Page 1



OFM NEWS AROUND THE GLOBE; The Celebration of the 800 Years of Pardon and Mercy NEWS AROUND THE PROVINCE COVER STORY The Celebration of the 800 Years of Pardon and Mercy COMMENTARY Faith Community of Mercy



2 0 1 6

5 6

8 12

MISSION AND EVANGELIZATION Sharing the Balms of God’s Mercy


OFM Pastors’ Assembly


The New Pastors and Rector


FORMATION AND STUDIES Strengthening Collaboration in East Asian Conference


ASIAN NEWS East Asian Conferance Meets in Cebu City


REFLECTIONS Ministry of Mystery


ONGOING FORMATION Accompaniment Program 2016 Deepening Fraternal Relations among the Solemnly Professed

MEMORIAM An American Pinoy 30 JPIC Franciscans Join the Celebration of the Season of Creation 32 MILESTONES Celebrating Jubilee Years as Franciscan Religious and Priests 34 INTERFRANCISCAN Franciscan Communities Celebrate Transitus 2016 36 29

VOCATION STORY In God’s Perfect Time 37


On the cover is the facade of the Porziuncola Chapel in the Our Lady of the Angels Seminary patterned after the Porziuncola Chapel in Assisi. The original façade is a fresco by Johann Friedrich Overbeck (1829), depicting St. Francis receiving from the Christ and the Virgin the indulgence, known as the “Pardon of Assisi”. This German painter was a member of the Nazarene movement, a group of painters who aimed to revive honesty and spirituality in Christian art. At the base of this fresco is a small rectangular fresco with the Latin words Haec est porta vitae aeternae (“This is the gate to eternal life”)

OFM Franciscans Philippines

Third Quarter 2016





The Communicator got stuck somewhere for a while, but is back with a new name which is now simply Communicator. Because we Franciscans have been inside looking, Provincial is adjective for Province which for us means our religious Franciscan entity in the Philippines. But our readers often understand it as a geographic location. So, welcome to our Communicator.

With a new name comes a new format. A special space for critique on a contemporary happening. And for this issue some points of view on the extra judicial killings or the EJKs. The Franciscan news around the world include the Porziuncola Indulgence in Assisi, the Pope’s visit to Assisi and the American Franciscans’ Message for the Year of Mercy, while on the local level, the perpetual profession of friars, the pastors’ meeting, the joint guardians and bursars’ meeting, the accompaniment program 2016 for perpetually professed friars five years and below, the election of our Minister Provincial as co-Chairperson of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, the annual Jubilarians’ Night and the celebration of the Season of Creation. Then the usual cover story: the initial provincial celebration for the 800th Anniversary of the Porziuncola Indulgence and features on mission: on the celebration of the Jubilee of Mercy by a Missionary of Mercy, on formation: East Asian Conference common integration program of 2016 and participants‘ reflections, and on ministry: installation of new pastors and a rector. A tribute is given in memory of Hugh Zurat, OFM, an American missionary to the Philippines, entitled “An American Pinoy”. For our inter Franciscans collaboration, read on the Transitus of St. Francis of Assisi on October 3, aside from those of our other communities. Beyond borders, aside from the above mentioned EAC integration, we give a short account of the meeting of the provincial and the custodial ministers of EAC, hosted by the Custody of St. Anthony in Cebu City. We have two new Franciscan priests. We print the homily on the Ministry of Mystery by the ordaining prelate.

Communicator is the official quarterly magazine of the Franciscan Friars of the Province of San Pedro Bautista, Philippines published by the Franciscan Communications Office 69 San Pedro Bautista Street, San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City. To subscribe, write to the above address or call +63 (02) 373-2973 and make a donation to cover the printing and mailing expense. A digital copy of this magazine may be found at This magazine is printed in the Philippines by Zoom Printing Co, Cubao, Quezon City. Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.


FR. ANDRES RAÑOA, JR., OFM Editor -In- Chief

FR. DEXTER A. TOLEDO, OFM Managing Editor



ROMEO V. OGMAR, JR Art Director




Happy reading! Fr. Chito Rañoa, OFM Editor-In-Chief


Third Quarter 2016

OFM NEWS AROUND THE GLOBE POPE FRANCIS’ PILGRIMAGE TO ASSISI hour hearing the confessions of 19 people before greeting the friars and local religious authorities, including an Imam from Perugia. He then went to the nearby infirmary to visit a number of friars who are ill before going outside where he briefly greeted pilgrims waiting outside in the square and once again stressed the importance of forgiving others (

THE BEGINNING OF THE 8TH CENTENARY OF THE PORZIUNCOLA INDULGENCE The 8th centenary of the Pardon of Assisi (the Porziuncola Indulgence) has begun. Br. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFMCap, led a Triduum in preparation for the feast from the 29th to the 31st July, and on August 1st Br. Michael A. Perry presided at morning Mass to open the celebration of the feast. In the afternoon, the pilgrims of the Franciscan March were welcomed to the Porziuncola. On August 2nd Card. Gultiero Bassetti presided at the Solemn Mass which launched the 8th Centenary of the Pardon of Assisi (

Pope Francis made a private pilgrimage on August 4, 2016 to the Italian town of Assisi and spoke about the importance of forgiveness, saying only the path of forgiveness can truly renew the Church and the world. He lamented that “too many people are caught up in resentment and harbour hatred because they are incapable of forgiving.” “These people,” he went on, “ruin their own lives and the lives of those around them.” OFM Franciscans Philippines

The Pope’s words came during an address delivered inside the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi after earlier going to pray in silence inside the small Porziuncola chapel where the Italian saint founded the Franciscan order in the 13th century. The purpose of Pope Francis’ pilgrimage there was to mark the 800th anniversary of the “Pardon of Assisi” during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. After addressing those inside the basilica, the Pope spent about an

U.S. FRANCISCAN FAMILY ISSUES JOINT MESSAGE FOR YEAR OF MERCY In a first-of-its-kind effort, more than 50 communities of Franciscan priests, brothers, sisters and seculars in the United States have issued a joint message for the Jubilee Year of Mercy from the U.S. Franciscan Family. The publication of the message coincides with the Feast of the Porziuncola which marks the 800th anniversary of the Pardon of Assisi, the great Franciscan feast day of mercy ( Third Quarter 2016



Bishop Soc embracing the newly ordained priest Fr. Jose Fababair, OFM as he welcomes him in the ministry of priesthood.


