Towards 500 Years of

Christianity in the Philippines



Appreciative Inquiry Leaders Training in Malacca-Johore Diocese


PLENTONG, JOHOR: Malacca-Johore Diocesan Pastoral Secretariat (formerly known as Pastoral Institute) organised its first Leaders-Facilitators Training on the Appreciative Inquiry method of planning and valuation.



The training was held in MAJODI Centre on 13 – 15 April for the leaders of parish pastoral council, parish financial committee, basic ecclesial community and ministries. About 100 participants, including parish priests, diocesan and parish pastoral workers joined this program representing the various parishes in the diocese.


Appreciative Inquiry Leaders Training 3 The sessions were facilitated by the guest speakers from the Institute for Pastoral Development, Philippines. A husband and wife couple, Stephen A. Sandoval and Teresita Nen Sandoval together with Monsignor Manuel G. Gabriel (Manny Gabriel) helped participants discover where God has brought the Diocese of Malacca-Johore in line with the spirit of the 2016 Diocesan Synod and PMPC IV and to draw up the dream for the Diocese for the future, design a plan supported by specific action steps and to establish a process whereby the leaders of the parishes and diocese can monitor their own progress.


The speakers introduced the five-point cycle of Appreciative Inquiry, namely, define – discover – dream – design – and destiny to achieve the purpose of the diocesan pastoral thrust (2016-2020) based on 4E’s (encountered, enlightened, empowered, evangelising) approach moving toward the vision of the future: “Towards Church as communion of families.”. Based on the pastoral foci “Fire up the embers” (deepening faith), “Keep the fire burning” (building believing communities), and “light up lives” (awakening the missionary spirit), the participants mostly worked together according to parishes – except for campus ministry- for discussion and presentation.


Appreciative Inquiry Leaders Training 4 We identified the positive core of the Diocese from summarising the participants’ sharing of strength, successful peak experiences, best practices and key learnings. Participants named their strengths that they were a community that was committed, encouraging in spite of being culturally and linguistically diverse. Their best practices were that they were a praying community, built bridges with different language groups and reached out to the marginalised. The key learnings were that they learnt to adapt for change, unite and collaborate to move forward.


Monsignor Manny Gabriel provided an orientation the participants, focusing on the ecclesiology and missiology of the church. He explained how Vatican II and the papal document “Evangelii Nuntiandi” and “Ecclesia in Asia” could help the diocese to enrich our understanding of the diocese’s pastoral thrust of 4E and building up the BECs.


Appreciative Inquiry Leaders Training 2 This is only the beginning and much remains to be done. It is hoped that the participants will introduce and implement this Appreciative Inquiry method to identify the strengths, the best practices and key learnings in order to plan, design, dream and achieve their goal throughout all the parishes and ministries of Malacca-Johore diocese.







IPD Conducts Steward Leaders Training for Parish Leaders


The Pastoral Parish Council of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish of the Diocese of Novaliches organized the 2-part series of the Steward Leaders Training.  Around 40 parish leaders participated in the first part last April 20-21, 2018 in their parish hall and it was facilitated by the Executive Director Celsa Uy.


“This workshop made me realize that I need to improve in the way I live my life,”  one participant commented during the session of crafting personal vision and mission.  Some were moved to tears as they shared with one another how the Lord is asking them to fulfill their roles in their lives.  During one session they also realized their need to be more proactive especially in dealing with their service in the parish and their relationships with one another.







Future Priests As Steward Leaders


In a two-day workshop, the postulants of the Society of the Divine Word Missionaries crafted their personal vision mission with the desire to be integral steward leaders in the Church.  The Steward Leaders Training (SLT) was facilitated by IPD Executive Director Celsa Uy at the SVD Postulancy House in Tagaytay City last April 16-17, 2018.


Participants felt the session was very timely for them as they discern whether they will continue on in their novitiate program after the one year in postulancy where they focused on their self discovery and development.  They commented that the activities made them think about their lives in a more holistic perspective and not just confined in their ministry as future priests.  They also recognized that God who called them to the priesthood calls them primarily to be servants to others and to turn to Jesus as their model of steward leadership.






IPD joins IX Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation


IPD was represented in the recently concluded IX Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation with the theme, “Holy Scripture: Source of Evangelization”, held in Nemi, Italy.  The CBF is a Catholic world fellowship of administratively distinct international and local organizations committed to the biblical pastoral ministry, created to carry out the recommendations of the II Vatican Council concerning the Bible.  The Federations aim is to be of service to the Bishops in the fulfillment of their responsibility to proclaim the Word of God to all the faithful.  Any Catholic organization engaged in the biblical-pastoral ministry and enjoying ecclesiastical recognition is eligible for membership.


