Pioneer OAR Missionaries to Indonesia leave today

Provincial Curia, QUEZON CITY—A new day is breaking for the Augustinian Recollection in Asia as two lionhearted friars leave today, September 18, for their Indonesian mission.

Fray Russell Lapidez, OAR and Fray Dominador Mercado, Jr., OAR, former missionaries in Sierra Leone, West Africa, volunteered to live and work “in a new country in Asia”—as the Life and Mission Project (LAMP) of the Order of Augustinian Recollects had determined it during the General Chapter of 2016 in Rome—“in order to strengthen the Province (of St. Ezekiel Moreno) and contribute to its expansion.”

In obedience to the prodding of the Prior General to make an ocular visit to the place, Fray Dionisio Selma, OAR, Prior Provincial, together with Fray Edgar Tubio, OAR, Section Head for Mission Apostolate, accompanied the pioneer missionaries in this historic trip to the city of Pontianak, capital of the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan.

On board the Cebu Pacific evening flight from Manila, they are expected to arrive towards midnight in Jakarta where they will spend a brief layover and resume early morning of the following day, September 19, their connecting flight via Garuda Airlines en route to Pontianak.

 

First episode

After 23 months in the drawing board since the 55th General Chapter held in October 2016 had approved the decision to “expand in a new country in Asia,” a new episode set in and another Life and Mission Project (LAMP) of the Order and of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno was “initially” implemented.

“Initially” in the sense that the first phase of the progressive implementation of the LAMP has begun.

In one of his communications to a bishop in Indonesia, Father Selma clarified that “the Province will not yet establish a community”; rather, “it will prepare for it by sending [two] friars to learn the Bahasa language.”

Fray Tubio, who had visited Indonesia twice to pave the way for the implementation of the LAMP, explained it this way: “We are first sending two religious priests to learn the local language. Later on, taking other necessary factors as given, plus their capacity to express themselves in Bahasa, that’s when we can say we are ready to formally establish our religious communities in Indonesia.”

Fray Henry Santiago, OAR (4th from the left) and Fray Edgar Tubio, OAR (3rd from the right) in one of their visits in the Archdiocese of Pontianak.

The 55th General Chapter 

The 55th General Chapter of the OAR held in Rome on October 3-26, 2016 had formulated four major decisions for the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno to comply within the sexennium 2016-2022. One of those states: “Erect at least two houses in a new country in Asia, in order to strengthen the Province and contribute to its expansion. Date: February 2021. Person Responsible: Prior Provincial.”

Upon arrival from the General Chapter where he was an a iure delegate, Father Selma convoked a Provincial Council Meeting. In that meeting of November 5, 2016, the 20th for the triennium 2015-18, he echoed to the Council the salient points raised during the General Chapter. He also focused on those “four major decisions” that the Province needed to give priority to.

The expansion of the Province to “another Asian country”—which, therefore, excludes China and Taiwan where the OAR is also continuing its missionary presence—was initially discussed. During the brainstorming sessions, four countries emerged as candidates for future consideration: Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia.

 

Provincial Council Meetings

The 21st Provincial Council Meeting on December 9, 2016 made a follow-up discussion on the plan to create Recollect communities according to the said LAMP decision. Fray Edgar Tubio, erstwhile President of the Secretariat of Ministerial and Mission Apostolate, picked out Indonesia and Vietnam because of the possible linkage the Province can make through the OAD Filipino priests and the OSA Sisters who are respectively working in these places.

During the meeting on January 6, 2017, Fray Tubio made a report about his initial chat with Fr. Jennifer Amamangpang, OAD, a Filipino, whose religious community is stationed in Bandung, Indonesia. After his vacation in the country and before his return to Indonesia, Fr. Amamangpang dropped by the Provincial Curia on January 8, 2017 and met Fray Tubio to make a follow-up on the said plan of the Recoletos to do mission work in Indonesia.

