Three Priors meet Senator Villar

c54cd01619725a4dabebc35be504cd7b

Towards the end of February Prior General Fray Miguel Miró, Prior Provincial Fray Dionisio Selma and outgoing San Sebastian Convent Prior Fray René Paglinawan paid a visit to Senator Cynthia A. Villar in the historic city of Las Piñas in Metro Manila. Today Las Piñas is synonymous with its world-famous Bamboo Organ inside its parish church.

The historic visit was planned at the provincial curia in Quezon City a couple of days before the three Capitular Fathers took the plane for the Visayas. They were to join the 24 religious in the two-week 7th Provincial Chapter of the Province of Saint Ezekiel Moreno at the Talavera House of Prayer in Barangay Quiot, Cebu City.

Despite the traffic mess apparently common in Manila, they reached Las Piñas in less than an hour, thanks to the expert driver Monching. At the church patio of Saint Joseph parish church, the concrete statue of the iconic friar Padre Diego Cera de la Virgen del Carmen silently greeted them.

At once the newly re-elected prior provincial noticed and lamented the absence at the metal marker of the statue’s foot of anything that identified the confrere Fray Diego as Augustinian Recollect. Even the metal historical landmark at the façade of the Temple of God, now 243 years old, dedicated to the foster father of Jesus, was likewise bereft of the acronyms OAR, ORSA nor of Agustino Recoleto, Augustinian Recollect.

Father Selma asked aloud: “Why is there nothing indicative of the ecclesiastical affiliation, religious provenance of the church and organ builder and nor of the 200-year presence of the religious order that administered Saint Joseph Parish?”

There is nary a hint of grateful mention of the Spanish friar’s religious order. Its illustrious member Padre Diego Cera of Aragon, Spain, and his handcrafted Bamboo Organ had placed Las Piñas in the cultural map of the world. Bereft further of religious affiliation too is the Diego Cera Avenue that separates the Church of the Bamboo Organ from Saint Ezekiel Moreno Hall. But then, this is pursuant to provisions of a Philippine law prohibiting any professional title or religious affiliation in street names.

The three priors knelt down and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament inside the stone house of God where the hardworking Padre Diego and the exemplary Padre Ezekiel Moreno, parish priest in 1876-1879, prayed as well decades before. They all looked up at the choirloft and marveled at the iconic Bamboo Organ, hand-crafted in 1819-1825.

The parish museum beside the divine temple was filled with noisy high school students from nearby Saint Joseph’s Academy. The museum has a large framed photo of Padre Diego, a metal bust of bearded Saint Ezekiel, paintings and pictures of old Las Piñas town and church, and a small pipe organ. Near the exit were a showcase of souvenir items, religious articles and copies of Helen Samson-Lauterwald’s Bamboo Organ book. Fr. Selma carefully sat on a sturdy antique chair. The curator’s assistant was informed that the visiting priests were senior citizens and confreres of Saint Ezekiel and Padre Diego and no museum entrance fee was charged.

The San Sebastian van proceeded to Santuario de San Ezekiel Moreno, ten minutes away. Architect Claude Edwin Andrews had designed it. The church is the biggest ever constructed by Vista Land, a corporation owned by the Villar family. For four decades, the family is known to be builder of residences and memorial homes and developer of subdivisions. At present, they have constructed houses of God in Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Alabang, Tagaytay, etc.

The construction of Santuario de San Ezekiel Moreno commenced in May 2011. It is located in the compound of the headquarters of Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) Center, Barangay Pulanglupa Uno, C5 Extension Road in Las Piñas City. The bright interior of the Santuario without columns was the work of Architect Joey Amistoso. The gilt retablo was a fine sight to behold with the sacred images and that of Lady of Buen Suceso, patroness of the Diocese of Parañaque-Las Piñas, at the apex. At the lateral wings, the stained glass rosettes depict the Saint on one side and on the other the episcopal coat-of-arms of Saint Ezekiel in Pasto, Colombia, depicting the pierced heart on a book with the text Fortitudo mea et refugium meum es tu (You are my strength and my refuge). The rosette of the coat-of-arms of Saint Ezekiel Moreno Province is prominent at the church façade.