The IX Plenary Assembly was attended by over 130 delegates from Latin and North America, Asia and Oceania, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In this assembly, the new President was welcomed, in the person of our very own Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, a new executive committee was elected, and an action plan for the next six years was developed.  It was also a time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the Vatican II constitution “Dei Verbum”.


 The delegates of the Plenary Assembly were welcomed by His Holiness Pope Francis at the Consistory Hall of the Vatican.  In his address to the participants, His Holiness reminded everyone that “the Word of God is not something that makes life easy.  If we carry it with sincerity, it leads to difficulty, to embarrassment.  But we must speak the truth, with tenderness.  It can be regarded as fraternal respect which is able to caress”.  To the members of the clergy, he said, “Please do everything you can to help your brothers – deacons, priests, and bishops – to give the Word of God in homilies so it may touch the heart.”


For more of the Catholic Biblical Federation and the IX Plenary Assembly, log on to:




IPD Facilitates SLT for Malaybalay


The Institute for Pastoral Development (IPD) conducted the Steward Leaders’ Training (SLT) last April 21-24, 2015 (shown in picture with the graduates) for Malaybalay.  The IPD team consisted of Celsa Uy, together with husband Joe, and Babes Camado.



Most Rev. Jose A. Cabantan D.D.celebrated the Mass on the last day, commending the SLT graduates, “Kayo na ang katuwang ko sa pagbibigay ng formation dito sa diocese.”






IPD Returns to Cebu for JOD


The Institute for Pastoral Development (IPD) conducted a three-day run of the Joy of Discovery (JOD) for 25 participants, including five guest foreigners from Nigeria and Pakistan, from the Mary’s Little Children Community (MLCC) and Mary’s Children Formation College (MCFC) last April 08-10, 2015.  Celsa Uy, together with husband Joe, and Babes Camado facilitated the seminar-workshops in Milangnilla, Cebu.


With the positive feedback, initial invitations were extended should other areas (i.e., Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, as well as Australia) formalize their request for IPD to also run such courses locally.  Next in line is a training for facilitators on module writing, most likely the Trainers’ Development Workshop (TDW).




IPD Shares Invite to 7th NCCC


The Institute for Pastoral Development (IPD) invites its alumni and friends (religious, laity, and church workers) to the the 7th National Catholic Charismatic Congress (NCCC) on June 5-7, 2015 at the SMX Convention Center, beside the Mall of Asia (MOA).  It will be a gathering of 8,000 people from all Catholic charismatic communities nationwide.


Plenary Speakers include Fr. Herb Schneider SJ, Dr. Jake Yap, Bro. Bo Sanchez, and Bro. Bobby Quitain.  Daily Mass will be celebrated by Bp Ambo David, Abp Palma, Bp Bactol, Fr Bart Pastor, and Fr Erick Santos.


There will also be ten track offerings given by various personalities from different communities, highlighting their particular advocacy.  IPD will handle a track “Planning Evangelization Effectively,” to be facilitated by IPD Executive Director Taps Tapia.


More information about the conference can be found in the NCCC website (  Registration fee for the three-day conference is P1,500, with an early bird rate of P1,000 until Apr 30. Registration for students and religious is P500 only. For priests, registration is free, provided they sign up.  Visit now.





IPD Trustee Shares in PCNE


Roberto “Bobby” Atendido, a trustee of the Institute for Pastoral Development (IPD), was invited as one of the sharers on Day One of the 2015 PCNE (Philippine Conference on New Evangelization) last 15 January 2015 with the theme Portrait of Blessedness (Encounter with Jesus) with the Cross of Christ as the central image at the University of Santo Tomas (UST).  This gathering was organized in time for the visit of Pope Francis to the country.


The interviews in the “Heart to Heart with the Cardinal” were presided by His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila.  Sharers were featured to tell their own stories based on the theme “Portrait of Blessedness for People LIVING THE BEATITUDES.”  When asked if business and values can mix, Bobby Atendido pointed out, “It can happen...when there is personal conversion (among us). Once someone believes in Jesus Christ, there would be certain changes in his life.  So if that person happens to be a businessman, he can influence the workplace with his work ethics.”  Guests represented different sectors (poor, peace and mercy) including Ted Failon, Cris Valdez, Hedi Mendoza, Edith Burgos, and Nora Aunor.





IPD Trustee Recalls His Experience of God’s Love


Cardinal Chito Tagle started the interview with a question: "Is it possible for a Christian to be in business? Can business really mix with being a Christian?"


