NLC Discernment and Directions

November 11, 2023 | Story by: Christian Life Community in the Philippines | We begin our second year of service as your National Leadership Community with a greater sense of mission and clarity of direction, walking together in a synodal Church.
 

November 10, 2023

 

Dear CLCP members and friends,

Last September 9-10, 2023 and again on October 28-29, 2023, the National Leadership Community started a synodal journey to discern the direction we would like to take the National Community for the remaining two years of our term.  We write to share with you the fruits of our discernment and we write to request you to walk with us toward achieving our direction.

 

A year of taking stock

We write to you a full year after the CLCP National Assembly held last August 26-29, 2022. In the first year, the LC took time to take stock of the various affairs of our community after a challenging three years living under the shadow of the COVID19 pandemic. This included a review of our communities and members, our programs, and our financial situation.
 

With regard to communities, we see that many members saw their CLC community as a source of strength and inspiration during the hardest days of the pandemic. However, we also see that the lack of in-person meetings has resulted in many communities, especially among our poorest members, losing vitality. While the use of video conferencing has brought us closer together as a National (and even a World) Community, we are now exploring how we could reinvigorate and restart our Regional Communities as they start to meet in person.
 

With regard to our programs, we have been able to return to pre-pandemic levels. The Formation Institute had an extremely successful Holy Week Retreat and is now organizing many more programs with partners such as the Joy Nostalg Foundation, ICA, St. Scholastica’s Academy Marikina and Pathways for Higher Education. Mass Card sales are slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels. Our retreat house in Trece is once again experiencing more bookings after nearly three years of nearly zero utilization.
 

Finally, we have stabilized our financial reports after a challenging three years. We are very grateful that we started the year 2023 with more funds than we started 2020 thanks to the generous donations made by a handful of big donors to help us off-set the lost revenue streams during the pandemic, and we have more efficient operations thanks to innovations made during the pandemic.
 

Discerning Paths of Hope

Our first year was also spent preparing for and participating in our World Assembly held in Amiens, France last August 2023 under the theme “Discerning Paths of Hope”. Our preparation started more than a year earlier during our 2022 National Assembly where “we heard the Lord reminding us that our CLC identity as an apostolic body sharing mission in the Church is the key means for living the Lord’s mission for us.”
 

In Amiens, our Philippine delegates prayed, shared, and listened as one body with close to 200 delegates from around the world. This resulted in a call to the following orientations of hope:
 

  1. Confirming our Call as a Lay, Ignatian, Apostolic Community - The first orientation is a call to build a specifically lay community and to strengthen readiness to respond as lay Christians in the midst of the various cries in the world. “We need to hold our three pillars in creative balance: going to the realities on mission and committing ourselves, building up the body of our community, and sharing our spirituality in a deep way.”

  2. Confirmation and Deepening of Apostolic Frontiers - The World Assembly reiterated the four frontiers discerned in Lebanon in 2013 and directed us to greater apostolic availability in the areas of:

    1. Integral Ecology

    2. Poverty and Globalization

    3. Youth

    4. Family

  3. Opening to a New Frontier and Mission - The World Assembly recognized two new frontiers for mission:

    1. Spiritual Ministries - “Our community seeks to respond to the spiritual quest of people of our time. We offer a spiritual apostolic community life of coherence, joy and hope. We have tools to accompany persons seeking deeper purpose, meaning, and integration between faith and life.”

    2. Mission within the Church - In an innovative way, the World Assembly identified the Church itself as a place of mission. We are moved by the cries of people who may have experienced hurt, discrimination and abuse in the Church, and we are called to “welcome people at the edge of the Church who are searching for community and spirituality. We echo Pope Francis at the World Youth Day Welcoming Ceremony, Lisbon, Portugal, August 3, 2023, who said: ’Everyone, everyone, everyone! In the Church there is room for everyone.’ We want to work for, belong to and be a Church which welcomes and includes everyone, every person in their diversity of gender, sexuality, marital status, affectivity, and ways of life, and every other marginalized and excluded person. We acknowledge differences in cultural and social realities in different parts of the world. We desire to be a friendly and safe space for all people to explore their faith in the context of daily living. We encourage communities to open paths for dialogue and hope.”  In a special way, we acknowledge the synodal process that the Church is currently undertaking. We believe Communal Discernment in CLC is a prophetic sign for the Church and we humbly offer our experience to the Church. As if by confirmation, the Synthesis report identified hidden gem #15: The synod wants to promote small Christian communities, “who live the closeness of the day-to-day, around the Word of God and the Eucharist” and by their nature foster a synodal style. We are called to enhance their potential.

