Vincentian News (Vol.25, No.5. QC. May 2017.Edited By Fr.DelaGoza)
Father Gregorio Banaga, CM
on the occasion of his election and appointment as
Provincial Visitor of the Philippine Province.
883. Father Gregorio Banaga CM. Reproduced below is a short biography of Fr.Banaga, published in “Touchstone,” an official publication of Adamson University:
“The first years of Fr.Banaga’s priesthood were spent giving popular missions in the outlying areas of Rizal, Bataan, Camarines Sur and Pangasinan. His work in the missions was interrupted when he was assigned as parish priest of the San Vicente de Paul Parish Church in Manila for more than a year. After eight years conducting rural missions, he was sent to the St. Vincent School of Theology (SVST) in Quezon City to become the Director of Students and professor of pastoral theology . He taught at SVST for four years……’’”In August of 1992, he was sent to the United States to continue his graduate studies. He started his master’s degree in Organizational Development at Loyola University , Chicago, Illinois. While in Chicago, he worked in a parish and was consultant to the Ethnic Ministries of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
“In 1993, he joined the doctoral program in Organizational Behavior of the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. During the six years that he studied in Cleveland, he worked at a parish and became the Spiritual Director of the Philippine American Community and Chaplain of the University Hospitals. He finished his doctoral degree in Organizational Behavior in January 2000.
“Upon returning to the Philippines in the same year, he was assigned to Adamson University where he served first as Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice President for Administration a year later. In 2003 he was elected as fifth President of Adamson University.” (Touchttone. Semestral Magazine of Adamson University. Volume 8, No.1 June-November 2015,p.2).
Fr. Gregorio Banaga is the tenth Filipino Provincial Visitor and one of the nine living Provincial Visitors, around 10 % of the Province. At 63 years of age, he is the oldest elected Visitor, the youngest having been elected at the age of 39. With the benefit of age and multiple experiences there is great hope that the Philippine Province will continue to progress and be a leaven in the Philippines and in the world.
He was born on October 31,1953 of Gregorio and Catalina in Tarlac City,Tarlac. He studied at the St.Vincent Seminary at Valenzuela, Bulacan, A.B.Philosphy at Adamson U and STB at UST. He finished his doctoral studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio, USA (2000).He emitted his perpetual vows in Angono on Dec. 18,1978 and was ordained priest on March 17,1979. His first assignment as member of the Popular Mission Team (1979-1986) and as assistant parish priest of San Vicente de Paul . In 1988, he was appointed student director at DePaul House. In 1992, he was sent to study in the United states, specifically at Case Western Reserve University at Cleveland Ohio. He was appointed President of Adamson University 2003-2016.
Father Gregg was a Provincial Council member, formator, missionary, educational administrator, superior and member of various community ministries. There is a great hope that the Lord will continue to bless him in this most important office of Provincial Visitor.
Breaking News. Fr. Banaga’s installation as Provincial Visitor will be held at the Verandas de San Vicente on June 14 at 6:00 p.m.
884. -Bons Propos (May 10). Against the backdrop of the 400th anniversary of the Birth of the Charism of St.Vincent and inspired by the 17 Vincentians who travelled all the way to Trece Martires, Cavite, three seminarists emitted their “bons propos” last May 10 in the presence of Fr.Rady Agner, CM. Bro. Arnel Pelonia, Bro. Andrew Bayoquing, Bro Rommel Fortuna were looking very Vincentian and sounded very happy during the ceremonies and, later on, at the Agape. There were several dozen lay people, mostly relatives and friends of the three seminarists. As always, the food was excellent especially the specially prepared soup. Bro. Hansen Misa was admitted and, hopefully a Fijian will arrive to join him soon.
It is always a great pleasure to visit Trece Martires to see nature at its glorious best: emerald green trees, contented animals and hopefully contented seminarists. As an aside, four monobloc chairs crushed down during the ceremonies, maybe as a sign of contented or over-contented confreres? Luckily none of them got hurt but one had to be helped by several confreres to rise up. Hopefully, twenty five years from now, our Seminarists will not become monobloc destroyers but weight watchers.
885. Retirement Home. Weeks of May 1-31. The four weeks of May passed rather quickly and so did the construction period of the Retirement Home. As of the fourth week of May, practically the walls are all set up with hollow blocks and the roofing is being started.
Hollow blocks. They are also called CBU (concrete building units). It is amazing to see thousands upon thousands of hollow blocks being de-loaded from trucks into the construction site. Most of the concrete blocks are produced in Pampanga where there is an abundance of the lahar and gravel and sand. It is a common site in Metro Manila where hundreds of skyscrapers are being built with such speed. These building units are also common in other parts of the world because of the ease of transport and the prefabrication process. In the case of the Retirement Home, once the hollow blocks are de-loaded from the trucks, they are still manually taken to the top via a pulley system to raise each and every hollow block to the second floor. It is not a case of construction “stone upon a stone” but hollow blocks upon hollow blocks cemented and joined by steel bars.
886. Blessing of the Bamboo Houses in Bagong Silangan (May18). No less that Bishop Antonio Tobias, Fr. Randy Agner, Vice Mayor Belmonte, the “Kapitana” (Baranggay captain), Fr.Torres, Fr. Budoi Borja, Fr.Tuazon,etc. and many lay people were present at the Holy Mass and blessing of the housing project at the Bagong Silangan. You must have seen some of the pictures uploaded by our Social Ministry showing samples of these houses which are made of cement but portions of the structures use bamboo. They are nice and cool inside and the people , many of whom were victims of various calamities appreciate what has been done so far. As the Vice Mayor was present at the blessing, there is a great possibility that the road will be paved in the near future. Meanwhile, it is assumed that we continue to support this very worthwhile and urgent need of the Metro Manila population.
