The Diocese of Kabankalan hosted the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines Visayas Cluster Formation and Meeting (SCAP VCFM) last October 23 to 26, 2015 at the San Columbano Retreat House, Himamaylan City.
The University of San Jose – Recoletos SCA Unit represented the Archdiocese of Cebu while Bago City College and the University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos College Units attended for the Diocese of Bacolod. Meanwhile, Binalbagan Catholic College represented the Diocese of Kabankalan.
Reflecting upon the Story of Creation
A recollection focusing on the story of creation was facilitated by Sr. Joy H. Puerta, PBVM during the morning of the first day. It focused on each day of the creation story and how we failed to give justice to the grace that God allowed us to receive. We were all shown that disparity exists, and the weak and vulnerable are always the victims. We are also made to see that the work as stewards of God’s creation is not a task for a certain few, but an obligation of everyone and that it is most effective when done together.
Delving into the care to our common home
Fr. Romel Enar, Diocesan Youth Director of Kabankalan, shared a reflection on Laudato Si. There was an opportunity to celebrate Nature. We can never claim that we’re stewards of the Earth if we do not connect with it at a personal level. There is a need to connect ourselves with our common home. We need to see that the Earth’s welfare affects all of us, therefore making it as a responsibility of everyone, not just of Catholics. It has also been pointed out with emphasis that before we can be able to do anything for Mother Earth, we must first commune with all of its aspects. This is so that we can always see how to advance to the future without letting the next generations suffer, without harming our common home.
Seven dioceses and archdioceses are members of the Visayas Cluster. To have a quorum, which will make the decisions binding, we need a total number of four member arch/dioceses. Having three members present, we resorted to contacting the absent dioceses if they wish to delegate their vote to a certain arch/diocese. This agreement means that they will entrust their chosen member with their vote in the decision-making process. The Diocese of Talibon delegated their vote to the Archdiocese of Cebu thus giving us a quorum having four arch/dioceses with voting powers.
ON CLUSTER FUNDS. Cluster funds were increased from Php50.00 to Php100.00 per month. It will be collected every Cluster Conference by the Cluster Treasurer which was changed from the Diocese of Tagbilaran to the Archdiocese of Cebu.
ON CHAPLAINS AND COORDINATORS. A concern was then raised on the performance of coordinators and chaplains. Each diocese is encouraged to evaluate their chaplains and coordinators. After a lengthy discussion, it has been agreed that Fr. Rafael Clavel from the Archdiocese of Jaro, as the current cluster chaplain, be replaced by the help of the coordinators. He has been very busy with the youth of Jaro, Iloilo. This was seen as a need for a more active chaplain in the Visayas Cluster. Fr. Clavel’s side was well understood. No negative issues were presented to cause the change of chaplain. It is a matter of the availability of the chaplain to support the movement.
It has been agreed that the Php 15.00 be collected as the annual membership fee this November together with the National Solidarity Share. The Coordinators will also work out the names and contact details of the 20 generous alumni requested by the national office.
The Body also accepted the challenge of conducting a diocesan level climate walk on November 29, 2015. This decision supports mobilization of more movements to take part in the environmental advocacy of SCAP.
The Body also agreed to be neutral as a movement enlisted to TASK FORCE 2016, a group of electoral watchdogs for the 2016 elections. Promotion of voters’ education is encouraged in a diocesan level.
Upon informing that the 80th year celebration will be postponed until November, the Cluster decided to gather as a group on April 12, 2016, to celebrate the 80 years of SCA and to have the next gathering of the Visayas Cluster.
ON THE NEXT CLUSTER ACTIVITY AND VENUE. The next cluster meeting was agreed to be hosted by the Diocese of Talibon on the dates where April 12, 2016 will come across. This decision was made so that instead of the usual October schedule for the group the cluster can celebrate the 80 years of SCAP, and still be able to gather as one in the November 2016 celebration.
SHIFT FROM CLUSTER FORMATION TO CLUSTER CONFERENCE. It was then decided to make this VCFM the last and to start calling the gathering as Visayas Cluster Leadership Conference to be in line with the national and regional leadership conferences.