As novices we are often told that the novitiate is a gentle process, so there is a lot of time throughout each day which is not scheduled, allowing for prayer and reflection, but also for free time and other activities such as physical exercise and socialising.
The daily timetable for the novitiate is as follows…
Daily Program Monday – Friday
|12.00pm||Lunch followed by Marist prayers|
|4.00pm||Time for meetings, practices, work, sport etc.|
The morning begins with 45 minutes of meditation, sometimes in front of the Blessed Sacrament, then Morning Prayer of the Church and Mass. After breakfast is class time where, on Mondays and Thursdays, we look at subjects such as Marist History and Spirituality, including the constitutions of the Society of Mary, taken by Fr. Anggong, and on Tuesdays and Fridays we look at Prayer and Spirituality and Religious Life, taken by Fr. Pat. Wednesdays have an alternative program where we are currently doing gardening in the morning. This balances the prayer and study with a bit of physical exercise which is generally enjoyed by all, especially when the results of transforming a barren front yard into a beautiful garden can be seen.
After lunch we remember our Marist confreres who have passed away then the afternoon is generally free and is mostly used for siesta as it is too hot for anything else! The 4:00pm timeslot is set aside for different meetings or practices that may be needed, such as music practice every Monday. In the evening is Evening Prayer of the Church and dinner, and after that is a quiet time for personal prayer, journal writing, spiritual reading, or even just going for a quiet walk.
The weekend is a bit different. Saturday morning we have our community meeting where we discuss more practical day to day running of the community, followed by Manualia (Manual Labour), which consists of a more thorough cleaning of the house and grounds.
After lunch on Saturday is free time until our ministries on Sunday, our pastoral day. The community has three pastoral areas; Davao City Jail, Davao Mental Hospital, and a local chapel. We split into three groups of two and rotate between the three pastoral areas each week. There we attend Mass in the local language Visaya and visit the people there; the inmates, patients, or parishioners. Often this is a ministry of presence but we always come away touched by something that has happened there. After everyone returns from their ministries we gather in the Chapel for faith sharing where we can share about any experience during the week or especially during ministry that has impacted our faith.
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