In Pictures: Renewal of Vows

Mira Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY–Fifteen friars renewed their unconditional “yes” to God’s call by the renewal of their vows in the presence of the Prior Provincial, Fr. Dionisio Q. Selma, OAR. This was done on June 9, 2019 during the Mass on the occasion of this year’s OAR Formand’s Convention.

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In Pictures: Third Day of the 12th OAR Formands’ Convention

Mira Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY–The formands of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno started their day with the recitation of the holy rosary. At 8:30 in the morning, Fr. Romel Rubia, OAR shared his insights about the communitarian aspect of the Order. Centering on the provisions of the Constitutions, Fr. Rubia reminded the formands that being members of a community, they have to: (a) bear with one another, (b) forgive one another, (c) correct one another with sincerity, (d) receive correction humbly, (e) help one another with prayers, (f) foster mutual confidence in open dialogue, (g) show concern for the sick, (h) console the disheartened, (i) rejoice sincerely in each other’s qualities and victories, and, (j) have fulfillment in the surrender of their will [to God].

The afternoon schedule was marked by team building that helped strengthen the bond of the Augustinian Recollect formands. After the dinner, the formands celebrated a Holy Hour for the increase of Augustinian Recollect vocation and for the deepening of the vocation of the formands of the Province.

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In Pictures: Second Day of the 12th OAR Formands’ Convention

Mira Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY–The second day of this year’s OAR Formands’ Convention is marked by inputs coming from two of the elders in religious life, namely Fr. Dionisio Selma, OAR and Fr. Joseph Philip Trayvilla, OAR. To further deepen the inputs, group sharings were held. Games and recreation transpired in the afternoon. To cap the whole day, a lucenarium with Lectio Divina was held in the third floor of OLCP’s PPC building.


In Pictures: 12th OAR Formands’ Convention Opening Salvo

Mira Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY–The formands of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno are gathered for the biennial convention known as OAR Formands’ Convention from June 8-12, 2019. Usually held at Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary in Baguio City, this year for the first time, the community of Recoletos Formation Center in Quezon City hosted this gathering. This year’s theme is: “Recollect Accompaniment: Quest for Interiority, Sign of Communion, and Bond of Charity.”

Six deacons, twenty-three coristas, one novice, twenty-one college seminarians, and twenty-four Senior High School seminarians are registered.

At 8:15 PM, the seminarians from Baguio arrived. Immediately after settling down, the participants had their dinner at Bulwagang Recoletos where the opening program was scheduled. Fray Lauro Larlar, OAR, Prior of Recoletos Formation Center, welcomed the formands. Fray James Erold Gatinao, OAR, Chairman of 12th OAR Formands’ Convention, formally opened the gathering. The coristas energetically rendered a dance presentation that gave their younger brothers a touch of warm welcome. Before the day ended, the chairman of each committee called for a meeting to finalize the activities and matters needed for the convention.

In pictures, here are the moments captured for the first day of the 12th OAR Formands’ Convention:

Recollect Formands Meet: Gathering focuses on Witnesses of Faith and Discernment

by Sr.  Flora Mae Lanuza, AR

Antipolo City, RIZAL–The AR and OAR formands gathered at St. Ezekiel Moreno  Novitiate-Recoletos, Antipolo City last December 15, 2018. The theme of the annual gathering was “AR-OAR Formands in the Millenial Age: Witnesses of Faith and Discernment.”

The day started with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by Fr. Ian Anthony Espartero, OAR, Vicar of the Province of Saint Ezekiel Moreno. The presider exhorted the formands to purify once again the motivation of entering the religious life, to know the foundation of one’s vocation and to focus on the cross“Religious life is not an absence of the cross”, Fr. Ian said. He also pointed out that those who are not faithful to their commitment are called, as he said in Filipino language, “salawahan at taksil.”

Moreover, Sr. Rhiza Eltanal, AR, the Novice Directress of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters and at the same time one of the resource speaker of the said gathering, challenged the attendees to develop companionship, camaraderie and communion as roads to being a witness of faith and discernment. She emphasized that the Recollects are known to be builders of communion. Builders need to have best materials in order to build a target project. Thus, they need to choose the best, give the best and be the best version of oneself as created by God.

Group sharing and presentation followed.

