St. Teresa of Calcutta once said, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”

Last November 26, 2023, as the whole world celebrated Christ the King, our Religious Family of the Institute of the Incarnate Word-Philippines enjoyed the occasion by conducting this year’s Family Day together with the Feast of our Third Order Group.

As the visitors arrived, they got invited to visit the different booths (stands) set-up inside the classrooms of the Main Hall, the Pastoral Center. Among the booths were the IVE Stand, the Vocation Stand, the Bible Stand, the Pro-Life Stand, the Sacred Heart Group Stand, and the most popular one, especially for the kids, the Merienda (Snacks) Stand. The day formally kicked-off with some opening remarks from representatives of the Padre Pio Group and Our Lady of Lujan Parish in Caloocan City. These helped inspire everyone to maximize and enjoy the celebrations.

The rest of the morning was spent in 3 conferences held simultaneously. All were allowed to freely choose where they wanted to attend. One was held in the dining hall with Atty. Joel Arzaga discussing “The Divorce Law and Defense of the Filipino Family”. Another was conducted in the Seminary Chapel with Rev. Fr. Luiz Zapata, IVE as speaker for “Marital Consent: A Covenant for Life.” And those who decided to stay in the Pastoral Center, listened to Mother Maria Laetitia Crucis, SSVM as she talked about “Families are United in the 3 Hearts”. All conferences finished around 12 noon just in time for everyone to regather at the main hall and eat lunch together!

As the lunch ended (made sumptuous by the traditional Filipino dishes prepared especially for the event), the attendees braced themselves and enjoyed the prepared cultural presentations of the different groups of our religious family. The first to present was the SSVM Juniorate with a song rendition, followed by the Padre Pio Group’s version of the “By the rivers of Babylon”, the SSVM Novitiate then performed with a quartet a Tagalog Song, The Pro Life Movement from Caloocan City rendering a traditional Filipino dance, the Third Order Group with their patriotic song “Ako ay Pilipino”, the Voices of San Celestino singing the Spanish hymn “De Pie”, the Mercy Girls with their own folk dance number and finally, a divague prepared by our religious brothers and sisters. Truly, God has graced our community with so many talents!

In the afternoon after the presentations, all the guests especially the kids were invited to enjoy the different sports prepared on the grounds of the Institute: there were volleyball, soccer and badminton games. The smaller kids went running with the brothers and sisters as the parents waited for the start of the afternoon conferences. Before 3pm, 3 new conferences began simultaneously: “The Dangers of Implementing the SOGIE Bill” was discussed in the Dining Hall by Bro. Christian Ang, companion of Atty. Joel Arzaga from the morning session; “The Joy of the Cross: Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo” by Sister Birhen ng Manaoag, SSVM at the Pastoral Center and “The Blessings of Large Families” by Rev. Fr. Diego Ibarra, IVE.

When the talks finished, the most important activity of the day started rolling. All began walking, while some with their vehicles drove, towards the first altar station for the Eucharistic Procession. Rev. Fr. Nilojan, IVE led the long line of people as Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament visited a total of 4 stations before finally resting in the main hall. There was rosary prayer, Eucharistic Dialogue and Eucharistic Songs accompanying the transfer from one altar to the next. The atmosphere was truly solemn as people alternated walking, kneeling and adoring Jesus until finally, everyone reached the place for the highest point of the celebrations, the Holy Mass.

Rev. Fr. Luiz Zapata, IVE, the Vicar Provincial of the IVE Province of Our Lady of Sheshan was the main celebrant together with the other priests of the Institute concelebrating. It is important to note also that throughout the whole day, there were assigned priests administering the sacrament of confession until the procession. The day became complete as people received Jesus in the Holy Communion as the final gift. And the best way to end the day? How about a group picture and a shout out video from everyone! Viva Cristo Rey! Viva la Virgen!

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