April 1 was no fools’ day for SM employees

 

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

When most people were busy posting pranks on Facebook on April 1, widely known as April fools’ day, over 150 employees from 20 malls and retail outlets of SM in Luzon and NCR isolated themselves from the daily grind and focused on the word of God in the annual Lenten recollection sponsored by the Felicidad T. Sy Foundation at the Lorenzo Mission Institute of San Carlos Seminary in Makati City.

 

There was no need to remind them to not use their cell phones or talk during the discussions with Fr. Rey Reyes, head of St. Paul diocese in San Carlos Seminary, as they knew they were there to communicate in private with the Lord and not with the world.

 

The attendees either filed for day off, rest day or just asked to be excused from their respective HR offices as the recollection is not an ordinary event that could be missed and they found that spiritual renewal and reaching out to God even for a day was far more important that the world, that very day.

 

Apart from the seeds of spiritual wisdom planted in them by Fr. Reyes, they got to share their experiences with how the Holy Spirit touched them in the past or right that moment of the recollection, mass and healing with the holy oil.

 

Even with the absence of a Crucifix (as noted by Fr. Reyes) at the recollection venue where the mass was held, the powerful presence of God (specifically the Holy Spirit) touched the attendees, 40 percent of them past participants in the annual Lenten recollection and the bulk (including me) were first-timers.

 

The Holy Spirit truly touched them, in fact the lector for first reading barely finished the first sentence when she was stopped by uncontrollable sobbing. So, the one in charge of the prayers of the faithful had to take over.

 

From far and wide

 

The attendees came from as far as Pampanga, Bulacan and San Jose del Monte in the north and Cavite and Laguna south of Manila. Some left their homes as early as 4 a.m. bringing along their lunch baon (plus extra for sharing), paying their fares (to and from their homes) and bringing gifts for the offertory. Everyone was uniformly in white tops (shirts or blouses, polos). They did not want to be late for the scheduled 8 a.m. start.

 

Lunch became somewhat like fiesta. Each had more food to share so everyone had a taste of every conceivable meal (simple and filling). Though long tables were filled with participants of big groups from a certain mall, still they reached out to those in small groups, conversed and shared food as though they knew each other for quite a long time.

 

The healing with holy oil (done by Fr. Reyes and Bro. Rolly Macatangay (who just during lunchtime had no voice so he whispered most of the time as he said he lost his voice during a values formation seminar last weekend in Pasay City Hall) took much time because they made the cross sign at the forehead and both hands of each participant and ultimately even to each other (Bro. Macatangay also blessed Fr. Reyes with the healing oil) as “we all need healing from God,” said Fr. Reyes.

 

Then the sharing. At first nobody wanted to speak but as Bro. Rolly (now miraculously with his voice after the healing hosted this part). Slowly, participants braved their stage fright and spoke tearfully of their travails and hardships in life that they overcame by holding steadily on to the Lord.

 

Fr. Reyes then expressed his appreciation and how he was awed by the heavy burdens/sufferings the participants went through in their lives. But he reminded them: “When problems/crises hit you, pass on, don’t stay and be miserable or suicidal because these are just passing challenges and trials that the Lord gives us to become stronger.”

 

The last part was the group photos (per store/ mall) and selfies with Mel Elido, head of the Felicidad T. Sy Foundation, Fr. Reyes and Bro. Macatangay and then kiss-full farewells.

 

FB posts


Elido posted photos of the recollection, thus:  April 1, 2019 😇 A beautiful way to prepare for Lent and done on the first day of the month. 158 SM officers and staff from 20 branches devoted their rest day or 1 day vacation leave today for a Recollection at the Lorenzo Mission Institute with Rev. Fr. Jomar Burgos, LRMS and Rev. Fr. Rey Reyes, SSP, organized & sponsored by the Felicidad T. Sy Foundation, Inc. Thank you very much Lord Jesus & Mama Mary for this meaningful activity!

 

Another set of photos was captioned: “From the sharing and witnessing , a lot were touched by the Holy Spirit .”

 

As the healing was in progress, I took photos and captioned them as: Fr. Rey Reyes and Bro. Rolly Macatangay adminster holy healing oil on SM employees who attended today's Lenten recollection at San Carlos Seminary LMI under the aegis of the Felicidad T. Sy Foundation headed by Mel Elido. So lucky to be part of it. Thanks, Mel for the invite and thanks Boss Chito for allowing me this chance at spiritual strengthening.

 

The recollection attendees came from near and far malls and stores of SM, they spent for their fares, their lunch and their gifts at offertory. This is really straight from their hearts. Kudos to you all. Am so glad to have been a part of your activity. #smrecollection #felicidadtsyfoundation #smemployeessharing

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