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NFH Integration Days 2020

Calbayog City: The time was 6 a.m. I woke up to the sound of a ringing bell. It was the usual routine here at the Nazareth Formation House. It was our wake-up call, and it signified the start of our day. However, this day was different. We were not to follow our usual Saturday and Sunday routine. Today was the start of our Integration Days. The Integration Days is an annual activity that marks the start and as well as a preparation of the formative year. This year, the aspirants of the formative year 2020-2021 participated in the said event on August 29-30, 2020.


I myself, an aspirant of the Buhay Calabriano, was curious of what would be the things that I would learn from the Integration Days and how much of an impact it would bring to my journey as an aspirant. And I am sure that my fellow aspirants thought of the same.


Armed with notebooks, ballpoint pens, and the excitement of learning something new, my brothers and I gathered in the auditorium at around 9 a.m. There we met Mr. Roberto “Boi” Nicolasora, a professor from St. Vincent de Paul College Seminary, who has been facilitating and engaging in these kinds of activities for more than thirty years. Mr. Nicolasora made the experience enjoyable and memorable. And it indeed seemed that he has been doing this for so long. He had an experiential approach, and he knew what to do so well as if it was the back of his hand.


(Photo: Mr. Nicolasora in one of his sessions with the aspirants)


On the first day, we had team-building activities that were whimsical and humorous. It certainly made an impression on us, and we learned a lot from it too! The fact that the team-building activities were fun and enjoyable, were the reasons why I still remember the lessons that came with them. Things we do that we deemed fun were etched in our memories. The first day was primarily focused on knowing each other. The activities were interactive, and we were given the chance to know ourselves through the point-of-view of others, as well as knowing our strengths and weaknesses. We then shared what we knew about ourselves and what others found out about us. It was a great opportunity to know more about the experiences of one another. The questions that we were too shy to ask during casual conversations and those that we didn’t know we had were answered during our sharing. The great thing about the part where we start sharing our thoughts and experiences was that it made us more open and understanding with one another.


The following day, our activity started at the same time. After some ice-breakers, we were hungry to learn more. We had the opportunity to share our inspirational projects or ventures – the things that we were so proud of to have achieved. We talked about our past and how certain events made us who we are and brought us to where we are now. I also shared some stories, but that would be just between me and my brothers, and Mr. Nicolasora too. Also, we shared about our weaknesses – those that we haven’t overcome and have brought with us to Nazareth Formation House. Then we gave a few words of advice that we could use for our own, or our brothers could potentially use for themselves when faced with the same situation. In the afternoon, we watched a movie called Dead Poets Society which we then reflected on. I’d like to write about the movie. But I just happened to like it so much that I wouldn’t want to rob you the opportunity of viewing such a timely and relevant classic. Mr. Nicolasora then explained that one should be told to “dream deep” instead of “dream high” because it is the depth of one’s aspirations that actually makes an impact and gives the dreamer an understanding of their purpose. We ended the second and final day with a pictorial with the community. Afterwards, my brothers and I stepped out of the auditorium, enlightened and ready to move forward and to start the formative year.


TLDR: The Integration Days was an opportunity for the aspirants to know each other in a deeper level, to have a glimpse of their experiences and to step inside our brother’s shoes. It also marked the start of the formative year. It instilled in us the importance of growth and maturity as well as it reminded us of the integral growth in our formation. The intellectual, pastoral, spiritual and human dimensions of formation are all important for they are our guide into becoming whole as a person. One can only be successful if one observes values and learnings.


(Photo: Group photo with Mr. Nicolasora after the Integration Days)


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