The Santuario was inaugurated by the local Ordinary Jesse Mercado on 19 August 2014. The diocesan rector, Recollect priests from Manila and Cavite and ex-provincial Father Regino Bangcaya concelebrated the holy Mass with the bishop. Las Piñas residents, Secular Augustinian Recollects from Cavite City and devotees of Saint Ezekiel occupied the 700-seater temple with countless parishioners standing at the aisles, huge frontal and lateral doors. Bishop Mercado blest the Museo de San Ezekiel after the Mass.

At her speech during the lunch tendered for the guests at the nearby Villar SIPAG Center, Senator Cynthia A. Villar could never forget how in 2011 her family was given a special guided tour by no less than the former prior general Father Javier Pipaón at Monteagudo, Navarra, Spain. It was a guided tour of the Recollect convent where Bishop Ezekiel spent his last days on earth and passed away on !9 August 1906 in the odor of sanctity.

Senator Villar met with the three priors who had earlier viewed and admired the interior of the 200-million-peso Santuario. They did not visit the Museo de San Ezekiel which was closed for renovation. The lady senator had rushed from the Senate in Manila where her Agriculture Committee had conducted in the morning a hearing on the National Food Administration (NFA) rice shortage. Days later the hardworking senator flew to Boracay for an ocular inspection of the world-renowned beach resort and her Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources conducted a hearing on the ecological woes of the primary tourist destination.

The senator conversed with the prior general from Tarragona in Catalonia, Spain, through Fr. Rene Paglinawan’s help as interpreter. Fr. Miró then gave various medals with relics of Saint Ezekiel to the senator who said she would share them with her husband ex-Senator Manny Villar and children. After the native snacks, they all proceeded to view handcrafted artifacts made from water lilies and labelled photos at the Villar Legacy Museum inside the Center. She gave the visiting priests a bag each of native products and publications on her cherished advocacies, poverty-reduction programs, farm schools and other pro-poor projects in Las Piñas, Manila, and other parts of the Philippines.

On the way to the shop where strips of plastic waste were transformed into 20-kg. school armchairs, the visiting priests observed the incredibly clean water of Las Piñas River, another favorite eco waste-management project of Villar SIPAG Center. Their last stop was spent at the coffee shop inside the family-owned commercial center where over cups of cappuccino and brewed black coffee. Senator Villar got to know the Augustinian Recollects better. She rued that the Santuario de San Ezekiel could not be handed over to the Recollects. Father Miró then invited her to visit the general curia in a future visit to Rome.

It was past 7:00 PM when the prior general checked in at Terminal One of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after a twenty-minute drive. The Qatar Airlines flight was scheduled at 12:01 AM.

It was a historic visit of sorts and the good senator got to know and appreciate the charism and mission of the Augustinian Recollects whose sons Padre Diego Cera and Saint Ezekiel had bequeathed the intangible heritage of faith and spread the Good News of Jesus to her forbears. Furthermore, the iconic Recollect friar brought worldwide fame and tangible cultural legacy to the Filipino people and to Senator Cynthia A. Villar’s native Las Piñas as the City of the Bamboo Organ.

