News and Updates


Vincentian News

(Volume 25, No.11.  Quezon City.  Nov. 30, 2017. Edited by Fr. DelaGoza, CM)

903. Medal  (November 18-27.  Santuario de  San Vicente de Paul).  The annual  feast of  the Miraculous  Medal cannot but generate many devotional and inspiring activities. One of them  is  the  novena of Masses in  honor of  Our Lady.  It rarely fails to inspire  the growing  number of devotees to listen  to a whole plethora of excellent orators/homilists extolling Mama  Mary and  the many  miracles of the Miraculous Medal.  In addition thousands of Medals are distributed  to  the people.

The first day of the Novena, November 18, was a Saturday and it coincided with the anticipated Mass. The huge Santuario church was almost full  and Fr. Dario Pacheco, the superior of the Provincial House was  the main celebrant with Fr. Navarro concelebrating. The  topic of the novena Mass was “A Communion of Communities.” The second day  of the Novena was celebrated  by Bishop Rolly  Santos with Fr. Rindo Karippai Antony  of  India as  the homilist. During the third day, the confreres of  SVS came in force: Fr. Regua as main celebrant, Fr. Solis, Fr. Rindo,  Fr. Navarro.  The  main topic was: “Basic Ecclesial Communities.”

The  fourth  day of the novena was somewhat special. It was celebrated  by Fr. Caintic as main celebrant  ad six other concelebrants, including Fr. R. Tuazon, the Parish  Priest and Fr.  Raut, the  assistant  Parish Priest.  The  Alagad ni  Maria in their beautiful blue  uniform made the difference  while the Youth Ministry shared  in the solemnity of the occasion.  The  main  topic was “Communities Participating in the Mission  of Christ.”  On the fifth day of the Novena, Fr. Belita  centered  his homily  on “A  Worshipping  Community.”  The sponsors were  the Lectors, Commentators and the  Music Ministry  members.  Fr. Quir  Raut wrote  his short  homily on “A Witnessing and Proclaiming Community” and  the  people were appreciative of his short homily and clear voice.  The  couples for Christ, the Missionary Couples of  Mary and the  Catholic women’s League were the sponsors. 

In line with the  general theme of the  Novena: “Communities Walking Together,” Fr. John Era  had his homily  on “A  Teaching Community.”  The sponsors were  the members of the Mother Butler’s Guild and  the Ministry  of  Greeters.  The next  day,  the assistant Pastor, Fr. Vhong Navarro preached on “A  Caring Community”  by  going down the aisle and asking questions from young and old alike.  However, the sound was not very audible neither for Fr. John nor for Fr. Vhong. Fr. Roland Tuazon, the Parish Priest, came through loud and clear on the ninth day  of the  novena on “Walking to Jesus.”  As it was a Sunday, there  must have been  around 1,500  people inside the  church  at  6:00 pm.  The Society  of St. Vincent de Paul, the Ladies of Charity  and the  Knights of  Columbus were the sponsors.

The  Feast of the Miraculous  Medal, on November 27, was celebrated  with  the usual solemnity  and  Fr. Gregg Banaga, CM, the Provincial Visitor, celebrated the Holy  Eucharist at 6:00  pm. There were  around 600 people and  12  concelebrating  priests:  Frs. Belita, Cruz, Regua, Vibar, Kim, Velasco, Sandaga, Martin,  Navarro,  Tuazon, Pilario, DelaGoza, etc. Although the sound was not too clear,  the celebration was made more solemn by the procession within the SVS Complex,  the uniformed Knights of Columbus, the  24 dancing Ladies and the installation of  the Children of Mary  as new members.

At the end of  the ceremonies, several hundred  Miraculous Medals were distributed  to the joy of  many  of those present, especially of the children.  Several  priests helped  in distributing  the beautiful  medals, some of them with  laces and strings which could be worn around the  neck.

931. Undas 2017. Deeply ingrained in  Filipino religious culture is  the celebration  of “Undas”  which includes  the  All Saints and  All souls’ Day.  In case some  of you are wondering where  the word  “undas” came from, there  are  many  theories,  but one  reasonable  and probable one is that it comes from the Spanish  word  “Honoras”  (honor your ancestors, honor  the departed).

