The graduates hold their lighted candles during the ceremony.
FAIRVIEW, Quezon City – Another batch of young leaders has graduated from the Institute of Formation, Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia), recently. This ninth batch, comprising 13 young people from eight countries in Asia, had completed the 11-month formation course: one each from China, Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, two from Laos and three each from Malaysia and Myanmar.
The three graduates from Malaysia were Sabahans: Jellferlyne Joseph from the Diocese of Sandakan, Imelda Soidi and Amylyn Bihin from the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu.
The Thanksgiving and Send-Off Mass was held at the Good Shepherd Cathedral, Fairview Park on Nov 8. Bishop Joel Baylon, Bishop of Legaspi and the Chairperson of IFFAsia, presided over the Mass, which was concelebrated with seven priests.
In his homily, the bishop said that people in the contemporary world are more concerned with how people look at us rather than who we are, the actual person within us. This phenomenon leads us to wear different masks in life, to look good, pleasant and successful.
The prelate cited the two unnamed widows in scriptures; one giving her two coins away to the treasury of the temple; the other offering her last handful of meal and a little oil to a prophet; they gave of their essence and not their surplus. Both incidents are a gentle reminder that as followers of Christ, we are to be generous in the little we may have.
Addressing the young leaders, the prelate said, “As you go home to your family and friends and to your sending organisations, do remember these three significant matters while in mission; Look not at yourself but at others and God. Always prioritise the others. Be generous and take risk, always in the grace of God. Put your trust in God and He will do the rest.”
Alice Tan, Director of IFFAsia, presented the young missionaries to Bishop Baylon in the presence of the entire congregation to be sent forth in mission to their people and communities of their sending organisations. She asked the people to pray that God would guide the young people to be genuine witnesses in the renewal of the Church in Asia.
After Mass, IFFAsia held a special programme and refreshments at Radio Veritas Asia. Some 100 people; partners, supporters and well-wishers attended the send-off fellowship, themed “Live Christ, Share Christ.”
The event commenced with the IFFAsia theme song, “It’s good to see you here,” and “I want to know you a little more.”
Tan, in her welcoming speech, extended her heartfelt thanks and acknowledged the presence of partners who have journeyed with IFFAsia throughout the years of mission. She thanked the local churches, the various religious and lay organisations and sending organisations for their belief in IFFAsia in training and forming young leaders, and proclaiming the Good News with joy.
The slide presentation on the journey in IFFAsia began with a quote from Pope Francis, “Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gift that God has given you. Do not be afraid to dream of great things.” It touched on the 11-month journey in the Institute, focusing on pastoral, human development, social and spiritual formation. The experiences and love acquired must be passed on to others.
The event concluded with everyone on the floor doing two traditional dances from Sabah and Myanmar respectively. – Dospo, photos by Shirley and Peter Joseph.