The friars kneel before the Minister Provincial as he gives the blessing of St. Francis after the solemn profession rites.

THREE BROTHERS PRONOUNCE THEIR FINAL VOWS Three young friars made final their commitment to live the evangelical counsels in the rite of perpetual profession of vows in the hands of Fr. Cielito R. Almazan, OFM, Minister Provincial last July 18, 2016 at Santuario de San Pedro Bautista Parish, Frisco, Quezon City. The three friars are: Lloyd Paul Elauria, OFM; Myke Rodnick Laforteza, OFM and Guilieros Montemor, OFM (Fr. Gene Pastidio, OFM).


Third Quarter 2016

On the eve of the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Angels (Porziuncula) and in celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Rev. Jose R. Fababair, OFM and Rev. Jumil Alcasoda, OFM were ordained priests in a solemn rite officiated by Abp. Socrates Villegas, DD, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan and President of CBCP. Fr. Jose Fababair, OFM hails from Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro while Fr. Jumil Alcasoda, OFM is from Baybay, Leyte. Fr. Fababair belongs to the Province of San Pedro Bautista while Fr. Alcasoda belongs to the Custody of St. Anthony of Padua ( Jr Ogmar).


The Guardians and Bursars from different OFM communities during their meeting held at Our Lady of the Angels Seminary in Quezon City.

Minister Provincial Fr. Cielo Almazan, OFM, renewed his call for guardians and bursars to exercise watchful care of the brothers entrusted to their care. He made this invitation during the Joint Guardians and Bursars’ Meeting last July 7-8, 2016 at the Our Lady of the Angels Seminary, Bagbag, Novaliches, Quezon City. Organized and facilitated by the Ongoing Formation Team and the Provincial Financial Board, the meeting was attended by the

following: the Minister Provincial, members of the Ongoing Formation Team, the Provincial Financial Board, the Guardians and Praeses, and the Bursars and Treasurers of the Province of San Pedro Bautista, Philippines. The first part of the meeting was dedicated to the orientation of both the old and new guardians of their duties as indicated in the Provincial Manual. It was emphasized in the talk given by Andres Rañoa, OFM that their

responsibilities to the brotherhood includes both the spiritual and temporal concerns of the friars. The meeting also included a consultation on some of the concerns raised during the last Provincial Chapter 2016, particularly the proposals for the restructuring of the Province and collaboration on financial matters (Fr. Gene Pastidio, OFM).

ALMAZAN ELECTED AS CHAIR OF AMRSMP Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM was elected as the new chairperson of the Association of Major Religious Superiors Men of the Philippines (AMRSMP) during the Annual Convention of men superiors at Maryridge Retreat House in Tagaytay City from June 28 to July 1, 2016. The 3-day convention reflected on the theme “Merciful Like the Father: The Challenge to Men Religious Today” and tackled several issues including climate change. Fr. Dexter

OFM Franciscans Philippines

Toledo, OFM former AMRSP executive secretary, was invited to give a talk on Laudato Si’ and the Year of Mercy. The men religious also elected Claretian Provincial Superior Fr. Eduardo Apungan as their new Vice Chairperson, along with Br. Jose Mari Jimenez, FSC; Fr. Anthony Paul Bicomong, SDB; Fr. Copernicus Perez Jr., CSsR; Fr. Joseph Matitu, SSS and Fr. Antonio Moreno, SJ as members of the board (Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM).

Third Quarter 2016



Along with the celebration of the Jubilee of Mercy, the Franciscans also celebrate an important occasion, the eighth centenary of the Porziuncola Indulgence.


Third Quarter 2016

(photo) In 1216, in a vision, St Francis obtained from Jesus himself the Indulgence of the Pardon of Assisi that was approved by Pope Honorius III. This plenary indulgence may ordinarily be gained on August 2 and 15; pilgrims may gain it once a year on any day of the year. (The photo courtesy of google)


o you know that the Franciscan Order has one treasure that it wishes to share to everyone, but which, it seems, only very few know about? It is the Plenary Indulgence of the Porziuncola! At one time, St. Francis of Assisi, was praying in the little chapel of Our Lady of the Angels, also known as the Porziuncola, or the “Little Portion”. While he was praying he had a vision. He saw the Lord Jesus and his Blessed Mother surrounded by angels. Then the Lord asked St. Francis, “Francis, what favor do you wish I will grant you?”

Burning with the desire to bring all souls to heaven, Francis, without hesitation said, “Lord Jesus, I pray that anyone who enters this little chapel with a contrite heart and has received pardon through the sacrament of confession will surely go to heaven. And I pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary may intercede on my behalf.” In his vision Francis saw the Blessed Mother turn to Jesus to petition that Francis’ wish be granted. Then the Lord said, “Francis, I grant your noble request. Therefore, go to the Lord Pope Honorius III, and request him on my behalf to grant you the indulgence you are asking for.” Pope Honorius III was, at that time, staying in the nearby city of Perugia. Francis, with a friar companion, immediately went to see the Pope. After Francis narrated his vision to the Pope, the Holy Father said, “Who am I to refuse our Lord Jesus Christ. Your petition for the Indulgence of the Porziuncola is granted.” Pope Honorius III granted the Plenary Indulgence of the Porziuncola in 1216; that is 800 years ago! In the beginning the indulgence of the Porziuncola was connected only with the little chapel of Our Lady of the Angels on the plains below Assisi. And it would be availed of only from the afternoon or Vespers of August 1 till the sunset of August 2, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels. In the course of time, however, succeeding Popes made the Plenary Indulgence of the Porziuncola OFM Franciscans Philippines

“Lord Jesus, I pray that anyone who enters this little chapel with a contrite heart and has received pardon through the sacrament of confession will surely go to heaven. And I pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary may intercede on my behalf.” – St. Francis of Assisi

more available to more people. It was no longer restricted to the little chapel in Assisi. But it was now extended to all the churches of the Franciscans. Then much later it was extended to all the parish churches all over the world making it easier for all people to avail of the Plenary Indulgence of the Porziuncola. And much more, it is no longer confined on the date itself of the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels which is August 2. For the Porziuncola Indulgence may be availed of 8 days before, that is September 25, up till 8 days after August 2, that is August 10.

