By Geri Furmanek, National Director of Mission Enrichment and Oblate Associates
Saturday, February 23, 2019 was a beautiful sunny day in Chula Vista, California. Not surprising in California except it rained every day during the previous two weeks. But with their prayers, preparation and participation the Associates of Chula Vista and several from San Fernando gathered for their annual retreat. This year Fr. Frank Santucci presented the retreat in the Santo Nino Hall of Most Precious Blood Church (previously staffed by Missionary Oblates).
Chula Vista Associate Coordinator, Hermie Alignay, invited Associates in that region to attend. Seven Oblate Associates from San Fernando, California drove the 3 hours to attend the day, including the Associate Coordinator from Immaculate Mary Parish (Cecelia Barragan) and Santa Rosa Parish (Esther Montoya Lazo). Also attending was the National Director for Oblate Associates, Geri Furmanek.
The day began at 8 a.m.with registration and a delicious hot breakfast prepared by Marina Alignay and several of the participants. There were snacks, lunch and to wrap up the day, dinner out together. A number of Associates helped with the preparations including: Flor & Bill Lacson, Vergie Litonjua, Luz Retuta, Nina Balingit, and Beth Tuano.
Fr. Frank’s presentations focused on “Renewing my Commitment to Jesus, the Savior and Evangelizer.” “The retreat further enhanced my resolve to follow Jesus teachings as best as I could. I might sometime fail and cannot live up to his expectations, He is always there to guide me in the right path,” commented new Associate, Cora De Guzman.
Linda Caragan of Chula Vista said: “Fr. Santucci has given us a very deep faith challenge, reflections on the cross, who Jesus is… and how can we follow him.”
For San Fernando Associate Maria Ortiz: “Fr. Santucci’s focus on love gave us insight on learning to love here on earth in order to be able to love God. We are called to become God’s hands, the instruments of His mercy. Geri’s motivational message regarding our support of the Oblates was encouraging. One is not asked to do more than one is able to do. This was an encouraging message. It was a blessing to have them both.”
At the Eucharist, celebrated by Fr. Frank, 3 Associates made their First Commitment and 24 recommitted to living the charism in their daily life.