Moving with the Spirit in Serving the Wider Church
BUILDING THE WIDER CHURCH
CHRIST'S YOUTH IN ACTION
In a crowded living room back in 1985, I was with a number of leaders from Christ’s Youth in Action (CYA). Fr. Herb was teaching us how to study and reflect on the Scriptures. As we listened to him, we knew we were encountering a man who truly loved Scriptures, someone had been reflecting on and studying Scriptures for a long time. He encouraged us then to make the study and reflection of God’s Word integral part to our lives.
So what is so special about a Biblical Scholar who taught Scriptures as a place to encounter God personally? Are not all scriptural scholars like Fr, Herb? In my experience of listening and reading the works of scripture scholars it is clear that not all would relate to Scriptures in the same way. The study of God’s Word often becomes a technical endeavour free from any kind of personal faith. The Scriptures can be approached as a purely literary work that is meant to be studied but not be contemplated.
The leaders of CYA have been fortunate to have been mentored in the study of Scriptures by someone who considers the Bible as the Word of God that is “sharper than a two edged sword that cuts through bone and marrow (Heb.4:12).”
Many of the people who were with me in that living room in 1985 are now in significant leadership positions, doing the work of the Lord. These brothers and sisters continue to live out what we learned from Fr. Herb then: that Scriptures is a place where we can hear God speak to us. It is a place where we can encounter the Risen Lord. All we need is to read it with expectant faith.
In my ongoing work of evangelizing young people, I try my best to pass this on. I once taught a group of students to approach reading the Gospels as books written to help us grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Later on, one of my students approached me and said that after a very long time of not even opening his Bible, he began reading the Gospels. He said that in the process, he began to know Jesus. The scriptures suddenly came alive.
Fr. Herb has not stopped encouraging people to find life in God’s Word. What is powerful about his message, which I continue to hear in his homilies, is that he practices what he preaches. For him the Bible is God’s Word for us today. He continues to find nourishment in it and encourages us to do the same.
I hope and pray that Fr. Herb will have many more years of service that many more might discover what we have discovered in CYA – that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever and one of the key places we discover this truth is in the Holy Scriptures.
God bless Fr. Herb!
Raoul Roncal, CYA
LINGKOD NG PANGINOON
FR. HERBERT SCHNEIDER, SJ: THE HEART OF A COMMUNITY-BUILDER
Francis Iturralde, Former National Director, Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon
I would consider Fr. Herb as the fountainhead, the wellspring of inspiration, for many of the things that have helped shape the way of life of Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon (Lingkod). While he had no direct hand in organizing or leading Lingkod, Fr. Herb has been and still is Lingkod’s spiritual adviser.
Fr. Herb’s love for Scriptures and insistence on having our leaders be firmly grounded on Scriptures, for instance, has led us to send many of our leaders in Lingkod early on to go and study with “Scripture Ventures”, a Bible Institute that Fr. Herb started, used to lead and teach in. These early leaders have subsequently taught and trained a new generation of Lingkod leaders in methods of Scripture study (like the “Joy of Discovery” and the Lumko methods).
Another of Fr. Herb’s passions is evangelization, to spread the Good News to as many as we could reach. To this end, he inspired many of us not only to proclaim the Gospel but also to do so effectively by reaching out to specified groups and tailor-fitting the Gospel message to them (e.g., married couples, business people, university students, young professionals, etc.). From this impetus was born many evangelistic movements, Lingkod being one of them.
Fr. Herb was also very concerned about training leaders for the various renewal communities. This is the reason why we have placed a great premium on training and developing leaders for all our communities. The obvious fruit of this effort is the kind of effective community leaders we have today – from pastoral workers to administrators to youth leaders to teachers and servants. This steady stream of leadership resource continues to guarantee the long-term sustainability of renewal communities like Lingkod all through the years.
