Monday, August 18, 2014

New Intake for IFFAsia Schoolyear 2015

Nurturing lay leaders for a renewed Asian Church and Society 

The Institute of Formation, Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia) is now open for application from potential applicants for the schoolyear 2015.

*** 1st September 2014 - to apply for English course.
*** 27th October 2014 - to apply for the IFFAsia Program.
For further inquiries, email us at

For those who wish to apply for the English Course at the Assumption Language Center, download the Application Form below.

For those who wish to apply for the IFFAsia program, download the Application Form below.

Friday, December 13, 2013

An interview with Evelyn Doikin, student of IFFAsia's Batch 7

News Update from Diocese of Sandakan, Malaysia

Name: Evelyn Doikin
Age : 25
Hometown: Tamparuli, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Sending Organization: Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd / The Good Shepherd Welfare Centre.

Your employment prior to joining IFFAsia:
• Youth Coordinator at Youth-PREP Centre, Alamesra, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
How do you come to know about IFFAsia?
In 2011, through YouthPREPLink programs at the Dioceses of Sandakan and Keningau I met Anna and Roselinah. They are faithful servants of God, faithfully and confidently journeying with the Sabahan youths. Their commitment attracted me. I had a good time sharing with them about IFFAsia. From there on, I had a desire to join the formation. During the 3rd Sabah Youth Day in Tambunan in 2012, Anna introduced me to the IFFAsia team. Two months later, I received an invitation to join IFFAsia.

Retreat on Personal Development Plan ~ we started the formation year with a retreat to understand our call as young disciples and to get to know what is IFFAsia all about.

What were your expectations when offered a place?
• Improve my leadership skills
• Learn how to prepare, organize and run programs
• Improve my communication skills

Does IFFAsia meet your expectation?
Yes, IFFAsia had helped me to increase my self-confidence and to take on a more proactive role in giving service. My spiritual life has improved and I discovered more of myself. IFFAsia had also helped me to understand more about the roles of the young people in the church and society at large.

Social immersion, a component of our training in IFFAsia. We made analysis of situations, its development and problems based on the see, judge and act approach

What does IFFAsia offer?
This formation offers four modules;
• Human Module
• Social Module
• Spiritual Module
• Pastoral Module.
The sessions of the four modules enabled the students to discover themselves more and grow in spiritual life. It promotes healing and transformation in the context of a diverse living community. We are given the opportunities to improve on communication skills and understand more about the inter-cultural sensitivity. IFFAsia also enables the students to be more aware of the challenges in the society today through exposure visits, internship and mission project.

What one component that attract you most?
The Pastoral Module
Give your reasons:
During the Pastoral module sessions, I discovered many new things in life. It has helped me improved my skills, both leadership and communicative and has enhanced my self-confidence. It has enabled me to have a better understanding about the needs of the church and society through the sessions and exposure of pastoral internship, the Spirit of Vatican 2, pastoral / development leadership course, youth ministry, discernment skill, mission project and etc.

Faith Walk is part of the formative process during the Lenten season in preparation for Easter. It is also a culmination event of our human formation module in thanksgiving for the wonders the Lord has done in our path of transformation and healing. I have time to reflect on my inner self in term of my faith, to prepare and strengthen me for the coming of Holy Week and Easter. This experience, enables me to have a better understanding of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in my life.

What is your most memorable experience in IFFAsia?
My most memorable experience in IFFAsia is Community life because it allows me to experience living with people of different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds. Learning of the challenges they encounter in their country, the way they proclaim God in their life, the desire to serve the poor and reaching out to young people really touched me.
All events were well prepared and effectively implemented. Events such as the retreat on Personal Development Plan, towards a New Life, Faith Walk, Mission project and etc. had enhanced and enriched my self-confidence. Our daily interaction had cemented a good relationship bond with one other. The good relationship bond built, made my journey in IFFAsia joyful, experiencing God’s love and mercy. My mission became clearer and am set to use the experience gained to reach out to the young people.

What areas have you improved on?
After the formation process in IFFAsia, I realized that I had changed, not only in terms of my understanding, perception and belief. I came to understand more about the Christian Catholic faith, developing a disciplined life of prayer and bringing out the leadership in me and others.
Even though baptized since birth, I had no discipline in my spiritual life. Sometimes, I felt that God was not important in my life and the consequences were such that, I had a foul relationship with God, others, and my family. I felt that I could do everything by myself, what I had was from me and often times I shunned God. I lacked confidence talking and sharing about God with others.
Sometimes, I just wanted to give up in my ministry. I had nothing to offer. I had no talent, no skill and not capable. Yet my heart and my desire was set ablaze to serve God. The formation really awakened a spiritual understanding in me. I become more aware of my strength and interest in life and God’s power. Today, this is my strength, knowing, loving Him and sharing God with others. I want to bring peace to others because of the peace I received from Him.

