CEBU CITY -Dating its roots in the Province of Cebu as early as June 1621, the Parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel - Recoletos has been one of the pillars of Christian faith in the province. The parish, canonically established on January 1, 1971, centralized the devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel from the rest of the province.

The church is physically attached to the main architecture of the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJ-R), which, by association, led the non-parishioners to name it as St. Joseph’s Church. The non-association of the church to the patroness continued long enough up to the present.

Together with the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC), the present Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Joseph Granada, OAR, planned to install a large image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel at the anterior part of the church. The image will serve as a landmark and a patronal identification of the parish. The project also includes the installation of a large Clock.

On February 28 this year, the parish held a fundraising activity by means of a raffle draw. From the amount raised, the project was realized through the procurement of the image of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The image, 12 feet by 12 feet in dimension and costing P320-K, was installed at the church's façade on July 30, 2016.

On November 2016, a Php 2-M large clock is expected to be installed in the church edifice.

The Recollects’ mission of attending to the spiritual needs of their parishioners continues with the Lord's guidance and the intercession of our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The support of the parishioners and the devotees of the Blessed Mother will invite more faith-oriented projects for the growth and development of the local church.

 

by: Ian Rey Pableo

President-Parish Pastoral Council

DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan—“I brought forth my wish that the Recoletos open again a mission in Pangasinan,” wrote Most Rev. Socrates Villegas, D.D., archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, to the Prior Provincial after the fraternal visit of the Recollect religious and seminarians to the archbishop last September 1, 2016.

The invitation

The visit stemmed from an invitation in early August on the part of the archbishop himself to Fray Rafael Pecson, OAR who is currently the Dean of Studies of Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary in Baguio City.

The said archbishop ordained Fray Pecson and 9 others to the priesthood last December 5, 2015.

“When he knew that I am assigned in Baguio and in a formation house, the idea of a friendship game surfaced. I asked the permission of the rector (Fray Bernard Amparado, OAR) and he approved it,” recalled Fray Pecson.

But Archbp. Soc, as he is more familiarly called, later realized: “What about a basketball match between my priests and the OAR?” The invitation, thus, was extended to the Recollect religious.

The game

At midmorning of September 1, the basketball game between the college seminarians of Recoletos de Baguio and those of the archdiocese was played at the gym of Mary Help of Christians High School Seminary in Binmaley. Casiciaco’s best took home the better part. 

Towards noon, the clergy of the archdiocese met the Padres Recoletos captained by Fray Amadeo Lucero. The Recollects not only won the match; they also gained stronger ties with the diocesan priests in this part of the Panggalatok-speaking province.

Although the volleyball varsity of CARES was not able to meet with its counterpart due to a flooded court, the players just cheered for their teams during the basketball tournament.

All in all, there were 16 OAR religious who composed the team: Frays Leonardo Pauligue, Virgilio Paredes, Bob Cabanag, Rafael Pecson, Raymund Rueann Alcedo (Baguio); Frays Amadeo Lucero, Edgar Tubio, Teodulo Hayahay, Henry Santiago (Provincialate, Quezon City); Glynn Ortega, Gideon Antolin Lagrimas (Manila); Manuel Lipardo, Roland Cepe (Antipolo); James Dexter Tanquis (Cavite); Joseph Dexter Palagtiosa, Renier Alviola (Talisay, Negros Occidental).

The fellowship

Off they went to the Arzobispado de Lingayen in Dagupan City after the games for lunch. The chancellor also mingled with them at the refectory.

And when they already had rested awhile, they celebrated the holy mass at the cathedral with Archbp. Soc as the presider and homilist. “His sharing focused on a challenge particularly to the seminarians,” said Fray Henry Santiago, OAR who was among the friars present. Frays Edgar Tubio and Leonardo Pauligue stood as altar concelebrants.

The meal as vehicle for fellowship was palpably felt since after the holy mass, snacks was served at the recibidor. There, socialization continued. The seminarians rendered a Marian song and the ever-favorite “Magpapari" while the religious, with Fray Glynn Ortega on the guitar, sang in chorus “A song for you” composed by Fray Leander Barrot.

In his conversation to an exclusively-Recollect audience, the archbishop intimated his desire for the Recollects to come back to this portion of Luzon where former Recoletos missionaries had worked. Sincere to his heart’s yearning, he echoed it in his letter to the Prior Provincial: “we can offer an already established parish with modest rectory.”

Referring to this parish, he said: “Admittedly, it is an economically poor area but the Catholic faith is strong and the Catholic faithful are athirst.”

The need

Among the very first things he inquired about when he was transferred to this archdiocese was whether there are religious working in the area. Although the Catholic Directory of the Philippines listed 12 male and 11 female religious institutes present in the entire archdiocese, still he needs more, especially the Recoletos, to come and collaborate. 

“As a matter of conviction in Church administration, we, in Lingayen-Dagupan, do not distinguish between diocesan and religious clergy. The diocese is enriched by the charisms of our religious confreres as we hope to also contribute to the growth of their vowed lives,” Archbp. Soc pointed out.

The special invitation for the Recoletos had basis in local history: “The Augustinian Recollects, as you know,” he said in his letter to the Father Provincial, “were the first missionaries to introduce the Christian faith in Bolinao. Although that presence was mainly in the present Diocese of Alaminos, we in Pangasinan remember gratefully those pioneering years of the Recoletos,” the bishop continued. 

According to the Recollect historian, Fray Angel Martínez Cuesta, Bolinao was founded in 1609, three years after the first arrival of the Recollects in the archipelago. 

The reply

The Prior Provincial, Fray Dionisio Selma, OAR was happy to receive the invitation from the archbishop who also heads the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

It was among other invitations including those from local ordinaries abroad that Fray Selma received and responded. 

