It was a bi-annual general assembly of the Association of Religious in Laguna or ARELA organized by its chairperson, Fr. Rolo Alcasid, SDB, who, at the same time, is the Diocesan Mission Director of the Diocese of San Pablo, Laguna. The assembly took place last August 20, 2011 at the auditorium of Mary Help of Christians School in Canlubang, Laguna with the theme "The Missionary Dimension of Religious Life." One of the reasons for the gathering was to tap ARELA as collaborators with the PMS Diocesan Director in his work of promoting mission awareness in the diocese.
The assembly started with the celebration of the holy Eucharist presided by His Excellency Most Rev. Leo Drona, SDB,DD. In his homily he re-echoed the message of Pope Benedict XVI to the religious during the World Youth Day in Spain in which he mentioned three important things, namely: 1) the need to live a life of holiness; 2) to be always in communion with the local Church; 3) to be witnesses of charity.
After the holy Eucharist, Fr. Socrates Mesiona, MSP, PMS National Director, gave a talk based on the chosen theme. He mentioned that the missionary dimension of the religious life is always linked with the call of Jesus to be His disciples. "An authentic disciple is one who will eventually fulfill the command of Jesus 'to go and proclaim the good news of the kingdom,'" Fr. Mesiona stressed. In his intervention, Bishop Drona reminded the participants to support the works of the Pontifical Mission Societies or PMS especially that the Philippine church receives more than it contributes to the Solidarity Funds of Propaganda Fide, Holy Childhood and St. Peter the Apostle.
The talk of Fr. Mesiona was followed by a sharing of two missionaries who worked in Papua New Guinea and in Sudan.
Lunch was served after the sharings of the two missionaries; then it was followed by the business meeting.The gathering ended with a short visit to Don Bosco College, also in Canlubang, Laguna.