Faith Formation Activity Brings SDRC Staff Members to the Walled City

sdrc img1Two years after taking part in the Reims Experience as an introduction to the Lasallian Formation Series, members of the SDRC Staff led by its director Dr. Maria Caridad Tarroja embarked on a follow-up activity on September 28, 2016 in Intramuros. Through the Adult Formation Program for Administrative and Professional Service Personnel (APSP) and Co-Academic Personnel (CAP), the staff fortified their relationships with each other and in their faith through a historical tour of the walled city, highlighted by visits to the Manila Cathedral and the San Agustin Church and Monastery. Guided by Anson Yu of Old Manila Walks, new knowledge was shared on the origins of Catholicism and its significance to the founding of the nation’s capital.

sdrc img2At the Cathedral, which is devoted to the Immaculate Conception, the staff gained a greater appreciation of details in the building’s architecture—including optical illusions that contribute to the perception of its size—and its numerous reconstructions due to fires and war since the 1500s. Mythical creatures appearing in the floor design and on stained windows were a symbolic part of the narrative of the country’s history with Spain and the United States. Noteworthy also were the depictions of the recent visit of Pope Francis and the canonization of Saints Pope John Paul II and John XXIII. The Cathedral was an inspiring venue not only for its magnificence but also for its continuing evolution in contemporary times.

sdrc img3The group proceeded to walk along the Intramuros wall south toward San Agustin Church, where they toured the newly refurbished museum containing religious artifacts. Statues made of ivory and ornamented with precious stones were once more reminders of the value given by earlier members of the Church to the sacrifices made by the saints, the Blessed Mother, and the crucified Christ.  The exhibits were impressive for the treasures they contained as well as for the wealth of stories they revealed about trials faced by the Augustinian order.

The day-long event also provided time for staff members to visit the Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz in Binondo, whose feast day it was, and the National Museum, where other portrayals of religious events and figures were interpreted by Philippine artists.  In all, the activity was an enriching endeavor that provided time for enjoyment, reflection, and gratitude for a larger understanding of our religious traditions.