Here at the Santuario de San Vicente de Paul,  there was  something special because of  the additional ceremonies of the “Inurnment” of  Fr. Sucaldito and Bro. Anayan at the Columbary.  There were sixteen priests, including Fr. Banaga, the  main celebrant and around  70   persons present at  6:15 in the  morning.  It  was an  emotional moment for most of us who knew  both  persons as companions, friends, helpers, etc.  Br.  Roqueto  distinguished himself  in Payatas which  was an  unhealthy  place at that time, worsened his sickness  and died young.  Fr. Rafael  Sucaldito was an excellent  Scripture Scholar and excellent  tennis  player, a combination which  made him very  popular with  the  young  priests and seminarians. He  was a Provincial Councilor and  superior of  various  houses, notably  of Angono and Cebu Seminary. Personally, I felt a  strong affinity  to him  because  I  was  one  of those who  were instrumental in his becoming  a Vincentian.  I  was only  a first  year  Seminarian in St. Vincent Seminary and was told by my Superiors  to recruit some more students.  I took it to heart and recruited Rafael Sucaldito as recommended  by Mr. Juan Gan, the father of Fr.  Constancio.  He was on a rice field and I walked all the way to talk with  him, convinced him  to join me when I return to the Seminary.  That very year he entered St. Vincent seminary and the rest is history.

932. Ladies of Vincent (Santuario de San Vicente, November 11).  They came, they saw and they conquered  the  hearts of  the audience  at  Santuario de san Vicente de Paul.  Even though they  came all  the way from Pampanga, the whole cast of the  musical “ Ladies of Vincent” were  almost as good as  the  professional actors.  Most of the cast were ordinary  ladies from among the  “Damas de la Caridad”—Ladies of  Charity  or members of the  Association Internationale  de la  Charite (AIC). It was so refreshing and so  inspiring   to watch them perform after long hours of  practice  about  the group (Ladies of Charity)  founded  by  St. Vincent de Paul in 1617.

Costume. It  was interesting to note that the  beautiful costume used by the Ladies of Charity  at the court of the King of France were  quite well re-created by the musical troupe.  The  flowing  dress,  the excellent embroidery and the hairdo  and make-up were  something to see.  It is impressive to  watch around 16  ladies  move around in  such a cumbersome courtly costume.  The black cassock used by  Vincent and  his  companions were also quite well done.  Most of the  other costume were quite modern especially in their use of color.  Nobody  advised  the group  that loud   colors were  unheard of during those days,  In addition  the style and the way of dressing were  quite modern.

The actions spoke much louder than the words  which were sometimes inaudible because of  the wide open spaces inside the Santuario.  The  Ladies were shown performing  many charitable activities for the poor  people especially for  the children and the poor. But when they sang to give some additional  information about what   was being done,  the message was lost in the translation or interpretation  because of the sound system. But the eagerness and  zeal in helping the poor and needy were really  inspiring.

Congratulations to the director, the actors, Fr. Roland Tuazon and the priests of  the Santuario  and  the Ladies  of Charity  for a  very  good portrayal  of St. Vincent and his works.

933. Retirement Home (four weeks in  November).  They had  the  electric  lights switched on during the  visit of Fr. Eloriaga, Agner, Pura and  DelaGoza  on  November  10. With the  lights on,  the building looked  even  more beautiful showing he  play  of colors used  for  painting the walls, floors, etc.

One can observe  the workers cleaning up the place, extra  materials are piled outside  the building, the doors are  being fixed, beds and furniture are being carried inside the  building.  Even  the kitchen, refrigerators and some air-conditioners are already installed.

When the lights are in full blast,  the Retirement  Home  makes the whole compound  to  become  a “compound   of lights.”  As previously  noted, most of  the inner lighting are  indirect lighting  similar to the designs  of modern theater or library  places.  There are of course many  advantages  to  indirect  lighting.  The aesthetic and practical  value of indirect  lighting in  a Retirement Home  may  not be too clear.   The  persons who stay there are generally  elderly and would  need light,  the  more light  the better for them.  In any case,  the  lighted Retirement Home is a sight to see.

934. Homeless in Quezon City? Some of you  may have read  the inspiring and beautiful article  by  Patty Passion on “bamboo  houses”  published  in Rappler, Nov.1,2017.  One of the persons interviewed for the article was  our own Fr. Gerald  Borja, CM,  the director of VSMDFI.  There  is also a picture of the  houses which were already occupied  by  some poor  people in Bagong  Silangan  , Quezon city.

Some of  the important data in the article noted  the  need of  transitional housing for people who cannot  build a house right    now  but,  maybe, can  do so in  ten to twenty five years.  The materials  used  are “bamboo poles “ which are described as strong and durable as long as  they are  treated  and  prepared   well  before being used for  the construction.  In  his interview, Fr. Borja pointed out the need of  preparing the  occupants of  the houses  both  socially and financially.  The difference  between  the government housing project and  the Vincentian project is  the awareness that  it is not only shelter that  the poor need but also  social and spiritual  preparations.  They  are  helped  to find  a place where they can work and also  to  have an  organization for  various  purposes.

If  you are in  the  Quezon City  area,  it would be  good  to visit  these  bamboo  houses  which  are  not only shelters  but also  social and  human symbols of the Vincentian  charism alive in the world today.

