The DWEA (Divine Word Educational Association) Assembly, which is held every after 2 years, had its 3rd round last April 3-4, 2008 at the SVD Retreat House in Tagaytay City. Privileged to attend the said meet were Nanelyn Wate, HNU Campus Ministry staff member, and Michele Rellita, GS faculty member. Delegates from all SVD schools throughout the country were cordially welcomed.
The first plenum was held at the conference hall and was emceed by Fr. Roderick Salazar, SVD. Fr. Wilfredo Saniel, SVD formally welcomed all the participants, and the incoming HNU President, Fr. Francisco "Kito" Estepa, SVD gave the statement of purpose. Fr. Brigido Angngasing, SVD introduced the all participants and later gave the house rules and schedule of activities. Afterwards, a very enriching talk on "Witness to the Word" was delivered by Most Rev. Arturo M. Bastes, SVD, DD, the Bishop of Sorsogon. Such gave the delegates more insights on the deeper meaning of the terms "witness" and "Word" and the combined meaning of the two. Four reactors presented their comments and a brief open forum ensued.
After an insightful afternoon, the participants had light moments in the evening socials which followed the dinner. Each group of delegates was made to present a number to the amusement of everyone. While almost everyone sang with the videoke, the HNU representative Michele Rellita declamed her first poem composition while "emoting" with the emcee, Fr. Rod Salazar, SVD. It was an opportunity for the lay members to socialize and interact with the SVD priests and brothers on a more authentic and less-intimidating level. When the Boholano priests would have drinks or photo shoots with the HNU representatives, they would shout, "O, Bohol! Bohol!"
A eucharistic celebration officiated by the incoming USC President, Fr. Dionisio Miranda, SVD, was held at 6:30 a.m. in the chapel. After a hearty breakfast, the second plenum was held at the conference hall. After the mechanics of the group discussion was given, everyone was assigned to a smaller group (four groups all in all) to come up with a common understanding and definition of "Witness to the Word" as well as to formulate a common response to the generalate’s letter on the education apostolate.
During the business session, the four reporters were made to share their group’s output (one of the reporters was Michele Rellita). Afterwards, the USC group presented their suggested definition of "Witness to the Word." Fr. Leonardo Estioko, SVD commented that the suggested definition was rather long and the term "word" was used repetitively. The HNU representative, Michele Rellita, presented her own suggestion: "A witness to the Word is one who is committed to know, proclaim and live out the Word of God and serve as a living example of excellence, social responsibility, integrity and evangelization" (with consideration to the four core values identified during the 2nd DWEA Assembly in 2006). This was then followed by a third suggested definition. Eventually, the incoming HNU President, Fr. Francisco Estepa, SVD suggested that the given suggestions be "combined" and Mrs. Rellita was requested to help in the said endeavor. Eventually, the following definition was received warmly by the body: "A witness to the Word is one who is committed to know, live out and proclaim God’s Word for the transformation of the world."
The common responses to the generalate’s letter on the education apostolate were discussed. Then the giving of certificates followed before the assembly was formally close.