For its tenth year, the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE X) with the theme “Salya! Let Us Cross to the Other Side” (Mk 4:35) from Jan. 19-21, 2024. CMT sisters, Sr. Sharon Villafranca, cmt, Sr. Chrezann Angulo, cmt, Sr. Shiela Alcantara, ncmt and staff of Sr. Teresa of Sto. Niño Center, Ms. Marian Seychelle Royola and Ms. Shaina Twain Enverga– Xperienced the synodality of everyone in the 3-day seminar/workshop at the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas Quadricentennial Pavilion. The theme Salya! mainly focuses on the synod of the synodal Church which is an experience of journey by walking together to the other side.

PCNE DAY 1 | Traslacion of the Nazareno

The first day started off with the Filipino tradition of Quiapo’s Traslacion of the Poong Nazareno before the celebration of the Eucharistic mass presided by His Eminence Cardinal Jose Advincula, Archbishop of Manila, PCNE Chairman. He invited us to reflect on the two practices of the Nazareno devotees as our symbols of synodality: salya! or pressing forth and crossing over, the meaning of the word Traslacion in Spanish which is crossing over, pagtawid, pagpapaibayo. While during the perspective setting, Fr. Jason Laguerta, PCNE Director, said that the attendees should have their own point of view of the theme, find our voices and selves and not just rely on his own perspective. He said that Salya is an invitation, but as often the case, it is a forceful call, it is pwersa, it is force, for us not to stagnate or to give up. Salya is a call full of energy. This was then followed by a keynote address about a synodal Church in Mission by His Eminence Cardinal Maria Grech, Secretary- General of the Synod. He shared to us that the content of synodality has three points (1) Facilitate deep listening – that we learn by listening with humility and appreciation, (2) It is a shared responsibility and mission of the Church and (3) Synodality is co-responsibility – everyone has a full and equal participation.
During the afternoon activity, we get to hear a “Heart-to-Heart talk about the Synodal Experience” facilitated by His Eminence Cardinal Luis Tagle together with the four guest panelists namely: Cardinal Jose Advincula, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara and Dra. Estela Padilla. The day ended with a very abundant and enriching listening experience for all of us attendees.

PCNE DAY 2 | Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje de Antipolo

The day started with the enthronement of the Nuestra Señora dela Paz y Buen Viaje de Antipolo. Sr. Althea Alfonso, SPC, shared to all of us her devotion, testament and journey on how the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage had changed her life. This was then followed by a Eucharistic Celebration celebrated by Cardinal Mario Grech. He shared in his homily that for if we are Christians, which means disciples of Christ, or better, Christ-like, then that means that the word existence should also describe our lives and our existence.
The morning session then started with a recap of what had happened during the first day, as well as a “Bahaginan sa Diwang Banal” or sharing the spiritual encounter wherein Dra. Estela Padilla shared to us the three major key points of listening: (1) Sharing from the heart -to give one’s voice and experience; (2) Lifting the voice of the others where we move from “I” to “we”; and (3) Building together wherein we asked ourselves “where is the Holy spirit leading us to?”. After this, the morning session concluded by breaking into groups we were registered into, particularly we joined the afternoon concurrent seminar and audiam sessions with the topics, Women, Family, and Digital/social media. Our day ended with the blessing of the body through a prayer ritual, a prayer invites the Holy Spirit to operate within us so that we may be a community and a people of grace.

PCNE DAY 3 | Sinulog

In the last day of the seminar/workshop, the program was also cut into two parts. During the morning session, the infamous Sinulog, a dance ritual performed during the Feast of the Sto. Niño in Cebu was brought to the Pavillion. Through a rhythmic dance movements and shouts of “Pit Señor!” that participants engage in during the celebration. After this, representatives per topics of seminar that happened during day 2 had a deepening for the concurrent workshop. Each representative synthesized the audiam sessions’ result and shared it for everyone to hear.
During the afternoon, we enjoyed a concert wherein various guest artists performed their talents through singing and dancing in praising the goodness and grace of God. After such exhilarating performances, a traditional Filipino mass was celebrated by His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. In his homily, he questions us- what is the correlation of the celebration of Santo Niño, the Child Jesus between synodality? Cardinal Tagle tells us that the incarnation of the eternal Word of God born us a child is a kenosis of the eternal word in order to be one of us. Jesus being a child is a proof that His life started as a baby, a human – where He journeyed together with us. In His humility He was prepared to walk with us. this is the synodal path opened to us by the child Jesus, that synodality is walking together in humility, when God walks, He walks humbly. Remain a child and walk with God. Jesus taught us that the synodal path you walk with others but we always walk with our Father in heaven, a path always directed by the Father.

The three-day seminar-workshop is truly a fruitful, valuable and enriching experience. The synodal path is a humble walk, with people and God, an experience with the kingdom of God. Three days filled with listening with heart to the point of conversion and understanding. As what Cardinal Tagle had reminded us, let the Child Jesus always remind us that He became and remained humble to walk together with us. Let us not be the obstacle for many to walk with Jesus, but let us be the one to walk with them and cross to the other side.