ANTIPOLO CITY – Early in the morning of March 11, the Prior General of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, Fr. Miguel Miró, OAR, together with Fr. Raul Buhay, OAR, a General Councilor and President of the General Secretariat of the Apostolate, made his own version of the popular song “Tayo na sa Antipolo” (“Let’s go to Antipolo”), by snaking his way up to the Recoletos de Antipolo community for the visit of renewal in compliance with the mandate of the OAR Constitutions.
The community of Recoletos friars here houses the prenovitiate and novitiate programs of formation. The Bahay-Lingkod-Recoletos for the prenovices shares premises with the St. Ezekiel Moreno Novitiate-Recoletos. The Chapter of Formation team is composed of Fray Paulino Dacanay (Local Prior and House Librarian); Fray Arnel Diaz (Vice Prior); Fray Emeterio Buñao (SARF Director, Resident Confessor and Spiritual Director); Fray James Castelo (Prenovitiate Director and Local Vocation Promoter); Fray Roland Cepe (Novice Master, House Chronicler, House Liturgist, CSEC-R Anchor & Chapter Secretary); and Fray Charlito Orobia (Local Procurator).
Morning Prayers, Mass
Fray Paul Dacanay presided the holy mass, with the rest of the Fathers concelebrating. Fr. General gave the homily in Spanish and was translated to English by Fr. Buhay. With the reading of some portions of the Rule of St. Augustine and the OAR Constitutions, the renewal visit was formally opened.
Then, the community of Antipolo formally welcomed their visitors including Fr. Javier Monroy, OAR, the General Councilor in-charge of formation, who came at around 9:30 am. He visited and was toured around by Fr. Castelo.
In the second day of the visit, the community celebrated the Holy Mass with the Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity (SARF) members. (Unfortunately, no member of the Recollect Augustinian Youth (RAY) was around due to conflict of their schedule.)
Commitment and Concerns
On the first day of the visit, the formators had their meeting with Father General who talked to them about, among other things, “revitalization” and how it is realized in the community and in the Order in general. He also challenged them to be “creators of communion,” to observe the strict implementation of the guidelines concerning protection of minors, to collaborate in the the social involvements of the Order particularly to those who are in the periphery, and to implement the the formation of formators to better accompany the formands. Moreover, Fr. General asked ther formators during their individual dialogue about their commitment and concerns as religious, as well as their apostolate in the community and outside.
Meeting the Celebrity
At 8:30 a.m., March 12, Fr. Miguel had a meeting with the SARF. He asked their status, activities, and projects. They presented their projects and programs: medical mission; annual feeding for the children every December; sponsoring some of the Recollect Augustinian Youth in School; and many more. The SARF received compliments from the Fr. General for being active and for being prayerful. Nanay Conching, a SARF member, felt delighted for the appreciation on how she was able to juggle her time to serve the church while her tasks as a grandparent. After the meeting, Fr. General gave a present to each of them, but Nanay Conching asked for his signature, and the rest followed suit, like a group of fans circling their ‘celebrity idol’ for autograph signing.
Wisdom and Encouragement
Past midmorning of March 12, Father General and his two companion met the formands. The visitors threw lots of questions so the seminarians could share their experiences as a novice or a pre-novice. The sharing was mixed with laughter as Father. General would spice his with his fatherly knack and wit. Every after sharing, wisdom was gained. Every after laughter, encouragement was given. Somehow, the presence and wisdom of the three visitors re-invigorated the zeal of the formands. As Fr. Miguel told the formands: “You have to have a personal experience of the Lord Jesus Christ which does not come neither from books nor from any people. An ‘experience’ which will be guided and accompanied by any OAR priest to confirm if the candidate’s vocation for religious life is authentic or not.” He also added that the candidates, as early as their formation stage, should already be responsible for themselves – by being mindful of their action and by purifying their motivation.
Towards the end of the meeting, Fr. Monroy shared some inspiring words. “It does not mean that when you have problems or crisis, you don’t have vocation anymore. Rather, it means that you should work hard for your vocation.” For his part, Fr. Buhay said: “Always be humble. Think of what you can contribute to the Order, and not what the Order can give you.”
The final words were given by Father General; he gave the formands two points to ponder: first, “what God wants for me”’ and second, “what I want for myself.” Then, he told the formands” “Only God knows what is in the depth of our hearts (and) God wants us to be really happy whatever vocation we choose.”
The meeting ended giving the formands new hope and new inspiration. Thanks you for those words of wisdom and encouragement.