CEBU CITY – “Why am I a teacher?”
That simple question fraught with implications was launched by Fray Antonio Carrón, OAR, a General Councilor and Head of the General Section for Educational Apostolate, during his midmorning talk before a heterogeneous audience of close to 600 at the Center of Performing Arts of the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) on February 21, 2019.
Fray Carrón said, in his exposition via powerpoint presentation, that a teacher or educator as the learners’ companion and guide ought to act as protector also of the most vulnerable.
Equipped with specialization on pedagogy and allied fields, he was designated by the General Council to orient the OAR religious and laity working in the various apostolate areas on the “Guidelines of the Order of Augustinian Recollects on the Protection of Minors.” The World Health Organization determines that “minors” are those persons under the age of 18.
In his rationale of the assembly, Fray Raul Buhay, OAR, the lone Filipino in the Rome-based General Council, pointed out that the said orientation “is in sync with the Church as the Pope meets today the Presidents of the national Episcopal Conferences.”
He made reference to Pope Francis’ worldwide meeting with bishops on that same day in the Vatican to deal with sex abuse scandal by the clergy.
In his welcome remarks, Fray Leopoldo Estioko, OAR, prior of Recoletos de Cebu community, said that the Recoletos as an Order is on the side of the victims of abuse which is either psychological, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, as clearly delineated by R.A. 7610.
Administering 54 educational centers with a combined student population of around 90,000 in 15 countries around the world, the Recoletos friars, according to the speaker, need to confront head-on the gargantuan challenge with respect not only to what is brewing inside the school, but also to what is going on outside the campus.
With that statistical backgrounder set within the framework of the changing paradigms and signs of the times, Fray Carrón presented his talk starting from the “Educational Apostolate of the Order.” He then proceeded with “Augustinian pedagogy as a response to today’s educational challenge” with emphasis on the Educational Plan of the Order, and closed with the third part which he termed “Safeguarding in the Order: protecting the most vulnerable.”
While the main goal of the assembly was to raise awareness on the protection of the most vulnerable in the areas of apostolate, Fray Carrón who is also a member of the OAR Commission for the Protection of Minors said that the application of pastoral principles such as absolute priority of the victims should also be equally taken into consideration.
Among those who came to listen and learn were the OAR religious and priests from Cebu province (Cebu City, Laray, Balamban) and other communities (Philippines and abroad); AR Sisters from different communities (St. Rita-Cebu City, Talavera-Cebu City, Minglanilla, Pinamungajan, Toledo City, and Bantayan); SARF members (Cebu Chapter and Laray Chapter); Parish Pastoral Council and catechists from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish-Recoletos, Our Lady of Consolation Parish-Recoletos, and St. Augustine of Hippo Quasi Parish-Recoletos; and the faculty and staff from the three USJ-R campuses (Main, Basak, and Balamban).