Regional Recollect Augustinian Youth Summit (RRAYS 2023)


The fourth member of the Order of Augustinian Recollects or the Recollect Augustinian Youth (RAY) held its Regional Recollect Augustinian Youth Summit Summit (RRAYS) on the 16th to 17th of June 2023 with the theme, “Synodality: Communion, Participation, and Mission” held in San Sebastian College-Recoletos de Manila. 

            The program started with the registration of participants led by the Recollect Augustinian Youth de Provincialate at 8:00 in the morning of June 17, 2023, Saturday. It was soon followed by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, with Rev. Fr. Virgil Paredes, OAR as the main celebrant. Following the Eucharistic Celebration, the Recollect Augustinian Youth Recoletos Formation Center community officially kicked off the program. Considering that this gathering was being hosted two years after the pandemic, the hosts were exceedingly accommodating. They were effective in inspiring the RAY members to pay close attention, take part in the activities, and make friends from other Luzon-area local chapters. 

            Rev. Fr. Gideon Antolin Lagrimas, OAR, gave the first two talks. The first talk was about the “Church and Synodality”. During the said talk, Fr. Lagrimas gave the RAY members an overview of the theme this year’s RRAYS. He instilled in everyone’s mind the very reason that the youth was gathered there with the purpose of strengthening faith and relationship with God. He reminded the youth the importance of connecting with God and valuing one’s life. Aside from such, he also opened up some issues that the youth are encountering nowadays. Though quite sensitive, the issues such as suicide and rebellion were discussed comprehensively. The second talk proper was about the “Identity of JAR”.  The focal point of the talk was to inculcate in everyone’s mind the importance of knowing oneself or self-awareness. Having the knowledge of your own strengths and weaknesses will help you to accept your uniqueness and beauty. It is normal to have some moments of confusion or self-doubt and consider taking time for a little self-discovery. 

For the third talk, Rev. Fr. Ralph Laureen Ciceron, OAR gave a talk about “Evangelization and Mission as Heroism.” He further discussed that Evangelization and Mission are two different things which are related with one another. Evangelization means bringing the good news of Jesus into every human situation while, Mission is a response to Christ’s words to the disciples which then combine evangelization and mission results to a heroic life, where a hero’s emblem is to seek the truth, good and beautiful. He continued to explain that evangelization is actualized in the person and not just an activity, rather to find source and summit in Jesus Christ. 

Rev. Fr. Roderick Deguit, OAR,  gave the final talk on the “RAY Charism”. During the said talk, Fr. Deguit asked the participants if they know the values and the real purpose of being a Recollect Augustinian Youth. Hence, though not new, he reminded the youth about the three distinctive constitutive aspects of the charism which are: contemplative, communitarian, and apostolic. He also emphasized that being a Marian can be witnessed under the contemplative charism, which is why it was specifically excluded. 

After the four talks that were shared by the OAR priests, the RRAYS continued with the sharing of what has been learned by each group. The insights of the RAY members were appreciated by everyone and it became a way for them to know more about each other’s personal struggles and faith. Soon after, the event was followed with Lucenarium wherein the RAY members were gathered in the quadrangle of the SSC-R Manila where candles were lit and the Holy Cross was honored by prayers and worship. While some are having their personal in-depth connection with God, some are having their confession. 

Prior to the program and socialization, the RAY members had their dinner. After it, they proceeded with the showcasing of prepared presentations of each community. Some showed their acting skills, some danced and animated songs, and others expressed their talents through their beautiful voices. Indeed, RAY members made the night memorable for all as they showed the beauty of God’s gift to them in the form of their skills and talents. The program did not finish there because the incredibly thrilling game, the Amazing Race, was soon after. The aforementioned game required the various teams to work together to fulfill 8 tasks. Everyone enjoyed themselves and gave their all throughout each task, and the T. Rex group was declared the winner. The RAY members headed to their designated rooms to rest up and end the day on a positive note after the strenuous but enjoyable activity.

The second day of the RRAYS continued the following day, Sunday, June 18, 2023, with a closing Mass at 5:00 AM with Rev. Fr. Joseph Dexter Palagtiosa, OAR as the main celebrant. Before the Holy Mass was offered and concluded, the awarding of certificates was granted to each community that participated in this year’s Regional RAY Summit. The National RAY President, Ms. Roceline Bernal gave her heartwarming closing and message of gratitude on behalf of the whole RAY community. She also took the opportunity to thank the participation and cooperation of the different communities who made each activity and event possible for the past years. Fr. Lagrimas also gave his remarks to the youth and even awarded the participative RAY members during his talk proper. Of course, Fr. Palagtiosa also gave his heartfelt message and encouraged the youth to be more active and engage more in different activities that will be prepared in the next months and years. Finally, the mass was offered, and the event concluded with the picture talking of all RAY members with their Spiritual Directors. 

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Roceline Bernal Kathline Barizo

Roceline Bernal Kathline Barizo