Last Saturday was a day of great JOY for the FORMDEV community as we celebrated our 10th Year Anniversary!*
It was for me a JOY-filled celebration 🙂 for many reasons.
First, it gave me great joy to lead the facis in thanking the Lord for the superabundant grace (unmerited favor) he has granted the FORMDEV community all these years!
Second, it gave me great joy to see facis from all the FORMDEV Batches (1-11) come together! We’ve had Christmas reunions since Batch 6 started the tradition in December 2008, but last Saturday was the first time that all the batches were represented! (The only drawback of a large reunion is that there is not enough time to spend with everyone, which is why I look forward to weekend retreats with different alumni batches, as Pre Torres of Batch 5 suggested and volunteered to organize. Thanks, Pre!)
Third, it gave me great joy to hear the former and current Student Heads deliver the opening and closing prayers and remarks. I cannot overemphasize the very crucial role that the FORMDEV Student Heads (SH) have played ever since the number of student facis exceeded that of faculty and staff facis in AY 2003-2004, and I am very, very proud of every single one of them. [Below, next to me from left to right: Franco Mesina (1st Student Head), Gucci Gutierrez (2nd and longest serving Student Head), Eddie Santillan (4th Student Head), Ryan Dimaunahan (5th Student Head), and MC Miranda (6th and current Student Head).]
Fourth, it gave me great joy to see facis ― whether student, faculty, staff, or alumni ― working and praying together to make the anniversary celebration a success. Thanks, everyone! Special thanks to Rachel Roxas (Batch 2, who is the current CCS Dean), Bing Ruiz (Batch 1, who is secretary of the Dean), and Franco Mesina (Batch 3 and former Student Head) for the poignant opening remarks; to Gwen Centeno (Batch 4, who is secretary of the Vice-Dean) and Gucci Gutierrez (Batch 4 and former Student Head) for the uplifting closing remarks; and to MC Miranda (Batch 8 and current Student Head) and Ryan Dimaunahan (Batch 7 and former Student Head) for the beautiful opening and closing prayers, respectively. Thanks, too, to Tiano Magdaong (Batch 10) for emceeing, and to Den Abad (Batch 10) and his team for leading the P&W session and singing the mass songs. Thanks also to Rhia Trogo (Batch 4) and JayR Tuason (Batch 5) for serving as impromptu commentator and server, respectively, during the thanksgiving mass celebrated by Fr. Joddy Turnip from Indonesia. Thanks also to LSPO’s Gina Cejuela, without whom we wouldn’t have had our thanksgiving mass. Thanks also to Aurel dela Cruz, DLSU’s AVC for Campus Development, for making it easy for the FORMDEV alumni to enter the campus and join the celebration.
Thanks also to the FORMDEV anniversary committees, headed by Nikko Reyes (Shirt and Video), Danjo Jacinto (Invitation and Registration), Paolo Gervacio (Memory Walk), Pat Lim (Decoration), and Sherlo Cantos (Activities), for their excellent preparations! Thanks also to Andrew Pamorada and Brian Tan (Batch 8) for taking great photos. Special thanks to Eric Marquez for the beautiful 10th-Year Anniversary logo.
Finally, very special thanks to Br. Michael Broughton, FSC and Br. Rey Mejias, FSC for their heart-warming video messages, and to Br. Ceci Hojilla, FSC (1944-2009) for his prayers in heaven and for the FORMDEV blog post he graciously left behind as a reminder of his undying love and support.
A few days prior to the anniversary, I asked the FORMDEV facis to email the Student Head their answers to the following two questions:
- Describe in a few sentences your overall experience as a FORMDEV facilitator.
- What has been the greatest impact of FORMDEV on your life?
Here’s a slightly modified version of what I sent the Student Head:
If I were to pick only one word to describe my overall experience as a FORMDEV facilitator, it would be JOY. My ministry in FORMDEV is, first of all, to the FORMDEV leaders, especially the Formation (Bible study) leaders, then to the FORMDEV facilitators, and finally to the FORMDEV students, and serving them through the gifts and by the power of the Holy Spirit has, by God’s grace, given me so much joy: the joy, firstly, of obeying God’s will; secondly, the joy of seeing lives transformed; and thirdly, the joy of receiving “bonuses” in the form of simple words or gestures of appreciation, and unexpected yet overwhelming blessings.
FORMDEV is one of my spiritual families. Like any spiritual family/community, it is therefore here where I experience fellowship and corporate worship, and where I use my spiritual gifts in ministry. But due to the special mission and vision of FORMDEV, it is through and with FORMDEV that I am most effective in using my spiritual gifts for evangelism (or what Rick Warren calls mission). The greatest impact, therefore, of FORMDEV on my life is that it has enabled me to bear both types of spiritual fruit described in Galatians 5:22-23 (the character of Christ) and John 4:36+15:8 (persons who come to Christ). Without FORMDEV, which is a special gift of the Holy Spirit to CCS and DLSU, it would be impossible for me to bear spiritual fruit to the degree that I have (though that degree is still quite small), for the glory of God.
The FORMDEV community will face new challenges as it branches out to the envisioned DLSU S&T Complex in DLSU’s 50-hectare campus in Laguna, where I will be moving to in AY 2013-2014, and where the FORMDEV course will be integrated into the curricula of all the degree programs. But I know that as we face these new challenges for Christ, we will receive even greater grace (unmerited favor) from our Lord.
May everyone in the FORMDEV family remain spiritually and physically strong in Christ Jesus until we open our Time Box during our Silver Anniversary Celebration in AY 2026-2027!
* Actually, though this academic year marks our 10th year of offering the FORMDEV course to students of the College of Computer Studies, the FORMDEV community is already 11 years old, having been established a full year before the course was first offered. However, circumstances led us to celebrate FORMDEV’s anniversary this AY 2011-2012, the hundredth year of Lasallian presence in the Philippines.