ANTIPOLO CITY—More than 36 religious “alumni” of the Pre-novitiate program of the OAR Province of Saint Ezekiel Moreno graced its 20th anniversary with a two-day period of prayer, reflection, and fellowship.
The celebration was opened in the morning of March 9, 2017 by Fr Emilio Edgardo Quilatan, OAR, the official church historian of the Province, with the presentation of the thumbnail history of the Pre-Novitiate. He said that the Program welcomed its auspices in 1998 to 11 candidates of whom six completed the formation cycle and two were ordained to the OAR priesthood.
Fr. Romeo Ben Potencio, OAR and Fr. Roweno Eugenio Hamo, OAR were the pioneers. The former was the first to be ordained among the so-called alumni in 2005 while the latter was just recently ordained.
Fr. Dionisio Selma, OAR, prior provincial, presided the thanksgiving mass. In his introduction he encouraged the brothers to pray for the recovery of Fray Philip Rollon, OAR (one of the Pre-novitiate program alumni) who met a car accident on his way to celebrate a funeral mass.
During the homily, the prior provincial focused his reflection on two significant points, namely, remembrance and gratitude. Remembrance of the memories of the past, and gratitude to people who shared their life and resources in the Pre-novitiate especially the two Pre-novice directors who have already gone back to heaven, Fr. Loreto Cesar Dacanay, OAR and Fr. Alberto Avanzado, OAR.
Two other erstwhile directors, namely, Fr. Regino Bangcaya, OAR, the first pre-novice director and Fr. Nicolas Salamanca, the third pre-novice director and now a diocesan priest of the Cubao diocese, also attended the celebration.
Before the final blessing, Fr. Roland Cepe, OAR, the present pre-novitiate master, gave thanks to the participants on behalf of the SEMONORE community.
An exhibit displayed in Bahay Lingkod-Recoletos guided the alumni in their journey back to the past. This exhibit unveiled memories of the pre-novitiate program in the past twenty years. Picture throwbacks, video presentation, art works and pre-novitiate trivia cramped the entire space of the building’s first floor. The room was filled with noise and laughter as the alumni browsed over their old pictures and recalled the stories behind them.
At 12:00 PM, lunch followed. After a short rest, the participants readied themselves for the basketball game. They were divided into two groups—Recoletos of Luzon and Recoletos of Visayas. In a four-quarter duel of about an hour and a half, the Recoletos of Luzon team was declared the winner.
The first day of the anniversary celebration culminated with a get-together at the Villa San Ezekiel in Brgy. Pansol Calamba City, Laguna. The 50 seater-bus of San Sebastian transported the alumni from Antipolo to Laguna. They stayed overnight in the resort. They celebrated each other’s presence with sumptuous meal, videoke, swimming, more chats, and card games.
The next day, March 10, 2017, the celebration continued. Many of the participants took advantage of the remaining hours to relax their bodies in the fresh and cool water of the resort’s pool.
At 11 o’clock in the morning, the participants assembled at the resort’s lobby for the closing liturgy—the Holy Mass presided by the newly ordained and one of the pioneer pre-novices, Fr. Eugenio L. Hamo, OAR. The short homily of Fr. Hamo recapitulated the very purpose of the anniversary celebration— gratitude.
After lunch, the delegates went home with new memories to keep and another anniversary celebration to look forward to.