Augustinian Recollect Family “concludes” Year of Holiness

          Activities for the closing of the Year of Holiness began Sunday, November 12, with a concelebrated mass at the Our Lady of Consolation Parish church. The main celebrant, Fr. Lauro V. Larlar, OAR, Prior of Recoletos Formation Center, gave a brilliant homily using the notion of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI as the springboard for his sharing: “Holiness does not consist in not making mistakes or never sinning. Holiness grows with the capacity for conversion, repentance, willingness to begin again, and above all with the capacity for reconciliation and forgiveness.” Moreover, in consonance with the Prior General’s intent, the main celebrant exhorted all the religious and the faithful “to aspire for holiness and offer them the example of those brothers of ours who are recognized by the Church as saints or venerable for martyrdom or for their virtue in the surrender of their lives.” The Apostolic Penitentiary granted the plenary indulgence for this feast.

        On Monday, November 13, Feast of the Saints of the Order, the Augustinian Recollect Family once again gathered at the Bulwagang Rekoleto for the talks given by Fray Manny Bolilia, OAR, (Year of Holiness and Beyond: An Assessment) and Fray Hubert Decena, OAR (A Witness to the Life of Fray Mariano Gazpio on the Road to Holiness). A compilation of devotional prayer materials was also presented to the audience by Fray Leander Barrot, OAR, Director of the RST Research Department. The program ended with a message from Fray Dionisio Q. Selma, OAR, prior provincial.

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        This was followed by a Eucharistic celebration presided by Fray Dionision Q. Selma, OAR, Prior Provincial. In his homily, he reiterated the intent of the celebration of The Year of Holiness: “to revive the call to holiness and to open ourselves to the action of the Spirit, who renews our hearts without ceasing . . .” A plenary indulgence was granted by the Apostolic Penitentiary for this feast.

        The day’s activities ended with a dinner. While partaking of the common meal, participants had the opportunity to share concerns and ideas on a) discipline needed for growth in the Life of Prayer of the Augustinian Recollects, b) on the theme: “Let us be One Heart in Solidarity with and for the Poor.” Shared ideas will be presented as “ponencias” for the 7th Provincial Chapter.

        While there were talks and activities throughout the closing of the Year of Holiness, those who attended would agree that the highlight was the opportunity to renew our commitment to "reaffirm our charismatic identity, spirituality, and service to the Church."

BAGUIO CITY - Nineteen third year college seminarians received the habit of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects during the solemn mass presided by Prior Provincial Rev. Fr. Dionisio Selma, OAR last October 12, feast of the seminary patron Our Lady of the Pillar.

OAR Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno pays tribute to Golden Jubilarians

            The months of September and October are special for Fr. Emeterio Buňao, OAR and Fr. Hubert Decena, OAR, as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of their priestly ordination.  

          At some stage of their Augustinian Recollect lives, Frs. Bunao and Decena have been teachers, formators, and school/seminary administrators. And joyfully, still they continue to offer many wonderful and diverse gifts to the Order and the Church. The long labor and love of Frs. Buňao and Decena produced about 86% of the Recollect priests, not counting the thousands of friends, families and many others whose lives they blessed and in some ways shaped through their ministry.

          On October 7, Saturday, at the Our Lady of Consolation Parish Church in Quezon City, a thanksgiving mass was offered for the two jubilarians, and to remember as well their friends, their families and the many who, in some ways, have shaped and blessed them.

          Fr Provincial, Fr. Dionisio Q. Selma, OAR, gave the homily at the Eucharistic celebration.  He humorously remarked on how Fr. Buňao and Fr. Decena have in many different ways shared their lives meaningfully with people—in the schools and in parish communities, and in the seminaries. But the preacher remembers most the jubilarians for their work in the area of formation. He noted that he had learned (and surely, the rest of the priests who once were under their care) a great deal from these two Recollect confreres/jubilarians about generosity, love for work, discipline tempered with affection and search for God. Both are men for friendship and this is so because their deepest relationship in this world is based on their friendship with Jesus. They remain to be authentic models of religious life.

          Right after the thanksgiving mass was a fellowship at Bulwagang Recoletos where visitors and well-wishers were entertained by numbers depicting the life and significant events in the life of the golden jubilarians.  It was an afternoon of laughter and joy which climaxed with the thanksgiving messages by the golden jubilarians.

Fr. Buňao and Fr.  Decena: made to last forever in the lives and hearts of people they touched as priests and religious . . . congratulations!

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