Bishop Gaa ordains 7 Augustinian Recollect Priests

by Bro. Romel Acebron

Mira-Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY—On Saturday, December 7, 2019, the Bishop of Novaliches, Most Rev. Roberto Gaa, DD, officiated the Presbyteral Ordination of seven Augustinian Recollect deacons held at Our Lady of Consolation Parish.

After the long years of seminary formation, seven religious friars of the Order of Augustinian Recollects were solemnly ordained to the priestly ministry. They were as follows: Fray Jorr S. Rabacal, OAR, Fray Monday Benjamine Edobor, OAR, Fray Ifeanyichukwu Maximillian Omem, OAR, Fray Jovy A. Gallego, OAR, Fray Andrie S. Pugate, OAR, Fray Tomakatsu N. Yamaguchi, OAR, and Fray Jessriel L. Marcha, OAR. Fray Edobor and Fray Omem were the first Nigerian Augustinian Recollects ordained as priests in the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.

The ordaining prelate, Bishop Roberto reminded the ordinandi and the people about the significance of the occasion. “The ordination…is not a magical event that erases all our issues; [ordination] consecrates us before God that sets us solely for the service of God. In fact it is just an acknowledgment of the little things these deacons gone through. Mind you, formation only allows us to handle our issues, but the issues are still there. But we have learned to handle them hopefully,” said Bishop Gaa. The good bishop, during his homily, emphasized to all the endless struggle and demand of following Jesus.

After the ordination, Fray Jovy Gallego, OAR, one of the newly ordained priests, delivered a message of gratitude by extending his heartfelt thanks to God and to all who tirelessly helped them all throughout their formation years. He also ask for continuous prayers for all of them especially as they venture into their newly designated assignments.

The celebration was well-attended by a good number of guests present that include the parishioners, the parents, relatives and friends of the deacons and including the members of different religious congregations who came. The estimated number of people present were about a thousand which was quite unexpected. Present during the celebration were 48 Augustinian Recollect priests.

Before the final blessings, the Vicar of the Philippine Province, Fray Ian Espartero, OAR read the assignments of the newly ordained priests. Fray Jorr Rabacal, OAR, will live in the community of brothers in Recoletos de Casian, Palawan; Fray Monday Benjamine Edobor, OAR, will stay in Recoletos de Plaridel, Palawan; Fray Maximillian Omem, OAR, will be back to where he spent his diaconal exposure program in Recoleto de Valencia, Negros Oriental; Fray Jovy Gallego, OAR, will be sent to the newly established community of Recoletos de Bengkayang; Fray Andrie Pugate, OAR, and Fray Tomokatsu Yamaguchi, OAR, will be assigned in Recoletos de Kamabai and Recoletos de Kamalo, respectively; and Fray Jessriel Marcha, OAR, will be assigned in Recoletos de Provincialate.

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AR–OAR formands: Called and formed now, to be sent out later

by Bro. Ioannes Arong

Tagaytay City — Christ did not just send out his disciples to preach the Gospel. Before all else, he gave them proper formation.

This was the content of the impassioned homily delivered by Rev. Benjamine Edobor, OAR to the gathering of formands of the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect (AR) Sisters and the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR) last Nov. 30, 2019 — feast of St. Andrew the Apostle.

“As disciples, we must allow ourselves to go through formation and be formed, to allow God to take control of our formation,” Rev. Edobor told the congregation gathered at the chapel of the AR Sister’s Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Novitiate house in this city.

The gathering of the AR–OAR formands was designed to foster stronger “fraternal communion” between the two religious groups closely linked in the spirits of St. Augustine and the Recollection.

Rev. Benjamine Edobor, OAR during the homily which draws reaction from the congregation

All levels of formation from both sides were properly represented, excluding the postulants of the AR Sisters who were on vacation at that time.

“We might not understand the importance of formation now, but we will be grateful for it later,” Rev. Edobor said. “First we are called; then in our convents and seminaries we are formed. Later, we will also be sent out to make disciples of all nations.”

