One hundred forty public school administrators recently attended a half-day Lenten recollection 1st day of March 2018 held at the Chapel of Arzobispado of Manila. Cardinal Chito Tagle gave a one-hour talk to the delight of the participants. The gracious Cardinal used the Greek word Metanoia to refer to the change in one's way of life resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion. He stressed that most practicing Catholics know what is expected and required of us during the Season of Lent like giving something up for Lent. Most Catholics want Lent to be a spiritual experience, a truly life changing experience. In a way we go into our own desert for 40 days as Jesus did. To indeed have a virtuous Lenten experience, Cardinal Tagle encouraged the participants to practice the three Pillars of Lent, which is Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.
After the sharing of the Cardinal, the participants were led to an experience of homecoming to concretize the thought-provoking words they have heard. Through a simple ceremony, they were guided to express their commitment to practice the three pillars by doing the following. In prayer, they took a small paper with the names of the priests they will remember in their prayers. This is to commemorate the celebration of the year of the clergy and consecrated persons. For fasting, they will sign their names as commitment to observe fasting and abstinence especially all Fridays during Lenten Season. Almsgiving, they were invited to participate in the “40 pesos for 40 days” program of Caritas Manila. The response of the participants were overwhelming.
The gathering culminated in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided over by The CFAM Minister himself Rev. Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo. In his homily, he stressed the points shared by the Cardinal. The participants went home with a heart full of messages for spiritual nourishment. Each one of them was given a shawl as a souvenir. The talks, the environment, the food, the activities and the camaraderie make it a special time to reflect on God’s grace and to experience a concrete homecoming.