People of all tongues, faith, beliefs, ages, races, and nations have not been spared from the pandemic leading to the rediscovery of digital technology’s potential to help people and communities maintain some level of normalcy in their work and daily life despite the lockdown imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the response to the “new normal” during the pandemic are the digital ways by which the faithful engaged in their missionary evangelization. Different social media platforms were used, and continue to be used, to broadcast the celebration of the Holy Eucharist online to the Catholic faithful and even religious communities. Even online retreats, recollections, and formation programs, among others, were made possible. The Internet has provided a new space, a new world, a new periphery that needs a new way of evangelization. This study aims to answer the question: “In what ways can the Religious of the Assumption maximize the online platform to accompany young adults in their search for meaning and purpose in life? More specifically, how can the Congregation awaken young adults’ interest in pursuing a vocation discernment journey and, consequently, choosing the Religious life as their vocation?”
The Internet can be a common ground for encounters and deeper dialogue with young people. It is a home and space of comfort for most of them because of its accessibility. A Spiritual mentor’s online availability can be a new approach on how to present the Triune God, who always takes the initiative to meet young people where they are. It is in this context of the Church’s call to accompany the young in their digital and information technology milieu that this Thesis, Religious of the Assumption Online Vocation Discernment: The New Normal Approach to Spiritual Accompaniment for Young Adults in the Philippines is undertaken. The program is an online space where young adults may discover and be guided to make an intelligent, free, and loving response to their universal call to holiness, love, and life expressed in their choice of vocation, and hopefully, the Religious life.
Promoting a culture of discernment among the young needs the laying down of the biblical foundation of the discernment journey. The Scripture is the fundamental source and basis for understanding vocation discernment and spiritual accompaniment. Scriptures have an informative and formative role because it teaches the way of Jesus Christ. Most of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius were inspired by and based on Scriptures. There is no other way to imitate Christ, but to learn His ways through His words. Another guide in the vocation discernment journey are the significant events in the life, and ensuing reflections and insights of St. Marie Eugenie of Jesus, the foundress of the Religious of the Assumption. Beyond generations, social realities, and platforms, the call to spread the Good News remains. This is especially true for vowed ministers who are called to be firm in their commitment to spread the truth of Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The Kingdom of God is at hand in these new peripheries and mission areas of our times.