Day 2: Formands’ Convention
The first full day of the 12th OAR Formands’ Convention at the RFC fell on Pentecost Sunday, and it was nothing short of being appropriate as the Holy Spirit’s presence was invoked and was felt in the activities all throughout the day.
After the Morning Prayer held at the Mini-Forest, the Prior of the Province, Rev. Fr. Dionisio Q. Selma, OAR, gave his State of the Province Address to the formands gathered at the AVR.
Fr. Selma said the Province needs more religious willing to volunteer to go to the missions as he has been receiving invitations from bishops in the country and abroad for missionaries in their dioceses.
“We need missionaries, we need you and your continued commitment to the Order,” Fr. Selma said.
After relaying to the formands “sensitive” information regarding the condition of the Province in various aspects ranging from the number of religious and to its financial status, Fr. Selma said the Province “continues to survive” by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
He issued a challenge to the formands to take their formation seriously and so give an authentic witnessing to the youth that “this religious vocation, though never easy, is worth living” too.
Pentecost and Renewal of Vows
At 11 AM, the Father Provincial presided over the holy mass at the RFC chapel in honor of the Holy Spirit’s descent on Mary and the apostles.
Within the mass, the coristas of the Province renewed their simple vows before the Father Provincial; the Prior of the House, Fr. Lauro Larlar, OAR; and the Master of the Professed, Fr. Kenneth Onda, OAR.
In his homily, Fr. Selma likened the Holy Spirit to the air necessary for life; to the dove which symbolizes peace; tongue which brings about unity and communion; and fire which emboldens the timid to preach the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness.
“The vows are not irrelevant,” he said. “We who profess them could be likened to spiritual therapists, for the world is sick.”
He further cautioned the coristas to make the vows not out of “external constraints nor internal necessities, but out of love of God and His people.”
Interiority and Contemplation
After praying the Corona of Our Lady of Consolation after the siesta, Fr. Joseph Philip Trayvilla, OAR gave the convention’s first talk which centered on interiority and the contemplative character of the Order.
Fr. Trayvilla, the Spiritual Director of the college seminarians of the Order, emphasized that “there can be no formation without interiorization”, even as he insisted that interiority is “illuminist and mystical.”
He quoted St. Augustine as saying that before his conversion, he was a “prisoner of the exterior world.”
Interiority, he said, is not a fruit of work or personal development, but of an encounter. Real encounter, he added, can only happen between persons who are rooted in their interior selves.
“The depths of our interior life are always found in the presence of a caring, loving fire; that of the other, the Great Other,” he said.
After the talk, the formands had a chance to share their thoughts in their designated groups. They also bonded over fraternal basketball and volleyball matches during the game period.
The first day ended with the Lucenarium, service of light, held at the 3rd floor of the Parish Pastoral Council Building.