A highlight of the convention was the fun-filled activity of making Christmas trees. Distributed randomly among groups, the formands were to make Christmas trees using organic materials like chopped wood, walis tingting, and leaves and flowers available in the garden.

During the smaller group sharing, the formands were able to process the significance of such values as cooperation, resourcefulness, enthusiasm, and service, among others, in seeing to completion any common aspiration, no matter how seemingly insignificant or trivial it is, like making a mere Christmas tree.

Such realizations were then cascaded to the larger community in another sharing, where each group was allowed to introduce and explain the collective effort that went into the making of the Christmas trees.

Overall, the convention was pervaded by a spirit of camaraderie and fun, as much of its activities were centered on fraternal bonding and encounter. This was evident during meal times when the refectory would erupt in loud laughters and endearing banters.

Each community was also given the chance to showcase their talents through socio-cultural presentations which mostly involved religious singing and dancing.

“As religious or aspiring religious, more is expected of us,” Rev. Edobor said. “We do not just preach with our words, but more importantly, with our lives. Hopefully what people would see in us and in our communities is the love of God filling our hearts to overflowing.”

Formators of the AR-OAR formands also get a chance to bond during the gathering.

Photo Credits: RFC

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OLCP receives new CARAS members

by Fray Jhoben Rodriguez, OAR

Mira-Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY – “Today we will witness the investiture of young men. They will commit themselves to God as part of Confraternity of Augustinian Recollect Altar Servers (CARAS),” said Fray Gideon Antolin U. Lagrimas, OAR, Parish Priest Our Lady of Consolation Parish, in his homily.

Fifteen young men coming from villages, subdivisions and area chapels under the jurisdiction of OLCP were invested and commissioned as members of the Confraternity on the Solemnity of Christ the King last November 24, 2019. They were as follows:

            1. Akia Lyle R. Andres

            2. John Iverson Arandia

            3. Tristan Cliford C. Aujero

            4. Geones Aldrin C. Beran

            5. Mark Jayson A. Cabana

            6. Christian Emmanuel C. Dancel

            7. Jayson L. Datul

            8. Joaquin Miguel F. De Jesus

            9. Julius Maximus F. De Jesus

            10. Marcus Jericho F. De Jesus

            11. Kalvin Cesar M. Estrera

            12. Ken Chrysper A. Pasilan

            13. David Rhys N. Price

            14. Matthew N. Price

            15. Samuel Genn M. Tango III

  16. Francis Rupert J. Sarno

Before they were officially accepted to the ministry, they went to series of formation as part of the preparation. They were introduced to the rudiments of the Liturgy, Holy Eucharist, and of assisting the priest in the Altar. Part of their formation was the fundamentals of Augustinian Recollect Spirituality with emphasis on brotherhood (community life), love for the Eucharist and prayer, and commitment to service (apostolate).

During the Rites of Investiture, the parents and relatives were present to witness this meaningful event and were asked to put on to their sons the white vestment and cincture as a sign of their support in fulling their son’s ministry.

Dra. Meryl F. De Jesus, mother of the three newly invested Altar Servers expressed:“We are blessed and grateful that our sons have this opportunity to serve here in our Parish.”

Part of their formation and service as members of the confraternity is to give them the opportunity to experience the Augustinian Recollect way of life, and eventually, to enter the seminary and be an Augustinian Recollect religious. At present, there are a good number of Philosophy and Senior High School seminarians who were once members of the Confraternity of Augustinian Recollect Altar Servers.

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Bp. Santos to 2 newly ordained OAR Deacons: “In your name there is already a sign that you will imitate Christ”

by Fray Jhoben Rodriguez, OAR

Mira-Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY- “The reason for this is simply the imitation of Christ. The imitation of Christ that leads to the establishment of the kingdom of God and the offering of the self…When I read your names tamang-tama yung pangalan nila isang Kristo (Cristito) Rey at isang Virgilio Cruz. In your name there is already a sign that you will imitate Christ,” said Most Rev. Bartolome G. Santos, DD, Bishop of the Diocese of Iba, Zambales, during the Diaconal Ordination of Fray Virgilio C. Calalang, Jr., OAR, and Fray Cristito Rey P. Tepace, OAR last November 16, 2019.

