ABS Congress 2019 unites Benedictine schools: Educators urged to concretize Benedictine hallmarks to prayer, work, relationships
Highlighting the value of Community, the Association of Benedictine Schools (ABS) Educator’s Congress was held at St. Scholastica’s Academy Bacolod last October 23-25 with a very high attendance – a total of. The three-day Congress revolved around the theme “Benedictine Educators as One” which also challenged the educators to concretize the Benedictine hallmarks into significant life areas: prayer, work, and relationships.
As any real sense of Christian community must be founded on Christ, it must be founded on prayer. This was integral to the Congress proceedings. Holy Mass on the first and second days were presided over by Fr. Jimmy Carmona SDB, who also served as the facilitator of the recollection that was held on the first day. The closing mass was presided over by Most Reverend Louie Gilbanes, D.D., newly elected Bishop of Kabankalan.
Balancing out prayer was the other half of the Benedictine credo, work. The workshop facilitated by the faculty of SSC Manila was focused on the experience of teachers who had committed themselves to bringing the ten hallmarks of Benedictine education into the classroom and into their students’ lives. There were group sessions that culminated in presentations featuring those hallmarks.
There were also talks from respected Benedictine educators, most notably Sr. Rosario Obiniana, OSB. But of course, no true experience of community is all prayer and work. There was time to relax and there were many moments of fun and laughter. Starting from the many dance numbers on the opening day, to the games on Solidarity Night, all the way until the cultural trip on the last day, the participants had a taste of the spirit of Bacolod and the Masskara Festival. At the end of three days, all went home richer for the experience.
Contributing to the prayers and program were SSC Westgrove, SSA Marikina and HFA Angeles, whose teachers were in charge of Lauds and midday prayer for each succeeding day of the Congress, as well as SSA San Fernando that was in charge of Solidarity Night, and SSC Manila, that organized and facilitated the workshop held on the second and third days. But, of course, much of the credit for the success of the Congress must be given to the hosts of the event, the Benedictine community, administration, faculty and staff of SSA Bacolod. From the opening ceremony to the final cultural trip they organized for participants, their genuine hospitality and generosity in giving of themselves cast a warm glow over the proceedings, creating a true atmosphere of community.