These three things, I believe, speak of the heart of Fr. Herb’s vision for community building:
• A Scripture-based way of life
• Effective evangelization
• Leadership training and development
A MOST FRAGRANT "HERB" IN GOD'S GARDEN
Sis. Nancy Catan, Kapatiran Editor-In-Chief
Fr. Herb commented during the BCBP’s 25th Anniversary (2005), “There are no coincidences in the vineyard of the Lord. Everything and even the most chance encounters can become for us divine appointments. If we follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit courageously with faith in the growth potential of mustard seeds, we will see sometimes quickly and at times more slowly the development of his mighty works in our midst. ... One thing I have discovered in my thirty years of community service is that the Lord always provides the insights, the learning, the resources, and the skills needed for a new stage in the growth of the community or for whatever is needed at the moment. I have experienced the faithfulness and love of the Lord in his providing for me whatever was needed for my service… especially in the step-by-step formation of the Brotherhood.”
Way back in 1979 in the Word of God community in Ann Arbor, Michigan, God began planting and nourishing Fr. Herb as His fragrant seed in the vineyard of the Philippine marketplace. It was in 1980 that this “Herb” began spreading its branches with the institution of the men’s breakfasts in Manila, that have, over the years, become vibrant BCBP breakfasts, not only in Manila, but throughout the Philippines with branches reaching as far as California, USA. And at the same time that fragrant seedling “Herb” matured into a sturdy vine that nourished, strengthened, supported and grew the BCBP into the dynamic marketplace-focused, spirit-filled organization that it is today.
BCBP’s first executive director Fernando de Larrazabal attributed BCBP’s fast growth in its early years to Fr. Herb’s insistence that the BCBP should not only focus outwardly on winning the marketplace for Christ, but also inwardly through continuing member formation and leadership development. (Interview, KAPATIRAN, Oct-Nov 1990).
The late Manny Banigan, BCBP’s first National Council president, when interviewed in 2000, said at first he didn’t feel himself capable of following Fr. Herb’s footsteps when Fr Herb announced his designation in 1992. However, Father made it clear that Manny didn’t have to wear his shoes, but was tasked to keep the vision of the BCBP alive. The next national president Louie Morales echoed this saying, “My single-minded dream is to see and make it happen that all members make the Brotherhood their Way of Life.”
Inspired and encouraged by Fr. Herb, the BCBP continued to spread its branches under the leadership of presidents Manolet Siojo, Bobby Lavina, and Larry Veloso. This ever-present fragrant “Herb” has kept the Brotherhood focused on its unique vision and mission of bringing Christ into the marketplace and winning the marketplace for Christ, while at the same time nourishing and training its members to be strong, committed change agents of integrity in their family and business lives.
Truly Fr. Herb is and will continue to be God's instrument in spreading the sweet aroma of Christ's fragrance in the BCBP community and the mission field that is the marketplace.
PEOPLE OF HOPE
A MAN OF HOPE FOR THE PEOPLE OF HOPE
Fr. Herb was a great friend and counselor to the People of Hope during our most desperate days. He helped Bob Gallic, our founder, survive difficult attacks against him and our community. Whenever he came, the entire community was encouraged. Without Fr. Herb's love and support the People of Hope might not be here today. May the Lord continue to bless and keep him for many years to come.
- Dave Touhill, Former Senior Coordinator
COMMUNITY OF THE RISEN CHRIST
David & Margaret McGill
Heartiest Congratulations to you all , brothers and sisters of Ang LIGAYA NG PANGINOON as you celebrate your 36th anniversary of faithful service to the Lord. Many people have been blessed by your service We are happy to be among them and our lives have been made fuller by our contact with you.
In the COMMUNITY OF THE RISEN CHRIST in Glasgow Scotland We remember you with affection and feel we have a special link with you because our grandson Jerry O Neill was cuddled and comforted by some of your women when he was in Cribs We are inspired by the way the LORD has used you to bring the Good News to so many countries and pray this will continue in strength We hope to send more of our young Men to benefit from living among you as did Peter Dunlop
We are honoured to add our congratulations to Fr. Herb and have benefited from his teaching, input at meetings introducing helpful ways of viewing a subject and general inspiration
We experienced his guidance in his teaching on leadership based on love and care of others and his practical wisdom.
