Pastoral Year in Claret School of Quezon City

ANTHONY CARREON, CMF shares his pastoral experiences. “Besides being huggable and lovable, his presence was captivating at Claret School of Quezon City especially among the kids.”

This is the picture of Anthony Q. Carreon, cmf among his colleagues in the campus. Toni or Antz has been journeying with many young boys at Claret as a friend and as an elder brother. Being young at heart, he was able to relate with the pupils and students with joy and with dedication although it may not have been that easy at times.

In one of our fraternal conversations, he was able to relate his pastoral year experience with me…

Nature of my work…
I was part of the campus ministry team. My primary apostolate in the school was to facilitate recollections and retreats among all the pupils and students-from Grade 3 (Elementary) to Fourth Year (High School). Besides this, I also helped the Bible Sharing groups by giving them some insights or points for reflection. I also taught songs to the teachers and students to make our liturgical celebrations alive. And to directly facilitate the liturgy, we have formed a liturgical team whom I helped in their formation program. Besides, we (campus ministry team) also gave assistance in the exposures and out-reach programs of the students. During spare time, I stayed in the office and listened to students and teachers who came to me with their varied concerns asking for some direction and enlightenment.

I loved the work although it was not my choice…
To be a campus minister was not my preference and expectation. I was dreaming of being sent to Zamboanga del Sur. I was indeed surprised when I received my assignment-but later, I realized that God has his own plans for me and that everything happens with a purpose. Being a missionary, I humbly accepted the assignment which I started to love later on. Of course, during the first months, I really had a difficult time to adjust. Initially, the work was quite tiring for me-not to forget, there was the difficulty of relating with different personalities in school. But as time went by, I went out of my shell and started to really get engaged with people in the campus. Eventually, being with them and sharing with them in their pains and joys, became a source of meaning and strength for me.

There were challenges and I learned to cope with them…
I consider the recollection and retreat-giving a challenging one. It was really tiring with so many pupils and students. Aside from their big number, they would also ask many questions about God. And living in a post-modern culture, they would easily get bored with long talks and conventional presentations. Hence, I would prepare well before meeting them-and one preparation was my personal reading. Likewise, together with the team, we tried to go down to their level so that we could engage with them. We thereby prepared materials and modules that would suit their age and life situations.

schoolpaintingMy significant experience…
I remember with fondness when the kids (especially those in the primary level) would come to me and share their joys and problems without hesitation (although they may seem trivial); and at times would only drop by to say “hi”. Some of them would come and ask me with a child-like curiosity regarding my vocation. And it would make me smile when at the end of our discourse they would say, “We want to be like you in the future.” These kids would remind me of my childhood and of my vocation journey and such would uplift my spirit.

My insights and reflections…
One of my realizations is not to be result-oriented. Sometimes or oftentimes, one may not find any clear impact the campus ministry has in the lives of the kids-and it may be frustrating to note this-but who knows what is really in their hearts. What is important is that I was happy sharing with them…my life and my vocation…and I just hope I have left a mark in their lives which they will remember when they are grown ups. I may not be able to see the fruits now, but what is important is I have sown some seeds of values in their hearts.

Presence is indeed vital…
For pupils and students to see a Claretian brother journeying with them is indubitably vital. The youth sector is one of the primary recipients of our mission; and in the school we have hundreds of young people. Therefore being with them in the school campus as a campus minister who could engage with them, and listen to them is a clear response to our mission in the Church.

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