The youth encounter experience. We pray for peace and unity. We talk and listen to one another. We believe God is with us, to bless each of us to build a better church in this world. Today I have a dream to see the church supporting the youth to have a better future in term of spirituality and morality. I really thank God for this new learning experience in my life. This is an awareness that God wants to show to me and to do something to the people in need.

Mission Project
Your experience:

“You are the salt of the earth, but what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? You are the light of the world; don’t hide your light under a basket! Let your good deeds shine in the dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the darkness”. (Matthew 5:13-16) Our theme for the Mission Project is “Youth initiatives for peace”

My experience during the Mission Project in Vietnam and Cambodia was enriching, encountering with young people, FBOs, NGOs, the poor and etc. My experience really opened my eyes to see the reality of the new trend of the modern world. During the mission project, I had a good time to get to know about the local situation in Cambodia, its political-social economy, religious and cultural environment. It helped me to have a better understanding of the social mission of the church and to have a deep sense of engagement in the process of dialogue on peace among different religions and cultures.
The mission project, an initiative and an integral component of IFFAsia's formation program had created the opportunities for students to be involved in dialogue-in-action regarding peace building. It provided us with the knowledge, skills and the right attitudes needed in our pastoral involvement. The program had also increased the awareness and my understanding of the challenges of migration, human rights, and post-civil war rebuilding process and its impact on society.

What is expected of you upon your return to your sending organization?
I am expected to take on a team leadership role at the Youth-PREP Centre and will be directly involved in the training and development of peers as well as coordinating programs.

One comment about IFFAsia / Course:
The course is very helpful especially for young leaders and lay missionaries to have a better understanding about spiritual life, the development in the society and church, the needs of the poor and the discovery of self, our potential and talents. IFFAsia is one place that enables us an effective gain in terms of training in Human and Social Formation, Skill Training, Spiritual and Pastoral and Theological Formation, Integration Planning for projects on the ground. This kind of holistic formation really prepares every young lay leader to prepare themselves for mission.

One comment on the staff / formators
They are very helpful and kind. I can see the love of Jesus flowing in them. They are committed and pro-active in helping to form young leaders from across Asia. They are professionals yet humble in sharing their experiences with the students. Personally, they had created the space for me to experience the amazing journey of faith in IFFAsia. I thank God for the time, support, knowledge and love they have given me.

One comment about your course-mates
I am happy with them; they are always there for me and journey with me throughout my formation year. They are friendly and have the desire to bring newness to the church and society. They have good motivation to be leaders and are ready to serve the youths and work with the poor. I realize that many of us want to bring change to the world. Having them as friends, makes me feel that I am not alone in mission.

Your advice to the young people in your church / parish / diocese:
“As Pope Francis tells us - no one in the Church is useless, and if from time to time someone says to someone else: “go home, you are no good”, this is not true.”
Therefore all people are important. They are to play their roles in the community and in the church to be servant leaders, to serve others, to use their talents and potential to benefit society. I believe young people can bring transformation for a better world. They have power and energy to contribute to the development in society.
As young people of God, we are invited to love and serve Him, to share our tiny faith with one another, to bring about evangelization and to love one another. We are an important agent of change, a great resource for social development.
“Be the light of Christ, we are called to spread the word and live the faith”.

To all my supporters / sponsors
During my formation year in the Philippines, I thank God for your kindness and care given to me. I am grateful to God for making me a part of so many young people gathered in IFFAsia, for using me as His instrument in this sacred journey of life. Through all these experiences, I have gained much and my heart is filled with gratitude.
The lives of this community have moulded me to be humble; reflected my own areas of change and growth –to be committed and persevere, to believe that each person has the potential to change for the better. Thank you for all the support, either in prayers or in financial assistance. It is really encouraging for me to stand up in answer to God and continue in my mission. Please continue to remember me and my friends in your prayers and do continue to journey with us in this mission to build a better world.

