The Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia started its 23rd celebration of Religious Life Week on the 15th of January 2016. The theme for this year’s celebration is Care for our Common Home in the Cosmos: Ecological Conversion in Religious Life.
The Opening Prayer was led by the students of ICLA from the Philippines and their friends from Indonesia, Malawi, and Vietnam.
In his welcome address, Fr. Samuel H. Canilang, CMF – Director of ICLA – gave the reasons for the choice of this year’s theme and resource speakers.
The whole welcome address is included as a feature article of RLW 2016.
The resource speaker on the first day of the symposium was Fr. Denis Edwards from Australia.
There were two main talks given by Fr. Edwards. The first talk focused on Jesus and the Natural World: The Theological Concept of Deep Incarnation, and the second talk dealt with the Eucharist and Ecological Conversion.
Fr. Denis Edwards summarized his second talk about the Eucharist and Ecological Conversion in four statements:
We bring the whole creation to the Eucharistic table.
In the Eucharist, we praise God with animals and plants, rivers and hills, stars and galaxies.
In each Eucharist, we keep a memorial of both creation and redemption.
Each Eucharist is an event of communion — of what Pope Francis calls sublime communion — with the rest of creation.
After listening to the very insightful talks given by Fr. Denis Edwards, the audience participated in a dyad sharing of their thoughts, feelings, insights, and challenges. It was such an animated sharing that it took some time for the emcee to make them stop to give time for the open forum that followed.
Ms. Menchie Rojas served as the emcee on the first day.
There were around 500 participants on the First Day.