Bacolod City, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL – For the record, the last renewal visit of Fray Miguel M. Miró, OAR, Prior General of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, to the community of the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) on February 25-27, was marked by a confluence of “cosas notables” (“noteworthy events”) worth documenting for posterity.
The togetherness and the sharing of experiences of brothers from different places, not only of those from all nooks of Negros Island converging here for the Cluster assembly, but also of those practically representing the different Provinces of the Order for linkages and mobilization projects were among those memorable events that went beyond the mere category of “activities.”
Recoletos de Bacolod is composed of the following friars: Fray William Emilito Villaflor (Prior, Vice President for Finance); Fray Cristituto Palomar (Vice Prior, Local Vocation Promoter, CSEC-R Anchor, Vice President for Religious Affairs, Campus Ministry, Religious Education Outreach & School Chaplain); Fray Amadeo Lucero (1st Local Councilor, Vice President for Student Welfare); Fray Don Besana (University President, House Librarian); Fray Jose Alden Alipin (Vice President for Academics); Fray Jose Teodulo Jadulco (Local Procurator, Property Administrator, Local Chapter Secretary) Fray Joseph Persiuz Decena (House Chronicler, House Liturgist, IS Director); Fray Ronel Gealon (Director of the RESOURCE-Handumanan, Spiritual Director of the OAR Nuns, Vice President for Administration, Scholarship Director); Fray Walthrode Conde (Human Resource); and Fray Joaquin Jamelo (Security & Maintenance).
Those dignitaries who arrived on February 24 were Fray Simón Puertas (Vice President of ARCORES International), Fray Nicolás Peréz-Aradros (former Prior Provincial of St. Rita Province), Fray Fioresi Alcimar (President of the Secretariat of Apostolate of the Province of Sto. Tomas), Fray Juan Carlos Avitia (President of the Secretariat of Apostolate of the San Nicolas Province), Fray Antonio Carrón (General Councilor, Pre4sidnet of ARCORES International, Section Head for Educational Apostolate), and Fray Raul Buhay (General Councilor and President of the General Secretariat of Apostolate).
Father General visited the community of Recoletos de Bacolod, together with his interpreter Fray René Paglinawan, OAR. They arrived at the convent in the morning, with Fray Joel Alve, OAR and Fr. Keneth Pahamutang, OAR as companions all the way from San Carlos City, an hour and a half away via Don Salvador Benedicto town. Towards noon, the community and the visiting friars from the General Curia and other Recollect Provinces prayed the midday prayers.
The official visit began in the afternoon at 3:30PM when Father General met the community members at the sala de recreo. The Major Superior reminded the brothers on the different points drawn from the General Chapter resolutions, official communications and updates such as, but not limited to, Zero Tolerance on the abuse of minors, and the sense of belongingness to the Order.
At 8:00 AM, Fray Dionisio Q. Selma, OAR, Prior Provincial, presided the holy mass at the Oratory of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, together with the rest of the OAR Fathers and religious coming from different communities here and abroad as concelebrants. Representatives of the UNO-R faculty and staff, student body, and some members of the Recoletos Family in Negros filled the oratory.
After which, everybody proceeded to the IS building site for the blessing and inauguration of the IS Hall dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Salud. The blessing of the edifice was led by the Fray Provincial and the Fr. General. The inaugural program followed after the blessing wherein Fray Don Besana, OAR, the University President, welcomed everyone present. The approved resolutions on the construction of the building were read by Fray Persiuz Joseph M. Decena, the School Board Secretary, and by Fray Jose Alden B. Alipin, the Board of Trustees Secretary. Messages were also delivered by Father General, Fray Raul Buhay, Fray William Villaflor, and Fray Eduardo Celiz, Jr. Then, the historical marker was unveiled by Fray Miró and the UNO-R religious. The IS Director, Fray Decena, gave the closing remarks. Ribbon-cutting followed, led Rome-based friars and participated in by Dr. Rovic de Leon (a lay BOT member) and Engr. & Mrs. Eric Taganile (owner of the KENNETH CONSTRUCTION, which was among the building contractors). Open house took place after the ceremonies.
Back to the Oratory at 1:00 PM, the Negros-assigned Recollect religious and their lay collaborators listened to Fray Antonio Carrón who gave a talk on the “Guidelines of the Order of Augustinian Recollects on the Protection of Minors.” Those who came for this organized event were representatives of the school’s faculty and staff, SARF, catechists, and Parish Pastoral Council from: Colegio de San Nicolas de Tolentino-Recoletos and San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish (Talisay City); Santo Tomas de Villanueva-Recoletos Formation House and Colegio de Sto. Tomas-Recoletos (San Carlos City); San Pedro Academy and Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned (Valencia, Negros Oriental); San Ezekiel Moreno Quasi Parish and San Pedro Academy-Recoletos (Caidiocan, Valencia, Negros Oriental); San Vicente Ferrer Quasi Parish (Apo Island, Dauin, Negros Oriental); and Our Lady of Lourdes Quasi Parish (Tambo, Ayungon, Negros Oriental).
Also well represented were the Augustinian Recollect Sisters from Colegio de Santa Rita (San Carlos City, Negros Occidental) and St. Augustine Academy (Bayawan, Negros Oriental). Fray Villaflor opened the program and welcomed all the delegations, while Fray Buhay gave the rationale of the talk and introduced the speaker.
In the evening, the community took supper at the comedor and after which, vespers and complines followed. The end of the visita de renovación took place during vespers. Part of the rite was a brief reflection on the reading, a letter of St. Paul to the Romans (12:9-12), given by Fray Miró who, at the conclusion, thanked the UNO-R community for the hospitality and generosity.
Father General and the friars from other Provinces celebrated the 7:15 AM Holy Eucharist with the OAR Nuns at the St. Ezekiel Moreno Monastery in Tangub. After breakfast with the cloistered Sisters, the OAR Fathers proceeded to Brgy. Handumanan to have a glimpse of the area where the university frequently conducts its outreach programs in collaboration with RESOURCE-Handumanan Foundation, Inc. (“RESOURCE” stands for REcoletos Social OUtReach CEnter”.)
At past mid-morning, Father General met the members of the SARF (Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity), RAY (Recollect Augustinian Youth), and CARAS (Confraternity of Augustinian Recollect Altar Servers) at the President’s Hall of the university for a talk. He told his audience about the significance of the Augustinian Recollect Family and their spiritual engagements. Father Miró also stressed out the prominent actions regarding the identity of being a part of the Augustinian Recollection especially for the youth, to have an engagement with Jesus, and form a community. Likewise, he challenged the listeners to do their best for the good cause of everyone. Finally, Father Miró encouraged the listeners to pray, share and try to live their life with joy in order to attain spiritual consistency amidst the changing course of the world.
After lunch, Father General et al. bid adieu to the community and left for Talisay.
With additional reports from RCI