Participating in sports enables us seminarians to go beyond our own self-interest—and in a healthy way—we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules. PalakHASSan is one of the most awaited events in the seminary. It is a sports and recreation gathering where the community members are grouped in terms of the Bukluran. For this year, there are only three teams – the Buklurans of Saint Matthew, Saint Luke and Saint John. Despite the coronavirus pandemic that has affected many programs and events in the seminary, PalakHASSan was successfully implemented albeit the many modifications as part of the seminary’s compliance to the protocols set by government authorities.
In a normal situation, the PalakHASSan is held throughout the year, but this year was the shortest one. It was opened in the month of February, and “immediately” closed in the month of March. Even though the community struggled to schedule the games – such as badminton, table tennis, board games, dodge ball and volleyball – with the help of the grace of God and the understanding heart of every member of the community, it was successfully done.
In this extraordinary year, the pandemic is a challenge to the community to pursue the PalakHASSan given the strict implementation of the safety protocols in the seminary. But because of the faithfulness and trust of each member in observing safety measures, the Sports and Recreation core group with the help of the whole community, made possible the opening of the PalakHASSan 2021. Full of respect and trust with each other, the event was joyfully done and no one was hurt or infected with the virus. Each Bukluran played well and gave each other the opportunity to play and foster camaraderie with each other. Since PalakHASSan is also a tournament, there was a point system for the games. After having played all the scheduled sports, the Bukluran of St. John emerged as the over-all champion for this year, followed by St. Luke, and then St. Matthew. Indeed, nothing is impossible when everyone is willing to sacrifice his own comforts and contributes to make things happen. The strict observance of protocols during the pandemic is indeed a challenge and a risk, but with courage and faith, we are able to pursue the event.
The theme for this year’s PalakHASSan – “We Play as One” – summarizes the disposition and quality of participation of each member in the community. We are not only united by a common call but also by a brotherhood founded on God’s love. God always blesses the efforts and crowns with success those who are willing to take the risk to accomplish his plans. Gathered together by the One who calls us to love and serve, we shared our best and acknowledged our limits in this year’s PalakHASSan―all for the building up of the community. Our seminary gym had also become a stage where the Paschal Mystery was played out over and over again. In every community sport, the self-enclosed ego dies and makes way for genuine friendship that excludes no one and for a fraternity that is open to all (cf. Fratelli Tutti, no. 94).
Sem. Glicerio T. Tano is in his third year in theology and currently in fifth year of formation. Sem. Cergz was a parish worker prior to his entrance to the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary. Sem. Cergz is from the Archdiocese of Cebu.