News and Updates

Vincentian News (Volume 25, No.3. QC. March 31,2017. Edited By Fr.DelaGoza)

Vincentian News
(Volume 25, No.3. QC. March 31,2017. Edited by Fr.DelaGoza)

870. 40th Anniversary of Fr.Randy Agner, CM. (March 5). Forty years of outstanding service in the ministry of the Priesthood is a long time and Fr.Venerando Agner, our Provincial Visitor, verbally expressed it at the start of his homily and all those present agreed with him by fully enjoying the day-long celebration. The huge Santuario de San Vicente de Paul was full because it was a regular Sunday Mass. Moreover, there were many Sisters and twenty concelebrating Priests. Fr. Agner pointed out that he is alone because Fr.Carcellar died and his other two companions have long ago left the priesthood.

Although the sound system at the Santuario had much to be desired it was compensated by the nice sound and musical accompaniment at the “Verandas” (before Bulwagan) where a beautiful power- point presentation was made on the life of Fr.Agner from his early years to the present. In addition there were special music presentation by important artists which included a singer who auditioned for “Les Miserables” and our own Cathy who held her own by singing several Filipino songs. Sister Martha, several members of the family also expressed their musical talents to the delight of those present. The catered food was also appreciated by one and all.

A special feature of the 40th Anniversary of Fr.Agner was the exhibition of musical talents not only from his family but also from the many people who touched his life including Priests, Sisters, lay people and musicians. They all shared their musical talents for all to hear and enjoy as they have done in the pasts 40 years. We hope that Father will enjoy 40 more years of a musical and colorful life.

871. Retirement Home. Week of March 12-18. As of March 12, all the posts, the second floor and some parts of the wall are all cemented. It is amazing to watch such a huge building, relatively large space, rise up from nothing six months ago. Last week, the workers started to put the hollow blocks on the side of the second floor of the building. The ground floor is being prepared by leveling the ground by means of compactor machine and also hand held ground compactor. The compactor or tampering machine not only make the ground compact but also helps in making it level and relatively smooth for the pouring of the cement. It has a great advantage over the hand held instruments which are quite common in the provinces even for the construction of the road. As the area is quite large i.e. around 800 square meters it takes time to compact and level the ground. It was during this period that they started putting up some of the walls made of hollow blocks.

Week of March 19-March 31. This week can be called the “walling time.” Hundreds upon hundreds of hollow blocks were brought inside the compound and at the Rosalia Village road and carried up to the second floor for putting up the walls. These hollow blocks are subcontracted, mostly from Pampanga, and so they have a nice whitish color. I imagine most of them must be composed of some lahar from the great “Pinatubo” volcano eruption. Within a few days, the ground floor will also be fully cemented.

872. Parish Priests Meeting at La Jardin de Baliuag. For several days (March 14-16), 25 confreres who work at the Parish Ministry spent two days at the beautiful Jardin de Baliuag. All were happy to see the place famous for its beautiful natural beauty and fishponds. It has to be noted that we now have nine (9) parishes: San Vicente de Paul in Manila, Miraculous Medal National Shrine in Sucat, Santuarioi de San Vicente de Paul in QC, Ina ng Lupang Pangako in QC, San Roque Parish in Cebu, Miraculous Medal in Iloilo, Miraculous Medal in Lingayen-Dagupan, Saint Joseph Parish in Ozamiz, San Isidro Labrador in Surigao . Outside the country, there are several confreres working in Parishes too. The Vincentian Community has truly morphed into a Parish-Oriented community. It was not surprising that so many confreres joined the Parish Priests’ Meeting attracted as they were by the beautiful facilities of La Jardin and the exemplary programs in many parts of the country.

873. Accredition of St.Vincent Shool of Theology. (March 16-17?). All of us are aware that the Central Seminary of UST is a Pontifical Seminary and so is an accredited school of Theology. But if we are asked how many other schools of Theology in the Philippines are accredited we will be hard pressed. There is a Protestant Asian School of Theology which offers accredited programs.

Accreditation Level II. There are many advantages for schools that undergo “Accreditation” programs. In the case of SVST, as the school is a department of Adamson University, it shares with many of the advantages of a good school: excellent faculty, very good library, high professional training for the professors, etc. The accreditors who are veteran accreditors of the PACU-COA of which the present writer was the President way back in 1993 but they were impressed at the facilities and programs of our school. One of them who was more than sixty years old expressed his admiration:”I wish I could study in a school like this.” If you see a clean environment, full of green plants and trees, air-conditioned rooms and library full of books, one could not but express the same sentiment. The seminarians and lay students were one in endorsing the school during the interviews of students. At the level I interviews, the accreditors were able to demand that a flagpole be set up and there was as beautiful stainless steel flagpole and a new Philippine flag waving in the air. The accreditors were also able to recommend an elderly- friendly walkway connecting the SVST and the SVS. Some of you may have noticed the old structure which was good enough for protecting from sun and rain but not so beautiful. After around a million pesos of improvement the walkway is world-class comparable and as beautiful in the eyes of the beholder and non-beholder alike. Almost unnoticed is the fact that the long stretch of the walkway is now of one level and one has no need to make sure that he will not fall down due to the uneven ground surface. In addition, the tiles look perfect and colorful to the eyes compared to the previous drab colored cement.

Needless to say, it takes time, effort and money to gain accreditation. By the way accreditation is gained and granted only by accrediting institutions, the principal ones in the Philippines being the PAASCU and the PACU-COA. Congratulations to Fr. Pilario,Fr.Torres and the other priests, professors and co-workers at the SVST.