It is very easy to avail oneself of the Plenary Indulgence of the Porziuncola: First, confess your sins to the priest. Second, attend the Holy Eucharist and receive communion on any of these dates from September 25 until August 10; And third, pray the following prayers: The Apostles Creed, the Our Father, and a prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Plenary Indulgence of the Porziuncola makes the mercy of the Father so easily available to everyone, especially those who are far from any of the churches designated as church of the Holy Door of Mercy. And besides, the Indulgence of the Porziuncola is unique, in the sense that it may be received several times. First, it can be received for one’s self. Then the other times it may be offered for the souls in Purgatory. Third Quarter 2016


In the thirteenth century, it was revealed to St. Margaret of Cortona that the souls in purgatory eagerly look forward every year to the feast of Our Lady of the Angels because it is a day of deliverance for a great number of them. The Porziuncola Indulgence is a grace not to be missed, not only for yourself but for the many souls suffering in purgatory. Come every August 1 and August 2, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels, obtain the remission of the punishment for sins, by the Plenary Indulgence of the Porziuncola.

THE FRANCISCANS’ INITIAL CELEBRATION OF THE PORZIUNCOLA JUBILEE IN THE PHILIPPINES A. PARDON OF ASSISI 2016 is the 8th centenary of the Pardon of Assisi, during which the various Franciscan communities in Assisi have been asked to engage in a process involving penance, examination of conscience, and joyfully accepting mercy. What is this Pardon of Assisi or the Assisi Indulgence? We can take up and deepen the beautiful definition of indulgence which Pope Francis has given in Misericordiae vultus, when he describes it as “indulgence on the part of the Father who, through the Bride of Christ, his Church, reaches the pardoned sinner and frees him from every residue left by the consequences of sin, enabling him to act with charity, to grow in love rather than to fall back into sin” (MV 22). Whenever we receive this amazing indulgence of the Father through the Church, we too experience an outpouring of mercy, and this allows us to become more capable of compassion and reconciliation in real life situations. In this year of mercy, we friars, as sons of the Church, proclaim mercy. The Holy Father has strongly challenged us in this regard: “The Church is commissioned to announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel, which in its own way must penetrate the heart and mind of every person. It is absolutely essential for the Church and for the credibility of her message that she herself live and testify to mercy. Her language and her gestures must transmit mercy, so as to touch the hearts of all people and inspire them once more to find the road 10

Third Quarter 2016

Francis built himself a small hut near the Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels and was soon joined by others. Here Francis founded the Franciscans. Around 1211 the small chapel was given to Francis of Assisi by the abbot of Saint Benedict of Monte Subasio. Adjoining this humble sanctuary, already dear to Francis, the first Franciscan convent was formed by the erection of a few small huts or cells of wattle, straw, and mud, and enclosed by a hedge

that leads to the Father” (MV 12). We must be generous in giving pardon, welcoming into our lives those who ask for our forgiveness, as St. Francis asks us, and as we pray every day in the Our Father: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. But as “useless servants,” to use the words of Jesus and stressed by St. Francis of Assisi, we have been encouraged to ask for pardon with humility and sincerity, from our confreres, from the lay people with whom we work, or for those for whom we have pastoral responsibility, from the bishops and clergy, from our Sister Mother Earth.

B. THE RITES OF CONFESSIO PECCATI The Provincial Definitory of the Province of San Pedro Bautista commissioned a friar to prepare the brothers and provide rituals for reconciliation in line with the directives for the celebration of the Porziuncola Indulgence. A booklet entitled Confessio Peccati was prepared containing insights on mercy, love and forgiveness from our Franciscan documents and sources. Then the rites

were composed. Upon presentation, the Provincial Definitory asked that another rite for reconciliation of families be included as well.

Rite of Reconciliation among Brothers This ritual is to be used by every community. Here the guardian leads in an examination of life in terms of prayer, the vows and fraternal life. Each brother is given an opportunity to share his success in those areas and ask pardon for his failures. After the communal prayer for forgiveness, the reconciliation is effected through the way St. Francis of Assisi made the reconciliation between the Bishop and the Mayor. It was through the Canticle of the Sun is where he added a special verse on reconciliation.


Rite of Reconciliation among Franciscan Families and the Church The second ritual is for asking pardon from the other members of the Franciscan families and from the Church. There in Assisi on August 2, the General Ministers, successors of St. Francis of Assisi asked pardon from one another. History records that we Franciscans became divided due to various interpretations on how to live the Rule of St. Francis. We were founded in 1209 but the OFMs and the OFM Conventuals were established as separate jurisdictions in 1517, and the OFM Capuchins in 1528. Now, on the occasion of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, we challenge ourselves to do this “purification of memories.” We cannot witness to Franciscan communion if we are not one in mind and heart. We are asked to pardon those who offend us and ask pardon from those we have offended. Only then can our fraternal communion be the seat of the joy of love. Our Father St. Francis confessed in public and openly preached about his faults and often used himself as an example to instruct the people.

Rite of Reconciliation with the People The third ritual is asking pardon from the people. Done after the general absolution at Mass, the friar enumerates the friars’ areas of neglect and sinfulness. Afterwards, he asks the people to extend their hands in silence as a gesture of their pardon. Then the Gloria is sung.

OFM Franciscans Philippines

In celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy and the 8th Centenary of the Pardon of Assisi, the members of the Inter-Franciscan Ministers Conference of the Philippines (IFMCP) took part in a rite of mutual forgiveness during this year’s celebration of Transitus at Mater Dei Auditorium, St. Joseph College, Quezon City last October 3, 2016. During the said rite, prepared by Fr. Andres Rañoa, Jr., OFM, the Franciscan ministers asked for communal forgiveness of the Franciscan families for the sad history of separation, while the other ministers and the OFS representative asked forgiveness from their members for their failure to lead them faithfully to the observance of their life and thus, the lost opportunities for Franciscan witness to the world. Then all the ministers asked pardon from the Church represented by Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, DD for their weak collaboration with the dioceses where they are.

Rite of Reconciliation among Family Members and Household Help The fourth ritual is for families, extended or nuclear, and their household help. It is made available for those who, inspired by the Confessio Peccati would like to celebrate family reconciliation. Here, each member of the family, from grandparents to household helps, is given the chance to examine his/her life in terms of growth in family life.