One of my own highlights was on my visit each year to the Pocanos. He ministered to our every need. He delighted us with his culinary skills and never failed to amaze me with his ingenuity. When Fr.HERB visited Scotland he obviously noted that I liked Porridge and he produced porridge for my breakfast It was a typical loving gesture from him.are There are many of us in the Sword of the Spirit who have experienced his knowledge I know and especially on the visit to Rome to pray for the Council of Bishops I also have a vivid memory of tramping along a back street when we were introduced to one of Fr.Herb’s gems on his list of best places for food.
While in Glasgow he accompanied me to see my BishopThe Bishop had received his education from the Jesuit College in Glasgow so I felt he was more ready to hear from Fr. Herb about the Sword of the Spirit
We send our love and prayers to Fr.Herb and wish him more of the Holy Spirit,more occasions to witness to Him, and more Wisdom and Understanding of His Will.
David and Margaret McGill
SERVANTS OF THE WORD
What an honor to have known and served with Fr. Herb Schneider!
His contribution to the work of the Lord through Ligaya ng Panginoon and the Sword of the Spirit are too numerous to mention. It is impressive enough just to consider what his work has brought forth in the Philippines - Ligaya itself and its many missions, the new communities around the country, and of course the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen. But we have to add to that his faithful, fruitful service over many years in the leadership of the Sword of the Spirit.
Fr. Herb and I worked closely for perhaps twenty years in the international leadership of the Sword of the Spirit, and I am one of the many beneficiaries of his humble, joyful service. I choose those words carefully. For a man of such accomplishment, Fr. Herb is singularly humble, a very genuine model of a godly servant. He is also quietly joyful, and brought to our meetings a refreshing and often much-needed cheerfulness in the face of daunting tasks and great challenges. Throughout the prolonged crisis in the Sword of the Spirit in the late 1980's and early 1990's Fr. Herb was a steady, constant, faithful servant of God’s purpose for the communities. We owe him a great deal for the crucial contributions he made in those hard years.
What Fr. Herb contributed to Ligaya and the SOS was of course only one aspect of his service to God. He was teacher, leader and servant at Loyola and among his Jesuit brothers as well. His range of gifts and readiness to put them at the service of others is exceptional.
As a member of the Servants of the Word I am especially grateful for Fr. Herb’s close, personal support for our life and mission. He has always been among our greatest supporters and deserves the gratitude of all of our brothers.
Fr. Herb, we love you dearly and esteem you greatly. You are a brother, a friend, a man of God and a servant who has returned a yield of a hundred fold and more. May God give you many more years here with us in this world, and then may you hear your Lord say “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
With love in Christ
LA NUEVA JERUSALEM
I respect you and honor you as a priest, a jesuit, and as a Sword of the Spirit "brother".
Two specific situations which highly impacted me come to mind in the short time that I interacted with you:
1. In the late 1980's our community La Nueva Jerusalen in Miami ran into some difficulties with our archbishop based on bad information. The concept of covenant became very real to me and to all of us in the community when this german jesuit priest from the Phillipines came all the way to Miami in the southeastern tip of the USA to speak on our behalf.
Your interaction with our local church was instrumental in us getting our status as a Private Association of the Faithfull recognized in the archdiocese. For your efforts and brotherhood we all are very appreciative of you and thank you.
2. I think it was probably around 1990, after the SOS difficulties, when we had a international regional council outside of Monterrey, Mexico.
It was a very difficult and confusing time for all and as I went to those meetings in that walled in compound (convent) in the middle of the desert experiencing a dark cloud, I think many of us felt that way because of the apparent lack of unity and the fact that this call of God appeared to be in disarray, or so I thought.
You lead the meetings and I was totally amazed as to how the Lord used you to help us all realize that we all had many more things in common than not.
You probably remember the use of the large pieces of paper and breaking us into small groups to answer some simple but very profound questions and then the sharing which surprisingly and clearly showed a large degree of unity of vision.
I have borrowed that strategy which I learned in that meeting and it has also being very effective.
I thank you for putting your gifts to work, you were very instrumental in moving the Sword of the Spirit forward in that difficult time and I am happy that I was there, watching and learning.
La Nueva Jerusalen, Miami, Florida, USA
PS You are welcome to come visit anytime.