News and Updates

Vincentian News (Volume 25, No.2. Quezon City. February 28,2017. Edited By Fr.DelaGoza,CM)

Vincentian News
(Volume 25, No.2. Quezon City. February 28,2017. Edited by Fr.DelaGoza,CM)

863. Thirty One Years Ago (1986). Please note that there are many scattered news on Vincentian involvement during the People Power Revolution. They can be retrieved in the 25 volumes of this Newsletter and we are reprinting the short note written in 1986, less than a month after People Power:

“Fifteen minutes with Cory. Without even dreaming of seeing President Corazon Aquino, the First Lady President of the Philippines, Father DelaGoza (the Provincial Visitor then) was invited to accompany 10 other persons to Malacanang Palace on March 24, 1986 (less than a month after Edsa). It was a chance in a lifetime, and Father grabbed it.

“After passing through the tight security guards, the group was ushered into the guest house which used to house international guests but now is being used by President Aquino as receiving rooms. The place, just opposite the Maharlika Hall of the Malacanang Palace, is only two storey high and not as long as the Marian Center. We waited for 15 minutes as nervous as the other five or six groups waiting their turn.

“At around 11:36 a.m. the group was called up to a room which could hold around 20 people Then President Aquino came in and recognized several people with a smile and extended her hand to shake the hands with the man in the cassock. She looked pale but relaxed and answered questions with humility and humor.

“She was asked about her French, since one of our companions knew French and she humbly said that she knows a little and that when French newspapermen were urging her to answer in their language she readily obliged. When told that she was on French TV talking French to the joy of Frenchmen she answered “they must be laughing because I made so many mistakes.”

“Some people commented that she looked thinner than before. She said that she lost eleven pounds since February 25 because she could not sleep much. She readily admitted that sometimes she missed her meals. “I have to choose between eating and finding time to do my hair, and I always choose the latter.”

“President Cory Aquino complained a little that her privacy is gone. She could not do her marketing, nor eat in any restaurant anytime and, above all, she could not just go to Mass without being distracted. The group readily told her that she should not worry about being distracted at Mass because the Filipino nation is praying for her. She answered “That is very good, but I need to pray personally everyday.

“The group mentioned that they did not come to ask for favor but to ask her what she would recommend for them. Without hesitation she said :”I wish you could do something for the poor, especially the rebel returnees who come down from the mountains.”

“President Cory Aquino gave the impression of a self-abnegating person, working for the good of the people in her own humble way but with a “ Vincentian touch of charity towards the poor.” (First published on Vincentian News, Volume 7, no.25, p.124, April 7,1986).

864. Retirement Home (Week of February 5-11). This additional updates of Retirement home (“Domus Pacis,” “Vincentian Quadricentennial House,” “Bahay Vincentiano”) dealt with the preparation for the next big thing which is the pouring of cement on the second floor. Half of the second floor is already cemented and the other half is already strongly cured and ready for finishing touches. Meanwhile more steel bars, cement, gravel, sand and earth are being trucked in. The extra earth will be used for compacting the ground floor.
Weeks of February 12-18; February 19-25. The pouring of the cement on the second floor occurred on February 20 in the evening. Seven large cement mixers rolled into the neighboring Rosalia Subdivision to take turns in pouring many cubic meters of cement. When one sees those common sights of cement mixers on the streets of Manila, one is amazed at their size but when one stands by it on the ground one is mesmerized. Although it was invented way back in 1916, the transportable mixers have seen many improvements in the past century. It is am amazing machine which can hold around 6 cubic meters of cement , then keeps the cement fluid while going through many kilometers of streets and finally find their destination. It is a wonder that they are able to keep the homogeneity and liquidity of the mixed cement up to the time that it is pumped by the “Pump-Crete” unto the surface. “Homogeneity” is a very important quality in concrete because the quality and strength of the concrete floors or structure depend on it. Because of the system used the cement mixed remain homogeneous, i.e. consistent and liquid at the same time.

The pumping of the mixed cement from the huge transport-trucks is actually the easiest part of the process. The truck takes care of pumping the cement through a tube which here in the Philippines is called a “pump-crete” which is a combination of steel tubes and hardened flexible materials. During the process on February 20, there were more than a dozen persons who stand near the pump-crete ready with their spade and “leveling materials”. As the cement oozes through the pump they spread them on the surface and spread with “leveling instruments.” After four hours the whole half floor of the second storey was already complete. Such a procedure would have lasted weeks in the old process. I personally remember constructing a cemented basketball court with spades and ordinary mixer to have lasted several week, way back in 1957. The space covered by the second floor is four times bigger and yet it was done in four hours more or less. The preparations , i.e. the setting up of the posts and the structures to hold the wood that support the cement structure went on for several days. It is amazing and surprising to watch structures rise especially if it is for the Senior Members of the Congregation.

865. DPH-SVST Alumni Homecoming (February 6-7). There are moments in the year that transcends the big picture. The Alumni Homecoming of the graduates of DEPH-SVST is one of those moments. It was nice and comforting to see Priests, Sisters and lay persons who have finished their studies at these institutions come back to share some of their experiences.

