“Proclamation and Practice”: Celebrating Davao Formation in Philippines


Formation is the time of life of learning new things and growing in one’s life. It is a life-long process. Br Antony Charles (Malaysia & Singapore), Br Dario Tupas (Cebu), Br Julo Biliran (Cebu), and Br Pelix Fernando (Colombo), grow together living the formation program scheduled in the discernment process. They have come with the powerful motto to continue to live the formation life titled, “PARRHESIA KAI PRAXI,” which translates to “Proclamation and Practice.”  Here are some of the highlights Br. Antony Charles presents to us as he says, “It’s time and I’m properly descending into my last three months of formation at Davao! As my time in Davao and the Philippines draws to a close very soon, I want to express my gratitude to the many people who helped me along the way.”

Celebrating Davao Formation #1:

First on the list is our amazing DRMC (Davao Redemptorist Mission Community) lay staff members. Last Monday, I had the opportunity to thank them all together in one shot and in person and share a Lenten reflection on “Lent in the Light of Redemptorist Charism.”

It was an honor to share my 4+ years of theological learnings in a way that could connect with them and relate to their stories. I used illustrations such as a spiral journey towards God, emptying our bucket to let God in, filling our engine with the gasoline of God, keeping God as the center of our lives, and supporting each other through our ups and downs. I am grateful to each and every one of the staff members for their support, kindness, generosity, sacrifices, and contributions all these years.

Celebrating Davao Formation #2:

I would like to thank my mentor Sir Roawie Liray Quimba for professionally guiding me through my missiological and synthesis papers. He believed in my little amateur learning knowledge and allowed me to freely craft my thoughts into a cohesive chain. The tools and techniques that he shared with me greatly helped my learning. It has created a renewed passion for learning. It has also led me to a new deeper level of understanding. Not to compare with anyone and not boast as well, but in all humility, I could proudly say, that he helped me write both my academic papers and get done and ready for defense in record time. I’m very grateful to Sir Roawie.

Celebrating Davao Formation #3:

One of the biggest graces I received at Davao is the Filipino Sign Language (FSL)! It’s a beautiful way for Filipino deaf individuals to communicate, no sound and yet rich with words. Every Sunday at 10am, I learned and practiced FSL with the deaf community at our OMPH church. It’s been a challenging but rewarding journey, and by God’s grace, I’ve gone from basic signs to conversational fluency. Today, I’m confident interpreting an entire Eucharist Mass in FSL! While I’m still learning and growing in FSL, I’m so grateful for this progress and learning. It has been a journey of perseverance amidst all odds.

To top it off, this morning I used my entire FSL skills to lead a pre-cana course (wedding prep) for a deaf couple getting married soon! I managed to compile a resource manual with helpful information specifically for deaf couples. The couple were so surprised to receive a copy of it. The manual covered important topics for a successful deaf marriage, all presented in a deaf-friendly format with interactive exercises. These topics included: Understanding Marriage as a Vocation and a Sacrament, Communication and Common Challenges in Marriage, the Wedding Rite/Liturgy, Working Together as Husband and Wife, Interfaith Marriages and related questions, Pornography: Facts and Dangers and finally Hope and Healing in Marriage. I left copies of this manual in the SATMI library and parish office for future reference.

Celebrating Davao Formation #4:

One thing that’s consistently helped me throughout my formation has been physical exercise and many individuals/experts who offered their coaching, invaluable guidance, and support. It hasn’t always been easy – there were definitely ups and downs in motivation, weight fluctuations, fatigue, and posture correction struggles. But at least I tried it and persevered. Among the many life lessons from my fitness journey, if I need to pick my three biggest learnings in Davao since 2019, it would be the following.

1. Unlearn to Learn: I realized there were a lot of exercises I was doing incorrectly without proper guidance. This meant they weren’t as effective as they could have been.

2. Variety is Key: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to fitness. Over the years, I’ve gone from just walking to incorporating jogging, core workouts, balance exercises, burpees, and different training styles like EMOM, TABATA, HIIT, AMRAP, and MOM. TABATA is simply High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). AMRAP is As Many Reps As Possible. MOM means Minute On, Minute Off. The supportive spirit and dynamic energy of many group classes were truly motivating – it really helped me stay on track. Beyond that, I tried learning tennis and played for close to three years now. And also in the initial years, I played badminton, and a few other sports as much as my body allowed me to do so.

3. Yoga for Life: If there’s one favorite, I’ll definitely keep up for life, it’s yoga. Yoga is simply the union of mind and body and has nothing to do with any particular religion or belief. Despite my initial stiffness, many wonderful people helped me learn it gradually and steadily. Yoga has been really a game-changer for me. The more I’ve learned it, I’ve become more aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and the more I’ve come to appreciate that everyone is built differently, and routines like Yoga is for everyone irrespective of age and fitness level.

Celebrating Davao Formation #5:

This post is a heartfelt thank you to my incredible batchmates, for sharing this formation journey with me since our novitiate days. We may be a small group – two fellow Filipinos and two brothers from abroad – but the bond we’ve built is immense.

We’ve witnessed each other’s growth and transformation firsthand. It wasn’t always smooth sailing. There were misunderstandings, tough conversations, and the need for forgiveness. But thankfully, we matured together, learned to communicate openly, and most importantly, respect and cherish one another with fraternal charity and brotherly love.

A huge shoutout to all our formators who tirelessly dedicated themselves to guiding us on this path. Their sacrifices helped us persevere through the challenges and become the missionaries we are today.

As part of our journey all these years and to our soon graduation day (class of 2024), the four of us have come up with a powerful motto for our journey ahead: titled “PARRHESIA KAI PRAXI,” which translates to “Proclamation and Practice.” We believe, me Br Antony Charles (Malaysia & Singapore), Br Dario Tupas (Cebu), Br. Julo Biliran (Cebu), and Br Pelix Fernando (Colombo), that faith isn’t just about words, it’s about action.

Our logo reflects this deeply. The central image is the Redemptorist Cross, a constant reminder of our mission. Above it, a single eye symbolizes our vigilance in seeing the needs of others and carrying out God’s work.

Each of us also has a personal symbol woven into the design. For me, it’s the Merlion of Singapore, representing the Redemptorist mission that we carry in this part of the congregation. Br. Dario uses fire, symbolizing the Redemptorists’ burning zeal. Br Julo’s symbol is a listening ear, reflecting his focus on attentive presence and accompaniment. Br. Pelix contributes the image of hands holding a candle, signifying support. The background depicts a sturdy vase, referencing Mark 16:15: “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.”

Earthy tones of red, brown, and gray dominate the color scheme, with blue accents. This palette evokes the grounded nature of our calling. We, the graduating class, are a testament to the power of faith in action. United by our motto and unique symbols, we move forward, ready to serve the world!

Here’s to an enduring brotherhood and a life dedicated to serving others all the days of our Life in the vineyard of God!

(Source: www.facebook.com/prabhucharles)