Three student-brothers of the Province of the Philippines, namely, Br. Stephen Mari La Ja, OP, Br. Felix delos Reyes Jr., OP, and Br. John Stephen Besa, OP, participated in the Common Study Program for the Solemnly Professed and Newly Ordained Dominicans of the Asia-Pacific Region held from June 26 to July 25, 2013 at the Satyagiri Dominican Retreat Centre in Igatpuri, Maharashtra, India.

The three brothers were joined by five Indian newly-ordained priests (Province of India), four Vietnamese brothers (Province of the Queen of Martyrs), two Burmese brothers (Province of the Holy Rosary), one Japanese priest (Province of Canada-Vicariate of Japan) and one Papua New Guinean deacon (Province of the Assumption). Br. Amirtha Raj, OP, and Br. Edmund Nantes, OP, served as the coordinators of the program. They also delivered lectures on Human Formation and Dominican Spirituality to the brother participants. The Socius for Apostolic Life, Br. Prakash Lohale, OP, gave them updates on Interreligious Dialogue and on the Mission Mandates of the Order.

The participants visited several shrines and temples of different religions in the cities of Mumbai and Nashik like the ancient Hindu temples along the Godawari River, Pandulena Caves, a Buddhist meditation center called Buddha Vihar, Jain Madir, a Catholic shrine dedicated to Our Lady of the Mount, the Haji Ali Mosque and the Samadhi Mandir, a temple devoted to the Indian guru Shirdi Sai Baba.

This annual program serves as an opportunity for the brothers to live in an inter-cultural community, to strengthen their commitment to the Dominican tradition and to deepen their formation for mission in the context of the region.

By Br. Felix F. delos Reyes, OP
(12 August 2013)