On February 16, 2017, the Council tackled two relevant issues. One, about Bandung where Catholics only comprise 1% of the total population; a great majority are Muslims. But the Council preferred another suggested area: Archdiocese of Pontianak. This was relayed in a conversation to Fray Amado Emmanuel Bolilia, a Provincial Councilor, by one of the OSJ (Oblates of St. Joseph) Fathers who were given a parish by the archdiocese. Consequently, the plan to contact the archbishop was approved.

Two, the Council tackled the request of the local bishops namely that of the Diocese of Tandag and the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. The petitions for Recoletos to work in these territories understood as “local mission areas” were viewed as springboard for future foreign missions such as Indonesia or Vietnam.

The Council further saw that whoever would be sent to any of these countries be exposed first to our local mission areas.

Additionally, the “Alis-Bayan” Program made available by the Divine Word Institute of Mission Studies in Tagaytay City were so considered that former and visiting OAR missionaries were sent for updating. It also became a benchmark for preparing future missionaries because of the positive feedbacks from participants.

 

Correspondences

The Province of St. Ezekiel initiated the opening of communication lines with the local ordinaries of Pontianak, Sintang, and Ketapang – all of them in the Province of West Kalimantan in the island of Borneo.

The responses were encouraging. Archbp. Agustinus Agus, D.D. of Pontianak wrote: “I thank you for the intention of taking part in our ministries.” He suggested “December 2017” as the right time to pay a visit to this place.

Through his secretary, Fr. Ewaldus, the bishop of Sintang, Most Rev. Samuel Oton Sidin, OFM, D.D., also invited the Recollects to work in his diocese. He suggested that the missionaries first “live in our diocese for sometime” to know the “actuality of … our diocese situation.”

Fray Manuel Lipardo, OAR (2nd from the left) and Fray Tubio visited the Archbishop of the Diocese of Pontianak, Most Rev. Agustinus Agus, DD.

 

Ocular visits

Fray Tubio was accompanied by Fray Henry Santiago, Provincial Procurator, during the first ocular visit and courtesy call to the three local ordinaries on October 14-22, 2017.

He said in his report to the Provincial Council that the bishops were eager to welcome the Recollects due to dearth of missionaries in their dioceses which are very extensive. Begging to avoid hyperbole, Fray Tubio was saying that, by the time the parish priest finish celebrating masses during Christmas in all the chapels of his parish there, it would already be Lenten Season.      

Fray Tubio also said that parishes there have a convent, a church, a clinic, and a dormitory. “The dormitory is where the kids from remote areas are housed together to facilitate the program of evangelization and to secure them from possible dangers,” he said.

On December 3-19, 2017, the second visit to Indonesia was undertaken by Fray Tubio. This time, Fray Manuel Lipardo, OAR, also a missionary, accompanied him. In his report to the Council, Fray Tubio suggested that, just in case the Province choose Indonesia, the best starting point would be in Pontianak.

 

The 7th Provincial Chapter

One of the fruits of the 7th Provincial Chapter of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno held in February 2018 was the decision with regard to “Asian Missions.”

Number 66 of the LAMP of the Province states: “Continue studying which country (Indonesia or Vietnam) to establish two communities in, and to make a decision by 2018. Establish the first community, with 4 religious, by 2019 (cf. LAMP OAR, A.23). Persons Responsible: Prior Provincial and Council. Timeframe: Final decision (2018); Establish (2019).”

During the Provincial Council meeting on March 8, 2018, the decision was finalized: it will be in Indonesia first; Vietnam may be considered later.

During the drafting of the assignment of the religious, the Council learned that Frays Russell Lapidez and Dominador Mercado Jr. volunteered to work in Indonesia.

Fray Lapidez had spent eight years in Sierra Leone, particularly in Kamabai where he was the local prior since the previous triennium while Fray Mercado, on the other hand, had been in Sierra Leone for seven years, and was assigned as the local prior of Kamalo community since the last triennium.

“After spending some years in Sierra Leone, I was entertaining the idea of ‘resting’—but it’s ‘resting’ in the sense of giving way to the much younger missionaries. Had the superior told me to stay and continue working there, there would still be no problem with me,” Fray Lapidez recounted.

