VINCENTIAN NEWS: NOVEMBER 2017 ISSUE
(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)