Pope Francis Drop-In Center Blessed

Pope Francis Drop-in Center blessing settingBalay Pasilungan, the Marist home for street children in Davao City, has expanded its ministry with the opening of a drop-in center.

The Pope Francis Drop-In Center, an extension to Balay Pasilungan’s residential program, was blessed on 6th April. A large number of friends and benefactors attended the blessing.

Pope Francis Drop-in Center blessing - cutting the ribbonMarists in attendance included Fr Kevin Stewart SM, Director of Marist Mission Centre (MMC) Australia. MMC, a generous benefactor of projects throughout the Asia-Pacific region, funded the construction of the Pope Francis Drop-In Center.

The Drop-In Center will care for boys who come in straight off the streets and are not yet ready for Balay Pasilungan’s more structured residential program.

Pope Francis Drop-in Center blessing- chd danceGuests at the blessing were entertained by the talented young residents who sang and danced. Director Fr Lionel Mechavez SM acknowledged those who have supported Balay Pasilungan throughout its 26-year history, and asked that this generosity be continued and extended to the Drop-In Center.

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me” (Mark 9:37)

Pope Francis Drop-in Center blessing- triplets dance   Pope Francis Drop-in Center blessing- staff and chd sing

Letter from France #2

Dear friends,Monpeliere

Blessings from La Neyliere!

As you know, Fr Kevin Medilo SM and I are on the Colinian Renewal Period in France. The course has now been going for more than two months. Spring has already started and, not long from now, La Neyliere will be surrounded by budding green trees.

BdayPart of the program is the celebration of special days of the participants. I celebrated my 40th birthday on 9th March.  We had Mass together and a simple meal in the evening.

On 11th March, we had our pilgrimage to the city of Lyon. We visited St. John the Baptist Cathedral, where Fr. Jean Claude Colin was confirmed in 1803.Fourviere The highlight of the trip was our visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Fourviere. We prayed and celebrated Mass at the Chapel of the Virgin Mary, where the first Marists pledged their commitment to found the Society of Mary. We felt truly grateful, blessed and inspired to belong to the family of Mary.

Clay makingWe recently had a ‘clay making’ session. This activity was designed to help us to know our selves better, and to develop right attitudes towards God and others. We also recently had input on prayer and contemplation, given to us by Fr. Larry Duffy SM (former District Superior of the Philippines and current Vicar-General of the Society of Mary) and Ms. Deirdre McDermott. This input was inspired by the life and spiritual writings of the mystic saints John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.

It’s not all lectures and prayer in our renewal.Basilica of Sagrada Familia On the last weekend of March, four of us went to Spain for a short vacation. It was a beautiful experience to visit and pray in the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s most famous church.

We hope that you continue to accompany us with your prayers on our journey here. Thank you.

I hope you all have a meaningful celebration of Holy Week. Happy Easter!

Fr Chris Ganzon SM