“But since the opportunity to work in another Asian country came, I volunteered,” he continued.

Fray Mercado also recalled that when he was told to come back to the Philippines after the triennium, he decided to volunteer instead to work in another would-be mission area. “When I had learned that we will open in another Asian country, that was when I volunteered. That’s why Fray Tubio did not look for other volunteers anymore,” he said.

 

The final preparations

In July this year, Father Provincial formally informed the Prior General about the Council’s decision to proceed with the sending of missionaries to Indonesia. The latter, in his response, was pleased to know that the volunteers are themselves seasoned missionaries.

Arrangements with Archbp. Agus as regards the residence and observance of religious life of the friars were finalized. The archbishop himself designated that, as the two need still to go to a language school to learn Bahasa, they will meantime reside at the convent of the religious brothers belonging to the “Kongregasi Hati Maria Tak Bernoda” (or “Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”) in Pontianak City.

It is hoped that when they shall have mastered the language, the friars will form the new Recollect community which will be opened by next year. By then, the third member who shall be from among the ordinandi this coming December, will already be ready to join them to comply with the minimum number of religious in the community.

Fray Lapidez was born on June 1, 1977, made his simple profession on April 28, 2001, and was ordained a priest on October 7, 2006. He is from Koronadal City, South Cotabato.

Fray Mercado was born on October 30, 1976, made his simple profession on April 26, 2003 and was ordained a priest on December 5, 2009. He is from Baclayon, Bohol.

Fray Russell Lapidez, OAR
Fray Dominador Mercado, Jr., OAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo below: Fray Edgar Tubio, OAR, Fray Dionisio Selma, OAR, Fray Dominador Mercado, OAR, and Fray Russell Lapidez, OAR)

 

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Fray Jose Ernil Almayo, OAR

Fray Jose Ernil F. Almayo, OAR, is currently the Provincial Secretary of the St. Ezekiel Moreno Province and Chairman of the Commission on Communications and Publications-Recoletos

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< 2019 >
February
SMTuWThFS
     1
  • All day
    February 1, 2019

    32nd FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY (1987-2019) OF THE OUR LADY OF CONSOLATION PARISH, Miranila, Quezon City
    Note: The celebration is moved to February 3 (Sunday)

    REGIONAL RAY SUMMIT – LUZON
    Inclusive dates: February 1-3, 2019
    Venue: SSC-R de Cavite, Cañacao Campus
    Theme: “Filipino Youth in Mission: Beloved. Gifted. Empowered.”

2
  • All day
    February 2, 2019

    FEAST – PRESENTATION OF THE LORD (CANDELARIA)

    WORLD DAY FOR CONSECRATED LIFE

    Day of Consecrated Life- Diocese of Cubao
    Venue: National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Broadway Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City

    15:00 Registration
    15:30 Talk: “Challenges and Prophetic Roles of the Priestly and Consecrated Life in our Time.” Speaker: Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio David, D.D.
    17:00 Snacks
    17:30 Solemn Vespers
    18:00 Eucharistic Celebration Mass Presider: Most Rev. Honesto F. Ongtioco, D.D.
    19:00 Fellowship

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Petra Pascual, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Socorro Japson, AR

3
  • All day
    February 3, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
    DAY 1: ROME – ABU DHABI
    13:00 Departure by plane from Roma/Fiumicino for Abu Dhabi
    22:00 Arrival at Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport / Official Welcome

    CEAP SUPERINTENDENTS COMMISSION MID-YEAR ASSEMBLY
    Inclusive Dates: February 3-6, 2019
    Venue: L’Fisher Hotel, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Ceferino Añez

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Filomena de Jesus, AR

4
  • All day
    February 4, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
    DAY 2: ABU DHABI
    12:00 Welcome Ceremony at the main entrance of the Presidential Palace
    12:20 Official visit to the Crown Prince in the Presidential Palace
    17:00 Private meeting with the members of the Muslim Council of Elders in the Grand Mosque of Sheik Zayed
    18:10 Interreligious meeting at the Founder’s Memorial

