Eucharistic celebrations highlight Mt. Carmel Parish Fiesta Activities (Part II)

(July 16, 2017)

Mt. Carmel Parish, Cebu City—A pontifical mass presided over by the Most Rev. Dennis C. Villarojo, D.D., marked the culmination of the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Concelebrants were twelve Recollect priests and three diocesan clergies. 

In his homily, Most Rev. Villarojo commented on the Gospel reading about the parable of the seed. He invited the congregation to ask where they are: “Are you the seed that fell along the path? The seed that fell on the rocky ground? The seed that got choked by the thistles, the weeds? Or are you the seed that fell on the good ground where it can take root, grow, change you and then enable you to help others change? “

He suggested three steps in order to overcome the obstacles that hinder the seed’s growth: 1). Set parameters or boundaries—seeds that fell along the path could easily be trampled upon by passersby and so growth is prevented. Protect the seeds by setting boundaries. 2) Dig out the rocks and clear the ground for the seed to grow—identify the rocks that hinder growth in your spiritual life and push them away—sinfulness, hatred, unforgiveness, etc. 3) Carefully separate and full out the thistles in your life—attachments to the things of this world and the like, Facebook addiction included.

The homily was beautifully presented and was welcomed by spontaneous applause from the congregation.

Flower offerings to the Lady of Mount Carmel followed right after the final prayer then a  number of parishioners publicly expressed gratitude to: the presiding Bishop, Most Rev. Dennis Villarojo, D.D., Fr. Vicente Ramon, OAR, Prior of USJ-R community; Fr. Joseph Granada, OAR, Parish Priest; the OAR community of Cebu, visiting OAR priests; diocesan clergy; sponsors, donors, pilgrims, choirs, florists, friends and devotees who have extended their support in making this year’s celebration a success.

To all the wider parishioners, devotees we say: Viva la Virgen del Carmen!


PROVINCIAL CURIA—In the spirit of collective spiritual preparation for the opening of the Augustinian Recollect “Year of Holiness” on March 5, first Sunday of Lent, the community of Recoletos de Provincialate modified the liturgical guide sent by the General Secretariat of Spirituality and Formation.

At 8AM in the morning of March 4 (today), the friars of the central house convent, together with the members of the Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity-Provincialate Chapter, gathered at the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish church for a holy hour. Some of the prayers and reading materials were adapted to the anticipated celebration which, according to the instruction, should have been done in the evening.

Fray Amado Emmanuel Bolilia, President of the Provincial Secretariat of Spirituality and Liturgy, clarified that this recourse to the modified schedule was a compromise since a much earlier commitment regarding the evening celebration of Fray Buñao’s birthday bash in San Sebastian Manila was already made prior to the arrival of this protocol from the General Curia.

The Provincialate community members have decided to attend the birthday tribute to the so-called “The Last of the Mohicans” referring to Fray Buñao as the last Recollect Director of the San Miguel Corporation.

As of this writing, Fray Bolilia is trying to negotiate with San Sebastian community the possibility of integrating in the long program the “opening vigil guide” which includes a lucernarium, vespers, etc.

In reference this vigil rite, Fray Miguel Miró, prior general, in his letter addressed to the brothers, urged everyone “to give thanks to the Lord for the gift of being Augustinian Recollects and for the mission entrusted to us daily in the service of the Church.”

The OAR Year of Holiness will run from March 5 to November 13, 2017 (Feast of all Saints of the Order).

PROVINCIALATE—Fray Dionisio Selma OAR, prior provincial, has just completed his “visita de renovación” to the newly-created community of Saipan last February 23 to 26, 2017. He was accompanied by Fray Jose Ernil Almayo OAR, provincial secretary, who assisted him in the checking of the official books of the community.

Cebu City — The Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish-Recoletos has received a much-needed facelift and upgrade to distinguish it from the adjacent and more popular University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) on Magallanes Street here.

Parish priest Fr. Joseph Granada, OAR installed on the façade of the 45-year-old parish church a giant clock that is connected to a digital bell system (DBS) in lieu of the traditional church bell.

The church structure couldn’t support a more traditional bell after it endured the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu in October 2013.

“We are doing this because ever since this church was constructed in 1971, it didn’t have a bell,” Fr. Granada said in Cebuano. “Nothing calls the parishioners’ attention whenever we have Eucharistic celebrations here.”

“People even think that this church is just a big chapel for USJ-R,” he added, noting that this had discouraged people from attending masses here, choosing instead to go to nearby and more popular churches like the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.

Fr. Granada said the giant clock measures 10 feet in diameter. It is perched just atop the also giant statue of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel which in itself measures 27 feet by 12 feet.

The parish priest revealed that they ordered the giant clock and DBS from a Singapore-based company which also supplied the same products to some big churches here, including the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Archdiocesan Shrine of San Roque and Our Lady of Fatima Parish.

He said the DBS sounds 30 minutes and 5 minutes before every mass respectively. It also reminds the parishioners to pray the Angelus every 6 a.m., 12 noon and 6 p.m.

It also rings for the 3 o’clock prayer and at 8 p.m. for the poor souls in purgatory.

It has 5 horns that blast sounds facing Carbon Market (Cebu’s biggest market), Brgy. Ermita, and the surrounding streets of Panganiban, Borromeo, and Balagtas.

“More or less, we can notice that the number of churchgoers is rising,” Fr. Granada said. “We have been telling our parishioners during sermons that this is your church and that we are waiting for you here.”

The parish church serves parishioners coming from portions of Brgy. Ermita, Kalubihan and Pahina Central.

Today at the Carbon Market, when the DBS sounded at noon, flower and handicrafts merchants scampered to the nearest carenderia. “Let’s go eat,” they said in Cebuano upon hearing the bell sound. “Let’s eat together with the priest.”