 

We believe that the World Assembly is a strong confirmation of the apostolic discernment of CLCP in the previous National Assemblies and the apostolates of our members, local communities, regions and the national community.  At the same time, we acknowledge a call for CLC in the Philippines to respond with greater faith, unity, joy, creativity and disponibility as explicitly mentioned in the section on Sharing Responsibility for Mission in our National Assembly 2022 grace.
 

In 2022, we begged the Lord to help us deepen our joy and intensify our disponibility for the gift of our apostolic body sharing responsibility for mission. In Amiens in 2023, our World Assembly received the grace for the Lord to help us deepen, share and go forth, showing us the way by discerning paths for hope as a lay, Ignatian apostolic body. And now, we have discerned CLCP's response to create paths of hope and joy for going forward. It has been an amazing, unbroken flow of graces received!
 

“Creating Paths of Hope”

It is with this context that the National Leadership Community gathered to discern what direction we are being called to as a National Community for the next two years. After a fruitful discussion, we propose the theme of “Creating Paths of Hope” in response to the call heard in Amiens in the context of the Church’s synodal journey. 


We would like to emphasize three elements that came to the fore during the National Assembly, World Assembly and from our listening to the state of our communities the previous year, which we believe are embodied in our theme.
 

First, we emphasize the element of hope. God is the ultimate source of our hope incarnated in the person of Jesus Christ who became man to accomplish the plan to work for the redemption of all creation.
 

Second, we acknowledge our call to participate in this mission of bringing hope to a hopeless world through our imitation of Mary’s fiat. In particular, we are called to build paths of hope to the areas identified by the World Assemblies of Lebanon and Amiens.

 

Finally, we create and walk these paths of hope together as one community drawn together by our shared experience of God’s love, in the spirit of Synodality. Regardless of our socio-economic or life situation, we aim to grow together in our Way of Life by deepening our experience of the Spiritual Exercises with the aim of fostering in us a greater disponibility to respond to the challenges of our time.



Nine Priorities

In light of this, the National Leadership Community has identified nine priority areas for the next two years.
 

  1. Experience of the Spiritual Exercises for all members - We aim for our members to experience the Spiritual Exercises in any of its various forms. The Formation Institute will generously provide opportunities for the Spiritual Exercises using various modalities and in various geographies. As a starting point, the Formation Institute has organized an online Retreat in Daily Life for CLC members. The FI will also support regions and local communities in organizing retreats.  Moreover, we have earmarked a Formation Support Fund, seeded with a P1 million donation from the Philippine Jesuit Aid Association, to subsidize formation activities of members in need.

 
  1. Common Experience of the Way of Life - We aim for our members to have a common understanding of the hallmarks of our Way of Life grounded in the General Principles (e.g., Examen, SpEx, prayer method, DSSE, understanding of mission/apostolate, experience of community).  To do this we shall start by creating common programs for orientation/grounding of new members, discernment for temporary commitment and discernment for permanent commitment.

 
  1. Support for Struggling Communities - The Leadership Community and the Community Development Team shall visit communities that have been clearly identified as being in need of greater support.  These include communities that are not covered by a regional structure, new young professional communities and those that are experiencing conflict or negative inertia.

 
  1. Building Communities among the Poor - It has been a long-standing dream of the CLCP to share our Way of Life especially among the poor.  While we have started many new communities among the urban and rural poor, we have also seen a large fall-out among our poorest communities, especially during the pandemic. Before we venture to create new communities, we aim to take stock and learn from the experience of the successful communities as well as to stabilize the faltering communities.  We seek to learn from our previous experiences and better prepare ourselves as we embark on this journey.

 
  1. Strengthen bonds across communities - We aim to build stronger bonds among communities and members.  We plan to organize more twinning and tripling events across communities as well as creating opportunities for members with common interests/missions to come together and build community.

 
  1. Support and strengthen our leaders in CLCP (Guides, Coordinators, Regional LC Members and Team Members) - We have been gifted with many members in CLCP who have taken on leadership roles as Coordinators, Regional Leadership Community members, Team Members and Guides. We aim to give all CLC members an opportunity to serve the wider community by volunteering in these roles in the spirit of servant leadership. We also aim to strengthen and support our leaders by having regular meetings and leadership formation sessions.

 
  1. Support YCLCs especially in times of transition - Through the hard work of our Youth Development Team, we have seen a flourishing of YCLCs across nearly all the Jesuit high schools and colleges in the Philippines. We aim to support these communities in their continued growth and support the transition of members as they move from Junior High School to Senior High School to College to young professionals. We aim to prepare for the potential large number of young professional communities and members across the country by training guides and developing programs for young professional communities.