In his homily, Bp. Santos exhorted that vows, particularly the vows as consecrated–Obedience, Poverty and Chastity–are all about the imitation of Christ. He addressed the two friars that they should be signs of God’s Kingdom.

He challenged all to go beyond mere kailangan (need). Bishop Bartolome in his conclusion articulated: “You are an offering. Salamat po sa mga magulang (Thank you to the parents for) allowing your sons to be offered…It is an offering of life, a thanksgiving, gratefulness to God who is so merciful and so gracious to us. Consider your life now, wherever you will be assigned, as an offering.”

The night before the Ordination, they solemnly professed their Faith, and they were reminded by Fray Lauro V. Larlar, OAR –Prior of Recoletos Formation Center – that being an ordained minister is not solely about the ministry, but first and foremost a call to holiness.

Few days after the Diaconal Ordination of the friars, their designated assignments were announced to the community: Rev. Tepace is assigned to the Our Lady of the Visitation Parish, Pasibi East, Urbiztondo, Pangasinan; while Rev Calalang is to the St. Raphael Parish, Plaridel, Aborlan, Palawan.

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Fr. Provincial: “Wearer of the habit is a property of God”

by Bro. Ioannes Arong

Baguio City — The religious habit is a sign of the transcendental and supernatural realities which the wearer gives witness to in this highly secularized world of today.

This was the content of the homily delivered by Rev. Fr. Dionisio Q. Selma, OAR during this year’s investiture of five formands of Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary on the feast of the seminary patroness, Nuestra Señora del Pilar, last October 12, 2019.

“The habit does not make the monk,” he said. “But it is an external reminder of one’s religious consecration to God.”

Fr. Selma, the Prior of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno of the Order of Augustinian Recollect, exhorted the investees to act appropriately for the habit now expressly identifies them with God.

Fr. Dionisio Selma, OAR giving exhortation to the candidates for investiture

“Before the eyes of God and man, behave properly,” he said. “People recognize that the wearer of the habit is a property of God.”

The Prior Provincial warned the investees not to use the habit in boosting their self-worth or in attracting undue attention to themselves. On the contrary, the religious habit should remind them of their identity and give witness to a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience which they desire to live out, he added.

The five newly invested seminarians belong to two batches. Three of them are third year college who comprise the Batch Cherubim. The other two, moreover, are from Batch Altruists who are currently in their second year in college. They are part of the first batch of Senior High School seminarians of Casiciaco who entered the seminary in 2016.

The investees prepare to give flowers to their supportive families and friends who grace their milestone event.

Just like producing good wine

Seminary Rector Rev. Fr. Bernard C. Amparado, OAR thanked the parents of the investees present for their generosity in offering their sons to the service of the Church, an offering that is not without great and many sacrifices on their part.

The rector reminded the parents that there is still long a way to go for the seminarians of Casiciaco and so encouraged them to not waver in their commitment and support to their sons’ formation in the religious and priestly life.

He said formation milestones like the investiture are a “big deal” to the seminarians for they rejuvenate the fire of their vocation which could grow dim because of the many challenges in the seminary and the long years of formation.

Fr. Amparado likened seminary formation to the long and tedious process undertaken to produce good wine. The longer the wine undergoes the process, the smoother it becomes, he said.

“Everything that is worth doing well requires time,” Fr. Amparado said. “We are forming here not just any priests and religious, but priests and religious with a certain degree of holiness and wisdom as a response to the demands of the Holy Mother Church in this age of the new evangelization.”

This news article was originally published in www.recoletosdebaguio.edu.ph.

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RAY Vis-Min get challenge on Regional Summit

Story and Photos By: Georgene Quilaton-Tambiga

San Carlos City, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL—“Be on a mission, Filipino youth!” Fray Vicente Ramon, Jr., OAR, called to the Recollect Augustinian Youth (RAY) participants of the Regional RAY Summit at Colegio de Sto. Tomas-Recoletos.

The challenge came at the tail of the inspiring homily of Fray Ramon who was the main celebrant of the opening Holy Mass at the evening of the feast day of St. Bartholomew, Apostle.   

