My last day in Santiago was dominated by the retreat I facilitated for the clergy and the diocesan staff. My self-review is that parts of it went quite well. The preface on post-colonial theology generated good discussion and report back in the plenary session.
I then did the theoretical presentation for my exercises on psycho-synthesis and bio-spiritual focusing. The response was mixed. Some folks were nodding and definitely engaged if not downright intrigued. Others were bored. The first exercise went ok, but just ok. The second went better and they had great one on one dialogues afterward. By the time we got to the transpersonal self guided meditation, almost everyone seemed deeply engaged. It felt profound. Then the free association of God’s children meditation went quite well and the loving kindness mediation seems worked exceptionally. It was moving when they meditated on the blessing, “May all persons in the Dioceses of Santiago and Nevada be filled with loving kindness. May they be well. May they be peaceful and at ease. May they be happy.” So once we got past the theory, which some liked even that, it went well.
The deans met with me over lunch again and we continued to plan how to build a network between our dioceses. They told me more about how the deaneries work in the Philippines. The deanery is a key unit of church life here and the deans have a substantial role – more so than in Atlanta or Nevada. They really make things happen, like youth ministry. The ECW meets for the deanery and at convention. ECW lives beyond the parish boundaries here more than in Nevada. I learned much and was prodded to do more with what I already know.
There was a wonderful farewell. The clericus gave me a large woven cloth. They also gave me the banner welcoming me to the diocese in Ilocano. There were many mutual expressions of appreciation for each other. I kept promising to return until I realized how much like Douglass MacArthur I sounded. After the retreat, two young adults, Andy Burns (a YASC engineer) and Jocelyn Ittiw (an agricultural engineer doing community development work) interviewed me. Good questions. I over answered them because I enjoyed the young people so much. I want to be them when I am reincarnated.
This has been a fantastic visit. I feel changed by it in ways I cannot describe. I regret having to leave tomorrow though I do enjoy Manila as well and look forward to meeting the Prime Bishop. I am also just exhuasted.
But I fly away laden with loving gifts -- a Philippine vest, wood carvings from Ifugao, a framed ceretificate from the dedication of St. Joseph the Worker, as well as the woven cloth and the banner they gave me today. The generosity of these good people exceeds even thier reputation.