More posts about:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Prof. Emmanuel Luis Romanillos

Prof. Emmanuel Luis Romanillos

Author and Church Historian

Leave a Comment

< 2020 >
October
SMTuWThFS
    1
  • All day
    October 1, 2020

    LAUNCHING OF ROSARY MONTH

    Note to all Local Priors [for the Book of Masses]: After the feast of the Archangels (Sept. 29), “a Mass is to be offered for the living relatives, friends, and benefactors of the Order” (cf. Add. Code 70d)

2
  • All day
    October 2, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Leonardo Pauligue
    Sr. Leah Lachica, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (2004-2020)
    Fray Leo Alaras

3
  • All day
    October 3, 2020

    START OF THE NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF THE ABANDONED (Valencia) / OUR LADY OF THE PILLAR (Baguio)

    POPE FRANCIS’ PASTORAL VISIT TO ASSISI

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Teresita Baco, AR
    Sr. Elyn Joy Olmedo, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1987-2020)
    Fray Bernard Amparado
    Fray Cristituto Palomar
    Fray Joseph Granada
    Fray Jorge Peligro

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ramona Plaza, AR

4
  • All day
    October 4, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR OAR VOCATION (cf. LAMP I,5c)

    BIRTHDAY
    Most Rev. Roberto Gaa (Diocese of Novaliches)
    Fray Joffrey Casusa (novice)
    Sr. Manuela Mandia, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    (2003-2020)
    Fray Celestino Cachapero, OAR

5
  • All day
    October 5, 2020

    WORLD TEACHER’S DAY

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Miguela Obera, AR

6
  • All day
    October 6, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Primitiva Berdejo, AR
    Sr. Noemi Mapa, AR
    Sr. Rona Alaza, AR

7
  • All day
    October 7, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Mc Ariel Capinpin (simply prof.)
    Sr. Juliet Natinga, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (2006-2020)
    Fray Henry Santiago
    Fray Anthony Irineo
    Fray Russell Lapidez
    Fray Virgilio Paredes, Jr.

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Margarita Miranda de Santa Monica, AR

8
  • All day
    October 8, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Neil Ryan Jarumay
    Ms. Nestoria “Inday” Bad-an (Sister General of the Order)

9
  • All day
    October 9, 2020

    3rd FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE COMMUNITY OF RECOLETOS DE URBIZTONDO (Pangasinan)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Mark Angelo Diaz (novice)
    John Leonard Cabling (RAY-Canlubang)
    Glorie Lynn Sorgon (RAY-Bacolod)

10
  • All day
    October 10, 2020

    ST. THOMAS OF VILLANOVA,
    Bishop and Patron of Studies

    PRIOR GENERAL LAUNCHES THE BOOK:
    “VIVIR LA POBREZA: GRACIA Y RETO”
    (Note: Title and cover are not yet finalized)

    BIRTHDAY
    Most Rev. Raul Dael, DD [Bishop of Tandag]
    Sr. Ofelia Laspobres, AR

11
  • All day
    October 11, 2020

    ST. POPE JOHN XIII

    PARISH FIESTA OF NSTRA. SNRA. BIRHEN DE LOS REMEDIOS PARISH (Tanapag Village, Saipan)
    Time: 9:00 A.M. (Saipan Time)
    Presider: Most Rev. Ryan Jimenez, D.D. (Bishop of Chalan Kanoa)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Samuel Eyas

12
  • All day
    October 12, 2020

    BLD. MARIA THERESA FASCE, Virgin

    SOLEMNITY OF OUR LADY OF THE PILLAR
    TOMA DE HÁBITO
    Time: 9:00 A.M. / CARES, Baguio City
    Presider & Homilist: Fray Edgar Tubio, OAR (Provincial Councilor)

    PATRONAL FIESTA: PARISH OF OUR LADY OF THE ABANDONED
    Valencia, Negros Oriental
    Time: 10:00 A.M. (cf. FB Live Streaming)
    Fiesta Mass Presider: Most Rev. Julito Cortes, D.D. (Bishop of Dumaguete)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Seiji Ishii (novice)
    Sr. Shirley Nonato, OAR (Bacolod Monastery)
    Sr. Marilyn Gustilo, AR
    Sr. Bernarditha Barnido, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Mo. Dionisia Mitas de Santa Maria Talangpaz

13
  • All day
    October 13, 2020

    COMMEMORATION OF THE DECEASED BENEFACTORS OF OAR

14
  • All day
    October 14, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Laura Cabanacan, AR
    Sr. Rhena Sherra Caranzo, AR

