Venerables star in evening program, indicate path for Province’s future

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Mira Nila, QUEZON CITY – If the evening program of November 27, the first day of the 20th founding anniversary celebrations of the St. Ezekiel Moreno Province, were to be likened to a galaxy, the eldest group among the friars who, by unanimous estimation, stole the show would be the brightest of stars.

Although last in the queue to present themselves, the most “kuya” in the Province, which in that evening was collectively called the Venerables, was actually a merging of the “Sunset Group” and “Newed Recollects.” These last two names, by chronological order starting from the eldest group, were among those conventionally created in 1997 when the erstwhile Vicariate of the Philippines and China was preparing for its Provincehood. Next to them were the “Bisagra” (or “Hinges”) because they composed the last of batches to spend their novitiate and theologate in Spain.

The cluster called the “Venerables.” (Standing from L-R) Fray Leonardo Pauligue, Fray Lauro Larlar, Fray Samson Silloriquez, Fray René Paglinawan, Fray Ceferino Roberto Añez, Fray and Regino Bangcaya. (Seated from L-R) Fray Emilio Larlar, Jr., Fray Walthrode Conde, Fray Emeterio Buñao, Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena, and Fray Federico Gregorio.

The Venerables’ stellar prominence that evening at the Bulwagang Recoletos Atrium did not come, however, from any gravity-defying performance nor any magical execution of sort. In fact, while just serenely and smilingly facing their younger confreres, those “senior citizens” by civil category—half of them seated, the other half standing—offered Gospel-based exhortations and spiritual roadmaps to chart for the ensuing decades, related some broad historical sketches of the Filipinization movement or enlightening tidbits about the genesis of the Province, or shared their experiences as Augustinian Recollect religious.

Fray Walthrode Conde, the eldest in the Province at age 83, recalled with clarity those Filipinos who became Recollects since 1950s. He was trying to link the present to the not-so-distant past when Frays Oscar de la Rosa, Faustino Paglinawan, and Cirilo Durana—the first two made their simple profession in 1952, while the third in 1953—were together ordained priests in1959.

Fray Walthrode Conde, the eldest in the Province at age 83, shared with his younger brothers his insights and gratitude for the graces that the Province received in the past 20 years.

(The trio came after a gap of 14 years between 1945 when Fray Salvador Calsado from Romblon, the first “Filipino” to become an ordained Recollect priest, and 1959 when the next presbyteral ordination of Filipino Recollects took place.)

Fray Emeterio Buñao, for his part, refreshed the younger ones about the five ordinances directly related to the establishment of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno, the eighth and youngest Province until the reconfiguration of the Order into four Provinces during the General Chapter of 2016.

Fray Emeterio Buñao (center) reminisced the events of the 52nd General Chaper in 1998 held at Monachil, Granada, Spain that gave birth to the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno. At his back were Fray Lauro Larlar (left), former Prior Provincial, and Fray Samsom Silloriquez (right) former General Councilor.

Those five ordinances approved on that unforgettable 28th day of November 1998 by the 52nd General Chapter held at the Monastery of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Monachil, Granada, Spain dealt with: the creation of a new province, its patronage, territories, membership, and patrimony.

Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena, the longest-serving formator—since 1968; ergo, it has been 50 years already! and still counting—addressed the young ones the way a “lolo” (grandfather) would to his “apos” (grandchildren): “Make sure that what we have started…, you will allow to grow and bear much good fruits.”

In this group, moreover, belongs the first three elected Priors Provincial of the Province: Fray Emeterio Buñao (1999-2003), Fray Lauro Larlar (2003-2006, 2006-2009), and Fray Regino Bangcaya (2009-2012). Fray Larlar was re-elected to the office for the second time during the triennium 2012-2015.

Post-vespers program

Clad in their anniversary T-shirts in red or dark sacramento, the friars assembled at the Bulwagang Recoletos Atrium for the 6:00 P.M. praying of the vespers (evening prayers).

Transitioning to the first part of the program, the prayerful mood continued as the brothers sang Josh Groban’s version of “You raise me up,” with Fray Giovanni Gil Magbojos, OAR, on the keyboard.

