Programs »Pastoral »Sabbatical Pilgrimage And Sabbatical Leadership Experience »Program Details
A Sacred Space to
Stop—Take Time—Move On
“A Sabbatical is for relating in the God of life and bringing more to life as a result. Sabbath days are when we allow ourselves time out to look at life in fresh and penetrating way.” Joan Chittister, OSB
The East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI) is located inside the Ateneo de Manila University Campus, an 84-hectare sprawling land area surrounded with huge acacia, narra and other tropical trees that serve as home to birds of various kinds and haven to students who live in the metropolitan area and participants who come from various parts of the world. The Ateneo campus is one of the prominent academic centers in Manila that is very dynamic on weekdays but quiet and serene on weekends. The Catholic atmosphere permeates the place and is an oasis for those who come from backgrounds wherein Catholics are a minority.
One of the gifts of EAPI is its multicultural setting. The participants come from various countries, mostly in Asia, some in Oceania, a few from North and South America, Africa, and Europe. It is therefore a rich community of people having different cultures, backgrounds, languages. It is a challenge too.
Since there is a lot of interaction, group and individual sharing and processing in the Sabbatical as integral part of the program itself, the participants need to be, at least, conversant if not proficient in the English language. One has to be open and comfortable enough to live and mingle with persons having different beliefs and principles from one’s own and be enriched in the process as one’s horizon is broadened.
The Sabbatical Program at EAPI is a holistic program which caters to the laity, religious and ordained ministers who are in transition or in need of a change of space away from their typical environment and a busy life of ministry. It’s unique feature is its community-based orientation that capitalizes on forming a community of participants whose common desire is to have time for Sabbath to discover the depth and richness of one’s being and to appreciate more profoundly the graciousness and beauty of God. It is also a flexible program that aims to respond to the individual needs of each participant.
In addition, the following are the special features of the Sabbatical at EAPI:
EAPI offers a 4-month Sabbatical Renewal Experience [SRE] program from August - November, focusing on psycho-spiritual integration and a 4-month program Sabbatical Renewal Experience [SRE] from January - May with a particular focus on pastoral leadership and management. The 4 months SRE is independent and complete in its own, covering all the features of the program mentioned earlier. A person can choose to continue and to stay for more than 4 months and join the 6 months PLMM from January - June. However, the group dynamics will change.
The underlying objective of each SRE is to create a positive change or transformation in the participants in terms of outlook, perception, and eventually behavior, in a span of their time here at EAPI. As such, the programs are designed to bring these changes about.
August - November: Sabbatical Renewal Experience
The thrust is Psycho-Spiritual Integration and Healing—this is in response to the expressed needs of the participants through the years for personal healing since many of them come from contexts that are painful and wounding (like relationships in the religious communities, unresolved childhood issues due to dysfunctional family dynamics, oppressive political or religious structures, etc.). Sabbath, above all, is a time to be heal and be restored. This can, hopefully take place as one integrates both the light and the dark aspects of one’s personality and experiences. The participants will focus on the stage that they are in and the issues that confront them. The SRE group will also have the opportunity to do some theological and biblical updating while keeping the spirit and atmosphere of the Sabbath.
January - Early May: Sabbatical Renewal Experience
The thrust is Leadership Experience and Reflection—this program is very relevant now since most people who come for the sabbatical have been leaders and are wounded by their experience. Many will return to these contexts, so reflecting on their experience will allow for healing. SRE is also designed especially for those participants who need flexibility during their time of rest. The participants will be invited to join the Pastoral Leadership and Management for Mission program, yet have a group that would allow for depth in sharing and spirituality. The group can also request for a particular module if they feel that this would allow them to address issues not offered in the PLMM, e.g Midlife Crisis and Leadership.
Description of the Modules and Possible Resource Persons
Facilitator: Mr. Francisco Machado/ Sr. Amelia Vasquez, RSCJ
Facilitator: Sr. Ana Malapitan, RC
Facilitators: Sr. Concepta Bellosillo, RGS and team
Facilitator: Sr. Amelia Vasquez, RSCJ
Facilitator: Dr. Tita Go
Facilitator: Dr. Dido Villasor
Facilitator: Mr. Earnest Tan
Facilitator: Ms. An Alcantara
Facilitator: Dr. Jun Alejandro, M.D.
