Pastoral Formation Year is an essential program incorporated into the scholasticate formation of the Philippine Province of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. It is like "on-the-job training" where a scholastic is sent to live and be trained in a pastoral community. But more than just training, this a time of synthesis and integration of the acquired values and learnings from years of religious formation, especially in the aspects of prayer, academics, community, and service. Fortunately, I am blessed and privileged to be sent to Ireland, to immerse myself in the pastoral setting, to embrace the spirit of internationality, and to appreciate the Eucharistic spirituality in the foreign mission.
The moment I arrived in Ireland, I was immediately captivated by the magnificent beauty of its scenery. Moreover, its rich history of Catholicism inspirited me to experience the brilliance of faith in this country. Most importantly, I was inspired by the active presence of the Congregation's mission in the city centre of Dublin as it truly enfleshed the vision of our Founder – for our churches to become oases of silence and peace in the heart of the city (ROL No. 42). Thus, my placement in Ireland has been perfect training ground to grow in the pastoral ministry, as well as to deepen knowledge of the faith and appreciate our vocation as propagators of the Eucharist.
For seven months, I have been involved in various works and ministries of the community. The daily celebration of the Eucharist, liturgy of the hours, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament majorly composed my daily routines and activities inside the community. It has been an avenue to develop a sense of responsibility, discipline, and fraternal charity. It is also where I have seen and appreciated the strong impact of the Eucharist in the lives of those who visit our chapel to pray and encounter the Lord. Likewise, my active engagement in the Filipino Chaplaincy greatly contributed to my fruitful experience as a Pastorales. The ministry to the Filipino communities formed me in pastoral work as I have been exposed in giving recollections and seminars and assist in administering sacraments and sacramentals. With these, I got the chance to witness the different stories of migrant workers – their joys and sorrows, triumphs and failures, hopes and fears. And these encounters made me realise how faith has kept them moving forward amidst the challenges of living in a foreign land.
I am immensely grateful to the members of the Dublin Blessed Sacrament Community for their unwavering support. As a newbie, they made sure that I won’t feel alienated. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality, fraternity and fellowship they shown me throughout my stay. Hence, I was able to appreciate the beauty of internationality and how it can greatly benefit the Congregation's mission through inter-provincial collaboration.
Time swiftly passed, and I barely noticed that my placement already ended. Although seven months may be shorter than the usual program, yet my entire sojourn had given me the best I could ever experience. Each day is a moment to be treasured, and I couldn’t ask for more. Certainly, the opportunity I have received is more than enough to feel grateful. And indeed, my pastoral training has been truly rewarding.
April 2, 2023
Brother Daniel I. Nacar Jr., sss