Third Quarter 2016





A Franciscan Friar reflects on the spate of extra-judicial killings in the country and on how we can become instruments of God’s mercy. It is a welcome relief that after almost three months, multi-sectoral groups coming from the wide political spectrum have spoken vehemently against the spate of extra judicial killings (62% of which are police operations, 29% from unknown assassins and the remaining 9% from unknown crimes). The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) considered the EJK as anti-people and antidemocracy. Party list representatives have denounced it as violation of international law. Traditional politicians have called for congress investigations. The CBCP, through 12

Third Quarter 2016

its President, has appealed to the Filipinos’ sense of humanity. The US government and the UN secretary general expressed their disgust and concern. The President has ignored these appeals and reacted with veiled threats, cuss words, vulgarisms, ad hominem rebuttals and continues to inspire the police force making them believe that this is the people’s just war against drug menace. We are gladdened that our Franciscan superiors through our Minister Provincial have added their mixed feelings of sadness and indignation. Many of those who protested see this issue as human rights

issue, like warrantless arrest and lack of due process. The Church people see it, apart from legal and constitutional issues, as a moral issue of the sanctity of human life. While others have not explicitly articulated their sentiments, it is likewise, as the Franciscan appeal has stated, foremost anti-poor as most of the casualties, even those from legitimate police operations are already victims of unjust society that makes them deliberately poor, in turn making them vulnerable to manipulations. High profile drug offenders, dealers and users, despite being shamed and named are spared (even with criminal charges). It is not only our legal and moral duty to be alarmed by this development; it is also a Franciscan imperative to be in solidarity with those who have less in life who normally have very little in law as well. This year the Church celebrates the year of mercy where we are invited to love, show kindness and unbounded generosity. The Pope is offering to us the incredible mercy of God in the face of Jesus. The Pope stated in his opening words in the Bull of Indiction that in Jesus, God’s mercy becomes living and visible and reaches its culmination in Jesus of Nazareth. I would like to emphasize the dynamic, on-going character of God’s revelation, reaching its apex in the fullness of time “when he sent his Son born of the Virgin Mary to reveal his love in a definitive way.” All of us, aware or not have a natural knowledge of the existence and essence of God. Integral with our natural knowledge of God is an attribute of Him which is justice. God is a just God. He rewards the good and punishes the evil. It is an image of God which has Old Testament basis. This God is given as the overriding reason and compelling justification for the extra judicial killings, We have to punish the evil doers as they are menace to the society at large even if it means they have to be annihilated. In this imagery, we interiorize God’s attributes as just. We play God as we do the punishing by eliminating the evil, sincerely thinking we are doing God’s will. Our people have yet to hear in our words, life and actions that God has definitively revealed Himself in the face of Jesus; that face is mercy and compassion. It is always the just God that we worship in our daily life, whether in our OFM Franciscans Philippines

“We play God as we do the punishing by eliminating the evil, sincerely thinking we are doing God’s will.”

relationship with God or with one another. Our mindset, systems, our constitution, despite its evangelical inspirations are founded on the God of justice, not the God of mercy. Browse the canons and feel the image of God reflected in the Church laws.

We are heirs to an entirely different theological perspective; something which is not only responsive to the current culture of violence today but also a faithful presentation of God as he definitively revealed himself in Jesus. It is not about the God of justice, but the God of mercy. For Francis everything is GRACE. Grace is not a response to our situation, our need or perceived merit. Whether it is life or vocation, it is the Lord who gave Francis the grace to live a life of penance; the Lord who gave him brothers. All good comes from God. If grace is God’s gift which I do not ask nor deserve, mercy is also a gift which spared me from the punishment I truly deserve. He does not only not punish the guilty but gives time to reform, to change. God is amazing grace, a merciful Father. For Francis, God the Father is overflowing goodness and no amount of humanity’s sinfulness could overcome God’s desire to save. The Father in the parable of the Prodigal Son is the unusual picture of God throwing a celestial party which angels dare not miss. It is an arresting picture of God for one who imagines Him a just God, a stern taskmaster, a vindictive scorekeeper; a God who after creating us is watching us from a distance, ready to pounce on those who commit wrong doings. It is this theological perspective that we need to proclaim in these violent times. We need to hammer the Gospel of mercy to enrich our natural knowledge of God as just God. Third Quarter 2016


At this time there is a need to critique our institutions, ecclesial and congregational, our laws, constitutions and our congregational mindset. There is a need for conversion. Is it God of mercy or the just God that is operative in our mindset, in our General Constitutions and provincial statutes, not to mention canon law? Is it the logic of entitlement rather than logic of gratuity that dominates us in our daily decisions? If it is, then we need not be surprised to realize that there is institutional violence within our own structures which is just as reprehensible as EJK. If everything I have is something I deserved or worked for then, I would exact no less than repayment for others. Quid pro quo. Tit for tat Our denunciation and critique of EJK should be an occasion also to examine whether ours is a faith community of mercy or a naturally just community. We need to witness that we are a faith community, sharing the same weakness and vulnerabilities, humbly experiencing God’s forgiveness. Holding people to their mistakes is a popular pastime, a too common procedure. Few people can resist it. We do not consciously choose to do it; we just mindlessly engage in it; especially in our

formation programs. At times even if we do not want to do it the law compels us to punish. We have always the law, policies, statutes to back us up to punish the guilty. It is our formandi and the erring friars who are the least in our fraternity. We have cases of friars wanting to come back but instead of throwing a party, we throw the book at them. There are those erring friars who felt they are driven out from the fraternity, a friar serving an indefinite sanction from Rome; friars sent for counseling feel they are being punished rather than being helped. These are the manifestations of institutional violence within our fraternity. We proclaim that God is the God of mercy by proclaiming that we are a community of forgiven sinners, not the saved righteous. We understand the limitations of others rather than gleefully talk about them in their absence. We give up the power game of playing the innocent versus the guilty. Lazy minds reduce reality to a morality play of good and evil, black and white. But reality is far more complex than our divided hearts, muddled minds and mixed motives. The sooner we accept the odd mixture of reality, the sooner we will be liberated from our moral posturing, and more effective in our preaching.