935. Canonical Visitation of De Paul House (November  20).  True to  his job as  Provincial visitor, Fr. Banaga  has been visiting the various houses of  the Province.  During the month of  November, he has visited  Calumpang, Magazine, Cadlan and  finally opened the  canonical  Visitation of the DePaul House on November 21.  During the Holy  Mass, concelebrate   by  most of  the Priests and attended by the seminarians,  he noted  the nice  Gospel on Zaccaheus and the application of  the story to all of us.  Jesus saw him in a  different  perspective.  Later on he  told  us about his visits to the  Province—the construction of the retablo of the Miraculous Medal in Calumpang and  the health concerns for several confreres.  After breakfast, he asked  us  to sign  our names for  the time when  we could be interviewed.  As  of  November  27,  the Canonical Visitation of the DePaul  House  is not  yet finished but  with  Christmas season fast approaching,  things will  move  on

936. 12th Vincentian Mini-Marathon (DPH, November 29). Withthe Latin expression “Mens Sana in Corpore Sano”, in  mind, the Seminarians, Priests, lay  collaborators, Alagad ni Maria and others  held a  mini-marathon for the 12th consecutive  year  at DePaul House.  It is amazing how  some older  people  can  last for  30  minutes  jogging and walking.  

The “Alagad ni  Maria” came  in their  beautiful  blue  uniform  and  participated by  walking at the mini-marathon.  Then they shared   their food with the seminarians and attended  the  Holy Eucharist.  Fr.John Era celebrated  Mass  and Fr.DelaGoza, the birthday celebrant, preached  the homily  by sharing  his experiences during his travel abroad  in  connection  with  the theme of  the 400th anniversary  of the  Vincentan  Charism “Welcome to Strangers”. As always, it was  an enjoyable time  to be together  and try  one’s resistance  at jogging, walking and samba.  The  winners of  this year’s Mini-Marathon were:

Group I (ages  22-65)                       Marcelino Casimao - five kilometers

Group II (ages 66-85)                       Fr. DelaGoza, CM (2nd  to a guest prof. runner) - two  kms. plus

Group III (Ladies Division)                 Teresa Gani - three kilometers

There were eight consolation prizes,  one of them  won by Marcelo  Casimao  the twin  of Marcelino,  who  won the first  prize in Group I.

937. Random News.  1. Adamson  University finished  third in the national University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP)  which is now the most  prestigious and probably the best  sports league in  the country.  It was a  pity  that they were  unable to reach the  finals but then they  improved their standing in the playoffs. Congratulation to coach Pumaren, the  players and  the  Vincentian administrators, esp. Fr. Manny Manimtim and Fr. Suan.

2. Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish in Mangaldan , Pangasinan.  Fr. Frank Vargas, Fr. Raul Negrosa and Fr. Adawe are  busy  preparing   for  the fast of the  Miraculous Medal.  The consecration of the  Church will have to wait for  some time in the future

3. Christmas Concert at De Paul House (December 10). Instead of going house to house for caroling, this year,  the Seminarians will hold a concert at the DPH mini-park under the  baton of Fr. John Era.  It  is one way  of avoiding the hustle and the  traffic of  the Christmas season.  If  you know persons who would be interested in hearing beautiful  Christmas songs, please try  to convince  them to buy a ticket.

4. New Statutes for the Miraculous Medal.  Congratulations to Fr. Tim Cirujales, CM  for  obtaining  a new statute for the Association of the  Miraculous Medal-Philippine Province.  He also sent some tarpaulin materials coming from Rome  to be  displayed for the Feast of  the Miraculous Medal.

5.  Prayers  and  condolence  to Fr. Andoy Bayal,CM and his family  on  the occasion of the departure of  their father, Andres Bayal.  His funeral was held on November  25 with many  confreres concelebrating.

6. Vincentian Family at the DC Provincial House.  To  conclude  the 400th anniversary  of the birth of Vincentian Charism,  the Vincentian   Family  had  the celebration at the DC Provincial House on November  29.  The  Holy Eucharist was celebrated  by Fr. Gregg Banaga, CM  together with around 14 Priests  and assisted  by  many Sisters, seminarians and  members of the Vincentian Family. One of  the special feature was  the  inspiring play  prepared  by the students of the Sacred Heart College of Lucena  on the life of St. Vincent as adopted  to the current Philippine situation. There were also some  games with many  prizes  for the enjoyment of  the Vincentian Family  members.

Pope Francis: “you are thus called to reach out to the peripheries of human existence to bring not  your skills, but  the Spirit of the Lord, the “Father of the Poor.”  (Pope Francis on St. Vincent, published on FamVin, Sept 27,2017).

Fr. Tomaz Mavric: "We must ask ourselves what Vincent would do today… We must have the same heart as St. Vincent had, a heart passionate for  God and wounded in love for every  human being.” (Published in FamVin, November 22,2017)