PHILIPPINES - The Lasallian East Asia District welcomed its first Novice since the beginning of the pandemic.
Br. Zennel Sy nFSC received the holy habit last December 10, 2022, coinciding with the celebration of the Third Sunday of Advent. The event was held for the first time at the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Chapel in De La Salle University Dasmariñas. The Eucharistic Celebration was presided by University Chaplain Rev. Fr. Renier Dumaop, the shared reflection given by La Salle University Ozamiz President Br. Jose Mari Jimenez FSC, and the acceptance conveyed by General Councilor Br. Ricky Laguda FSC. Br. Victor Franco FSC, Br. Zennel’s Postulancy Formator and now his Novice Master, accompanied the habittaking.
The affair was attended by Br. Zennel’s parents, Mr. Manuel and Mrs. Zenaida Sy, and their family, Brothers from the Dasmariñas, Lipa, Bagac, Manila, Greenhills, and Ozamiz communities, Postulants and Aspirants, lay partners, and friends. (Text: Mr. Lemuel Asuncion - Postulant; Photos: DLSP-CORE)
View the video recording of the workshop on Facebook.
Here is an excerpt from Br. Zennel’s response during his habit-taking ceremony:
Put out into the deep: Thoughts on My Vocational Journey as I Enter the Novitiate and Receive the Holy Habit
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to go on a 3-day silent retreat with the Cenacle Sisters. One of the striking Scripture passages I was given was Luke 5:1-11. Jesus asked Peter, who was coming home early in the morning tired, and frustrated from a whole night of fishing without any catch, to go out into the deep again. Peter had big reservations but reluctantly agreed. And we know what happened next. Following the direction of Christ, Peter witnessed a miraculous catch of fish. While praying this Scripture passage, I can't help but see myself in Peter.
Like Peter, I had apprehensions to continue pursuing a religious vocation after spending considerable time in a particular ministry in the USA. On top of that, I had other reservations including returning back to the Philippines when a lot of people dream of residing in America. However, God had other plans. He asked me to put out into the deep …. really deep …. in fact more than 13,000 kilometers deep west of the Pacific Ocean. God had placed back in my heart the desire to serve in this part of the world and helped me admit to myself that I am most alive when providing Christian education especially to young people. And as St. Irenaeus said, the glory of God is man fully alive. God asked me to trust and surrender as he indirectly told Peter.
So I knocked once again at the doors of the De La Salle Brothers. God opened the door and here I am beginning my novitiate this Gaudate Sunday, a day of joy within the advent season. I enter the novitiate with a heart filled WITH GRATITUDE to God, my family and especially to the De La Salle Brothers; WITH HOPE, that God will bring to completion what He has begun in me as St. John Baptist De La Salle has said; and WITH THE JOY OF EXPECTATION for the good things God has in store for those who love Him.
St. Therese of Lisieux said, “everything is grace”. All the skills we attain and the experiences we go through, God is able to use in ways that can make us effective in serving Him and in bearing fruit for His Kingdom. I entrust my vocation and future ministry in the hands of Our Lady of the Star, in union with St. Joseph, patron and protector of the Institute, and the intercession of St. John Baptist De La Salle and all the Lasallian saints and blesseds.
Please accompany me with your prayers as I begin this year-long phase of my formation as a De La Salle Brother. It surely takes a community to form, nourish, actualize and support a vocation. Thank you to all the Brothers, Lasallian partners, friends and family who have been a part of my vocational journey. Be assured of my humble prayers for each and everyone of you. Live Jesus in our hearts!