Recollect formands meet: gathering focused on the challenges of new evangelization
Held every two years, the 11th OAR Formands Convention was held in Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary (CaReS) in Baguio City with the theme “Evangelized Evangelizing Communities.” Gathering Recollect seminarians from different formation houses of the Province, the convention ran from January 9 to 13, 2016 with a series of talks, liturgical celebrations, and bonding activities.
Recollect formators along with minor seminarians from Saint Thomas of Villanova Formation Center – Recoletos, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental; pre-novices and novices from Saint Ezekiel Moreno Novitiate Recoletos – Antipolo; and professed brothers and deacons from Recoletos Formation Center in Mira-nila, Quezon City joined the seminarians and formators of Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary in the week long activity. The activity gathered some 126 formands for a week-long celebration with participants arriving to Baguio City on January 8 and 9.
Rev. Fr. Bernard Amparado, OAR, Prior and Dean of CaReS officially welcomed the delegates in a simple ceremony on the evening of January 9.
From seminary to the world
The five-day convention of Recollect seminarians emphasized a gradual look at the situation and challenges of being a Recollect formand in the light of the recent developments in the Order and the challenges of the New Evangelization.
The first talk was delivered on January 10, second day of the convention, by Rev. Fr. Raul Buhay, OAR, Second General Councilor of the Order on the topic of “Formation Houses as Venues for Evangelization.” He modified his talk to stress the need to identify the challenges in authentic Recollect formation and the aim of a formand to be formed in genuine vocation of becoming true evangelizers. Prayers and liturgical celebrations were offered in honor of Saint Ezekiel Moreno, patron of the Province.
On the third day, Rev. Fr. Dionisio Selma, OAR, Prior Provincial, gave the State of the Province Address (SOPA), exposing the formands to the reality of the current condition of the province in terms of statistics, mission directives, and life and mission project. In his talk and homily during the Votive Mass, he encouraged the formands to reflect on their current stage of life and be open to responding to the call of the Order and the Church to the future religious. Prayers and liturgical celebrations were offered in honor of Saint Thomas of Villanova, patron saint of Augustinian Studies. A lucernarium (liturgy of light) with confession capped the night.
The fourth day featured the highlights of the recently concluded 55th General Chapter in relation with religious formation. Rev. Fr. Lauro Larlar, OAR, former Prior Provincial and currently the prior of Recoletos Formation Center, delivered his talk on “Reflections of the 55th General Chapter on the Formation of the Recollect Formands.” He made it clear to those gathered that the direction of the Order is geared towards the revitalization and restructuring of the Order to better respond to the needs of the Church. A subsequent open forum and group sharing brought about discussion on the difficulties and recommendations of the formands to formators in matters relating to different aspects of religious formation particularly that of spiritual formation. Prayers and liturgical celebrations were offered in honor of Our Lady of Consolation.
Formands’ Night, which showcased talents of formands in different performing arts, was held in CaReS mini-theater concluded the fifth day’s activities. The friars of Recoletos Formation Center won the best performance of the night.
The fifth day expanded the discussion on the challenges of formands on the New Evangelization with Rev. Fr. Manny Cruz, SThD, rector of Immaculate Conception Major Seminary in Malolos, Bulacan. He reminded seminarians to be always generous and courageous in responding to the needs of the New Evangelization. The prayers and liturgical celebrations were offered in honor of our father Saint Augustine. After the luncheon which followed the Mass held at noon, the minor seminarians, pre-novices, novices, and professed friars returned to their respective communities determined to reflect further on the deliberations of the convention.
The 11th OAR Formands Convention was organized by the Province of Saint Ezekiel Moreno Secretariat of Formation and Vocation under Rev. Fr. Ian Anthony Anthony Espartero, OAR with Fray Juvy Gallego, OAR as over-all chairman.