Fray Hubert Dunstan Decena led the opening prayer.

Expressing in words the contents of everyone’s heart, Fray Hubert Decena led the brief prayerful communion with the Lord “to express our thanksgiving [to Him] for past and present favors.”

Fray Lauro Larlar, local prior and rector of the host community, delivered his opening message, pointing out the reasons of the gathering: “to celebrate the 20th birthday of the Province and prepare for her silver anniversary that will be celebrated two years after the quincentenary of the introduction of Christianity to our people.”

“Our celebration is a God-given opportunity,” he said “to know more fully some of the answers to questions that also guided the past three [General] Chapters: who are the Augustinian Recollects today according to the Mother Church; what do the peoples of God expect from us today; and how to respond to so many needs starting from our spirituality and charismatic identity.”

Fray Lauro Larlar, former Prior Provincial and current prior of Recoletos de Mira-Nila welcomed the brothers in his opening remarks.

In saying this, Fray Larlar was putting in context the birth, life and mission of the Province within the circumference of Vatican II and the OAR General Chapters of 2004, 2010 and 2016.

His hope and prayer was that “we learn to grow more intimately in communion in community, responding promptly to the call to serve the Church and society starting from our being Augustinian Recollects.”

After these appetizers for the soul, dinner was served. No doubt, the family ambience and social quotient during meals were enhanced as the coristas rendered familiar songs live onstage.

Prior Provincial’s Address

The second part of the program opened with the community singing of “Ibigay ang puso mo” composed by a former Augustinian Recollect, Fr. Ferdinand Hernando, MB. The newly-ordained deacon, Fray Jorr Rabacal, willingly sat when called to be the piano accompanist.

The current Prior Provincial, Fray Dionisio Selma, then gave his speech that consisted of some announcements, information, reminders, clarifications, and even challenges to the brothers. It was almost like a “State of the Province Address.”

He mentioned about the soon-to-be officially established Recoletos de Plaridel community in Aborlan, Palawan. In this barangay stands the San Rafael Parish church which, as of this writing, belongs to the Recollect community of Inagawan in Puerto Princesa City in terms of apostolate area.

Father Provincial also gave updates as regards our mission works in Saipan and Sierra Leone as well as the recent development in the plans of the archbishop of Pontianak for the two Recollect missionaries in Indonesia.

He also informed the brothers about the scheduled renewal visit of the Fray Miguel Miró—his last in his capacity as Prior General—from February to March 2019, and the meeting of the General Secretariat of Ministerial Apostolate in Cebu, also next year.

Father Selma made a special mention of the Prior General’s “Protocol for Protecting Children and Young People in the Order of Augustinian Recollects” in accordance with Pope Francis’s 2015 directive.

Using a powerpoint presentation, Father Selma highlighted the need to look back, to look around, to look forward and, most importantly, he said, “to look up.” He was referring to every religious’ and community’s non-negotiable connection with God. This, he further stressed by calling to mind the icon of the beloved disciple who was leaning on the chest of Jesus, a position and disposition of listening to the Author of our vocation and mission.

Aware that some parts of his report would be dealt with more deeply during the following day’s “historical excavation,” he simply talked about those areas as a sort of review: the text of the Decreto de Erección of the Province; brief comparative statistical panorama of religious personnel, houses, and areas of apostolate; and the “cosas notables” in the Universal Church and the Order during the first and second decades (hence: 1998-2008 and 2008-2018, respectively) of the Province.

Towards the last part, he posed the question: “Quo vadis at 20?”

The Prior Provincial, Fray Dionisio Selma, addressed the brothers and answered some of their questions.

Airing out his take on the interrogative, one religious was saying that the question could be tantamount to a huge challenge to the entire Province whose members are now present in 9 or 10 countries, “to prepare not only for the silver founding anniversary in 2023, but even beyond it.”

Two religious raised their questions or interventions to the speaker. Fray Manuel Lipardo asked about the planned structural renovations for the Recoletos de Mira-Nila while Fray Hubert Decena made some clarifications about the plans behind the expedited construction of Recoletos Formation Center in early 1980s.