15
  • All day
    October 15, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Renz Calex Soriano (simply prof.)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (2005-2020)
    Fray Vincent Cadeliña

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Monica de Espiritu Santo, AR

16
  • All day
    October 16, 2020

    WORLD FOOD DAY 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Pia Pineda, AR
    Sr. Ma. Linda Peña, AR
    Jhon Paul Dag-um (RAY-Provincialate)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1988-2020)
    Fray Manuel Lipardo
    Fray Domingo Saladaga, Jr.
    Fray William Emilito Villaflor

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Margarita de Sgdo. Corazon de Jesus, AR

17
  • All day
    October 17, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Most Rev. Honesto Ongtioco, D.D. [Bishop of Cubao]
    Sr. Ma. Cirila Uy, AR
    Shiela Mae Labadia (RAY-Caidiocan)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Visitacion de San Miguel, AR
    Sr. Gabriela Garcines, AR
    Sr. Jacinta Mandia Robin, AR

18
  • All day
    October 18, 2020

    WORLD MISSION SUNDAY
    (Pope Francis’ Message:http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/missions /documents/papa-francesco_20200531_giornata-missionaria2020.html

    25th FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY (1995-2020) SARF- VALENCIA CHAPTER

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Arnel Diaz
    Jonel Mendoza (RAY-Miranila)

19
  • All day
    October 19, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE SICK (cf. LAMP I,5c)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Arlyn Sarmiento, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Virginia Acha, AR

20
  • All day
    October 20, 2020

    ST. MAGDALENE OF NAGASAKI,
    Patroness of the Secular Augustinian Recollects

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Ken Oliver Lao

21
  • All day
    October 21, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ursulina Balading, AR
    Sr. Ma. Lutgarda Cañete, AR

22
  • All day
    October 22, 2020

    ST. POPE JOHN PAUL II

    BIRTHDAY
    Archbp. Agustinus Agus, DD (Archdiocese of Pontianak, Indonesia)
    Fray Edgar Tubio
    Sr. Teresita Diana, AR

23
  • All day
    October 23, 2020

    ST. WILLIAM THE HERMIT & BLD. JOHN THE GOOD, Religious

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Hernando Coja
    Sr. Herminia Catindig, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1967-2020)
    Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena

24
  • All day
    October 24, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Rafael Cabarles
    Fray Jose Prudencio Castillo

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1996-2020)
    Fray Glynn Ortega

25
  • All day
    October 25, 2020

    ST. JOHN STONE, Priest & Martyr

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Veronica Purto, AR
    Simon Kurt Casupanan (RAY-Cavite)
    Nestor Tala (RAY-Miranila)

    25th ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1995-2020)
    Fray Joel Dequilla

    PRESBYTERAL ANNIVERSARY
    (1983-2020)
    Most Rev. Buenaventura Famadico, DD (Diocese of San Pablo)

26
  • All day
    October 26, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Dionisio Selma
    Fray Renie Villalino
    Sr. Rosalie Ubo, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Leonora Mercado, AR

27
  • All day
    October 27, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Antonio Limchaypo

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Mo. Presentacion de San Jose, AR
    Sr. Martina Labao, AR

28
  • All day
    October 28, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR OAR MISSION (cf. LAMP I,5c)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Jeana Abejuela, AR

29
  • All day
    October 29, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Catherine Ildefonso (RAY-Urbiztondo)
    Kristine Ruelo (RAY-Provincialate)

30
  • All day
    October 30, 2020

    ANNIVERSARY
    EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    MOST. REV. NATALE PAGANELLI, SX, Bishop of Makeni, Sierra Leone

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Cristituto Palomar
    Fray Dominador Mercado Jr.
    Sr. Lorlie Decir, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1999-2020)
    Fray Joel Alve

31
  • All day
    October 31, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Nemesio Tolentin

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Albina de la Virgen de Soledad, AR

Categories