From Storm to Advent: SARF’s online Advent Recollection with Fr. René Paglinawan, OAR
by Sis. Marina Yang (SARF de Mira Nila Chapter)
“From Storm to Advent”, an Advent recollection conducted last December 5, 2020 by Fray René Paglinawan, OAR, Prior of Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, Tondo and the spiritual adviser of the SARF de OLPGV Chapter, Tondo, was an immense success. For the first time, a recollection with all 18 chapters from Luzon and the Visayas region gathered together in unison with 185 participants from SARF Philippines and 10 participants from SARF de Kamalo, Sierra Leone with Fray Jose Prudencio Castillo, OAR, in attendance. Thanks to the advancement of video conferencing, for the first time, a recollection hosted thru virtual means was conducted with group sharing. For the first time, the newly established SARF chapters from Our Lady of Visitation Parish, Urbiztondo, Pangasinan and far-away Sierra Leone, South Africa also joined.
Our Blessed Mother Mary has been the central figure of this Advent recollection. The participants were guided through the scriptural rosary decades of events which Mary experienced, starting with the disturbing announcement of archangel Gabriel that she, a virgin, would bear a son; to seeing her son Jesus suffer, crucified and die at the cross. Through all these events, Mary was full of grace – obedient, humble, pondering words in her heart, suffering silently and patiently. She stood her ground. With the resurrection of Jesus, and the descent of the Holy Spirit was the establishment of the Church. Mary was there too, her mere presence a steadfast witness and strength for those around her. Truly a Queen of Heaven and Earth.
Our lives too have jigsaw puzzles. We too experience some kind of storms in life which this present pandemic is a good example of– a cause for discomforts, loss of economic income, sickness even deaths of loved ones. But in those depressing times, do we see Jesus passing by? Do we recognize Him, He who calmed the storm at sea?
The biggest storm of Jesus was His crucifixion and death on the cross. The centurion standing by was converted. Likewise, storms in our lives should be occasions for evangelization and conversion for others. As Mary and St. John the Baptist were “spotlights”, and Jesus must always be the “limelight”.
With guided questions, the participants were broken into groups for reflection and short reports given after. This Advent preparation activity was capped with an anticipated Holy Mass integrated with vespers and the Promise of Renewal, a fitting joyful spiritual exercise to celebrate the 432nd OAR Foundation Day.