News Update from Diocese of Sandakan, Malaysia

17 IFFAsia Students batch 7 Sent Off For Mission

News Update from Diocese of Sandakan, Malaysia

Good Shepherd's Cathedral
Quezon City : 17 young adults and professionals from 8 countries across Asia had successfully completed a full year of formation, (January - November 2013) for Christian leadership at the Institute of Formation, Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia). The sending off for the graduates was held on Saturday 23rd November 2013 at the Good Shepherd's Cathedral, (the mother Church of the Diocese of Novaliches)

Fairview Park in conjunction with the Feast of Christ the King.

Rt Rev Antonio Realubin Tobias, Bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches presided over the mass. In his homily, the prelate called on the young people of IFFAsia, 'Go forth and bring back the Kingship of God in the universe. You are to make God, the King of all creation. In line with 'New Evangelization', you are to go and declare wherever you are, in your sending organization, home parish, diocese or nation that 'Christ is the King'.

Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are “disciples” and “missionaries”, but rather that we are always “missionary disciples” - 120 Evangelii Gaudium.

Evelyn Doikin (3rd left) of Kota Kinabalu and Sunday Samuel (4th left) of Sandakan, Malaysia

The graduates took their pledge of faith and service before the presider, witnessed by the congregation. The breakdown of the graduates; one each from Laos and Cambodia, two each from Malaysia, Thailand and Mongolia, three from the Philippines and six from Vietnam. The candidates from Malaysia, both from Sabah are Evelyn Doikin of Kota Kinabalu and Sunday Samuel Worok of Sandakan, send and sponsored by the Good Shepherd's Welfare Centre, Kota Kinabalu and St Mary's Cathedral Sandakan respectively.

After the sending off mass, staff, graduates and partners of IFFAsia, representatives of the sending organisations, the youth from Ina Ng Lupang Pangako Parish of Payatas, members of the Philippines Fondacio Community and Bishop Tobias attended a dinner reception at the Cathedral Parish Hall.

Alice Tan, the Director of IFFAsia welcomed all who had spared the time to attend the event. She extended her appreciation to all parties who had contributed in one way or the other in ensuring that the students of Batch 7 received their scrolls from IFFAsia. She hoped that the young bearers of hope will apply whatever knowledge and skill acquired in IFFAsia, on ground while back at individual's parish / diocese. She thanked the sending organizations for the trust and particularly to Bishop Tobias for the continuous support rendered to IFFAsia.

The colourful presentations by graduates of each participating countries projected the slogan 'unity in diversity' as in 1 Cor 10 : 17 'We though many form one single body'. The Church is but a community of communities making Christ real. Love is to be the characteristic of the Christian community.

10 lay faithful from Sabah (9 from the Diocese of Sandakan and 1 from Kota Kinabalu) attended the event, lending support to the two Malaysian graduates.

News Update from Diocese of Sandakan, Malaysia

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

An interview with Sunday Samuel Worok, graduate of IFFAsia's Batch 7


L-R : Evelyn from Kota Kinabalu and Sunday
from Sandakan, graduates of IFFAsia Batch 7

Sunday Samuel Worok, aged 27 years old hails from Kampung Pinangkau, one of the 13 outstations in the Paitan missionary area, the only mission area in the Diocese of Sandakan. Kampung Pinangkau is some four and a half drive from Sandakan town on sealed road and another half hour drive on gravel road. He is from the Sungai Tambanuwo indigenous community. Most of the Pinangkau folks are small scale farmers.

He is the fifth among a brood of seven siblings. Ever worked in West Malaysia in a fast food chain and served in the Territorial Army for some two years. Attended a 3-month catechist's training in the Catechist Centre in Keningau in 2011. Upon completion, he served in St Mary's Cathedral Parish as a full-time office staff. In October last year, he enrolled into IFFAsia, Philippines taking up a three month intensive English course. Graduated from IFFAsia in November 2013 and was commissioned on 23rd November 2013 at the Good Shepherd's Cathedral, Fairview Park, Quezon City, Philippines.