887. Laudato Si Garden at Santuario. Even if you think that you have seen it all at the Santuario de San Vicente DePaul, please be sure to make an appreciation visit at the “Laudato Si Garden,” near the previous “Jurassic Park” of sometime ago. From my many visits to the Laudato Si Garden” (LSG), I really appreciate the attempt at having some animals inside the compound but had pity on most of them confined in such a small space. There must be several dozen birds and animals inside a few square meters of space among them but the children and adults alike are very happy to see and watch some of those animals—some of them seen for the first time by our inner city youth. Who can resist playing with the very playful monkey who takes advantage of your passing under his space to takeaway and run away with your hat? Who can stop laughing at the nice birds who run around their small cages? Or who cannot but be curious at the smell-less pigs inside a small pigsty? Who can help but wonder at the numerous kinds of rats and rodents nearby? To top them all, who would not be tempted to put a three meter snake around ones neck if the children do it?
There are some very appreciative reactions to the garden which is also a resting and therapy place for many confreres, including some of its ardent promoters. But of course, there are some not-so-favorable reactions especially to the constrictive space given to the animals prompting some to say that it should be called “Condanato Si Garden.” Take it or leave it, the “Laudato Si Garden” has a big poster proclaiming its noble and altruistic aim of reverting the tide of negative climate change.
888. Random News.
1. Popular Missions. Despite “Tokhang threats” and the intense heat, Fr. Porcincula was able to hold popular missions in the three main islands of the Philippines :Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Many young confreres joined in and dozens of seminarians and lay people helped in the mission work. Fr. Navida, Fr. D.Pacheco, Fr. Suralta, Fr.Limjoco, Fr. Dino, Fr. Rotoni , Fr. Teresas, Torayno, Fr. Ferreras, Fr. Abuel, Fr. Encelan, Fr. Disu, Fr.Simbajon, Fr. Baculi, Bro.Mayores, Deacon Colina, all our energetic lay missionaries,etc. Moreover, 12 foreign visiting priests joined one of the missions in Camarines Sur.
2. Visiting Confreres. Fr. Ginete came from South Sudan and Brother Adoy Fajardo from Rome. As always, there are so many interesting news from faraway places especially when the confreres are excellent story tellers. South Sudan is such an exotic place with so many attractions including abundant oil and the many seven footers among its people. The Vincentians are involved in the mission project of the Association of Major Superiors in Rome and Fr.Ginete has an excellent record of giving formation to the clergy as well as the people. Further West, in Rome to be exact, Brother Adoy Fajardo is enjoying his stay in the Eternal City and has helped in the transition to a new Superior General. He has now served under three Superior Generals and merits to be called Brother General.
3. May in the Phil Province. May is always an interesting month with all the flowers, the weddings, the “Flores de Mayo,” etc. It is also the time for bonding and outing to different parts of the country. The Provincial House Community went all the way to Vigan and Pagudpud in the North while other houses were content with their usual activities. DePaul House had a very special month with 12 foreign priests visitor who had to be given special lectures and lessons; doctoral students of SVST were also staying at DPH where six new rooms were constructed at the former garage. Moreover, the visitations of the Seminarians and the Popular Missions took plenty of time.
4. SVST Garden. I think that most of you are aware of the many “bonzai plants” that used to decorate parts of DPH, PH and the Santuario. Most of them were donated by the late Myrna Anes, a Vice President of Adamson University and a friend of the Vincentians. In order to pay tribute to their departed sister , the family members decided to help set up the garden between the library and the classrooms of SVST. After two weeks, the landscapers and gardeners have created a beautiful garden worth seeing not only for the bonsai plants but also for the beautifully landscaped grounds. They had multicolored stones, chiseled decorative stones which are a sight to behold.
Just in case you are interested in cultivating “bonsai plants” instead of spending time on facebook or cultivating your fatty body, there are many articles on the Internet showing the steps to do so. Please remember that the art of cultivating bonsai has been studied and perfected by the Japanese for centuries and we can benefit from their culture and experiences. Happy bonsai cultivation!
5. Admission to the Internal Seminary (May 24). Visesio Tawake from Fiji and a candidate from the Province of Australia was admitted into our Internal Seminary last May 24 at Trece Martires. Father Randy Agner presided at the ceremonies in the presence of the new Director of Seminarists, Fr.Victor Torres. Fr. Regua, Fr.Solis, Fr.Rivere and Bro. Adoy Fajardo also graced the occasion. It was a happy event that another candidate came from the beautiful land of Fiji to follow the footsteps of several confreres who underwent their training here in the Philippines. Several of them are successfully performing their ministries in the Province of Australia.
6. Heartfelt condolence and prayers to Fr.Vince Robles and family on the occasion of the death of their sisters: Prudencia and Socorro. May they rest in peace.
Pope Francis:” With the Ascension of Jesus we participate in the fullness of Life with God. Let us carry this in our hearts in our daily lives.” (@Pontifex, May 25).
Fr.Thomas Mavric. “Follevile is waiting for us. It is waiting for us in many parts of the world…..”(CMGlobal March 30,2917: “Folleville in he eyes of Fr.Mavric.”
Fr. Rolando S. DelaGoza,CM