By-batch presentation

The tandem of Frays Paul Demillones and Jovy Gallego as emcees of the evening program was great as they did their job quite well. Surely they did their homework of making some research. For instance, before proceeding with the batch presentation, they first announced the statistical update on the number of religious of the Province as published by the Office of the Provincial Secretary during the 100th day of the quadrennium. (And this is now the most recent: as of November 27, 2018, the St. Ezekiel Moreno Province has 179 religious all in all, with this breakdown: 142 are in Permanent Formation while 37 are in Initial Formation. Of the 142: 134 are clerical religious while 8 are Religious Brothers. Of the 37 coristas: 13 are deacons while 24 are simply professed.) Then, they hoisted a rhetorical question whether anyone knows the name or face of every religious in the Province.

That was enough reason for the friars to introduce or re-introduce themselves or their cluster to the assembly.

The novices were the first to present themselves, followed by the simply professed coristas, then the deacons. Most of them not only introduced themselves and their hometown, but also mentioned who among the friars were their “idol,” which naturally elicited cheers from some sectors in the crowd.

The novices and the coristas
The deacons

After them were the groups of solemnly professed and ordained priests who, collectively, have their own chosen name. Starting from the youngest group to the eldest, they came forward in that sequence: the “FrayRs,” “Reco4s,” “EZM Boys,” “Gen X,” “Pioneers,” “Bisagra,” and—last but not least—the “Venerables.”

“FrayRs” was formed when the Life and Mission Project of the Province in 2015-2018 gave instruction on the use of “Fray,” an equalizing title for all the professed Recollects whether clerical religious or Religious Brother. The “Rs” refers to the spirit of “Revitalization and Restructuring” that directs the entire Order.

The “FrayRs”

“Reco4s” was crafted in memory of the Fourth Centenary (1606-2006) of the Recollect Presence or Arrival of the Augustinian Recollection in the Philippines. “Reco” truncates the word “Recoletos” while “4s,”pronounced like “force,” simplifies the said “4th centenary or 400 years.”

The “Reco4s” 

“EZM Boys” refers to the group that was established during the nascent years of the newly-established Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno. “EZM” refers actually to “EZekiel Moreno.”

The “EZMBoys”

“Gen X” was the youngest group before the St. Ezekiel Moreno Province was born. It was “neXt” to the first batch of Recollects “entirely” produced in the Philippines. Although they belong to the category of GenerationX (i.e., 1960s to 1980s, following the Millennials or Generation Y), they consider themselves as the generation (=disciples) who follow Christ (indicated by the Greek character X or “chi”).

The “GenX”

“Pioneers” refer to the group first produced (hence, “made in the Philippines”) by the Recoletos Formation Center since it catered to the novitiate and theologate programs of formation in 1985.

Those religious who went through their theological training in Marcilla, Spain belonged either to the “Bisagra” or the “Venerables.”

The “Bisagra”

Though it was nearing 11 o’clock in the evening, the stars continued to shine more intensely with the testimonies and snippets of wisdom issuing from those Filipino trailblazers while the younger ones listened to them attentively.

To God be the glory!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fray Jose Ernil Almayo, OAR

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 >
November
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     1
  • All day
    November 1, 2019

    ALL SAINTS’ DAY

    BIRTHDAY:
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2
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3
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4
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    GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING

    November 4-8, 2019 / Rome

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5
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    34TH STUDENTS’ CONGRESS OF RECOLLECT SCHOOLS (SCORES)
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6
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    COMMEMORATION OF THE DECEASED MEMBERS OF THE ORDER

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7
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8
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    START OF THE NOVENA TO NUESTRA SRA. DE LA SALUD

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    November 8-9, 2019
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9
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    30TH ANNIVERSARY – FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL (1989)

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10
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11
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    PRIOR GENERAL’S RENEWAL VISIT TO SIERRA LEONE & KENYA November 11-24, 2019

