Urbiztondo, PANGASINAN – Buenos dias y bienvenido! That’s how we greeted with the usual Spanish the visiting Fray Miguel Miró, OAR, Prior General of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, that early morning of March 15, 2019. Together with one of his general councilors, Fray Raul Buhay, OAR, he arrived in this newly established Recollect community in Pangasinan, thanks to the driving skill of Fray Ralph Ciceron, OAR, Prefect of Discipline of Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary, who volunteered to steer the wheel and brought them safe here.
The parish community located in Barangay Pasibi East is composed of the following religious: Fray Samson Silloriquez, OAR, local prior; Fray Joseph Cyprian Panaligan, OAR, parish priest; and Fray Jayferson Baldelovar, OAR, parochial vicar. The parish has just recently changed its name from the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish to Our Lady of the Visitation Parish through the approval of Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas who is the current local ordinary of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan.
The visit began with a simple breakfast prepared by the community. During meals, the local prior introduced each member of the community to the Father General. They also talked about the changes in structure of the convent and the parish since the first time the Recollects arrived in the parish last November 2017.
Immediately after, everybody proceeded to the community oratory to officially open the visit of renewal. The simple liturgy opened with the community singing of the song “Here I Am Lord.” Fray Buhay made some introduction about the purpose of the fraternal visit. Then the liturgical prayers continued.
Individual dialogue immediately followed, with Fray Buhay as interpreter for the two younger friars. After the dialogue, they were called all together for a special forum with these central points from Father General: implementation of the LAMP, OAR Charism and Apostolate, Social Apostolate, Protection of Minors, and the Importance of Communication. It was followed by Fray Buhay explaining the content of the document on the Pastoral Plan of the Augustinian Recollects for parish communities and its apostolates.
Father General expressed his gladness seeing how happy the members are living in unison with each other despite the age gap among the members. His final message to the community was to continue living in unity and living out the charism of the Order and to make known to the parishioners more the identity of the OAR.
Then the friars went back to the oratory for the closing liturgy, with the fraternal greetings of peace. At three o’clock in the afternoon, Father General too time to meet the newly-formed Local Chapter of Recollect Augustinian Youth (RAY) in Pangasinan.
At five o’clock in the afternoon, the historical turn-over of the administration and property of the parish and convent of Our Lady of the Visitation Parish by Archbishop Socrates Villegas to the Order of Augustinian Recollects was held and witnessed by no less than the Prior General himself, and other Recollect friars, some diocesan priests, the SARF and RAY members, and some parishioners and friends who came from the different communities of Luzon.