM. It was a joyful and lively encounter with the patroness of the Diocese, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Turumba. The delightful youth and some religious participated in every activity, from the procession to the veneration of the Virgin Mary through songs and praises all throughout the event. During the inspiring talk of Rev. Fr. Paul Villacarlos, he shared with everyone a glimpse of his vocation story. “Ang tunay na nagmamahal, nasasaktan” (The one who truly loves, is hurt), he said. A series of presentations by some priests, brothers, seminarians, and sisters from the host diocese followed this short talk.
The highlight of the program was the heart-to-heart talk of the different religious with the participants. Different congregations were assigned to youth groups to share about their short vocation stories, mission, charism, and a little personal experience about their religious life which lasted for about two hours. The members of the Vocation Team from the Montfort Missionaries who attended and participated in the said event were Rev. Fr. Arnel Pagaduan, SMM and four scholastic brothers; Bro. Armel Collantes, SMM, Bro. Ronald Baruela, SMM, Bro. Lester C. Bonete, SMM, and Bro. Harold Montoya, SMM. A Eucharistic Celebration which was presided by San Pablo Bishop, His Excellency Buenaventura Famadico, DD, culminated the program. He also shared his experience when he entered the seminary. “Choosing one’s vocation is not a magic. Vocation discernment is a process,” he said. Bishop Famadico reminded the youth to be faithful to God for He will never leave them hanging and their prayers unanswered. Truly, many are called but few are chosen because only a few responded to the voice and call of Christ. Rev. Fr. Mauricio “Ric” Llarena, the Vocation Director of the Diocese of San Pablo, gave a word of thanks to those who supported and participated in this fruitful and meaningful event.
Lastly, the program ended when Bishop Famadico, together with the priests and religious, blessed the youth who wanted to follow Jesus as priests and religious. They fervently prayed for their vocation. Indeed, it was a fruitful, meaningful and blessed experience for the Montfortian Vocation Team and for all the participants as well.
-Bro. Harold Anthony T. Montoya, SMM