Once again COP members gathered as a community to reiterate their commitment to the vision and mission of Contemplative Outreach during this year’s Recommitment Day on Jan. 26, 2019. A contemplative Mass celebrated by Msgr. “Monsi” Atilano was held at Our Lady’s Chapel, Don Bosco parish, after which the spiritual practice of “taking a stand” was done by each of the Mass attendees. This beautiful practice is a legacy of the late Fr. Basil Pennington who introduced it as one way of helping us grow in our spiritual life.

After the Mass, the community proceeded to Roozen Hall for some Recommitment activities and fellowship. Tess Castaneda, Social committee head emceed the program which started with brief opening remarks by Tess Colayco of the Circle of Service. Essentially it was a reminder to be faithful to our daily practice of centering prayer and lectio divina, to live the contemplative dimension of the Gospel, and to support the vision and mission of Contemplative Outreach. With our Founder, Fr. Thomas Keating’s passing on Oct. 25, 2018, it was but fitting to recall with gratitude and love how Fr. Keating had touched our lives. His life of extraordinary holiness and beauty will always inspire us to follow the path that he walked before us, that of the contemplative way. Billie Trinidad then read a beautiful prayer by Fr. Keating that was so appropriate for the day’s activity.

An inspirational message followed, given by COP Formator, Lita Salinas. She reminded us that our recommitment should not be just a yearly practice but a daily one. Indeed the journey of personal transformation is one that we have to live moment to moment in our daily lives. Then we did lectio divina, a back to back practice with centering prayer that we do every day.

Terly Chikiamco, Finance committee head, then reported on the financial status of the community, and also announced on behalf of Betty Florendo, Retreats and Workshops head, the schedule for retreats and workshops in 2019. This was followed with the introduction of the different centering prayer groups during which some of the CPG heads shared interesting information regarding their members (i.e., how long they had been together, their bonding activities, etc.) It was heartwarming to see the different CPG’s relating warmly to each other, sharing similar experiences, and encouraging one another in their contemplative journey.

A hearty packed lunch followed the “business” part of the program. It was a time of happy camaraderie and warm bonding with our friends and companions in the spiritual journey.

Refreshed and renewed in spirit, we pray that we may bring to reality Fr. Keating’s prophetic words, said before he passed away: “After my demise, Centering Prayer is likely to grow significantly even more. I don’t know why. It’s just the nature of things. The seed has to fall into the ground and die for its full energies to be activated.”

This is the mission of Contemplative Outreach, to teach the prayer, to share the Christian contemplative tradition with others. And being God’s beloved, Fr. Keating’s prayer is also for us to allow ourselves “to be loved unconditionally by God, and in turn, bring this love to everyone, past, present and future.” May we consent fully to it.

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In keeping with the Christmas spirit of joy, fellowship and celebration of the season, COP members danced and sang with gusto, laughed heartily, and bonded warmly with each other during their Christmas party lst Dec. ---- As in the previous year, it was held at Sunshine Place, a center for total wellness located at Jupiter St., Makati. The venue was perfect, up on the roof deck, nicely decorated and spacious to accommodate the happy gathering.

The celebration started with holy Mass said by “Monsi” Atilano, followed by an inspirational message by COP Formator, Lita Salinas. A special surprise number in the entertainment portion of the morning was the tap dance performed by Billie Trinidad, Tess Castaneda and Gilda Reyes. Big applause to the three ladies who went out of their way to take tap dancing lessons just to be able to add more sparkle and fun to the Christmas party! Big thanks also to Tess Castaneda, head of Socials committee, and her team for a good job! Everyone had a jolly good time!

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