News – Day 1
The Systemic Change Philippines Workshop formally began on July 7, 2014 at 8:30am at the OZ AVR of Adamson University. After the invocation and national anthem, a roll call of participants was made by Ms. Pamela Mantuhac (Director, Office for Vincentian Identity and Mission, Adamson University). Participants totaled 99 coming from 25 different branches and institutions forming part of the Vincentian Family in the Philippines and 2 Vincentian Priests from Indonesia. It is a great blessing to have 4 members of the Systemic Change International Commission with us for the whole week: Mr. Jim Claffey of the SSVP (Executive Secretary), Fr. Joe Foley, CM, Sr. Teresa Mueda, DC and Kerry Anthony.
Fr. Gregorio Bañaga, Jr., CM (Systemic Change Coordinator for Asia Pacific and President of Adamson University) welcomed all the participants. He remarked that, while poverty is still an intractable global reality, we are encouraged seeing so many people working successfully to sow seeds of hope in the lives of those in poverty situations. And that is systemic change!
Mr. Jim Claffey then introduced us to the Systemic Change Commission – its members, goals, methodology, work and the Rationale of the Program. We reflected together on three stories of systemic change in the course of the morning: a) “The Perfect Storm” by Jim Claffey – a story of water and systemic change in the village of San Jose de Ocoa in the Dominican Republic; b) The “Iligan Story” by Sr. Ma. Teresa Mueda, DC – a story of a God who protects and provides for His people in the midst of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Sendong in the Philippines in December 2011 and; c) “Depaul Slovensko” by Kerry Anthony – a response to the issue of homelessness in Slovakia.
In the afternoon, Sr. Ma. Teresa Mueda, DC led us to a better understanding on the Basic Notion of Systemic Change and Jim Claffey on the Catholic Social Teaching. Small group sharing and open forum followed these two inputs. To end the day, participants were asked to reflect and share in their own groups on Vincentian Spirituality – what does St. Vincent mean to you and what about him gives us life/energy?
Systemic change calls us to go beyond what we are doing. It demands conversion and transformation. Sr. Ma. Teresa Mueda, DC closed her sharing with this beautiful insight from an Arab proverb: “Every morning I turn my face to the wind and scatter my seeds. It is not difficult to scatter seeds, but it takes courage to go on facing the wind.”
Ana Maria P. Escaño