Fray Ramon Bitancor, OAR: A Minister of the Word and the Eucharist
Mira Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY—A month after Fray Ramon Bitangcor, OAR, had his Solemn Profession of Vows, he was ordained to the Order of the Diaconate on December 5, 2020 on the occasion of the 432nd anniversary of the birth of the Augustinian Recollection.
Located in the far-end of Mira-Nila Homes, a subdivision along Congressional Extension, the said ordination was held in Our Lady of Consolation Parish at 10:00 in the morning. The Ordaining Prelate, His Excellency, Most Rev. Roberto O. Gaa, DD, Bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches, presided the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and it was concelebrated with the religious priests of the Order headed by Fray Dionisio Q. Selma, OAR, Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.
Although it has been a practice that in ordinations such as this, the church is packed by faithful who wish to witness the celebration and extend their well wishes to the newly ordained. But because of the restrictions implemented by the local government brought about by the pandemic, only a few attended the celebration. A few members of the Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity and the Recollect Augustinian Youth, personnel of the Recollect Formation Center and Recoletos School of Theology, and a few friends were present in the said celebration. But despite the few number of attendees, the celebration pushed through with great solemnity.
In a concise homily of the beloved bishop, he shared that, he does not know Fray Ramon personally. However, the witness of the formators and the congregation present, represented by the request of the Prior Provincial that he be ordained to the Sacred Office already stands. He also stressed that ordination is not a magical event that will transform everything. Rather, it is an affirmation of what one did and what one has become; in this case, the candidate for the diaconal ordination. Moreover, despite the weaknesses that Fray Ramon shares, he was challenged not just to accept and recognize them but to go beyond them. Thus, become a sign and symbol of transformation and conversion to all.
After the rite of ordination was completed, Fray Ramon joined the other ministers and assisted in the celebration as a deacon.
Fray Ramon said, when he delivered his words of gratitude before the celebration was ended, “Gihalad ko kini sa atong Labaw na Makagagahum.Everything I am, everything I do, everything I have rightly belongs to the Lord.” He stressed that the office he now undertakes, in the name of the Church, places a significant meaning to his life as nothing but God’s property; a worker in his vineyard and a man not considered a slave under the law but a freeman under grace. Furthermore, he said that he is just a mere instrument in the hands of God and none of his accomplishments will ever be possible without His loving grace. The only thing he can do is offer this milestone of his religious life back to the Divine Caller.
In the previous ordinations scheduled on the said date, before the dismissal, the renewal of the vows of the religious takes places and after which the renewal of the promises of the members of the Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity. However, so as not to require the members to congregate in big number inside the church, the renewal of vows and promises took place in their respective communities. This time, the members of the Recollect Augustinian Youth will join in the renewal since they already made their promises during their acceptance as regular members in the last National Recollect Augustinian Youth Summit held in Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary, Baguio City. After the dismissal was given, a short picture taking took place in front of the altar and immediately everyone proceeded to the Bulwagang Rekoletos to fill their stomach with the sumptuous meal prepared by the seminary.