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PREX celebrates Pearl Anniversary

By Dr. Marita Quimlat

The rains did not dampen the spirits of the PREX (Parish Renewal Experience) graduates who flocked to the Capitol Convention Center as early as 7:30 in the morning of February 19, 2023 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of PREX in the Archdiocese of Caceres.

The program opened with the Bible Enthronement led by its Spiritual Director, Rev. Fr. Gerome Pelagio. In his message, Fr. Pelagio stressed that there are three things one should remember in every celebration:”We recall the past, our humble beginnings. We celebrate with joy in our hearts for the gift of faith. Lastly, we renew our commitment to the Lord to serve Him faithfully through our parish, through our fellowmen. PREX has made us realize that we are indeed a part of the parish, we are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ.”

“The Archdiocese has 92 parishes and 1 mission station, 59 of which had introduced PREX to their parishioners”, says Fr Pelagio. Of these, 27 sent representatives to the event. A total of 1,065 PREX graduates attended.

Incumbent Vice Chair Couple for the Caceres Archdiocesan Association of Parish PREX Secretariat (CAAPPS) Outreach Team Erning and Tanny Lañada welcomed all the participants to the much-awaited event. Warm-up and joyful songs led by young animators set the mood for an exciting and memorable day.

The morning was capped by the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Most Rev. Rex Andrew Alarcon, Bishop of Daet. In his homily, the bishop recalled the first classes of PREX at the pioneering parish, Immaculate Conception Parish (Naga City), in January 1993. He is a member of Class 3, together with his siblings. They were all recruited by their parents, Ding and Nitz Alarcon who became the first Chair Couple in the parish.

PREX, he said, is “a wake-up call for our faith. We realize the beauty of our faith by way of the sharing of the lay faithful, the witnessing of their conversion stories and eventual renewal. It is not mere listening to doctrines but experiencing the hand of God through the experiences of the facilitators, sharers and even the music ministry.” It then becomes “an encounter with Jesus and with persons”.  Our personal renewal makes us better persons with greater challenges inspired by the grace of God, for it is only through His grace that we can sustain our renewal and commitment to the church.

Bishop Alarcon also stressed that “the challenge of the 30th year of PREX is to follow Jesus and prepare for greater tests ahead. The only way to follow Jesus is to follow His teaching of LOVE, unconditional love.” The question is: “are we ready to level up? Are we ready to bring the joy of the gospel? Indeed, we can…only if the gospel is in our HEARTS!”

The afternoon program opened with a talk from a young priest, Rev. Fr Daniel Vegas, the Director of the Archdiocesan Youth Ministry. His talk centered on the path to Synodality. He said that through PREX, “we experience conversion as we learn from the various sharing together with our batchmates and facilitators. Through our participation during and after our PREX classes, we gain an appreciation and renewal of our faith, enabling us to be courageous to spread the Good News and thus carry on the mission of evangelization. By way of PREX, we then promote the 3 pillars of Synodality: Communion, Participation and Mission.”

The Choral Singing Contest followed, participated by 6 parishes: Our Lady of La Porteria Parish of Calabanga winning first place; St. Bartholomew Parish of Baao who won second place and St Anthony of Abbot Parish of Tapayas, Balatan, third place. The other 3 parishes are: Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish of Garchitorena, Our Lady of Mt Carmel of Carolina, Naga City and St Andrew the Apostle Parish of Sangay. The Board of Judges consisted of Fr. Xavier Amoroso as the chairman, Fr. Jed Peña and Joseph Reburiano.

The event was organized by the CAAPPS Outreach Team, composed of the following committees and chairs: Registration with Nona San Miguel, Amy Mayor and Peter Apin; Physical Arrangement with Boots Gonzaga and ICP PREX; Food with Salve Yubuco & Mina Jarapa; Liturgy, with Jun and Boots Gonzaga; Program with Nini Perez, Mich Relevante, Nilma Inocente; Sounds/Music with Vhon Bustinera, Rico Abundo, Nini Perez;  Documentation with Wowie Borja, Kenneth Dacuro, Mich Relevante, and CCCOM; Games with Julie Obias and Francia Clutario; Raffle with Angel Pante , Jun Borebor; Solicitations with Tita Concepcion, Tanny Lañada and Dr. Marita Quimlat; and Choral Contest with Dr. Quimlat.

Intermissions from different parishes added excitement and inspired the audience to participate in singing and dancing. Games and raffle of prizes to end the day sent the participants home with a smile on their faces.

Group photo after the mass at the Capitol Convention Center on February 19, 2023 which celebrated the 30th anniversary of PREX in the Archdiocese of Caceres. (Left to right) JR Alarcon, Nitz C. Alarcon, Tanny Lañada, Bishop Rex Clement Alarcon, Blesilda Arqueza and Elsa Dacer (Photo credit: P. Gerome Pelagio)


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