874. 400th Anniversary of Vincentian Charism. What sort of appropriate ideas and visions are needed to renew, revive, and spread the Vincentian charism? The answer of the SVS Complex at Tandang Sora was loud and clear: set up a feeding program for the poor in the area. The four communities in the SVS Complex: DePaul House, Provincial House, the St.Vincent seminary and the Santuario de San Vicente de Paul Parish were divided into three groups. Each group is responsible for one or two days of the week to feed the street and poor people and those in need around the compound.

The Santuario de San Vicente de Paul has had three days of experience already since they have a core of parishioners who are eager and willing to help. This writer was able to look around and interview some of the parishioners involved. On March 18 he made ocular inspection and observation from 8:00 pm to 9:15 pm to see how many poor people would arrive. There were around half a dozen parishioners with lots of chicken and rice in clean containers right at the entrance of the Church, i.e. on one side of the bazaar. I sat down with them. It turned out that the past week they already fed some people but found out that nobody or only a few came. They got an L-300 car and moved around the streets of the Parish and gave food to the poor people who have not eaten yet. They said that they fed around 50 persons. Meanwhile, I have been watching for 40 minutes and not even one poor person arrived from 8:00pm to 9:15 pm. I made this observation to the persons who were eager to serve the food they have prepared. They told me that within a few more minutes and there are no people coming in, they would go out and distribute to the poor. The next day, I made some more interviews and they told me that there were several who came to eat inside the SVS complex and they had to go out and find some poor in the streets who were very willing to eat the delicious chicken and rice. If nothing else, at least there were some beneficiaries for the hard work and care coming from the disciples of St.Vincent.

Meanwhile, the other components of the SVS Complex implementation of the “feeding program” for the poor are still in the organizational level because the seminarians are going to the popular missions, for vacation or for work in their respective dioceses. Hopefully, when they come back in June they will be ready to distribute some of the food for the poor.

PS. Other Houses. We are encouraging the other houses to send reports about their implementation of the “Charism of St.Vincent” in their houses so that we will not only be aware but also practice the spirit of St.Vincent de Paul in faraway Philippines.

875. Random News.
1. The Vincentian Parish Priests held their meeting at Jardin de Baliuag lst March 14-16). (Please see no.872).
2. SVST Accreditation by PACU-COA. The St.Vincent school of Theology gained its Level II accreditation from the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities--Committee on Accreditation (See No.873)
3. DePaul Insider News. It is a very good source of information for those interested in knowing about our formation work at DPH. Houses with newsletters , please send us copies.
4. Six new rooms at DPH. There are six new rooms at DPH constructed on the top of the garage. They will be used by the Doctoral Students and also for special guests this summer.
5. DPH year-end evaluation of seminarians. Believe it or not but there were four consecutive meetings to prepare the evaluation of the seminarians. Fr. John Era prepared an excellent system which was actually an “Online” evaluation of students.
6. Second ballots for the election of the Provincial Visitor are due on April 14 (Good Friday). All are requested to send their ballots as a sign of our interest in this important community experience in fraternal living.
7. Last General Assembly at DePaul House. Before going for vacation a General Assembly of Seminarians and Priests were held at the DePaul House in the fourth week of March. There were some beautiful sharing and observations and most of the seminarians expressed their “tatak Vincentian” spirit which is greatly appreciated in their individual dioceses.

876. Medical clinic. As of March, there are two functioning medical clinic at the SVS complex: one at the Santuario and another at the SVST. The latter is a requirement by the PACU-COA, the other is the important need of the Parish. The SVST medical clinic is not too large but it is good enough o accommodate some chairs and a good supply of medicine just in case. So far I have not heard of any SVST student, much less Seminarian getting any treatment. On the other hand, the Santuario Medical Clinic is very much full-hand on Sundays when close to a hundred patients come to be treated for some minor ailments or just to get some medicine of which the clinic is fully provided for. There are several medical doctors who have volunteered, a working student of Adamson and also NORA . It is amazing how little medical facilities there are even in the rich and progressive city like QC. Hopefully, our Retirement Home will have a good clinic.

877. Fr.John Era,CM: New Formation Director at DPH. Copied below is a message of Fr. John Era published in the “DePaul Insider,” Dec.2016): “I have to say that the most exciting part of my new role as formation director of De Paul House-something that I always look forward to these days-is my one-on-one communication with the seminarians. To make sure that I be able be effectively mentor all of them , I have set as personal requirement that I get to see and talk with each one regularly for an hour, at least once a month. It could be very physically exhausting at times, especially when I get to spend my whole day talking with several of them. However, at the end of the session, I always feel grateful for the opportunity of getting to know them more. Actually, every time I feel their sincerity and trust, my tiredness just dissipates. I am very new to the community. I k now it will take time for some of them to feel comfortable with me around. Nevertheless ,my many personal encounters with them have paved the way for our growing trusting relationship. Their openness and willingness to undergo the process of formation that I am trying to introduce make my work a lot easier and even more enjoyable. With God’s grace, I know that I will have a great time accompanying all of them.”

Pope Francis: “Nemo solus salvatur.” (@Pontifex, quoted by The Telegraph, March 30).

Fr.Thomas Mavric: “I think we must look to the future with great hope, precisely because by giving ourselves to Providence I think we are not going to go wrong.” (Interview of Fr.Mavric, Vincentiana, October-December 2016, p.490.
“Father Mauvric blesses new venture for homeless men in Catania.” This a report at CMGlobal stating that it is part of the 400th anniversary of Vincentian Charism.

Fr. Rolando S. DelaGoza,CM