OFM JPIC STATEMENT ON EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS (EJK) We, the OFM JPIC Animators of the Province of San Pedro Bautista, gathered in San Pedro Bautista Spirituality Center, Brgy. Benneg, Botolan, Zambales on October 13, 2016 support the government`s dictum of CHANGE; changing the corrupt governance, lowering the crime rate, stopping the illegal drug trade, and uplifting the poor Filipinos. We pray for the success of Duterte`s government peace initiatives with the National Democratic Front (NDF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). We support the honorable men and women in cabinet positions whose programs and projects are beneficial to the Filipino masses, especially the poor, the weak, and the underprivileged. We support the campaign against illegal drugs. The menace of these illegal drugs should be cut at its roots. Our support for this campaign is anchored on the sanctity of every human being. We abhor the ongoing killings in the war against illegal drugs. Killing will not bring true change and peace in our country. “Thou shalt not kill� remains the basic tenet of our loving relationship with God and our neighbors. Only God has the right to take the life of each individual person. Let us destroy illegal drugs, save the victims and bring healing to them, their families, and our nation.


Third Quarter 2016




A friar shares his experience as a Missionary of Mercy in Penang, Malaysia

Fr. Jerome Ponce, OFM with some of the people of the Diocese of Penang he encountered during his visit


t the opening of the Jubilee Door on the occasion of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis made this statement: “may the balm of mercy reach everyone.” Those were but just simple words and yet so profound that I held onto as I was serving as a missionary of Mercy in the Diocese of Penang, Malaysia for a period of one month. This privilege to proclaim the mercy of God puts me within two persistent challenges: On the one hand, as a missionary, I have to be an “inspiring preacher of mercy and to be a living sign of the Father’s welcome to all those in search of His forgiveness.” On the other hand, as a friar minor, I have the same conviction as that of St. Francis who said: “and the Lord Himself led me among them and I had mercy upon them.” The task was exciting but it was definitely challenging. The Jubilee of Mercy is a universal invitation to be in communion with God once more. Misericordiae Vultus clearly expressed the intention of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective. It is a graced occasion to constantly contemplate the mystery of mercy more concretely through the OFM Franciscans Philippines

sacrament of Reconciliation. With an ardent zeal and a humble endeavour, I made myself available in the confessional box from 8:00 in the morning until 11:00 in the evening. Though it was so tiring, I was amazed at and marvelled on how God’s Spirit moved people to seek forgiveness. I was also touched by their inmost desire to deepen their relationship with Christ. The tiredness of my body for the whole day has been translated into an inspiration which, further challenged me as a missionary and as a friar minor to proclaim the mystery of the mercy of God. Being available for the sacrament of reconciliation gave me also the opportunity to look into my own ‘woundedness’ and healing through the mercy of God. When Pope Francis proclaimed the Holy Year, he explained that it was a way for the Church to “make more evident its mission to be a witness of Mercy.” The Diocese where I served is composed of 23 parishes, all of which I visited to accommodate their longing for God’s mercy. The overwhelming desire of the people to experience God’s mercy in the sacrament of confession is what James Baldwin once wrote: “mysteries are called mysteries because we recognize in them a truth which we can Third Quarter 2016


barely face, or articulate.” It was really an experience of fascination and wonder that filled me which I haven’t experienced in many years. My ministry in the Diocese was not only confined to the sacrament of Reconciliation but also in visiting the sick and the homebound persons. I was reminded of our Holy Father Francis of Assisi who became a very famous missionary-preacher of God’s mercy during his time when he embraced the poor and the lepers. The many writings done in his memory tell us how he embraced the lepers, cured them, healed them, and this became more symbolic and typical of the image of mercy and compassion which he took to heart. On the other hand, he himself recalled his very experience and shared this adventure in his Testament: ‘As I was in sin, it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers; And the Lord Himself led me among them and I showed mercy to them, and when I left them, what seemed bitter to me was turned into sweetness of soul and body. And afterwards I delayed a little and left the world [Test. 1-4]. I am just thankful that I was given this opportunity to show and share the mercy and the compassion of God through the pastoral services I have rendered to the diocese where I was sent for a month. The experience mattered much for me but to become His instrument in bringing mercy and hope is an added affirmation to His redeeming love despite my inadequacies. It was like being possessed of His mercy, for others cleansed my being beyond imagining. The Jubilee of Mercy is Jesus’ call for us to recognize

“As I recall the faces of our brothers and sisters from a distant land, I still shiver with so much thankfulnes

our neighbors who are suffering concretely as expressed in the gospel on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Karl Rahner described God’s mercy as the readiness of God to come to the aid of his distressed creature out of free grace. It was this Jubilee Year of Mercy that inspired me more even in simple gestures of going to hospitals, visiting houses and to be with people in order to listen and feel their sufferings. In those encounters, the words of St. Francis reverberate in my heart: “A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” Although it was but just a moment, but never a passing moment because deep in my heart I know and I believe that my presence and my service made an impact in their faith as I am an agent of the compassion of God. It was that graced moment that “mercy not kinship, makes someone a neighbor”, as St. Ambrose said. With this thought in my heart, I know now why mercy is more important than sacrifice. Just as Jesus always shows mercy and not condemnation, thus must I always be because His love impels me. As I recall the faces of our brothers and sisters from a distant land, I still shiver with so much thankfulness even now. They are images of what Psalm 24 says: this is the people who seek the face of God. May the mercy of God penetrate in our hearts that we may be missionaries of mercy to those who are in need even in our little way.

Fr. Jerome during a home visitation to pray over the sick.


Third Quarter 2016


The Pastors and administrators of the Franciscan parishes, shrines and communities in the Annual Pastors’ Conference held in Poggio Bustone Spirituality Center in Botolan Zambales.


Every year, all the Franciscan parish priests of the Province of San Pedro Bautista, together with the members of their pastoral teams, gather together to refresh and re-charge in order to give more of themselves to their ministry. Last October 1113, 2016 they once again gathered together for the Annual Pastors` Conference at the Poggio Bustone Spirituality Center, Botolan, Zambales. The theme was “New Triennium: Looking forward for better ministry and collaboration in the Year of Parishes as Communion of Communities.” The objectives for this gathering were: to experience deeper bonding OFM Franciscans Philippines

among the friars, to update the friars in their responsibilities of their assigned ministry and to look forward for a better ministry and collaboration as pastoral team. Twenty-seven friars and three lay partners attended and actively participated in the conference. The Provincial Minister, Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM gave his keynote message focusing on the challenges of pastoral ministry in the parish setting. Fr. Irineo Tactac III, OFM updated the friars on Formation and Liturgy, while Bro. Alejo Villanueva, OFM gave his update on JPIC. Fr. Esmeraldo Enalpe, OFM shared his thoughts on Pastoral Team Ministry

in the Code of Canon Law, while Fr. Reu Galoy, OFM gave his knowledge on the Pastoral Aspect of Team Ministry. The Pastors` Conference 2016 was facilitated by the Secretary for Missions and Evangelization. Third Quarter 2016