Here are some reflections of the formands:

“God is the source of everything so He is the center of our life. Give your entire life to Him.” – Asp. Joycee

“Our vocation is a gift from God. Once we say our “YES” we are now committed to live the faith and not to lose it. The authenticity of our vocation depends on how we witness the faith through self-giving. Religious life is a life of dying [to] oneself and to live for Christ.” – Asp. Joy

“God planted a seed of Faith in everyone’s heart. It is being watered everyday with experiences. Once it is being nourished, it grows stronger and grow fully. Then it will bear fruit that radiates God’s love. By this, we hope we will persevere.” – Asp. Gwen

“How awesome is the Lord in sharing His great love [with] us. Today, we are called to ground our relationship with the Lord by encountering Him in our daily experiences.” – Asp. Hazel

“It is really a challenge to witness the faith and preach it to the people but by the help and inspiration of God and the Holy Spirit we can continue towards this journey.” – Asp. Genalyn

Everyone enjoyed the day. The formands were filled with mirth as they also celebrate the gift of Jesus this Christmas season by exchanging their gifts after listening to the inspirations laid by the speakers. Indeed, it was a great encounter with the Lord where one could develop to be a witness of faith and discernment.


OAR receives 5 new priests on OAR Day

by Fray Jhoben Rodriguez, OAR

Mira-Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY—Five friars of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno were ordained to the Sacred Order of Presbyterate through the imposition of hands of Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD, Local Ordinary of the Diocese of Novaliches, during the 430th anniversary of the birth of the Augustinian Recollection at Our Lady of Consolation Parish, December 5, 2018.

The newly ordained priests were:

  • Rev. Fr. Paul S. Demillones, OAR, from Tacloban City, Leyte
  • Rev. Fr. Niel Ryan E. Jarumay, OAR, from Canlaon City, Negros Oriental
  • Rev. Fr. Keneth B. Pahamutang, OAR, from Tagbilaran City, Bohol
  • Rev. Fr. Elpedio N. Sarita, Jr., OAR, from Valencia, Negros Oriental
  • Rev. Fr. Kenneth S. Caligdong, OAR, from Brooke’s Point, Palawan

In the homily of Bishop Tobias, he articulated: “Today the Church is gifted with the gift of priesthood being answered by our five ordinandi. We thank their families…their formators for the support that they have extended to these our brothers.” He also thanked the Order of Augustinian Recollects for forming them as “authentic, genuine Augustinian Recollects.” The ordaining prelate explained that “they are being ordained today so that they may serve the people of God wherever they are sent. Give your best wherever you are sent. Where you are sent is where God wants you to be,” he added.

Bishop Tobias explained the two main services that presbyters give to the people such as “the ministry of offering a sacrifice for the people of God (Holy Eucharist) and reconcile God’s own people (Sacrament of Reconciliation).” Bishop Antonio appealed to all faithful present that “this is not the end of our support for these young priests. In fact in the plan of the Church they are entering the lifelong formation… Priesthood is a life-long commitment, and a life-long project that we do not stop supporting.”

The Ordaining Prelate was joined by exactly fifty religious priests and diocesan priests from Bicol, Cebu, Negros, Surigao, Baguio, Cavite, Antipolo, Manila and Quezon City and three from abroad (Cuba, Rome, and West Africa).

One of the newly ordained priests, Fr. Elpedio Sarita, OAR, expressed their message of thanks to all the people who inspired, encouraged and helped them. At the conclusion of his speech, he asked all the people present: “Ipagdasal po ninyo kaming lahat na mga pari, lalong-lalo na kaming mga bagong naordinahan. Malayo pa po ang landas na aming tatahakin. (Please pray for us, especially us newly ordained priests. There is still a long way ahead of us.)”

The parents of the candidates, who are all present, received a plaque of appreciation for generously offering their sons for the service of the Mother Church. They are as follows: Mr. Eulalio and Mrs. Teresa Demillones, parents of Fr. Paul Demilliones; Mr. Ronald and Mrs. Lucelda Jarumay, parents of Fr. Niel Ryan Jarumay; Mr.  Crescensio, Jr. and Mrs. Teresita Pahamutang, parents of Fr. Keneth Pahamutang; Mr.  Elpedio, Sr. and Mrs. Peregrina Sarita, parents of Fr. Elpedio Sarita, Jr.; and Mr. Samuel and Mrs. Estrella Caligdong, parents of Fr. Kenneth Caligdong.