    MEETING OF THE COMMISSION ON FINANCE AND ASSETS IN ROME
    Inclusive dates: February 4-8, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Bernard Amparado
    Sr. Andrea Cabunilas, AR
    Sr. Jannet Nicer, AR

5
  • All day
    February 5, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
    DAY 3: ABU DHABI – ROME
    9:15 Private visit to the Cathedral
    10:30 Holy Mass in the ZAYED SPORTS CITY
    12:40 Farewell Ceremony at Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport
    13:00 Departure by plane for Rome
    17:00 Arrival in Rome/Ciampino International Airport

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray James Castelo
    Fray Jovy Gallego
    Sr. Anselma Millan, AR

6
  • All day
    February 6, 2019

    SPORTSFEST – USJ-R, BALAMBAN CAMPUS
    Inclusive dates: February 6-9, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Ronel Gealon
    Mo. Ma. Emilia Gaspillo, AR
    Sr. Doraine Suyko, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Fray Alberto Avanzado

7
  • All day
    February 7, 2019

    13th PROVINCIAL COUNCIL MEETING

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Jess Marco Sanchez
    Sr. Ma. Lina Gonzaga, AR
    Sr. Gewena Gay Villarubia, AR

8
  • All day
    February 8, 2019

    5th INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER AND AWARENESS AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING (cf. LAMP, 52)

    GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING – CORE GROUP OF THE SECRETARIAT OF SPIRITUALITY AND FORMATION
    Venue: Bulwagang Recoletos Atrium
    8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Elflida Palma, AR

9
  • All day
    February 9, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Elpidio Sarita, Jr.

10
  • All day
    February 10, 2019

    20th INAUGURATION ANNIVERSARY (1999-2019)
    OF THE PROVINCE OF ST. EZEKIEL MORENO

11
  • All day
    February 11, 2019

    OUR LADY OF LOURDES

    WORLD DAY OF THE SICK (cf. LAMP, 52)

    90th ANNIVERSARY OF THE SIGNING OF THE LATERAN TREATY FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF VATICAN CITY (1929)

    EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF BISHOP-ELECT RONALD IGNACIO LUNAS of PAGADIAN

    MEETING OF THE GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF VOCATIONS AND YOUTH – SECTION FOR VOCATION MINISTRY
    Rome / February 11-12, 2019

    PATRONAL FIESTA – OUR LADY OF LOURDES CHAPLAINCY
    Brgy. Tambo, Ayungon, Negros Oriental

    23rd ANNIVERSARY of the RST-UST Affiliation (1995-2019)

    ARRIVAL OF FATHER GENERAL FOR VISITA DE RENOVACION – ST. EZEKIEL PROVINCE

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Filomena Oliva, AR
    Sr. Marisa Dacuya, AR

    PRESBYTERAL ANNIVERSARY
    (2017-2018)
    Fray Roweno Eugenio Hamo
    Fray Sir Michael Dineros
    Fray John Paul Tanquis

12
  • All day
    February 12, 2019

    INSTALLATION OF BISHOP-ELECT DAVID WILLIAM ANTONIO OF ILAGAN

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE INAGAWAN

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Gloria Abrenilla Acha, AR

13
  • All day
    February 13, 2019

    MEETING OF THE GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF VOCATIONS AND YOUTH, WITH THE PRESIDENTS OF THE PROVINCIAL SECRETARIAT
    Rome / February 13-14, 2019

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE PLARIDEL

14
  • All day
    February 14, 2019

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE CASIAN

15
  • All day
    February 15, 2019

    75th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ABBEY OF MONTE CASINO (1944)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Maria Aurora Baygan, AR

16
  • All day
    February 16, 2019

    FATHER GENERAL’S MEETING WITH THE AR SISTERS & SARF-PALAWAN CHAPTERS AT SEMSDC, PUERTO PRINCESA

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Porferia Tundag, AR

17
  • All day
    February 17, 2019

    CULMINATION OF ESCUELA DE FORMACION IN COLOMBIA

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE BALAMBAN

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Virgilio Paredes, Jr.