(left-right) Fr. Ruben Irece, OFM, Fr. Andro Fernandez,OFM, Fr. Bernardino Agarpao, OFM, Fr. Angelito Salazar, OFM, Fr. Esmeraldo Enalpe, OFM, Fr. Domingo Juan Resurreccion, OFM, Fr. Alvin Artemio Paras, OFM ,Fr. Rolie Pimentero, OFM,

The newly installed friars were challenged to continuously spearhead the Franciscan mission in their communities according to the Franciscan charism, vision and mission. ST. CLARE OF ASSISI PARISH Sto. Tomas, Isabela Fr. Bernard Agarpao, OFM crossed the mountains from far Palanan, Isabela where he was formerly assigned to his new post. The Provincial Definitory assigned him as the new Pastor of St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Sto. Tomas, Isabela. His installation was held on August 21, 2016 on the occasion of the Parish Patronal Fiesta. The rite was presided over by Rev. Msgr. Carlito Sarte, Vicar General of the Diocese of Ilagan. The event was attended by Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM, the Provincial Minister of the Province of San Pedro Bautista.

ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI PARISH Santiago, Isabela Fr. Angelito Salazar, OFM was gladly received by the parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Santiago, Isabela during installation as parish 18

Third Quarter 2016

priest, succeeding Fr. Virgilio Del Mundo, Jr, OFM. The rite was officiated by the Rev. Msgr. Carlito Sarte, Vicar General of the Diocese of Ilagan on July 17, 2016. Fr. Salazar is assisted in his pastoral ministry by Bro. Mario Ricablanca, OFM in the communty who is also one of the Provincial Definitors of the Province of San Pedro Bautista.

ST. MARY OF THE ANGELS PARISH Sta. Teresita, Cagayan Fr. Juan Domingo Resurreccion, OFM was installed Parish Priest of St. Mary of the Angels Parish, Sta. Teresita, Cagayan by His Excellency Sergio Utleg, DD, Archbishop of Tuguegarao on August 2, 2016 on the occasion of the Feast Day of the parish. Friars from Cagayan and other regions attended the said event.

ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI PARISH Caliat, Nueva Vizcaya One of the poorest parishes in the Diocese of Bayombong, the St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Caliat, Nueva Vizcaya, witnessed the installation of its new Pastor, Fr. Ruben Irece, OFM, on August 7, 2016 by the Most Rev. Sofronio Bancud, DD, Bishop Administrator of the Diocese of Bayombong. With Fr. Ruben’s experience as parochial vicar of the same Parish, the parishioners will gratefully cooperate with him to continue the programs that the parish has already started.

ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI SHRINE Donsol, Sorsogon The St. Francis Shrine in Donsol, Sorsogon, known as the only shrine in the Philippines built and dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi has a new Rector. After his Sri Lanka mission, Fr. Andro Fernandez, OFM assumed his new post as the new Rector of the said shrine. His installation was held on August 21, 2016. It was presided over by the Most Rev. Arturo Bastes, SVD, DD, the bishop of the Diocese of Sorsogon.

OUR LADY OF THE ABANDONED PARISH Sta. Ana, Manila His Eminence Luis Antonio Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila was the officiating prelate on the installation rite of Fr. Esmeraldo Enalpe, OFM as the OFM Franciscans Philippines

new Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Sta. Ana, Manila on August 22, 2016. Fr. Enalpe formerly served as rector of St. Anthony Shrine in Sampaloc, Manila for three years. Fr. Lino Gregorio Redoblado, OFM, a Definitor General, Fr. Cielito Almazan, friars and other priests attended the event.

STS. PETER AND PAUL PARISH Casambalangan, Sta. Ana Cagayan The congregation at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Casambalangan, Sta Ana, Cagayan witnessed the installation of their new pastor Fr. Alvin Artemio Paras, OFM. The installation rite was officiated by Archbishop Sergio L. Utleg, DD, the archbishop of the Archiodese of Tuguegarao on October 30, 2016. The event was attended by some friars of the Province of San Pedro Bautista, members of the pastoral council and invited priests.

ST. ANTHONY PADUA PARISH Sta. Ana, Cagayan The former formator of the Postulants of the Franciscan Postulancy in Frisco, Quezon City, Fr, Rolie Pimentero, OFM is back to his Pastoral Ministry as new Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Sta. Ana Cagayan. His installation was held on Oct. 28, 2016 with the Most Rev. Sergio Utleg, DD, as the officiating prelate. Along with the pastoral visit to the Parish, Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM, the Minister Provincial of OFM’s in the Philippines with some friars, attended the installation.

Third Quarter 2016



STRENGTHENING COLLABORATION IN THE EAST ASIA CONFERENCE Young friars from East Asia shared their experiences after the EAC-CIP held in the Philippines.

The EAC participants during the culminating program held at the Provincial House in Frisco, Quezon City.

“OVERCOMING LANGUAGE BARRIER” raternity is a major aspect in the Franciscan life. We have enjoyed the life of brotherhood since we joined the Order of Friars Minor but this was the very first time that we have a meaningful experience with the international fraternity. During this month, the twelve of us from Vietnam were very happy to meet and to celebrate Franciscan life with 5 brothers from Korea and 8 brothers from the Philippines.


In our experience at the EAC – CIP, we realized how important knowing the English language is. We didn’t understand much from our sessions because they were all in English. Then, after an announcement was given, we turned to the others and said, “What did he say?” But, we also realized that though we were limited with the use of English language, we could still communicate with our brothers and with other people because they listened not only with their ears but also with their hearts. For this, we felt more confident to speak. Our English vocabulary is very small, yet we understood each other, and of course, we just laughed at each other when we could not communicate well! It does not matter!

We took a special course in English for three months to prepare ourselves for the East Asian Conference (EAC). But honestly, before we left Vietnam, we were worried because we were still not good in using the English language.

Besides the joyful fraternal experience, the EACCIP programme provided opportunities for us to experience Franciscan life. Towards the end of the month, we had a very important topic - Franciscan Spirituality.



