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Learning by doing: pilgrimage of faith

12:10 AM April 20, 2014

Today, it has been discovered that a great deal of learning (estimated at 70%) actually occurs at the workplace versus training and other means. Recently on a spiritual and learning yet human dimension, going on a pilgrimage with 35 pilgrims coming from a shared Christian spirituality like the Focolare Movement proved to be a witness to “learning by doing”. It happened this Holy Monday.

VISITA IGLESIA TO 7 CHURCHES

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Father Joel Victorino of the Transfiguration Parish made a call for parishioners to join a “Visita Iglesia” to 7 churches in Rizal. I belong to a parish in the South but an invitation from a friend drew my husband and I to join.  We woke up early, around 4 am to get ready to meet those who would join us in our car for the trip, complete with packed breakfast and lunch.

STATIONS OF THE CROSS

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The night before we bought some beverages and snacks. It was to be for us “rest and recreation” having come from a truly hectic   work week. The trip was more than we   could have imagined. It was to participate in beautiful readings meditating on the 14 Stations of the Cross in 7 locations. The reading spoke only of God’s immense love for us, for me, for humanity. If a church were dedicated to Mary as in “Our Lady of Aranzazu Church” we prayed an additional decade of the rosary.

BONDING AS COMMUNITY

The pilgrimage was also a strong renewal of ties we had with members of the group. For some of them we have stood as sponsors in the baptism of their children, for a couple who used to live in the same village we shared pictures of our now grown children and our “apos”;  one was the designer we tapped to design furniture for a condominium unit way back. It was also an opportunity to meet new faces. It was a   great experience of peace feeling the power of the presence of Jesus in the midst among people who loved and cared for each other.

A TOUCH OF HISTORY

The pilgrimage also meant encountering, cherishing and walking back in history. The 6 churches (Baras, Tanay, Pilillia etc.) started at the 15th to the 17th century. It was to marvel at the churches being works of art built in past eras when modern equipment for buildings did not exist. It was to see a stone set upon stone, probably pasted together by whites of eggs. It was to see roofs of churches drawn from rough and crude lumber which have lasted the test of ages. One church had the beautiful design of a belfry.

SENSE OF GRATITUDE

It also meant feeling a great sense of gratitude to the Jesuits and Augustinians who founded these churches. One can feel, in the coolness of these churches (much appreciated since  outside it was a blistering 34 degrees ) the passion and commitment of  the parish priests and the lay people who may have raised funds or materials and tapped volunteers  to set up the churches.

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HISTORICAL MEMORIAL

For example, the memorial in the Church of Morong reads, “The town dates from 1578.A resident priest was assigned in 1586. A fire in 1612 destroyed the townand it’s first Church. Shortly afterwards the present church was constructed. Its frontispiece and belfry were built by Bartolome Palatino of Paete between 1850 and 1853.” The memorial was written in 1939.

SPARKS OF TOURISM

In front of the Tanay Church, I was handed a brochure that reads, “Discover Tanay, Hane! A True Adventure Experience”. It is to see in pictures what the Tanay Mayor Tanjuatco cited as “the intricacy of an amazing destination with its divergent uniqueness of exceptional adventure landscapes and natural resources, breath taking mountains and diverse culture and tradition”.

FITTING CULMINATION

We concluded the pilgrimage with Holy Mass at Father Joel’s Parish of the Transfiguration in Antipolo.  It meant not only reflecting on this great event in the life of the Lord Jesus. But for us pilgrims it meant a return to today’s reality. It is a modern building with neat minimalist lines, truly functional and efficient. Yet the architecture and design had the effect of transporting one’s soul to internal reflection and contemplation. The mass made us rediscover what peace and happiness is, what a way to begin a truly Holy Week!

(Tita Datu Puangco is the CEO and President of Ancilla Enterprise Development Consulting, a major training and organization development company in the Philippines with an Asian reach. It specializes in enterprise transformation, executive coaching, corporate leadership and functional training, human resource systems, corporate academies, learning events and management of business training centers.  Visit Tita’s Blog at http://titatalkstraining. blogspot.com. For additional information please email author at [email protected] com.ph or at [email protected] yahoo.com)

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TAGS: faith, Holy Week, Pilgrimage, Religion
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