18
  • All day
    February 18, 2019

    MEETING OF THE GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF SPIRITUALITY AND FORMATION – SECTIONS FOR INITIAL AND PERMANENT FORMATION
    Colombia

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE LARAY
    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Jerik Troy Siozon
    Fray Mark Saludes

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Genoveva del Sgdo. Corazon de Jesus, AR

19
  • All day
    February 19, 2019

    MEETING OF THE GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF SPIRITUALITY AND FORMATION WITH THE PRESIDENTS OF THE PROVINCIAL SECRETARIATS OF SPIRITUALITY AND FORMATION
    Colombia

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE CEBU

    ARRIVAL OF FRAY ANTONIO CARRON FROM ROME

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (2003-2019)
    Most. Rev. Patricio Buzon, SDB, D.D. (Bishop of Bacolod)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Pia de San Sebastian, AR
    Sr. Josefina Disen, AR

20
  • All day
    February 20, 2019

    FATHER GENERAL JOINS MEETING WITH GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF APOSTOLATE
    Talavera House of Prayer-Recoletos, Cebu City

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ines de Padua, AR

21
  • All day
    February 21, 2019

    MEETING WITH PRESIDENTS OF EPISCOPAL CONFERENCES
    Inclusive dates: February 21-24, 2019

    PRESENTATION OF FRAY CARRÓN AND MESSAGE FROM FATHER GENERAL WITH ALL RELIGIOUS, LAY ADMIN AND FACULTY & STAFF OF THE RECOLETOS SCHOOLS IN CEBU, TOGETHER WITH THOSE WORKING IN THE PASTORAL MINISTRY IN CEBU
    Venue: USJ-R Center for Performing Arts, Cebu / 10:00 – 12:00
    Theme: “Recoletos Youth in Mission and Communion: Beloved. Gifted. Empowered.”

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Nimrod Launio

    ANNIVERSARY OF CREATION AS CARDINAL
    (2001-2019)
    Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Aniceta de la Santisima Trinidad, AR

22
  • All day
    February 22, 2019

    FEAST – CHAIR OF ST. PETER
    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE VALENCIA
    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Flora Silverio, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Lucila Reyes, AR

23
  • All day
    February 23, 2019

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE TAMBO

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ana Maria Rosello, AR
    Sr. Exaltacion Lagrimas, AR

24
  • All day
    February 24, 2019

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE SAN CARLOS

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Rommel Rubia

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Jesusa de Vera, AR

25
  • All day
    February 25, 2019

    33rd ANNIVERSARY OF EDSA PEOPLE POWER REVOLUTION (1986-2019)

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE BACOLOD

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Roselyn Jardenil, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Wenifreda Sajorda, AR

26
  • All day
    February 26, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Julius James Tinapao [simple prof.]

    PRESENTATION OF FRAY CARRÓN AND MESSAGE FROM FATHER GENERAL WITH ALL RELIGIOUS, LAY ADMIN AND FACULTY & STAFF OF THE RECOLETOS SCHOOLS IN NEGROS, TOGETHER WITH THOSE WORKING IN THE PASTORAL MINISTRY IN NEGROS
    UNO-R, Bacolod/ 10:00 – 12:00

    BLESSING OF THE UNO-R IS BUILDING

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Fray Severino Cuesta (2000-2019)
    Sr. Teresa Constantino, AR

27
  • All day
    February 27, 2019

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION (1982-2019)
    Luis Antonio Card. Tagle (Archdiocese of Manila)

    AM: FATHER GENERAL’S VISIT TO OAR NUNS IN TANGUB MONASTERY

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE TALISAY

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Teresita Caberte, AR

28
  • All day
    February 28, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Crisanta Armendez, AR
    Mr. Fulgencio Culaton (Brother-General of the Order)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Milagros de San Nicolas de Tolentino, AR

  

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