 
  1. Safeguarding the young and vulnerable - In light of Standing Order 16 (approved by the World Executive Council in December 2019), we shall develop a set of Safeguarding policies and procedures to ensure that CLCP is a safe place for the young and vulnerable.

 
  1. Renew apostolic zeal among communities - We aim to have all CLC members reflect about the frontiers identified in Amiens and make a renewal of life to integrate a more generous response across the areas of integral ecology, family, youth, poverty and globalization, spirituality and building an inclusive and welcoming Church. We shall dedicate 2024-2025 to an apostolic renewal of the CLCP through a series of events building awareness of the issues surrounding each frontier and providing opportunities for our members to support apostolates of CLC communities and partners. We ask all our communities to enter this process with greater disponibility.
     

How you can participate

Reflect: We invite all our members/communities to reflect on (a) the final Amiens document, (b) the accompanying letter from the newly missioned World ExCo, Projects 180(c) Grace of National Assembly 2022 and (d) this letter to discern how you are called to support the mission given to the CLCP.  This will be the subject of our 2023 National Convention to be conducted on-line on November 25 and December 2, 2023.

REGISTRATION FORM | CLCP National Convention 2023

In particular, we would like to suggest three ways by which you could help:
 

CLCP Teams: First, we invite all members to discern whether they are called to participate in some of the teams that will be set up to champion the various priorities and drive the various activities of CLCP.  We are opening-up sign-ups for our National Teams listed below.

  • Priority 1 and 2: Formation Team

  • Priority 3: Community Development Team - Struggling Communities

  • Priority 4: Community Development Team - Building Communities Among the Poor

  • Priority 5: Community Development Team - Strengthening Bonds Among Communities

  • Priority 6: Community Development Team - Support for Leaders

  • Priority 7a: Community Development Team - Welcoming New Adult Members and Transitioning YCLC members to Adult Communities

  • Priority 7b: Youth Development Team

  • Priority 7c: Youth Assembly Team (planned for April 2024)

  • Priority 8: Safeguarding Policy Team

  • Priority 9: Apostolate Team / Signs of the Times Discernment Group

  • Support Initiative 1: Resource Management Team - Fundraising

  • Support Initiative 2: Mass Cards Team

  • Support Initiative 3: Prayer Apostolate Team (Organizing the prayers for the Prayer Apostolate and engaging with our prayer card participants)

  • Support Initiative 4: Horacio dela Costa Formation Center Team

SIGN UP FORM | CLCP National Teams

Financial Support: Second, we invite our members to support CLC financially.  We are launching a drive to raise P2M which should cover our financial losses for this year and the draw-downs from our General Operations Fund made in the previous years.  This will provide us with a firm financial footing to make progress on our 9 discerned priorities for the next two years.
 

Donations can be made through the following means:

  1. Donation Page at https://clcphilippines.org/support-our-mission

     We accept payments from all bank, e-wallets, crypto currency & credit cards

  1. Bank Transfer

    • Bank: BDO - Berkeley Branch

    • Account Name: Christian Life Community of the Philippines Inc.

    • Account Number: 00357 800 3030
       

Please find attached our financial letter which discusses the financial situation of CLCP and explains the targets to be raised.

LETTER | CLCP Financial
CLCP Pledges

Apostolic Renewal: We invite all members and communities to actively renew their apostolic commitments by listening attentively to the signs of the times. In particular, we ask that all communities actively participate in the series of events meant to foster an apostolic renewal among CLCP communities across 2024 and 2025.  We pray that each can respond to the apostolic calls heard in a joyful and courageous manner.

We were heartened by the strong support for our discerned directions, particularly these 9 priority areas, that was expressed by the Regional Leadership Communities during our meeting held last Nov. 4. In fact, it is a source of joy and inspiration that many regions are already engaged in apostolic work in these areas. We intend to launch a mapping activity early next year to identify the various ongoing apostolic initiatives in the various regions, with the purpose of sharing their stories and offering resources in fulfillment of our desire for greater apostolic zeal.
 

Conclusion

We begin our second year of service as your National Leadership Community with a greater sense of mission and clarity of direction, walking together in a synodal Church. We beg for the grace to follow the poor and humble Christ, to walk as God walks, immersed in patience, gentleness, listening, mercy with brothers and sisters, and learning from them.
 

For God’s greater glory!

 

In the love and joy of Christ,

 

Rose, Beng, Je and Kenneth

National Leadership Community 2022-25



 
Final Document Amiens 2023
Projects 180
Grace of NA 2022
 
 
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