How do you come to know of IFFAsia, Philippines?
Through Anna Teresa and Sharon Tan, the 5th and 6th batch graduates of IFFA respectively. Both are attached to the Sandakan Diocesan Youth Office.
What draws you to IFFAsia?
During our 1st Diocesan Staff Recollection held in 2011, facilitated by Charles Bertile, Fondacio Council Member for Asia and former director of IFFAsia, it was highlighted that there is a need to have trained pastoral workers in parish / diocesan offices. I responded as I thought IFFAsia would provide me the necessary knowledge and skill.
What were your expectation when offerred a place in IFFAsia?
I hoped to be molded as a faithful disciple of Christ ever willing to go forth in missionary work. I expected to be transformed to be an effective young Christian leader. I wanted much to improve my leadership and communicative skills, acquiring knowledge in social and mission work.
Does IFFAsia meet your expectation?
Yes. In fact very much. We were given the tools during our one year formation based on human, social, spiritual-theological and pastoral modules. I need to further develop my skill and keep on sharpening the tools while on ground.
What one component of the formation year that attract you most?
The leadership theories and discipline execution component as contained in the pastoral module attracted me most. The content of which is most approriate for leaders in any ministry / group in the church. If the skills are applied effectively, the ministry / group will grow.
What is your most memorable experience in IFFAsia?
I will never forget the community living as practiced in IFFAsia. Though the 17 of us, from 8 different communities throughout Asia, we forgo clinging to our tiny communities and focus on the one and big community of Christ. The experience of accepting 17 members of the community, each with different character and background has enriched me greatly. The body of Christ is not made up of one part but of many. This means each member, though from different parts of Asia is an equal part of His body.
What areas have you improved on?
I am a little better in communication, leadership and organizational management skill. I have discovered more about myself. I realized I have hidden talents that I could develop and use in my mission.
What have you gained while engaged in mission project in Vietnam and Cambodia?
The inter-faith dialogue has a strong impact on me. It taught me the importance of peace building, promoting and sustaining peace. I need to be the agent of change - to see that the different faith adherents in my country live harmoniously. My visits to homes of special kids and the rural folks has enlightened me to continously set a space in my heart to listen to their voices.
What is your hope when you return to your parish?
One year has passed by. I am better equipped to be a pastoral worker. I hope I can apply the knowledge and skill acquired to go on mission especially in Paitan, our mission area. I hope to build up good relationship bond with all ministries / groups so as to journey together to build up the Lord's kingdom.
One comment to the young people in your parish.
'To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan , but also believe' - Anatole France
Because God always walk with us. Make Jesus the centre of our life.
One final comment
I want to thank Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, our Bishop, my sending organisation with Fr Thomas Makajil, rector of St Mary's Cathedral Parish and all beloved parishioners and my family members for supporting me, financially and prayers throughout my formation year in IFFAsia. I also would like to thank, Alice Tan, the Director of IFFAsia, the formation team, the supporting staff, my foster family in the Philippines for patiently guiding and nurturing me to be an effective young Christian leader. To my batch mates (batch 7), thank you for journeying with me and accepting me as one in the family. May we live up to the motto of Fondacio ~ Christians of the World. 'Be the change that you wish to see in the world.' - (Mahatma Ghandi). A blessed and fruitful mission to all of you.
I hope more organizations will give space and opportunity to up and coming young leaders to undergo formation in IFFAsia. For more details please log onto

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fondacio Asia - 1st Regional Project Meeting (2)

Continuing Our Story on Our Journey of Reflection and Discovery @ Bago, Myanmar

Day 2 – Tuesday, 5 November, 2013

The highlights of Day 2 was hearing out four invited Speakers. We had in our midst, Mr. J. D. Lovrenciear, Rev. Fr. Amal Raj, SJ and Mr. Shanon Khadka and Mr. Jerick Limoanco.

Mr. J. D. Lovrenciear, our first Speaker is a writer, consultant and trainer. He is the Chairman of Education, Training & Professional Development Bureau with the Malaysian national professional body, the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia (IPRM). He has been to over 15 countries throughout his thirty-year career providing consulting and training for corporations and has authored four books to date in the areas of communication, personal and professional development and public relations.

Rev. Fr. Amal Raj, despite his extremely tight schedules and work commitments in Myanmar, flew in from Bangkok to be with us. Father Amal is the Advisor to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Myanmar. He works in the social sectors, does training for the Church in Catholic Social Teaching and Social Mission in Myanmar. He also sits as advisor on Justice and Peace.

Teaming up, Mr. Shanon Khadka and Mr. Jerick Limoanco are resource persons from Gawad Kalinga in the Philippines, actively involved in Social Entrepreneurship with the Philippine icon of the poor, Mr. Tony Meloto. Both of them graduated from the country’s premier University, Ateneo de Manila, and have since been championing the cause for the transformation of the poorest of the poor sectors of humanity in the Philippines, through the organization famously known as “Gawad Kalinga”.