Facilitator: Mr. Jay Batoon
Facilitators: Ms. Rachel Hauser and Team
Facilitator: Ms. Menchie Rojas
Facilitator: Sr. Nicet Vargas, OSA
Facilitator: Mr. Earnest Tan
Facilitator: Fr. Jojo Fung, SJ
Facilitator: Fr. Arthur Leger, SJ
Facilitator: Sr. Anne Bellosillo, MMS
Facilitator: Fr. Felipe Gomez, SJ
Facilitator: Ms. Gem Yecla
Facilitator: Fr. Luc Mees, MJ
Structure of the Sabbatical Renewal Experience
Sessions in the morning: 10:00 am-12:00 noon
Sessions in the afternoon: 2:30-4:30 pm
Sports and other recreation activities in the afternoon after class
Sabbatical Group Mass at 9:00 am
The SRE Group joins the Community Mass on Fridays at 5:30 pm starting the month of August when the Pastoral Education and Renewal Group begins their program.
Saturdays and Sundays are Sabbath days:
Since Sabbath is really allowing oneself time and space to slow down to be able to look at life events more intently and to notice God’s extraordinary presence in the ordinary, so to speak, Fridays are designated as integration days. This is a graced time during the week, aside from Saturdays and Sundays, to stop, reflect and share in the hope that integration begins to take place and will continue on even beyond the sabbatical journey at EAPI.
Every 3rd Friday of the month will be an integration day. The entire morning will be spent in silence by the Sabbatical Group after breakfast to reflect on the month’s modular classes/topics and other events. In the afternoon, the group comes together and share the fruits of their reflection. This will culminate in a Eucharistic celebration meaningfully designed and prepared by the sponsoring group for the week. At other times, the sharing can also be incorporated in the Mass depending on the inspiration of the Spirit and the creativity of the group.
Usually the sessions in the Sabbatical begin at 10:00 am to give the participants space in the morning for spiritual accompaniment or simply for one to have time for oneself. There is also time for a short nap or “siesta” in the afternoon after lunch that’s why the session starts at 2:30.
The facilitators or resource persons are expected to present their material creatively taking into account that they are dealing with an adult group having a multicultural background and diverse and wide range of experience in their respective fields of expertise and apostolates.
It is recommended that the morning session can be used by facilitators for input-giving (using powerpoint presentations) and the afternoon sessions can be more experiential and interactive allowing the participants to ask questions, share in small or big groups.
Various teaching methods can be used like story-telling, role-play, video clips, movies, case studies, field trips, etc. Since the Sabbatical is a small group (16 is usually the maximum number), the facilitator has a lot of space for exploration and creativity. The important thing to remember is that the modular class aims at creating an impact for positive change and transformation to happen in each of the participants given a short period of time.
One important and unique feature of the Sabbatical Renewal Experience provided for the participants is the spiritual accompaniment which comes in the form of either spiritual direction or counseling. This is to facilitate the inner work or inner journey that one is going through during the Sabbath time. It is recommended for the participant to see his/her spiritual companion at least twice a month or more often if there is a need.
Set-up of the SRE Community
As mentioned earlier, the community-based SRE is a unique feature of the sabbatical program offered at EAPI with the premise that a supportive and healthy community is vital in the growth and healing process of the members. Therefore, time and effort are invested at the start to form and build this SRE community and nurtured all throughout the sabbatical journey.
It is important to note that the Sabbatical Renewal Experience is not designed to minister to recovering alcoholics and other forms of addictions, as well as individuals with excessive authority issues, depression, aggression and a strong tendency for isolation.
Participants in the Sabbatical are highly encouraged to have a self-initiated reading program. This is the time that one can engage in reading topics or materials that one is deeply interested in but never had the opportunity or time in the past to do so because of a busy life of ministry. The EAPI library has a rich collection of books and periodicals on theology, spirituality, and psychology, among others.
The SRE participants are asked to bring extra money for expenses not covered in the regular fees like medications and healthcare, transportation around Metro Manila, postage, overseas telephone calls, and other personal needs and wants. The amount will be at the discretion of the participant.