“A great day spent with Fr. Piotr Chyla!” was one of the comments one could hear from participants to a talk conducted by the Director of the Redemptorist Spirituality Center on October 6, 2023. And it was done not in Rome but in Baclaran, Paranaque in the Philippines. It seemed that the feeling of goodwill was mutual because we were not only glad that he was with us and heard from him, but it was also a wish granted (even a miracle, to use his very own words) for Fr. Piotr that he got to visit Baclaran, the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, something that he had longed for as a young Redemptorist.
Fr. Piotr Chyla made his presentation entitled “The Evening Chapel and Lay Participation: Alphonsus Idea of Mission” to help the participants reflect and be inspired anew by the input on the role and participation of the lay people in the early days of the Congregation. The participants gained a lot of inspiring and new information from Fr. Piotr’s talk. There was a feeling among participants of being affirmed and, at the same time, challenged to align our values, work, and commitment to the charism of the Congregation if we were to live out collaboration and partnership in mission. It was continuously emphasized that everybody’s role and responsibilities contribute to the mission.
Toward the end of the session, there was an opportunity for sharing among participants where they had the opportunity to talk about what inspired them from the talk and some concrete suggestions further to deepen the collaboration between the lay and professed Redemptorists; formation both for lay and the Redemptorist as to the matter of partnership was one of them.
The participants, though limited in number, came from different forms of association or involvement of the lay in the Vice-Province of Manila, like staff, church volunteers, and lay missionaries. Some members of the Permanent Commission on Lay Partnership in Mission were also present—the Vice-Provincial Superior, Fr. Mon Urriza and Bro. Reygan Gatdula (in charge of the Oblates) also joined the group.
That day of a very enriching encounter ended with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
Roksan S. Latorre
Permanent Commission on Lay Partnership in Mission