Bobby Atendido, IPD trustee responded by saying, "Yes...It is possible. Christian businessmen can practice Christian values in the marketplace and succeed in it.  However, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is fundamental to success because it is this relationship that will form and reinforce the basis for practicing Christian values in the marketplace.


“One has to go through a continuing process of personal conversion and commitment to Jesus. Unless the Lord becomes real to a Christian, this conversion process becomes difficult.


“In my personal experience of coming face to face with God in my life, I felt His real and intimate love. Our first granddaughter was diagnosed with biliary atresia which afflicts one out of 10,000 babies that essentially causes the atrophy of the liver due to undeveloped bile ducts. The medical cure involved having a liver transplant within a year; otherwise, the baby would die. The transplant would cost a huge amount estimated at $250,000 which if there were complications could reach as much as $1.0 million. Faced with the prospect of putting everything we had on the line, our faith was tested to the limit whether we will go all the way, an all-in proposition.


“Filled with much anxiety and worries amidst the uncertainty of a costly liver transplant, God saw us through this trial and performed many healing miracles for everyone in our family to see. Our granddaughter had her liver transplant for free in the United States by God's grace through the generosity of a foundation, the hospital and the attending doctor and staff. Today, our granddaughter is healthy with her liver functioning well and she is going to celebrate her 18th birthday come April this year.


“I testify to the goodness of God. He is real.


“Therefore, as a businessman, I have to respond and remain true to the Christian values that our Lord espouses especially in the marketplace. Yes, it is possible to be a Christian businessman because God makes one so."




IPD Conducts SLT in Malaysia


The Institute for Pastoral Development (IPD) held two runs of Steward Leaders’ Training (SLT) for 100 church workers—diocesan staff, parish leaders, heads of BECs (basic ecclesial communities) and other various ministries—for the Diocese of Penang last Nov 22-25 and Nov 27-30, 2014.


Sr. Margarete Sta. Maria, executive assistant to the bishop, and head of the diocesan pastoral team, was overall coordinator of the said seminar.  She is a Canossian nun who expressed interest in IPD programs when we first met in Thailand for a conference on biblical apostolate (BIBA 4).


Celsa Uy and Judith Alpay, together with Gus Arguelles and Fr. Eric de la Cruz, facilitated the workshops in St. Anne’s, Bukit Mertajam and St. Michael’s Church, Ipoh, respectively.





IPD Trainers Meet for TDW


The Institute for Pastoral Development (IPD) gathered its pool of trainers last November 13-14 for sharing of capabilities and updating of the database and profiles.


Spearheaded by Celsa Uy, eight people came together with five other trustees serving in the board.  IPD foresees a big training demand in the coming year, hopefully with more doors being opened in the Visayas-Mindanao regions.







IPD Accompanies Clergy of Laoag through AI Retreat


The Institute for Pastoral Development (IPD) facilitated a workshop last November 4-6 at the Betania Retreat House for the Diocese of Laoag, with 44 members of the clergy in attendance together with Bishop Renato Mayugba.  The IPD team consisted of Judith Alpay, Celsa Uy, Steve Sandoval, Harvey Campos, and Fr. Eric de la Cruz.


Through the appreciative inquiry approach, the engagement covered the four phases of discovery-dream-design-destiny in the revisit of the vision-mission, definition of core values, commitment to stewardship, and initial planning for the diocese.





IPD Supports Vocation through Marian Missionaries


The Institute for Pastoral Development (IPD), was invited once again to run a Steward Leaders’ Training (SLT) for the Marian Missionaries of the Holy Cross (MMHC) last October 28-31, 2014 in Angono, Rizal.  As with previous years, IPD gets requested to journey with MMHC seminarians on their last year prior to ordination to priesthood.


Celsa Uy, mission director, conducted the seminar-workshop together with her husband Joe, and another IPD trainer Imma Belza.





Harvest Conference 2014 staged in SMX Convention Center


Last September 6 and 7, the Harvest Conference was successfully staged at the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.  With this year’s theme of “Standing Ground, Taking Ground”, the 2-day conference on evangelization was conducted by the Institute for Pastoral Development in partnership with the Pathways Ministry of Ligaya ng Panginoon.  The Harvest Conference seeks to enable aspiring leaders and builders of God's kingdom by equipping them with skills and tools to become effective evangelizers and move deeper into the mission field.


On its third year, the conference was designed to be rich in inspiration and practical in instruction.  It included 3 plenary talks and 16 skill track, all intended to empower and encourage the laity to defend and spread the faith.   The conference brought together clergy and lay workers from varying mission fields.



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