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Soulful recollection of graduating students’ journey as missionary disciples in nursing profession

MEANINGFUL recollection was experienced by the graduating students of Bachelor of Science in Nursing - College of Health Sciences of the Naga College Foundation, Inc with Rev, Fr. Rex Luis L. Hidalgo as Retreat Master assisted by Rev. Fr. Allan S. Fenix in the Sacrament of Confession held last June 10-11, 2023 at Foothills Eco-Camp , Panicuason, Naga City owned and managed by Mr Benjamin P.Villanueva. Guidance of Dr Stanley O. Dy. AVP/Dean-CHS , Mrs Teresita Q. Decal- Level 4 Adviser, supervision by Clinical Instructors headed by Mr Rene T. Polliente, Mr Raymund Vargas, Mrs Eden Cielos Ocampo, Ms Kai De la Cruz, Mrs Concepcion Cea, Mrs. Jing Pitapit, Mrs Emmaloi Alvarez Ilano, Mr Henry B. Calisura, Mr Jofren Bacerdo and Ms.Emelita Perfinan, assistance from the NCF Campus Ministry through Mr Jc Vargas, provision of mugs and booklets by Mr Joel C. Villanueva, Director, Institutional Marketing and Public Relations Office, generous donation of rosaries, miraculous medals, sacramentals, prayer cards by the Missionaries of Charity Sisters & Mr Ryan Bucad, lending of tents and flag poles by the Sisters of the Little Mission for the Deaf of the Joseph Gualandi School for the Hearing Impaired, Inc, security and support by the Naga City Police Office headed by City Director PCol Nelson A. Pacalso, the PNP Station 4 Commander and officers, selfless service of the Missionaries of the Poor brothers- Bro Jaime, Bro Ronnie, Bro Joey, Bro Wilbert and Bro Guilly for the transportation and assistance made the occasion extra special for it all conveyed the love and support of the school administrators, mentors and friends for the most important clientele of the Institution , the students as they journey with them in their next milestone - review and the upcoming Board Examination. The recollection Theme: Empowered NCean Nurses: Beacons of Hope & Love Providing Service Both As A Profession and Vocation guided the students to reflect on their own lives and in their relationship with others and to God. Nurses are the largest workforce in the health care system providing direct care to the patients, families, and communities. Traditionally, nursing is considered as a profession that provides nurturing, competent, and emphatic care in a holistic way. Nevertheless, today’s nursing career changes from a subordinate to a more independent role as a manager, leader, and change agent. Nursing is more than a degree and technical skills. Being a nurse requires dedication and hard work to go beyond the technical requirements. Nursing as a vocation practices compassionate care, competence, therapeutic communication, courage and commitment grounded on the respect for the dignity and worth of the person and their families.

Series of activities were conducted namely: Afternoon talk which made the retreatants contemplate their upbringings and struggles and motivates them towards introspection and in forgiving those who caused them pain. The world is rapidly changing in response to global secular trends such as the increased use of technology, global mobility, instant communication, and rising atheistic scientism. Likewise, the religious landscape of the country is being reconfigured by long-term, fundamental changes. The students were animated to give more and expect less , to strive for deeper and more meaningful existence and in finding one’s place in the society armed with Christian values. Emphasis on uttering powerful words of thank you, sorry and I love you to anyone and everyone all the time may seem to be simple acts, but when genuinely made, can yield unexpected results. Strategically, the giftedness of Fr Rex captured not only the attention of the students but their hearts as well .Millennials and youth in Generation Z place a high value on tolerance and acceptance. He did not start with rules and doctrinal concepts instead, he begun with relationship and the encounter with the person of Christ! He invited the youth to deepen their friendship with Christ and participate deeply in Mass, attend adoration and frequent the Sacraments, to engage with God’s Word, and take time for retreats, prayer, and service.

Showing gratitude is one of the most important things one can do as it conveys appreciation to parents, significant persons, teachers, friends that provided encouragement leads to motivation and inspiration for more good deeds. Our hearts should give rise to a sense of gratitude towards Jesus, Mary, Joseph , Saints and Angels who never stop accompanying us. We must look back to see how God has saved us. A life of thanksgiving is a life well-lived. Saying “I’m sorry” is not easy. It might mean swallowing one’s pride and accepting one’s faults. It takes guts, humility, dignity, and full accountability for us to ask for forgiveness. A heartfelt I’m sorry” can defuse a tense situation or remedy a rift. A sincere apology can make a difference by rebuilding productive relationships and reinforces character and values. Saying ‘I love you’ today and always is the oxygen for the relationship. Telling somebody you love them feeds the relationship, keeps it alive. It reinforces feelings and helps remind loved ones, whether one’s spouse, sweetheart, child or parent, friends or relatives that you are there for them and that they matter to you. Life being short and death being certain challenges us to rethink what gives life meaning and how to make the most of it.

