Tondo, MANILA—With a proud history of having been visited by two ecclesiastical super VIP’s (St. Pope Paul VI and St. Pope John Paul II), the people of Delpan in Tondo prove that they are no amateurs in receiving and listening to yet another European bigshot who was there to visit the Recollect community of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish.
Fray Miguel Miró Miró, OAR, the worldwide head of the Augustinian Recollects, arrived at around 9:30 AM at the Recoletos de Tondo community on Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019, for the “Visita de Renovación” or Visit of Renewal. Upon arrival, he held a dialogue at once with the locals who patiently waited for him. Present in the parish church were members of the Caritas Group, Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity (SARF), and the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC). Aided by the Spanish language expertise of Fray René Paglinawan, OAR, he exhorted them to help their parish become a creator of communion as charged by Pope Francis to the whole Augustinian Recollect Order. More concretely, he encouraged them to take an active role in the work of evangelization which does not happen exclusively in the pulpit. He told them that spreading the Gospel is all about what one does every day. When the other recognizes the Lord in what one does ordinarily, then, for the Prior General, such is a fruitful evangelization already.
Additionally, he reminded them that their service should exude love and joy and that no one is more important over the other except the one who loves. Alluding to Augustinian Recollect style of parish administration, he suggested that competition should be eliminated and that unity and cooperation should be present instead.
To the members of the SARF, he reminded them that they are a blessing from God to each individual and to the parish in general. Moreover, he did not fail in telling them that they were called by the Lord to live the Augustinian Recollect spirituality which means that they have to live the OAR style of relating with the Lord through interiority, community, and apostolate. Acknowledging the inevitable reality of having daily problems, he nevertheless maintained that each member should live his or her daily life in joy and simplicity. This, according to Fray Miró, is a way of witnessing to the Lord in real life situation. Being members of the Order, he emphasized that they should be united in prayer and that their meetings should have the following elements: prayer, formation, sharing, and proposals on apostolate.
Shifting his attention to the Caritas Group, he bared that one aspect of the Recollect spirituality is helping the poor. It is for this reason that the Order has its social arm—the ARCORES. Fray Miró further declared helping the poor as a gauge in the vitality of the parish. He underlined the fact that each one can give something, although not uniformly. Helping others does not entirely mean giving money; it can also mean sharing time and talent. And for those who, under serious circumstances, cannot share time, talent, nor treasure, their smiles and prayers are most helpful because it is the heart that the Lord sees, not the monetary amount.
Finally, to the members of the PPC, he gave a reminder that the work of the parish is not the work of the priests alone but of everyone. He also enjoined them to follow the Augustinian Recollect community living as a model in governing the parish.
Before distributing souvenirs to everyone present, he expressed his gratitude to all for the help that they have been extending to countless OAR religious who have been assigned in Delpan.
At 11:15 AM, Fray Miró conducted a private dialogue with the friars at the recreo. Like a father speaking to his children, he reminded the local community of its primary responsibility in relation to the people of God: to become an evangelizing community. Most importantly, he exhorted the religious that they have to be true to their identity while working and living in the parish because God has called them to become Recollects and will continue calling them as Recollects. He also enjoined them to become creators of communion themselves by considering that the work in the parish is a work of the community and by respecting diversity and co-responsibility. Fray Miró encouraged every member to contribute whatever he has and can for the community because collective strength is better than its individual parts. He also expressed his desire for them to effect change and revitalization in the parish by undergoing personal change and revitalization. He made mention of the recent Order-wide reorganization which reduced the number of Provinces from eight to the current four. He then said that this should prompt a personal reflection that one can better serve the people of God by having a personal revitalization which, for the Prior General, means a conversion of heart, change of structure, and conversion to the community.
Recoletos de Tondo community is composed of Fray René Paglinawan (Prior, Parochial Vicar, House Chronicler, and House Librarian); Fray Jorge Peligro (Parish Priest, CSEC-R Anchor); Fray John Zachary Haguisan (Assisting Priest, House Liturgist, Local Vocation Promoter, Local Procurator, and Local Chapter Secretary); and Fray Jessriel L. Marcha (deacon, RCI member).
Moreover, to cap his dialogue with the local community, he charged the members with the promotion of social awareness which is enshrined in the OAR spirituality. He also stressed the importance of the protection of minors, emphasizing that the Church credibility is at stake because of the sexual misconduct rocking the Church today. It is on this issue that he wanted his confreres to ensure that the parishes under their care should be safe for minors. Finally, he reminded the local community of the importance of the communications arm of the Order and of the Province, telling the religious that it fosters the local community’s unity with the Order and with the Province by knowing the news and events therein.
At 1:30 in the afternoon, the individual dialogue with each religious commenced. At 4:00 PM, the official visit was concluded. He bade farewell for his next appointment.