On Wednesday June 8, 2016, Bishop Gabriel Malzaire with his clergy, gathered at the Holy Redeemer Retreat House for a three-day ABP Encounter. Some members of the Diocesan ABP Team were also in attendance. With its theme, “I saw you under the fig tree” (John 1:48), the Encounter was facilitated by the husband and wife team, Deacon Mike James and Maria
In the attractively decorated Conference room space, the Encounter began at 10:00 am with the enthronement of God’s Word followed by the proclamation and dramatization of Luke 15:11-32, the story of the Merciful Father or the Prodigal Son as it is commonly called. On that same text, Lectio Divina in small groups followed. Its focus was on the character in the story that spoke to each one’s heart.
After Lectio Divina, Bishop Gabriel welcomed to the Encounter everyone present. Mike and Maria were especially welcomed and thanked for their graciousness and joy in accepting the invitation to facilitate the Encounter. After a short break, participants shared their expectations of the Encounter. The rest of the morning was devoted to two exercises, the first was a reflection on the theme “I saw you under the fig tree” followed by the activity of looking into the eyes of each other, just as Jesus looked and saw Nathaniel under the fig treeA question rising from the exercises was: “How can I apply new ways of thinking in my ministries and pastoral work?” Powerpoint presentation sessions began in the afternoon of that first day. Presentation #1: Historical Background of the Bible and Presentation #2: Verbum Domini, the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Benedict XV1. Every presentation concluded with questions for reflection. These questions were of a practical nature.