Third Quarter 2016

(right) The EAC participants during their visit in Sta. Clara Mission Community in Navotas, Malabon. (left) The friar delegates from South Korea Province rendering their cultural song.

We were also sent to urban poor families in Navotas, Malabon. The families there, though materially poor, are rich in love. The people in this area are also very friendly. Their presence reminded us that, as Franciscans, we are also called to live the life of joyful poverty. The conferences during the programme were designed to give us the material to reflect how a Franciscan should be in the Asian context. It is a pity that we understood only some parts of these conferences because of our poor English. But surely we will try to practice the little things we have learned. We wish to thank the 8th EAC – CIP organizing commitee, especially, Fr. Irineo Tactac III OFM and Fr. Virgilio del Mundo, OFM who always accompanied us and gave us this wonderful experience.




am Francis from South Korea. Let me share with you my experience in Navotas.

I was assigned to a foster family. At first I was afraid because I did not know how they would accept me. But my mother was very beautiful and humble. She trusted me and welcomed me to stay in her house. She has three daughters and one son. Deep inside I felt very shy with them but they gave me the most heartfelt welcome. My mother was so worried they only have a very humble house for me. But I was very comfortable, OFM Franciscans Philippines

happy and joyful in that house because of the spirit of poverty I learned from our holy father Francis. My house has two beds and one room only. My mother offered one bed for me. I was not comfortable about that, but I did not want to disturb my family so I accepted her offer. During meals I ate with my family in a very small table. I felt we were very close. We spoke about Korea and Philippines with the daughters and the son. Later we had already become very very close that we began calling one another brother and sister. During conversation I felt very happy to know that my three sisters and one brother know how to build friendship and relationship and speak about good attitude of a human being. They know how to love and to live in a human society. My sisters were also very friendly with others so they have a lot of friends. Their house is very small but a lot of babies, children, ladies, gentlemen, grandmothers and grandfathers would always come to my mother’s house. Then generously they shared some food and their life story for each other. I sincerely thank the Philippine Province for organizing this programme. Most of all I thank the Tila family and the sweet Jesus for not only teaching me, but for making me experience how it is to love. Third Quarter 2016





ast July 27, 2016, the participants of the 8th East Asian Conference -Common Integration Program (CIP) arrived at OLAS. We were twenty five . So far this was the biggest number of participants in the last eight years f EAC-CIP to prepare the young friars for the solemn profession of vows as Franciscans. Being one of those participants is something that I looked forward to.

The friar delegates from the Philippines.

This phase of formation program shows the international character of the Order. But most of all, it offered the shared lived-experiences that we learned from each other as we listened to the realities of our time. The theme for this year’s EAC is, “Brothers and Minors: Bearers of God’s Mercy and Pardon, Moving towards the Peripheries.” From the way we communicate with one another in making choices in our daily lives, we recognize that we live in a complex world, a world that is beset with many different realities that are constantly evolving in Asia today. I find the words of Pope Benedict XVI challenging when he said, “Our concern is to seek ways to assist those to whom we minister to be able to respond and not lose the sense of God who is all truth”. (Youth in Asia: Challenges of Fundamentalism and Relativism, FABC, No.35). The fraternity provides a renewed witnessing to the world today. We recognize signs of hope in engaging in interfaith prayer and meditation and are cooperative in the struggle for peace, justice and the integrity of creation. However, the Seventh FABC Plenary Assembly in 2000 spoke about “the challenge of discerning the Asian way.” The Asian bishops stated their position: “We are committed to the emergence of the Asianness of the Church in Asia. This means that the Church has to be an embodiment of the Asian vision and values of life, especially interiority, harmony, a holistic and inclusive approach to every area of life.” St. Francis


Third Quarter 2016

of Assisi made a tremendous social transformation by seeking the Kingdom of God and his justice in the peripheries.



ảm ơn nhiều, gamsahabnida, maraming salamat, daghang salamat. Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, Cebuano. Different languages but one message: Gratitude. The East Asian Conference-Common Integration Program 2016 is an experience of gratefulness. “Thank you” in different languages is the most frequently uttered word among the participants of the month-long program. We are thankful to the host province, San Pedro Bautista Province, for showcasing the best of Filipino hospitality; to the people we met in the places we visited who made us appreciate all the more the Filipino culture and beauty; to the foster families in the exposure areas for allowing us discover the warmth and joy of the Filipino people; and to the resource persons for their sharing of wisdom and expertise which made us rich in human, Christian and Franciscan insights and reflections. We are also grateful for the gift of each other. The

smiles, the laughter and the cheers, albeit expressed in different languages and gestures that made the experience truly heartwarming and spirituallyenriching. Indeed, the whole program is a celebration of gratitude. But what are we really thankful and grateful for? What are we really celebrating about? More than the reasons mentioned, we are grateful and jubilant for the twofold celebration underlying this gathering. First, the celebration of God’s fidelity to us. And second, the celebration of our belongingness to God. With our different nationalities, culture, upbringing, and personal history come also our varied vocation stories. Some joined the order young while most answered the call at a later age. Some experiencing rough roads in their vocation journey while others are on a smooth-sailing spiritual voyage. Amidst this diversity, there is one commonality – God’s faithfulness to us. This insight was born out of the awareness of God’s unique design working in each one of us. We all have our own flaws and failures; weaknesses and shortcomings; infidelities and ungratefulness. But God’s ways are constant and faithful. His call is enduring and everlasting. His election is consistent and persistent. The Common Integration Program gave us a glimpse of God’s faithfulness in spite of our unworthiness. And this calls for a celebration. Another reason worthy of celebration is the sense of belongingness. All of us have a longing to belong to something abstract or concrete. Be it to an institution, culture, or society, the craving for the sense of belongingness is natural. It is absolutely human and definitely normal. The desire to join a religious Order, in our case, the Franciscan fraternity, is a natural yearning for belongingness. We want to be part of a group where we feel accepted, welcomed and respected as we strive to give ourselves totally to God and to the people He loves our neighbors. When we have that sense of belongingness, we will eventually have the natural inclination to share in

OFM Franciscans Philippines

the common work of the brotherhood. We call this the apostolate or the ministry. But this is just on the human level. A genuine Franciscan fraternity must lead a brother towards belongingness to Christ. And if we achieve a higher level of belongingness to Jesus, then it would be instinctive for us to share in the life and work of Christ himself. This for me is the real fraternity – a fraternity that finds belongingness in Jesus. The EAC Common Integration Program is an experience geared towards fraternal belongingness to Jesus. The awareness that we all belong to one brotherhood though from different countries, cultures, and perspectives is an insight worthpondering. It is a proof that things unite if we all belong to Christ. It made concrete St. Paul’s counsel that belongingness to Christ means there is, “… neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). The CIP experience transcended all boundaries. There is no more Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog or Bisaya. All are one in Christ. We all experienced that fraternal belongingness to Christ. If indeed religious life is a foretaste of what is to come when we commune with God in eternal bliss, then it is but proper that our belongingness to Jesus must start in the here and now in our religious formation. I believe that the CIP experience did not fail us on that. This one also calls for a celebration! The delegates of the EAC CIP 2016 during the closing ceremony held at the Provincial House in Quezon City with the Minister Provincial, Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM and friar formators.