Another awaited moment during presbyteral ordinations was the announcement of new assignments. The patente of each newly ordained was announced by Fray Jose Ernil Almayo, OAR, ProvincialSecretary. Fr. Paul is assigned at Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned, Valencia, Negros Oriental; Fr. Niel Ryan is appointed to be with the brothers in San Isidro Labrador Parish, Casian, Taytay, Palawan; Fr. Keneth is assigned to be a formator at Sto. Tomas Villanueva Formation Center, San Carlos City, Negros; Fr. Elpedio and Fr. Kenneth are back to Our Lady of Sierra Leone Parish, Kamabai, WestAfrica and St. Paul Parish, Kamalo, West Africa, respectively, where they had their diaconal exposure program.

Also present during the Presbyteral Ordination were the Recollect Augustinian Youth, Confraternity of Augustinian Recollect Altar Servers, Former Seminarians of the Order of Augustinian Recollects (ForSOAR), seminarians from other religious congregations, CaReS Family Apostolate, families, relatives and benefactors of the ordinandi.

On this occasion of the birth of the Augustinian Recollection, the OAR Religious, and AR Sisters headed by Mo. Lucena Antipala, AR, renewed their vows. The Secular Augustinian Recollects also renewed their promises. Fray Dionisio Selma, OAR, Prior Provincial, received the renewal of vows and promises of the members of the Order in the Philippines.

Seven friars ordained as deacons

Mira-Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY—Seven Augustinian Recollect friars of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno were ordained as deacons through the imposition of hands of Most Rev. Nolly Buco, JCD, DD, Auxiliary of the Diocese of Antipolo. This momentous event took place on November 17, 2018, Feast of Nuestra Señora de la Salud, at Our Lady of Consolation Parish, Quezon City.

The newly ordained deacons were:

  • Fray Jorr Rabacal, OAR, from San Carlos City, Negros Occidental
  • Fray Benjamine Monday Edobor, OAR, from Lagos City, Nigeria
  • Fray Ifianychukwu Maximillian Omem, OAR, from Delta State, Nigeria
  • Fray Jovy Gallego, OAR, from San Vicente, Palawan
  • Fray Andrie Pugate, OAR, from Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur
  • Fray Tomokatsu Yamaguchi, OAR, from Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
  • Fray Jessriel Marcha, OAR, from Bislig City, Surigao

On this group of friars, five of them were sent to Spain to participate in the common Month of Preparation proximate to their Solemn Profession. They were Frays Rabacal, Gallego, Pugate, Yamaguchi, and Marcha. Two Nigerians also belong to this group, namely, Frays Edobor and Omem. They were also the first ordinandi of Bishop Nolly Buco, DD, who received his Episcopal Consecration last September 8, 2018.

As a “first timer,” Bishop Nolly shared with the congregation that he “shall pray over them and lay hands upon them as an effective sign by which the Holy Spirit will fashion in the depths of their heart the image of Christ the deacon, Christ the servant of all, who came ‘not to be served but to serve, to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mt. 20:28).”

Bishop Nolly also reminded the ordinandi the ministries and roles of deacons that they may be “effective in action,” that is, “effective in ministry…gentle in ministry, and constant in prayer.” He even shared his experience as a deacon and recalled the moments when he was troubled. “Every time you feel so lonely and afraid, talk to Jesus, talk to Mary,” said Bishop Nolly.

Morethan 30 Augustinian Recollect priests and diocesan priests concelebrated with the ordaining prelate. The Augustinian Recollect Sisters, Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity, Recollect Augustinian Youth, and members of the Sisters of Mary and their scholars were also present. Also, the families, friends, relatives, and other guests of the ordinandi graced the event.

Casiciaco seminarians visit diocesan seminary for friendly games

by Bro. Ioannes Arong

Baguio City—Seminarians of Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary escaped with wins in friendly matches with their diocesan counterparts during the opening of “Palarong Paulino” at San Pablo Seminary last Oct. 14, 2018.

The Casiciaco Spikers dominate the host team in a hotly contested volleyball match in 5 sets, 19-25; 25-10; 25-16; 20-25; 15-7 which featured gorgeous sets, booming spikes and ace serves from both teams.

