One fine day, a Priest who was the Retreat Master of the Rogationist College personnel who happened to know me quite well asked me while thinking about all the things that I do, “Why do you have to do this?” A simple question but one that puzzled me a bit. I did not answer immediately because I was robbed by the inner thought “why did he ask me so?” He sees all my initiatives with the youth and with the school blended with so much creativity and enthusiasm. But why do all this? I know the reason why I do the things but my little self- reserve prompted me to answer, “I just have to do it”
My answer may appear as if I am uncertain about what and why I do it. Let judgement reach to the skies but I know what rests in my heart is the fire within that says, “Even for one soul”. This is what I learned from our dear founder, St Annibale Maria Di Francia. We endeavour the best we can for the good of ONE SOUL.
I am presently doing my mission as a Campus Ministry Coordinator in the Rogationist College, Silang Cavite in the Philippines where I engage so much on ‘what more I can do to enrich the spiritual life of the students and personnel’. As I go over every program, the fire within pushes me to think how such an activity can be remembered and leave something in the heart and mind of each person. I believe that no matter how delicious the food is you’ll get jaded if the same taste is repeatedly offered. Yes, to think of adding other accents in the activities may be burdensome but to make things more meaningful to others is light.
My first year in the ministry was a battle between the time for preparing lessons for teaching, organising activities and formation program for students and personnel. It was big! But when I came to learn that there was so much hunger in the youth to get involved in simple missionary activity in the school, their hunger to belong and to be more expressive in their faith, I felt a push to take care of these souls. With Fr Vincent and Fr Gabby, RCJ we created a new name that would identify the group who pray and work for vocations within the demands of their respective clubs and/or school ministries. The ‘ERGATES’ (Greek word meaning ‘workers’) actually a coined name for all the UPV members – both teachers and students. UPV-ERGATES stands as the Main Apostolate of the Campus Ministry under which are all ministries in the campus. Campaigns and several meetings were held to establish this new strategic program. Fortunately, during one of our Friday Masses, more than 400 students and teachers were accepted as members.
Likewise, in order for them to understand their spirituality which is according to that of St Annibale, we organized a 3-day Camp last August at the Brothers of Christ institute at General Trias, Cavite with its theme: “ERGATES go into the vineyard”. Students and teachers shared responsibilities to make this happen.
It was a long, laborious preparation but beyond it was the joy that comes from the consoling result that many of them were so happy, thankful and empowered to serve God through their potentials, especially because it was the first time to they experienced that kind of camp.
There is so much to be done if we wish for the good of the other. There is so much to be done if we are pushed by hope and passion that one day, somehow, one soul will recognise the goodness of God in her/his life. This is just one of my simple mission discoveries… one of my consoling moments and there is still more to come.
Sr Darlen Pardillo, fdz