RAY Vis-Min

The youth from 14 Augustinian Recollect communities, specifically from the eight OAR schools and six quasi-parishes and chaplaincies administered by the Augustinian Recollects, were gathered for the 2019 Regional RAY (Visayas-Mindanao Area) from August 24 to 26, 2019.  

The RAY from Cebu were from University of San Jose-Recoletos Main, Basak and Balamban; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Ermita; Our Lady of Consolation Parish, Laray.

The Negrense RAY were from University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, Bacolod; Colegio de San Nicolas de Tolentino-Recoletos, Talisay; San Pedro Academy, Valencia; San Pedro Academy-Recoletos, Caidiocan; Our Lady of the Abandoned, Valencia; Our Lady of Lourdes Chaplaincy, Tambo, Ayungon; and CST-R.

The Surigaonon delegates were from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur led by Fray Mark Saludes, OAR.

C.H.R.I.S.T.-like Millenials

Anchoring his homily on the theme, “The Filipino Youth in Mission: Beloved. Gifted. Empowered,” Fray Ramon challenged the millennial Recollects.

“Millenials, you are called to be like Christ.”

He went on to dissect CHRIST to define the Recollect Augustinian Youth as “Change-makers, Heartbreakers, Responders, Influencers, Seekers and Servers, and Trailblazers.”

Visayas and Mindanao participants of the Regional Recollect Augustinian Youth gather at the CST-R Cultural Hall for the opening Holy Mass.

Fray Vicente, who has practically have been assigned to various apostolates of the Province where the participants are from, confronted contemporary social issues that directly affect the Filipino youth like the controversial yet never ending pre-marital sex and abortion, the continuous environmental degradation, and even the harrowing extra-judicial killings that he described to be “the killing of the poor.”

Fray Randy Castillo, OAR, Regional Youth and Vocation Promoter, during his brief speech before the RAY delegates

One Recoleto

Meanwhile, Fray Randy Castillo, OAR, Regional Youth and Vocation Promoter and the Parochial Vicar of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish, Talisay City, Negros Occidental, thanked the CST-R community and his brother-priests for coming together to lead their young parishioners in the varied activities of RAY. Among the co-celebrants of the Holy Mass were Fray Jose Teodulfo Jadulco, OAR (University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, Bacolod City), Fray William Cordero, OAR (Our Lady of Lourdes Quasi Parish, Tambo, Ayungon), Fray Invenzor Melgaso, OAR (Our Lady of Consolation Parish, Laray, Talisay City, Cebu), Fray Domingo Saladaga (University of San Jose-Recoletos, Balamban) and Fray Renie Alviola (Colegio de Santo Tomas-Recoletos, San Carlos City).

The Diocesan Youth Council of the Diocese of San Carlos also showed solidarity by sending the Pilgrim Cross as a symbol of the 2019 Year of the Youth.    

Fray Vicente Ramon, OAR, awards gifts to a young delegate and choir member from University of San Jose Recoletos-Balamban during his interactive homily

The second day of the summit will involve group dynamics and team building activities that will build camaraderie and develop leadership skills among RAY. On the third day, selected speakers will give the participants talks about contemporary issues and their effects on the Recollect youth.

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

Mira Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY–The 12th OAR Formands’ Convention has finally come to its end. The formands evaluated the whole course of the event. Afterwards, the closing Mass presided by Fr. Lauro Larlar, OAR was celebrated in the RFC Chapel. The outgoing chairman, Fray James Erold Gatinao, OAR, has passed on the torch to the chairman of the 13th OAR Formands’ Convention, Fray Nero Bautista, OAR.

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

Mira Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY–Already at the penultimate day of the Convention, Fr. Kenneth Joseph Onda, OAR, the master of the professed of the Recoletos Formation Center, gave an input concerning the apostolic character of the Order. After the group sharing, the Holy Mass was celebrated in the RFC chapel. The whole afternoon was then spent for paseo. The evening was dedicated to the closing program of the Convention after the Holy Hour for the Missions.

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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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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!