by Romel Irinco Acebron
Antipolo City – the six Novices of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects (OAR) stepped a new ladder in their religious and priestly formations as they profess their simple vows of chastity, poverty and obedience last June 29, 2018.
The simple profession of vows is a culminating rite following the mandatory canonical year for all religious formands. The canonical year and novitiate formation for the OAR emphasizes on prayer life, work and community life. This year accentuate the studies on Augustinology, Recollect spirituality, the charism and history of the OAR. The entire year is solely dedicated to that pursuit prior to the formal advance theological studies. The brothers who passed the evaluation of the Chapter of Formation after a year of novitiate formation are: Fray Nero F. Bautista, OAR from Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro; Fray Helfrid D. Palmis, OAR from Ayungon, Negros Oriental; Fray Jose Enrico V. Gallego, OAR from Meycauyan City, Bulacan; Fray Rey Jay Y. Quevedo, OAR from San Agustin, Surigao del Sur; Fray Renz Calex C. Soriano, OAR from Puerto Prinsesa City, Palwan and Fray Jhoben M. Rodriguez, OAR from Brooke’s Point, Palawan.
The simple profession of vows was integrated within the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist in the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. It was presided by Very Rev. Dionisio Q. Selma, OAR and Prior Provincial of the OAR Philippine Province. There were thirty Religious priest who concelebrated the Mass.
The presider highlighted the vows of the religious and related the essence of the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul. Fr. Selma said that saints Peter and Paul, like the novices, came from different backgrounds. The former, St. Peter, is a humble fisherman while the latter, St. Paul, is an academic intellectual. “They came from different background… but God is the one calling them. The other is a sinner and weak fisherman who turned to be solid and faithful – Peter – and the other is a persecutor who later became a proclaimer of the Gospel” Fr. Selma said.
The celebrant reminded the new religious the importance of an intimate relationship with God. “Who do say that I am?” says the Lord. He urged the religious to return to that encounter with God and make such intimate encounter as a solid foundation. Jesus is the Rock and people will crumble if not founded on the Rock. Fr. Selma addressed the newly professed brothers, “God is calling you regardless of your background, but according to the especial love of God for you. Despite the limitations, God chose you as instrument of mercy and forgiveness.”
There were around six hundred people who witness the event that includes the OAR religious, Augustinian Recollect Sisters (AR), the Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity, Recollect Augustinian Youth, AR formands, other religious congregations, family members of the newly professed religious, their benefactors and the seminary friends from the different parts of the country.
Fray Jhoben M. Rodriguez, OAR, one of the newly professed brothers, delivered a speech of gratitude on behalf of his brothers. He conveyed their thanks to the different individuals and groups who continue to help, support and mold them in one way or another. In one of his lines he said, “We are not alone, God allows us realize that he is with us not just within the bounds of our deep and interior contemplation, but he also manifests his Divine presence…in the different people we encounter along the way. That is why we should be thankful in whatever mean.”
The celebration was punctuated with a big applause for the newly professed formands and the formators behind them. The entire celebration was culminated with a sumptuous lunch for all.