The Mountain Lion basketball team of the Recoletos, in the second game, completed the sweep by coming back from a 19–5 deficit in the first quarter to eke out a 2-point win in overtime, 107–105, behind the 33 big points of Br. John Arnold Lozada who drained six 3-pointers.

The Palarong Paulino in Crystal Cave marks the beginning of the diocesan seminary’s 4-day intramural games.

Br. Gerard Louiez Mapalo, the general program coordinator of San Pablo Seminary, thanked the Recoletos for coming over and bonding with them.

He said they reached out to the Recoletos since this year is Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons.

“Iisa lang naman ang calling natin kaya mas maganda na mayroon tayong engagement,” he said. “Sa pamamagitan din ng gatherings na gaya nito, nare-realize natin na hindi tayo nag-iisa sa bokasyon na ito and we inspire one another,” he added.

The games were competitive and hotly contested. In the basketball match, bodies were flying everywhere, fatigue and cramps set in, and yet everybody stuck to their identity and kept their cool. No untoward incident or unsportsmanlike foul was ever called.

Br. Mapalo said the Recollect seminarians were “easy to get along with” and that they look forward to more friendly matches with them in the future.

After the games, everybody shared a fraternal agape at the seminary refectory.

Order receives 6 new postulants

by Bro. Ioannes Arong

Baguio City — Six formands of Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary were formally received into the postulancy stage of formation during the solemn Rites of Investiture held at the seminary chapel last Oct. 12, 2018.

The traditional “Toma de Habito” (loosely translated as “taking of the habit”) of the six-member Batch Heralds was officiated by the Vicar Provincial Rev. Fr. Ian Anthony Espartero, OAR on the joyous occasion of the feast of the seminary patroness Nuestra Señora del Pilar.

In his homily, Fr. Espartero said one is afraid at first to say “yes” to the Lord because it entails risks. However, he added, that if one is hopeful, patient and trusting in God’s plans, one is able to solidly say “yes” and remain constant to the commitment one pledges before the altar of the Lord.

“God planted the seed of religious vocations in our hearts when we were baptized,” Fr. Espartero said. “Our duty then is to nurture it, hopefully, trustfully and patiently.”

The postulancy facilitates the gradual entry of the formand from the secular to the religious life by introducing to him certain religious practices peculiar to the Order.

Fr. Espartero also issued a challenge to the graduating class, the Batch Martyrs, who stands at the crossroad in their vocational journey.

“You better make a better choice because what you decide today will have telling effects of what you will become in the future,” he said. “One simple mistake will totally change the direction of your life, and that is why before you make decisions, make sure that you have thoroughly thought about it,” he added.

The celebration was made more meaningful by the attendance of family members, friends, relatives and sponsors of the investees.

Present also as concelebrants the different “guardians of vocations” in the different stages of formation, namely: Fr. Gideon Lagrimas, OAR (former vocation director of the Order); Fr. James Castelo, OAR (Pre-Novice Master); Fr. Roland Cepe, OAR (Novice Master); and Fr. Kenneth Onda, OAR (Master of the Professed).

Two deacons also graced the ceremony. Rev. Keneth Pahamutang, OAR served at mass while Rev. Robin Ross Plata, OAR led the documentation team in streaming live the event on Facebook.

AR and OAR formands take the Licensure Examination for Teachers

by Fray Ralph Andrew Cepe, OAR

QUEZON CITY—Pursuant to the Republic Act # 7836, otherwise known as “Philippine Teachers Professionalization Act of 1994,” and to accomplish the requirement to acquire license for future teachers and school administrators in Augustinian Recollect Educational Institutions, thirteen simple-professed Augustinian Recollect friars and seven simple-professed Augustinian Recollect sisters took the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) at the Perpetual Help College of Manila, V. Concepcion Street, Sampaloc, Manila last September 30, 2018 (Sunday).

The examination was divided into three parts. The first part was on General Education which started at 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM. The second part on Professional Education, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and the last part, which is the chosen area of specialization by the friars and sisters, was on Values Education from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

The examinees look forward to December 4, 2018, the date for the release of the results of the Board Examinations with much prayer, anticipation, and hope.

Congratulations, in advance, Brothers and Sister!