To that from Lingayen-Dagupan, he said he was thankful “for the warm welcome and hospitality you accorded to my brothers and seminarians during their visit to your archdiocese. It was, indeed, a refreshing visit to that area where our predecessors used to do mission works,” he wrote in reply.

In the same tenor of sincerity, Fray Selma also expressed gratefulness “for the invitation to collaborate with you in the pastoral works of the archdiocese. Actually, this is part of what we call Life and Mission Project (LAMP) of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.”

But he briefly informed Archbp. Soc that the upcoming 55th General Chapter of the Order will already be next month, on October 2, in Rome, ergo: “The Provincial Council deems it more opportune to decide after the said chapter when the expected restructuring shall take place.”

INAGAWAN, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan—The month of August brewed something more in the pastoral kettle of Recoletos de Inagawan. Something more to evidence that not only the community but also the parish is alive and kicking!

With Fray Raul Buhay, parish priest of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, on the lead, the implementation of the pastoral programs and activities of the parish continued to heat up. Working “in solidum” as the Life and Mission Project of the Province underscores, the present 5-member team of the community ably supported and assisted him in carrying out the ministerial tasks.

Solemn Feast of St. Ezekiel

As an instance of “divide and conquer,” the brothers were assigned to different areas during the fiesta celebrations. At the parish church of Inagawan, the high mass in honor of St. Ezekiel Moreno on August 19 started at 9:00 in the morning, with Fray Raul as the presider and homilist.

Fray Lounal Jarumay took charge of the mass at St. Ezekiel Moreno Parish church in Macarascas, one of the 66 barangays of Puerto Princesa City and is about 26 kms off the city proper. Fray Regino Bangcaya, the local prior, together with Fray Joel Villaruel and Fray John Paul Tanquiz, a deacon, joined in the celebration at the St. Ezekiel Moreno Spirituality and Development Center in Brgy. San Jose of this city.

In Inagawan, the post-missam activities included a procession of the image of St. Ezekiel from the parish church to a chapel in Tagbarungis, a riverside sitio. Twenty-six motorbikes and motorcycles participated in this year’s ceremony. Parishioners and devotees came for the vigil inside the chapel which started in the afternoon and lasted up to midnight.

Early in the morning of the following day, September 20, the festival resumed with the incensing of the image officiated by the parish priest. Men-volunteers carried the image from the chapel to the riverbank where around 16 boats were awaiting and set for the 7:00AM fluvial procession. The image of St. Ezekiel was comfortably placed at the boat owned by the Gimeno family.

After 40 minutes of navigating in prayerful mood that whole stretch of the Inagawan River towards the open sea, they all debarked at the beach near the endpoint of the St. Ezekiel Moreno Street. From that terminus a quo, they walked praying the rosary towards the Balon-Pari which is around a kilometer in distance and where the midmorning mass was presided by Fr. Albert Sanchez, parish priest of the San Pedro Parish of Puerto Princesa. Then, to culminate the two-day celebration before they dispersed to each one's home, everybody gathered for an early lunch.

Second Bible Workshop

The Inagawan parish confidently hosted the Second Palawan Regional Bible Workshop last August 11-12, 2016. The theme for this year’s workshop was “The Word of God is the Life and Mission of the Church” which is inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Verbum Domini.

With Stella Maris Bible Center of the parish as the venue, this year’s two-day live-in event registered a total of 72 participants from 25 parishes of the Apostolic Vicariates of Puerto Princesa and Taytay.

Fray Buhay, a Rome-trained Biblical theologian, was the brain behind the hosting. He said that the workshop was a good prelude to the forthcoming National Bible Congress to be held in October 3-5 in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. “The theme in this congress will be the same with that of the bible workshop,” Fray Buhay added.

BEC Orientation

Immediately after the bible workshop, an orientation on the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) was held on the same venue on August 13-14. The two-day seminar gathered 41 participants representing, this time, the different chapel areas of the parish.

Fray Buhay gave a brief rationale: “The BEC is a program we have started long time ago, but it somehow mothballed. So, now, we try to revive it and cover the whole parish.” He continued saying that before the participants came from the center, but this year there were representatives coming from the outstations.

Sr. Hilda Romero, MSLT, a Mensa Domini sister and the Vicariate in-charge of the BEC, was at the forefront of the said orientation program.

With the orientation and re-orientation of MSKs (or Munting Simbahang Kristyano), the parish priest remains optimistic to proceed to the next level. “Very soon, there will be follow-up, a scheduled formation program.”

Feast of St. Augustine in Tacduan

“Tacduan is a new community. It is the first settlement of the parish coming from the city proper (of Puerto Princesa to Inagawan),” Fray Buhay briefly described this one-year old portion of his parish territory where he celebrated the fiesta mass of St. Augustine last August 28. It was the chapel’s second patronal fiesta.

One of the 10 chapels in the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, the St. Augustine chapel has cooperative members, noted Fray Buhay. Although at the beginning people were hesitant to celebrate a feast in the month of August as it is a lean month for them, the father of the parish was able to convince them: “Don’t worry, St. Augustine will pray for you. He will take charge.”

With a faith that can move mountains, the people simply believed. And Fray Buhay enthusiastically reported that during mealtime after the fiesta mass, there was abundance of food brought and shared by everybody. Viva San Agustin!

LARAY, TALISAY CITY, CEBU—Fray Anthony A. Morillo, OAR will be installed first chaplain of the St. Augustine of Hippo Quasi Parish-Recoletos in Inayawan, Cebu City by Most Rev. Oscar Florencio, D.D., auxiliary bishop of Cebu tomorrow, August 27. The rite of installation will be integrated within the 6:30 P.M. mass.

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