Meals for the 2- day event were prepared by the Clinical Instructors with the help of Anthony a student assistant taking up Criminology Course. After the sumptuous dinner, the organizers hosted a Living Rosary using colored papers with each candle lit after each prayer inspired by the World Mission Rosary designed by Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, purpose is encouraging prayers for peace for the world, especially those areas where Church missionaries serve. With the colorful paper-chain rosary, each student add one link to represent different areas of the world -blue for Oceania , yellow for Asia , white for Europe, red for the Americas, and green for Africa. Marian songs were sung between each decade. Police, Barangay Tanods and the Clinical Instructors participated on said Living Rosary originally planned to be on the grounds but due to sporadic rain showers ,was transferred to dry grounds. Grill party, campfire, inspiring messages from the Dean, CIs and socials ensued with a surprise video presentation made by SA Ruffa as tribute to the Seniors depicting pictures taken during their Capping Ceremony, Summer Affiliation, Return Demonstrations, Field Trip , Disaster and Emergency Drill.

Students were awakened the following day with praise and worship songs. After breakfast, students were briefly instructed by the retreat master on the proceedings of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and how to make a good examination of conscience to help recall sins. Most of the students haven’t been to Confession for years, thus, such beautiful grace from God is His gift to them on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Heaven rejoices over one sinner who repents! By confessing our sins we come to terms with what we did and it does remind us of our weakness and God’s grace. It is also important to note that as Catholics we are all united as the body of Christ and even though our sins may seem personal or it may seem like we can just confess them to God on our own, the act of going to the Sacrament of Confession is a sign that we realize that the consequences of our sin reach the whole body and we are taking action to restore our relationship with the Church.

The highlight of the activity is the Eucharistic Celebration, “the source and summit” of the Christian life. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ Himself, the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through Him to the Father in the Holy Spirit. Students, CIs,PNP and guests received Communion devoutly. After the Mass, Main Celebrant blessed the Exam kit with pencils, sharpener for use in the Boards, rosary and guide, medals and prayer cards then imposition of the Manto of Our Lady of Peñafrancia was facilitated by the MOP brothers. There is a deep hunger in youth and young adults, a hunger for love, for truth, for meaning, for belonging, and for purpose that the culture cannot satisfy. This hunger is satisfied in friendship with Jesus Christ, a friendship that leads to community in His Church and to fruitful sharing of love and care with those in need. The invitation to become a missionary disciple of and for Jesus Christ begin in baptism and continue when they come to love Christ and follow His ways. They become missionary disciples when they seek to witness and serve those most in need, beginning with those closest to them. Our engagement with youth and young adults should help young disciples encounter Christ. We have to accompany them, promote belonging in the workplace, parish and school communities and lead them to missionary witness in their chosen profession and vocation.

O Eternal Father of Mercy, together with Mary, the young woman of Nazareth whom you have chosen as the Mother of your Son, I desire to listen to Your voice that infuses courage and gives the grace necessary to respond to Your call. You read our hearts because You are our Creator and Lord. You know that our heart is restless until it rests in You. In our lives, we will face decisions, especially when we are faced with the fundamental choices on which depends what we will be and what we will do in this world. We humbly beg You: grant us discernment to put in order our thoughts and feelings, to act justly and prudently according to Your will. Give us light and wisdom as we look inside and give a name to our fears that anguish us, block us and prevent us from moving forward.

Jesus Christ crucified and risen, God with us, who in Gethsemane felt fear and anguish, sharing with us in everything – except sin – our human condition, we firmly believe that nothing will separate us from Your love. Faith in You makes us stable because You are the Rock of fidelity, the love that makes us free and courageous, the ability to overcome fears by opening ourselves to life. We are convinced that You are leading us to eternal life through circumstances and vicissitudes that are often mysterious to us. Teach us how to rediscover silence, that we may be able to listen to Your voice within our conscience. Your heart speaks to us through the Holy Scriptures, and is offered to us through Your mercy in the sacrament of Reconciliation, to make us one with You in Holy Communion. With trust and humility, let us reach out in dialogue to our vocational guides, brothers and sisters in the faith who – animated by Your Holy Spirit – help us to decipher our doubts and to understand Your plan of love.

O Holy Spirit, who are the Spirit of wisdom, strength and love, open our hearts when listening to the Gospel so that we may discover ourselves loved by the Father who calls us by name to put ourselves in the footsteps of His Son, Jesus, to become with Him and in Him a gift for the Church and for our brothers and sisters in Christ. You, our Divine Master, always sustains us, in our moments of trial and darkness, encouraging us to embrace our vocation, which requires a commitment of fidelity to be renewed every day. You enfold us under Your wings as You do with Mary of Nazareth, declaring to us that we have found grace in the eyes of the Father who esteems us and considers us precious, having redeemed us with the most precious blood of His Son.

O Mary, a simple girl from a small village in Galilee, pray for us, for our brothers and sisters in the Philippines and in the World, so that we can experience the love of God within us, a love that gives us the courage here and now to carry forward what God asks of us, living our faith without hiding it. Contemplating your love, my heart is full of joy, as we learn to love God above all things, and to love each other as Jesus has loved us. Help us to respond promptly and joyfully to the vocation to love in this life, communicating the joy of the Gospel to our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially the weakest and poorest of society. Amen. Alleluia!


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