Transition to the Ministry Program in the Vice-Province of Manila


A respite … and a time to harvest.

When all the greetings, praises, and gifts start to wane from the ecstasy of ordination, life starts to look normal again, the demands of the ministry begin to set in, and the truth of priesthood suddenly boomerangs into one’s face. They said that the first five years of a priest’s life are so crucial that many left the ministry. Thus, accompaniment and mentoring play a vital role in this stage. It is like accompanying a child as he struggles to walk.

Transition to the Ministry Program for Young Redemptorists is born in this spirit. Last April 4-8, 2024, seven of us who are in the first five years in the ministry as members of the Redemptorist Vice-Province of Manila gathered for a retreat, group processing, and recreation. The first three days were dedicated to a retreat and group processing facilitated by Fr. Nilo Labra, S.J.  Fr. Labra reminded us of the greatest treasure of this ministry, Christ Himself.

For some of us who found ourselves overwhelmed and overworked by the demands of mission and offices, we found solace in the constancy of God’s providence and the privilege of being in God’s bosom. The sharing during the retreat validated our struggle to be faithful in this ministry and assured us that we are not alone in this journey. It was a privilege to listen to one another’s journey, as moments of deep personal sharing have become minimal due to our dispersion in different mission frontiers, and the opportunities to communicate were mainly about ministry concerns. It was indeed a grace to listen to each other’s journey. Such conversations were extended in the last two days of the gathering during the recreation, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared experiences.

At times, it only takes a few days to be with people we trust and once again be assured of each other’s support and see the blessings of our vocation rather than be exhausted by one’s difficulties and struggles. The program is a respite and a crucial time to harvest the fruits of being missionaries and God’s ministers. Above all, it allows us to breathe in the odor of Christ poured on us on that blissful day we were ordained, reinforcing the value of the Transition to the Ministry Program for Young Redemptorists.

Fr. Ronald “Nosi” Balase, C.Ss.R.