    ARSE – BATCH 3
    Inclusive dates: November 11-15, 2019
    Facilitator: Fray René Paglinawan, OAR
    Venue: Talavera House of Prayer-Recoletos, Cebu City

    4th BEC NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
    (in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of BEC in the country)
    November 11-14, 2019 / Apo View Hotel, Davao City
    Theme: “Discerning the Challenges of the BEC Journey in the Light of the New Evangelization”

    UNO-R: START OF CLASSES (SECOND SEMESTER)

    BIRTHDAY
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12
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    2nd INTERNATIONAL ENCOUNTER OF CEAR
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    BIRTHDAY
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Corazon Nartia, AR

13
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    November 13, 2019

    ST. AUGUSTINE’S 1665th BIRTHDAY

    ALL SAINTS OF THE ORDER

    OFFICIAL LAUNCHING OF “SANTO NIÑO @ 500”
    Venue: Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, Cebu City
    Theme: “Sto. Niño, the abiding presence of the Father in our journey of faith…”

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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14
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    November 14, 2019

    22ND PROVINCIAL COUNCIL MEETING

    BIRTHDAY
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    Sr. Clementina Galve, AR
    Sr. Luzviminda Escal, AR

15
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16
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    DIACONAL ORDINATION
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    Fray Cristito Tepace, OAR
    Venue: OLCP Church, Miranila, QC / Time: 9:00 AM
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    8th CATHOLIC SOCIAL MEDIA SUMMIT
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17
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18
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    IV INTERNATIONAL ENCOUNTER OF EDUCAR
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    USJ-R: CLASSES BEGIN (SECOND SEMESTER) CST-R: CAREER WEEK FOR GRADE 12
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    EZMBOYZ CLUSTER GATHERING
    November 18-20, 2019 / Tabuelan, Cebu

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ricarda Raganas, AR

19
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    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THAILAND AND JAPAN
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    BIRTHDAY
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    Sr. Nobie Noman, AR
    Sr. Ma. Jeanne Partosa, AR
    Sr. Josephine Tanio, AR

20
  • 10:06 AM-10:07 AM
    November 20, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THAILAND
    November 20-23, 2019

    DAY 1: ROME-BANGKOK

    12:30
    Arrival at Military Air Terminal 2 of Bangkok
    Official Welcome at Military Air Terminal 2 of Bangkok

    SPA (VALENCIA) HIGH SCHOOL DAYS
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    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Ralph Laureen Ciceron
    Mo. Eufemia Lauzon, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION
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    Sr. Ma. Emy Catalonia, OAR (Tangub Monastery)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Celestina de San Nicolas de Tolentino

     

21
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    November 21, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THAILAND

    DAY 2: BANGKOK
    Welcome Ceremony in the Government House courtyard
    Meeting with the Prime Minister in the “Inner Ivory Room” of the Government House
    Meeting with Authorities, Civil Society and the Diplomatic Corps in the “Inner Santi Maitri” Hall of the Government House
    Visit to the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch at Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram Temple
    Meeting with the medical staff of St. Louis Hospital
    Private visit to infirm and disabled people at St. Louis Hospital Lunch at the Apostolic Nunciature
    Lunch at the Apostolic Nunciature
    Private visit to His Majesty the King Maha Vajiralongkorn “Rama X” at Amphorn Royal Palace
    Holy Mass in the National Stadium

    ANNIVERSARY OF APPOINTMENT AS ARCHBISHOP
    Archbp. Peter Liu Cheng-chung (Diocese of Kaoshiung, Taiwan)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1998-2019)
    Sr. Ma. Emy Catalonia, OAR (Tangub Monastery)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Fray Santos Serato (2003-2019)

22
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    November 22, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THAILAND

    DAY 3: BANGKOK
    Meeting with Priests, Religious, Seminarians and Catechists in St Peter’s Parish

    Meeting with the Bishops of Thailand and FABC at the Blessed Nicholas Boonkerd Kitbamrung Shrine

    Private meeting with the Members of the Society of Jesus in a hall close to the Shrine

    Lunch at the Apostolic Nunciature

    Meeting with the Leaders of the Christian denominations and Other Religions at Chulalongkorn University

