𝐁𝐲 𝐊𝐢𝐞𝐫𝐚 𝐁. 𝐆𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐢𝐚, 𝐀𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐮𝐬 𝐀𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐄𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐨𝐫
EXCITEMENT and joy filled the campus of Angelicum School Iloilo on Feb. 16 to 18, 2023, as delegates from 12 Dominican schools in Western Visayas participated in the DomNet Festival 2023 with the theme DASIG: Dominican Youth as Pilgrims of Hope.
Joining the DomNet Festival in 2023 and being one of 11 other Dominican schools is truly an honor. I never expected the outcome to turn out well. During the preparation for the festival, I was pretty anxious since I thought that the delegates would be intimidating, notwithstanding the fact Angelicum School Iloilo will be the host school. It made me think that we should give our all so that everyone can have a good time and enjoy our presentation. As it turned out, everyone appeared approachable and eager to engage in conversation. Everyone was just friendly; whenever someone spotted you, they would greet you and say hi.
The first day began with the welcoming rites, for which we, the host school, prepared a lot in the morning program. From the opening salvo by Angelicum School Iloilo, the presentation of delegates, the raising of different school flags, drum and lyre presentations, and finishing it off with a community song by Holy Rosary Academy of Guimaras and the motorcade.
Later in the afternoon, a Leadership Formation Program in the Gymnasium where Fr. Carlo Rey Canto, OP, tackled Luke 1:39; Fr. Jessie Yap, OP, on Dominican youth; and Fr. Paul Lovell Javier, OP, on Pilgrims of Hope was held.
“A Dominican youth is faithful. Any one of us is blessed with goodness. One of the things you have to understand as a Dominican youth is you have to be faithful… A Dominican youth who isn’t compassionate, isn’t a Dominican at all,” said Fr. Jessie Yap, OP, in one of his conversations.
A Eucharistic Celebration with Archbishop Jose Romeo Lazo, DD, serving as the celebrant came right after the Leadership Formation Program.
The day hasn’t yet come to an end, but the night has begun. After the Eucharistic Celebration, the DomNet delegates were sent back to their respective rooms to rest and eat their dinner and were soon called out to return to the gymnasium for the DomNight. Each performance was warmly received and appreciated by the audience.
On the second day, everyone was awake at 6:00 a.m. to participate in Zumba led by East Negros Academy. The 12 schools had a great time playing basketball, volleyball, and chess against one another. Later in the evening, delegates sang along and interacted with one another during the Acoustic Night and Bonfire that was held in the Angelicum field.
The last day came, and everyone experienced mixed emotions because they knew that they wouldn’t be seeing each other for a while. We were having so much fun that we didn’t realize it was already the last day. The morning was also spent with a Zumba by Mary Immaculate Academy, which was followed by a Mass with Fr. John Stephen Besa, OP, as the presider. Following the mass, we continued with the last rounds of the games, and some delegates took a tour inside the Lizares Mansion. Later in the afternoon, we were all asked to gather in the gymnasium for the closing ceremony, where the host school handed out awards to the winners of different sports, certificates of appreciation, awards to institutions, institutional token giving, and a community song that officially closed the three-day gathering.
I made a lot of new friends, and we bonded so well. I would probably still be thinking for a couple of days about those simple greetings I got from other delegates around the school campus, talks during breaks, camera clicks everywhere, and staying until 12:00 in the morning. I may not remember the names of the people I interacted with, but what matters most is the time we all spent together and the memories we created with one another. This is our kind of Dominican oneness: spurred by the truth we know and inspired by the love we feel. Indeed, that we may be one.