Mr. J. D. Lovrenciear speaking on 'Global and Regional Trends'

  • The many traditional ways of doing businesses are being challenged, bringing new shifts to the way of life in Asia in relation to the global dimension. There is an “Asianization of Asia” taking place out there in the region, moving from multiple national identities to an Asian identity.
  • The miracles and promises of capitalism and communism seem to be creating a whole world of painful experiences and harsh realities with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Progress as we had come to know all these decades is leaving doubts even in the minds of the rich.
  • Meanwhile, the promises in Asia of a great new future for the world, poses new challenges for Fondacio. We have to gear up as we look at how to capitalize on these new trends, considering that we are a movement of different Asian nations. The critical need is being able to understand and find ways to engage with others within and around the region to build relationship anchored on trust, to stay connected on the global network of communities as we aim to fulfill our Mission objectives.

Rev. Father Amal speaking on ‘Leadership – in a Changing 

  • Reminders about leadership and response that need to be rooted in Catholic Social Teaching. We can easily be reduced to part-time Christians if we just practice “Word and Worship” without “Witness”.
  • The need to keep asking “Is my response motivated by faith? Is my faith challenged by the context?”
  • To be a Christian is always to be on the edge. This means that it has to be a conscious choice we make every day in our lives.
  • There is a framework about reviewing our work. We need to go through this motion which involves four questions:
* What is happening? (Our Experience)
* Why is it happening? (Our Analysis)
* What does it mean? (Our Theological Reflection)
* How shall we respond? (Our Response)

Should we move from ‘Experience’ to ‘Analysis’ to ‘Response’, skipping ‘Theological Reflection’, then it means we are not Christian in our Mission but operating like an NGO.

  • In Fondacio, unlike NGOs, this theological reflection helps us to remain Christ-centered in all that we do.
  • There is a need to be ensured that Projects are not just fund-based, but are instead faith-based.
  • Given the fast changing picture of Asia today, it calls us to be attentive to the way we respond in our respective communities.
Fr. Amal reminded Fondacio as a lay movement, to recover the priesthood of Christ as he lived it before Maundy Thursday, where the altar is wherever we are. Our framework should be Jesus Christ and his message.

Mr. Shanon Khadka and Mr. Jerick Limoanco present their Gawad Kalinga Project 

On the 2nd part of the day, we were introduced to Gawad Kalinga (GK), an NGO whose vision is to help end poverty by 2024. They do this by engaging with different sectors of society and working in a collaborative way using themselves as connectors to build social enterprises. They shared GK’s model of a farm village university as a holistic end-to-end initiative to work towards realizing their vision.

The GK presentation stretches through into Day 3.
Keep a look out for this ‘impossible dream turning into reality’ in the Philippines.
Updates are coming your way TOMORROW.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fondacio Asia – 1st Regional Project Meeting (1)

METTA Development Training Centre, Bago, Myanmar
4 – 8 November, 2013

Fondacio Asia – “7 years in existence, serving 30 dioceses in 10 countries in Asia” for a renewed church and society, is now gearing for the next challenge. Delegates from China, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Myanmar and the United Kingdom are in Myanmar for their 5-day Regional Project Meeting in Bago amidst the quiet and reflective eco-friendly Training Centre.

29 Delegates had every reason to remain connected to their Mission call and the ground reality, not to mention the frogs, spiders and snakes that shared the territory on this Planet Place called METTA Development Training Centre that is about two hours drive from the Yangon Airport.

DEVOLVEMENT – The commitment from 4 – 8 November is to embark into a ‘Rethinking’ of our missions through projects in the region and to see how best we can DEVOLVE to a higher gear.

STAY CONNECTED –To help you stay in tune with the many great Moments of Truth unfolding here in Bago, we capture here the significance of each day, providing you a daily diet of our PROGRESS as we journey through our hearts and minds anchored in Christ the Lord.

Day 1 – Monday, 4 November, 2013

Rev. Fr. Poh Kwa, Director, National Catholic Youth Commission of Myanmar, leads the group in procession to begin the Launching Service.

Delegates started their first day journey with Mass offered by Fr. Poh Kwa. A significant Moment of Truth for all of us was the Cleansing of Hands during Offertory as we renewed our inner calls to mission.

This Session began with an Opening Address by our Council Reference for Asia Charles Bertille.

This Meeting is the outcome of the last ACT Meeting in March 2013 when, despite recognizing our weaknesses, we asked what would be our step of faith in each country.

We Share with you the Message from Charles Bertille:

In his Opening Address, Charles took the opportunity to put on record the works of Fondacio in each of the countries in Asia. The leaders in all of the networks were acknowledged. Greetings from our Fondacio President Francois Proteau (France), Vice President Antoine Dzamah (Togo, Africa) and all Council Members were conveyed to all present.

