Dominican formators from the Asia-Pacific region converged in Caleruega Retreat Center in the cool climate of Batangas for the 2014 Asia-Pacific Formators’ Course. This year’s course has the theme Dominican Formation for Mission in the Asia-Pacific. It was held from March 10 to April 6, 2014. The four-week course aimed to refresh and deepen its participants’ understanding of formation in the Dominican tradition while developing and adding new skills for their formation ministry.

The event was also a great opportunity for Dominicans from the Asia-Pacific region to share their insights and experiences with each other. Furthermore, the course sought to guide the formators “in updating their formation program in line with the Order’s contemporary apostolic thrusts in dialogue with cultures and religious traditions, especially of Asia; solidarity with the poor and the marginalized; and care for creation.”

The course was well-attended with thirty-four participants coming from at least five countries. The provinces and congregations present are as follows: Dominican friars from the provinces of India, Vietnam, Holy Rosary, Philippines, and Vice-Province of Pakistan; sisters from the Dominican congregations of Malta, Siena Thanh Tam, Siena Tam Hiep, Rose of Lima, Presentation, Pompeii, Adrian, Molo, Siena Philippines, DDIM, and DMIM.

Input was provided by speakers from different backgrounds and expertise. Fr. Rolando dela Rosa, OP began the course with a talk on the History of Dominican Mission in the Asia-Pacific. Fr. Edgar Javier, SVD continued the topic with his discussion of Mission Today in Asia-Pacific. A hands-on approach from the lay perspective was provided by Ms. Marilyn Quintana from the University of Sto. Tomas Simbahayan organization in her talk, Philippine Church Mission. Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, Jr., OP then began the series of talks leading to formation starting with Dominican Spirituality. He was followed by Fr. Percy Bacani, MJ with a lively discussion and reflection on Human and Sexual Development, Media and Gender Sensitivity.  In addition, Fr. Vincent Lu Vien Ha, OP, the Assistant to the Master of the Order for the Asia-Pacific Region, gave some reflections on the talk on human sexuality, which he had attended.  Fr. Vincent also enlightened the participants with the Order’s thrust in the Asia-Pacific Region. The next topic, Psycho-Spiritual Integration, was given by Ms. Cynthia Baga. This session was much cherished by the participants. An orientation on spiritual direction, counseling and prayer life followed given by Fr. Noel Deslate in his talk about Spiritual Accompaniment. Fr. Enrico Gonzales, OP, continued with an anecdotal sharing on Intellectual Formation. Lastly, Fr. Vivian Boland, OP, wrapped up the event with his talk on Formation for Preaching.

The participants expressed their deep gratitude and sincere appreciation for the welcome and hospitality of their hosts in Caleruega Retreat Center in Batangas as well as for the capable hands of Fr. Romualdo Cabanatan, Jr., OP, and Sr. Regina Ladoing, OP, the coordinators for the course. They were also grateful to the Dominican Province of the Philippines for the support and manpower it provided for the duration of their stay in the country. We congratulate our brothers and sisters for a job well done and we pray that they may be more fruitful in their “delicate ministry of accompanying others in the Dominican life.” Deo gratias!

By Br. Jose Laureano J. de Jesus, OP