One of the nicest sharing was done at DPH Chapel on February 6 by Father Bernice of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao. He noted his Vincentian education which led him to take care of the Aetas, give help to the poor and invoke the Miraculous Medal.

The next day, the scheduled SVST Alumni homecoming saw many Vincentians, Diocesan Priests, Lay Persons and Daughters of Charity join the catered party. After the Holy Eucharist wherein “Sheila Rebecca” from Payatas shared her experiences with SVST and life in Payatas, there were raffles, singing and nice dinner. The sharing which took the place of the homily was delivered by Sheila in an emotional way due to the ultra-emotional situation in Payatas. Everybody was inspired and at the same time entertained by her extraordinary life journey as a student and as a professional.

866.Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Circular. The guidance- deprived Philippine Catholics, got some guiding light last February 5, when the CBCP had a three-paged circular read in all the parish Churches of the country. Archbishop Soc Villegas, the chairman of the CBCP signed the circular which gave some enlightening reminders to Catholics concerning their civic and moral duties. One of the most important provisions was the reminder that “silentium in malis, malum est,” silence in the face of evil is cooperating in evil. It was full of reminders on some urgent problems facing the country, notably the extrajudicial killings which has claimed thousands of lives in the past few months. Most of the people who heard or read the circular uttered a shy of relief that hopefully their will be conversion of hearts of those who are responsible for causing such great suffering to the Filipino people.

867. Hanging Gardens Marikina. (February 15). It is located at Marikina Heights in the midst of luscious green trees and clean air. Although located near the “Book Museum”, it has an unpretentious entrance but inside it has beautiful trees and facilities for a true communion with nature. The owner happens to be Dr. Danilo Tuazon,PhD in neuroscience from Keio University in Japan.

The National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) Division VIII held its February meeting at the Hanging Gardens with two excellent speakers in the persons of Dr. Aquino of Lyceum and Dr. Tuazon of UP. The former talked about the problems of corruption which most of us are familiar with . Dr. Tuazon gave the conference on “Neuroscience and Addiction” and it was a revelation to most of the persons present who hold PHDs in various fields of the Humanities. As he is one of the few PHD holders in neuroscience in the country, he held everybody mesmerized for an hour. According to him it is very well proven that addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, power, riches etc. affects the brain. He pointed out that rich people are oftentimes so addicted to money that even if they are billionaires they want more and refuse to give to the poor. He also noted that the brain commands the body to produce chemicals which in turn are transmitted to various parts of the body which then is triggered to produce the addicted tendencies. A person who is addicted to drugs needs to be treated medically in order to get cured. It took time to get addicted and so it takes time to get cured. He also pointed out that parents who live far away has another problem because not only the children do not see them but they do not touch nor smell them . He said that smell is quite important for bonding and knowing the parents.

868. Provincial Visitors’ Meeting (Asia Pacific Visitors Conference). Father Agner arrived from Vietnam last February 26 after attending the Annual Visitors’ Meeting in Dalat. He showed beautiful pictures of the ceremonies and the place. It was inspiring to see a huge building for the Philosophy department which could hold over 60 seminarians. Right now, the Vietnamese have one of the most flourishing vocation in the whole world. The building has four floors and our confreres mentioned that the next time that some of us will take a vacation over there, there is no need of worrying about hotel rooms or other facilities because they have enough to entertain us. Some of the pictures showed the seminarians, priests and some lay people but Fr.Randy Agner assured us that there were so many more lay people who attended some events.

869. Random News.

1. Fr. Venerando Agner’s 40th Ordination Anniversary is on March 5 and will be celebrated at Santuario de San Vicente de Paul.
2. Bishop Rolly Santos stayed with us until February 21. Meanwhile, Bishop Dosado was operated on his toe at San Juan de Dios (February 22).
3. Election of Visitor. A committee was formed composed of Fr Torres, Fr. Coloyan, and Fr.Caintic for the Election of Provincial Visitor. It is hoped that the ballots will be sent back by March 24 and by the middle of June, the process will end.
4. Fr. Evaristus Eko of Taiwan and Indonesia came for a visit at the Provincial House. He has fond memories of his stay in the Philippines and was the classmate of Fr.Thirdie, Fr.Dandy, among others.
5 Provincial Visitors’ Meeting in Vietnam was attended by Fr.Agner in February. Fr. Randy was impressed by the progress of the Vietamese Province. (see no.868).

“I hope and pray that this Year’s Holy Week, Easter and Easter Season celebrations will bring additional meaning to us and our life’s Mission as we reflect on the Trinity and take new steps towards the ideal model of relationship.” (Fr.Thomas Mavric, CM. Lenten Message 2017).

“Perseveranter oremus ut quod Jesus vult adimpleatur: “ut unum sint.” Pope Francis @ Pontifex Twitter February 27,2017.

Fr. Rolando S. DelaGoza, CM