Highlighting that this Project Meeting in Bago is to push us into examining and rethinking of new ways of working, Charles emphasised the commitment for all of us to be at the service of the poor and the marginalized through our projects while remaining anchored in spirituality.

As Fondacio shifts to work on projects, there has to be a felt necessity to understand the symbiotic link between our spirituality and the projects. It is critical to live the principle of MCT (mission, community, path of transformation) in all the work, to attract people to become a community of disciples. We realised communities shrink when they lose focus on mission and just look at their needs only.

“Let us see the differences that enriches us; we recognize that we need to embrace the diversity. We need to go beyond ourselves to work in partnership with others as we grow in relationship with Jesus.”

Focusing on Pope Francis' call for change and a Christian response to the changes taking place in the world, he felt that the signpost for the future for Fondacio is to live as a movement. This requires collaboration with others – IFFAsia graduates, other organizations, the Church and the business world. It is also looking at what is good for the larger society.

“... all Christians,” says the Holy Father, “be joyful witnesses and proclaim your faith.”

One of the developments that’s being worked on today is devolving the basic formation program in IFFA to make it available to more young people in the 10 countries in Asia:
  • to prepare them so that they can learn more effectively when they come to IFFA
  • to offer systematic courses to the local church through the graduates
  • to offer a platform for Xavier University to serve more the Churches of Asia through collaboration with IFFA in offering the basic formation program in (to) the countries where the IFFA graduates are present

One of the realisations during the project presentations of the countries this afternoon was not to do formation for formation's sake. We need to consider the relevance of the formation; what is the next step, what follows it. We need to provide opportunities to put our formation into practice in serving the marginalized.

“We need to change, mutate and think and work as a network and movement, going beyond ourselves to reach out and work with the young, the poor, and other groups in society while being rooted in a Christian community and in our relationship with Christ.”

Reflections of Day 1

Key words of what God is saying to us here at Bago:
  • In reflecting on the significance of the day, the delegates felt that the key message for them was “not to give up, trust God, your work is your prayer, be open, and take a path of transformation”.
  • Likewise the delegates felt that the key message for Fondacio in Asia, is “the call to conversion and to go out into the world to serve the poor”.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

News Flash on Mission Project in Vietnam/Cambodia

Starting the journey by coming home

Early morning of Oct 5th, 2013, the group of IFFAsia students and staff started our journey by entering the land of Vietnam.
We were warmly welcomed in the Parish of Fr. Joseph Tuan (Responsible of Children Ministry of Saigon Diocese, Chaplain of Eucharistic Youth Movement).

We could feel how much we were treated as a family and how much the church today is open to receive us. We are touched by their generosity to open the parish to us, to take care of all our needs without any condition.

Although we have different nationalities but we create a common unity that builds a community.

“They were so kind to us and would really accompany us whenever we needed. Sometimes, unexpectedly, they would just lend a hand for us.” – Jhimus (Philippines)

Witnessing Vietnam Church today
We’ve witnessed a very active and dynamic faith and church life in Vietnam. We saw how the people value their faith and participate actively in the church life. They have a systematic way of building the faith integrated in the person’s life. They make sure that the foundation is built from a young age as seen in the Sunday catechism classes.

The Youth encounter had been a good time to share and discover the life of young people in Vietnam.

“ I was amazed by the spirit of volunteerism of the people who are really actively participating in church activities.” – Evelyn (Malaysia)

“These people are young professionals and some are very young and committed.” – Angela

“Changes start from within”
Meeting also the NGO’s like Initiatives of Changes (IofC), One Body Village and the Businessmen Group showed us how to live mission and affect change in the society- no matter how small the step or action could be. The most important is the faithfulness to take the little steps. “Change start from within.” “Be a voice – lend a hand. Make a difference – Save a life” – a slogan from One Body Village that called us deeply.

