Provincial Curia, QUEZON CITY – Amid water crisis that affected Metro Manila for the past days, a heavy downpour in the early morning of March 15, a Saturday, providentially came, allaying the sweltering heat at least for a day when the OAR Prior General, Fray Miguel Miró, made his renewal visit to the community of Recoletos de Provincialate.
The rain that poured down few hours before sunrise also “blest” the group led by Fr. Robert Reyes and Fray Jonathan Caballero, OAR, who, at that time, were transferring the “Kariton ni Kiko” (a pushcart named after Pope Francis and specially designed in accordance with the advocacies of the pope) to the Recollect-administered San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish.
Lauds and Holy Mass
The usual Saturday morning prayers at 6:00 AM at the parish church of SNDTP were led by the members of the Secular Augustinian Recollects – Provincialate Chapter. The Recollect Fathers, members of the SARF and RAY (Recollect Augustinian Youth), some mass-goers, and the group of Fr. Reyes joined in the praying of the lauds.
At 6:15, the “running priest” Fr. Reyes gave a brief talk about the “Kariton ni Kiko” which symbolizes the concrete effort of the Diocese of Cubao, to which SNDTP belongs, to support social concerns programs especially those that relate to “buhay” (representing the human person’s fundamental right to life) and “bahay” (representing the person’s basic needs, one of which is shelter).
With his equally strong advocacy for the social apostolate of the Order through ARCORES, an international solidarity network of the Recoletos, Father General appreciated the meaningful initiative and its insertion in the schedule of his visit.
Fray Dionisio Selma, Prior Provincial, presided the concelebrated mass that followed. Before the homily delivered by Father General, with the Tagalog translation of Fray Raul Buhay, the official start of the renewal visit was integrated. Fray Bernabe Dosdos, local prior of the community, read some relevant excerpts from the Rule of St. Augustine and the OAR Constitutions.
Conference with SARF, RAY
Right after breakfast at the Pastoral Center, Father General met the members of the SARF and RAY. He first directed his talk to the young ones, reminding them of their “present” role and participation in the life of the Church. His emphasis on the youth as the “today” of the Church rang the core of Pope Francis’ message in Panama-held World Youth Day. He also clarified to them the stages of the formation itinerary of the RAY.
To the SARF-Provincialate Chapter with around 48 active members, he reminded them to be faithful to their Rule of Life which, in concrete, is the very path to holiness.
Individual and Community Conference
Recoletos de Provincialate is composed of Fray Bernabe Dosdos (Local Prior and Provincial Procurator); Fray Jose Ernil Almayo (Vice Prior, House Chronicler, Provincial Secretary); Fray Jonathan Caballero (Parish Priest); Fray Amado Emmanuel Bolilia (Parochial Vicar, Provincial Councilor); Fray Emilio Larlar, Jr. (Member of the Pool of Translators of the Province); Fray Ceferino Añez (House Liturgist); Fray Rellyric Delos Santos (Chapter Secretary); Fray Dionisio Selma (Prior Provincial); Fray Allan Jacinto (National Vocation Director); Fray Felipe Rollon, Jr. (Resident friar); and Fray Robin Ross Plata (deacon).
As in other communities, Father General talked to all the brothers individually, except to the last two who were then in Tagaytay. He also dialogued with Fray Dominador Mercado, one of the missionaries to Indonesia, who was then around for vacation, and to Fray Dennis Castillo who was to return that evening to Sierra Leone.
He also met, after lunch, the group in-charge of formation apostolate led by Fray Francisco Javier Monroy, General Secretariat President, together with Fray Ian Anthony Espartero, Fray James Castelo, and Fray Kenneth Joseph Onda.
At 5:50 PM, Father General met the brothers in a plenary session during which he reminded them of the same six key points about which he had told the other communities: revitalization and restructuring; community life and our charism; ARCORES and social apostolate; protection of the most vulnerable in our apostolate areas; mission and ministerial apostolate; and communication.
Standing out among his reminders was the one that echoed the message of the Pope for the Recoletos: to become “creators of communion.” But this can only be made effectively possible and meaningful if there is conversion in each religious, Father General said.
Closing of the Visit
During the praying of the vespers, the closing rite of the visita de renovación was integrated. Father General, in his final words to the community, expressed his gratitude not only for the warm hospitality accorded to him but also for the OAR way of life being lived with peace and fidelity. “Peace is a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit,” he said.
After his last reminder to the brothers to open their hearts to the Lord to be able to comply with the Life and Mission Project of the Order and of the Province, he then gave his final blessing.