    Holy Mass with Young People in the Cathedral of the Assumption

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Consejo de Santa Monica
    Sr. Ma. Paulita Llacer, AR

23
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    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THAILAND – JAPAN DAY 4 (1): BANGKOK – TOKYO

    Farewell Ceremony at Military Air Terminal 2 of Bangkok

    9:30
    Arrival at Tokyo-Haneda Airport

    1740
    Welcome Ceremony at Tokyo-Haneda Aitport
    Meeting with the Bishops at the Apostolic Nunciature
24
  • All day
    November 24, 2019

    SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO JAPAN

    DAY 2: TOKYO-NAGASAKI-HIROSHIMA-TOKYO

    9:20
    Departure by plane for Nagasaki
    Arrival at Nagasaki Airport
    Message on nuclear weapons at the Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park
    Tribute to the Martyr Saints at the Martyrs’ Monument – Nishizaka Hill
    Lunch at the Bishop’s House
    Holy Mass in the Baseball Stadium
    Departure by plane for Hiroshima

    16:35
    Departure by plane for Hiroshima

    17:45
    Arrival at Hiroshima Airport
    Meeting for peace at the Peace Memorial

    20:25
    Departure by plane for Tokyo

    22:10
    Arrival at Tokyo-Haneda Airport

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Sir Michael Dineros
    Sr. Fulgencia Relos, AR
    Sr. Cathryn Nove Vila, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Imelda Lachica, AR
    Sr. Mary Bernard Matanguihan, AR

25
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    November 25, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO JAPAN

    DAY 3: TOKYO

    Meeting with the victims of Triple Disaster at “Bellesalle Hanzomon”
    Private visit to Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace
    Meeting with Young People at the Cathedral of Holy Mary
    Lunch with the Papal Delegation at the Nunciature
    Holy Mass in the Tokyo Dome
    Meeting with the Prime Minister at Kantei
    Meeting with Authorities and the Diplomatic Corps at Kantei

    RFC & RST: FEAST OF ST. THOMAS OF VILLANOVA & RECOLETOS SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY (RST) DAY

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Feliciano Campomanes
    Sr. Ma. Ninfa Inzon, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Carmela de Santa Teresita
    Sr. Francisca Abad, AR

26
  • All day
    November 26, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO JAPAN

    DAY 4: TOKYO – ROME

    Private Holy Mass with the Members of the Society of Jesus in the Chapel of Kulturzentrum of Sophia University

    Breakfast and private meeting with the Collegium Maximum at Sophia University
    Visit to the elderly and infirm priests at Sophia University

    Farewell Ceremony at Tokyo-Haneda Airport

    11:35
    Departure by plane for Rome/Fiumicino

    17:15
    Arrival at Rome/Fiumicino Airport

27
  • All day
    November 27, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Ivan Cuison (simply prof.)
    Sr. Antonietta Castañares, AR
    Sr. Rhiza Eltanal, AR

28
  • All day
    November 28, 2019

    21st FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROVINCE OF ST. EZEKIEL MORENO (1998-2019)

    30TH ANNIVERSARY – LAST APPARITION OF OUR LADY OF KIBEHO (1989) [Note: Kibeho is in southwestern Rwanda]

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Eva Grace Cadungog, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (2013-2019)
    Fray Jose Prudencio Castillo
    Fray Giovanni Gil Magbojos
    Fray Alexus Mansueto
    Fray Joseph Cyprian Panaligan

    8th ANNIVERSARY (2011-2019) OF ACCEPTANCE AS BROTHERS/SISTERS GENERAL OF THE ORDER (OAR)
    Hon. Rufus Rodriguez
    Mr. Fulgencio Culaton
    Dr. Milagros Espina
    Mrs. Leonila Dosado

29
  • All day
    November 29, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Glynn Ortega

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Ester Anacleto, AR

30
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    November 30, 2019

    125TH ANNIVERSARY – ENCYCLICAL ORIENTALIUM DIGNITAS (1894)

    Holiday: BONIFACIO DAY

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