“I was able to see weakness that I am not so aware of, that brings such impact on to the society. This experience helps me to be part of starting changes. Start the changes from me.” – Tugso (Mongolia)
“Before this I am easy to give up and often time run away from God. I cannot carry my cross, especially when I have any problem, I always complain to God. But today, I understand God loves me and always calls me to be joyful in God’s power.” – Evelyn (Malaysia)

“I was so afraid of taking the risk for my life. I felt that I have so many things that I cannot balance or handle anymore. Sometimes, it becomes so heavy for me. The time with IOfC, It encourages me to make change for my life. The opportunity is there.” – Suong (Vietnam)

“I am fully aware that I am on a mission, and I can’t contain myself on being the way I was, I should respect other’s culture and belief, I must put more effort to be more flexible, adaptive and interactive to the new community I am engaging with. I am not in my own world now, this is the new world I am dealing with, the world for understanding, world full of respect and compassion to one another and the world with sustainable peace and equality.” – Angela (Philippines)

Time with students’ family

We also spent a good time meeting the family of the students. Parents were very grateful of the changes they have seen in their children. What was also important in all these meetings and encounter was the witness we gave as Institute, the witness of the students of their transformation because of the formation… no matter how small it maybe when put together becomes a bright flame of witnessing God’s transforming love and action in our life.

As we ended the first part of Mission Project in Vietnam…

… what was strong are the words… ”we have pitched the flag of mission in Vietnam as Fondacio” and with the Church welcoming and ready to collaborate with us. We have proven ourselves as an Institute, in our sincerity to form their young lay leaders for the building and the moving forward of the church in Vietnam which today they are seeing the fruits of the difference they are making in the church and society. They are now more open to collaborate with us in whatever mission we are called to respond to in Vietnam.

Initiatives of Change (IofC) is a world-wide movement of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, who are committed to the transformation of society through changes in human motives and behaviour, starting with their own, in the areas of trust – building, ethical leadership and sustainable living.

One Body Village (OBV) is an Organization which its vision mission are: To combat human sex trafficking in developing countries; to provide at risk children and survivors with shelter, medical and behavioural health care, educational assistance, and vocational training to improve their future.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Third Malaysian IFFAsia Graduates Gathering

“It is the beginning of unity between East and West Malaysia, bringing hope to the community, walking towards one mission in one country. There is also a better structure that will take care of the growing community in Asia.”

PORT DICKSON : This year, the third Malaysia IFFAsia Graduates Gathering was held at Champagnat Youth Centre (Marist Brothers), Port Dickson on September 27th to 29th, 2013. Eight members of Fondacio Malaysia and ten IFFAsia graduates attended the gathering. This is the first "joint venture" gathering which is one of the fruits during the 6th Fondacio Asia Pastoral Gathering held last October 26 - November 5, 2012 at Oblates of Mary Immaculate Formation Center in Quezon City, Philippines. During the gathering, Fondacio Malaysia members and Malaysian IFFAsia graduates, came together to discuss, explore and discern on how best they could journey together in the mission.

Morning Prayer
The main purpose of this yearly gathering is to reflect on one's vocation and direction after the formation process in IFFAsia, Philippines. On the second day, Charles Bertille, the Fondacio Asia Coordinator facilitated the two-day event, moving us towards greater integration in our mission journey.
During the 'integration' session, we were asked to reflect on our goal and how do we see ourselves five years from now. Not only that, we were also asked to reflect on our limitations and our uniqueness. We were given given time to reflect on 'This is who I am' and to later share it within the group.

Charles also shared to us about the three characters in the Acts of the Apostles. Peter, someone who is relational, Stephen who is efficient and Paul who is effective / balance. We were told to reflect on this three characters and to see where we are and to ask grace from any of them if we need blessings from Peter or Stephen or Paul. He also reminded us that our faith is a covenant and if we do not live the covenant, it will slowly die. Therefore, everyone need to check or balance their life. He also said that, our discipleship is not based on other people's opinion and goals but on values. The gospel values will change us to 'This is how I am'.It was a wonderful time for each and everyone of us. Not only we were able to have our "me" time with God and to be refilled in our spiritual life, but we were also able to strengthen the relationship bond between the graduates and the Fondacio members. Alice Tan the current acting director of IFFAsia, Philippines was also present during the gathering to lend support to all graduates of IFFAsia. The next gathering will be in October 2014 in Kuching, Sarawak.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Reflection by Sunday Samuel Work, IFFAsia Batch-7

(Sunday who hails from the Paitan Missionary Area, Sandakan is currently pursuing a one year formation program in IFFAsia, Quezon City, Philippines and is expected to graduate on 24th November 2013)

During my first few months here in IFFAsia, we were taught to build strong foundation of faith and prepare ourselves to be primary initiator on facing the challenges of the church through series of sessions. For the first phase, we went through the human module that helps us to deeply understand ourselves, explore our inner-selves, discover our talents. We were also taught on tips about building relationship bonds with others. We experienced a 'Weekend Retreat Towards a New Life' that really helped us to discern, think and have a break to re-look at our inner journey and to have time to talk with God. All of these really led to spiritual renewal and preparation of oneself for the Holy Week. Likewise, we joined the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by conducting a Faith Walk. It was a long walk with very precious purpose for each and everyone.

Children play on the streets as there is no space for recreational facilities.

As we continue to journey in community living, the Social Immersion as part of our Social Module helped us a lot to understand what community really is. Not only by knowing its complexity and to know its profile, it is also important for me to experience the love, care, kindness and hospitality that we shared among us, the host parish and our foster families. Through these, it gave me an impact and to dig deeper about understanding society, in all aspects and appreciating the people who were involved in the program. We continued to feed ourselves with knowledge and compassion to the society as we started to study about the principles and perspectives about social development. By applying what we have experienced and learned, we are now making a Developmental Action Plan that would help our community to enhance their lives and empower every individual in the light of our Lord.

Payatas, the dumpsite in MetroManila - children live by the streets

Moreover, Spiritual and Pastoral Modules were also given to us so that we could have an integral formation in order to become better Christian servant-leaders. We finally share and attest our knowledge, skills and attitude when we conducted our Professional Internship. As I prepare and discern, I have asked myself, if I am really going to achieve my objectives? Do I really have the character to be a lay pastoral worker? I need all the formation, the grooming to be more confident in my mission as I return home to my parish where I will serve the parish as a whole and the youth ministry in particular.

Furthermore, I felt that I may achieve my objective through sociological skills in the actual application of knowledge and work in the community. A parish-based work is truly pastoral work. This is not just sitting and holding a pen inside the office but the opportunities to interact with the people on ground. I know deep in me that service is also a journey. Moreover, not only as pastoral work, but I could also open myself for the social realities that are visible in the ecclesial community of the Parish. Serving the poor and the marginalized allows me to serve Christ himself. I realized that this internship is truly and fully pastoral work.

Having to serve at two work places is fine with me. As I had mentioned earlier, I will meet Jesus in the parish because I will encounter with the poor, the oppressed and those living in the margins of society. I am happy with my choice and the only challenge that remains in me is how I could put all of these into action, bringing fruits and meaning to my life.The work entrusted upon me is challenging. I’m also expecting that through this internship, I will gain more skills like facilitation, administration, management and communication. Also, I hope to acquire good attitudes such as self-confidence, competitiveness, passion to work and develop the right spiritual life.

I will have to journey with the youth for they are the future of the church. With this in mind, I will keep on learning and do my best to lead the youth in the right track ~ the Christian way. I am much eager to gradually transform myself as an effective Christian leader, a primary servant of God in building His Kingdom. To be able to work with the young fills me with joy and compassion. As I mature, I realize that there’s a lot more to learn. I wanted to be involved in a wider arena. These insights gave me the vision of truly working for a Christian community.

As we finally enter into the last part of our formation year, we are going to Vietnam and Cambodia for our Mission Project themed “Youth Initiatives for Peace” which will be held on October 4-28, 2013. This program will make us aware and help us to understand the challenges of migration, human rights, and post-civil war rebuilding process and its impact on families, local communities and how the people are responding. This program includes inputs and workshops on inter-faith, visits to places of worship, stay in with foster families, dialogue with religious and civil society leaders, the poor, youth and families, exposure to the reality of migrants, and social development issues. In Vietnam and Cambodia, we will be collaborating with: Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS), Initiatives of Change, Vietnam (IofC), Caritas of Vietnam and Cambodia, the Diocese in Phnom Penh, etc. In addition, some tools on analysis, peace building and spirituality will also be introduced together with activities to facilitate peace building awareness among youth and families.

Our mission will not end inside the four corners of our session hall or confined within this formation year. Our mission will continue as we journey with the people, with the community of the faithful because we, as missionaries believed that mission is an issue of faith, a living faith. Being a community-in-mission is a matter of faith, love, hope and prayer, of sharing our deepest Christian and human values

Posted By dospo to NEWS UPDATE ~ Diocese of Sandakan at 9/23/2013
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Saturday, July 27, 2013

New Intake for IFFAsia Schoolyear 2014

Nurturing lay leaders for a renewed Asian Church and Society 

The Institute of Formation, Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia) is now open for application from potential applicants for the schoolyear 2014.

Deadline for the submission of application forms is on November 30, 2013. For further inquiries, email us at

Download below for your reference: 

For those who wish to apply for the English Course at the Assumption Language Center, download the Application Form below.