Third Quarter 2016




The EAC Ministers present during their meeting in Cebu City with the Definitor General in Asia and Oceania, Fr. Lino Gregorio Redoblado, OFM


The Ministers Provincial, Custos, President and Secretaries of the East Asian Conference gathered for their Annual Meeting in Lower Busay, Cebu City this September 5-8, 2016. The theme for the meeting was: “Moving to the Peripheries as Brothers and Lesser Ones.” In his message, the Minister General, Br. Michael Anthony Perry, OFM, renewed his call for more friars to volunteer as missionaries to fourteen mission areas under the General Curia. About 60 friars are needed to in these new mission fields. He said that what is needed are “men of deep faith who are committed to living in fraternity and sharing life and mission together, men who are flexible, capable of learning new languages, willing to collaborate with fellow friars and also with the people of God, and open to learning and sharing new cultural and life experiences.” The Minister General also encouraged the EAC Ministers 24

Third Quarter 2016

“to reflect on the role of the lay brothers in the Order, and on problems with our vocation promotion and initial formation programs that appear to promote and prepare only future Franciscan priests.” He laments that there seems to be a type of “subtle clericalism in the Order, acting as if the only true vocation to Franciscan life is that of a priest, for the pastoral work of the Church.” In response to this, the EAC Ministers will organize an EAC Meeting of Lay Brothers to be held in South Korea in March next year. The Provincial Ministers also gave their sharing on how the Order`s 2016 Animation Guideline on the Jubilee Year of Mercy and 8th Centenary of Portiuncula Indulgence was realized in their respective entities. They also discussed their proposals for a collaborative animation of the 2017 Animation Guideline on Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) and Laudato Si’ in the conference level.

The following friars were present during the EAC Ministers Meeting: Lino Gregorio Redoblado, OFM (Definitor General); Carolo Ho Myeong Hwan, OFM (EAC President, South Korea Provincial); Ignatius Nguyen Duy Lam, OFM (EAC Vice President, Vietnam Provincial); Paul Miki Murakami, OFM (Japan Provincial); Claudio Pegoraro, OFM (Taiwan-Hongkong Provincial); Cielito Almazan, OFM (North Philippine Provincial); Arturo Daquilanea, OFM (South Philippines Custos); Gabriel Gao, OFM (China Custos); William Ng, OFM (China Project/ Desk Coordinator); Basil Heo Jeong Min, OFM (Myanmar Foundation President); Irineo Tactac III, OFM (EAC Secretary for Formation and Studies); Napoly Pasion, OFM (EAC Secretary for Missions and Evangelization); Loius Kim Jong Hwa, OFM (EAC JPIC Animator) and Dexter Toledo, OFM (EAC Secretary).

OFM Franciscans Philippines

Third Quarter 2016



MINISTRY OF MYSTERY Bishop Soc shares with the newly ordained priests why priesthood is a mystery that must be embraced completely.


hoebe and Jumil, you are going to be priests tonight. Something in you will change, but you can only understand that if you know the meaning of mystery. You will look the same; you will sound the same; you will weigh the same; but you will not be the same. And the mystery of our faith tells us tonight that you are going to be different. You are going to be different because God has touched you. And nothing that God has touched remains the same. You are going to be called to a ministry of mystery. The priesthood is a mystery. I am 31 years old away from your ordination as priest, I think I can tell you this: God loves you very much. And because God loves you very much, God will make you suffer very much, that’s his way. Because He doesn’t like your love one to suffer, this loved One, with the capital letter “O”, will love you and will show his love for you by the cross, like the wounds of brother Francis, by crucifixion. If in the years ahead, my dear brothers, you notice that you only feel loved and you are not suffering from your priesthood, check it because you might be serving a wrong master. The priesthood is a mystery. People will run to you; kneel down before


Third Quarter 2016

you; whisper their sins before you; in between their tears and their sobs. They will whisper to you secrets that they cannot even tell their husbands and wives. They will whisper to you secrets of their heart, wounds of their heart, wounds of their soul, trusting that you will be able to liberate them. It is a mystery. You know why? Because as you listen to the sins of the penitents who come to you for forgiveness you know in your heart that you are worse than the sinner who comes to you for blessing! And this sinner, who comes to you asking to be forgiven, pricks your conscience and says to you: “I am a sinner. Please, pardon me, Father. Please, show me the mercy of the Father.”

bed. That is the mystery of your priesthood. As the Gospel said, you will walk on this earth but you are not of this world. You are a reminder of some greater things to come to people. People older than you will call you “Father” and children whose parents are certainly not you, will also call you Father. You will be a mystery to a world that does not understand the divine. And when people see you, please make sure that they are reminded of God because of You.

You see, Jumil and Phoebe, it is not going to be easy because you would want to be relevant. You would want to be popular. You would want an easy life. When the call for an easy life, when the It is a mystery because you also are in search of the call for relevance, when the call for popularity takes mercy of the Father and there will be times in your over mystery, you’re like Judas kissing the Lord in life that you will not be able to find it. It is a mystery betrayal. Don’t seek to be understood, your duty is because everyday of to understand. Don’t seek your life from now on to be loved, your duty is you will be touching to love; and the greatest bread; you will be expression of love is to holding the chalice; “The priesthood is a mystery love beyond measure. whisper to these because you have been called to But believe me, my dear elements: “This is brothers, there will come a my body” and “This celibacy in a world that does not time in your life when this my blood.” And the understand sacrifice and being priesthood can be stressful power not given to because the Church, the alone.” angels will be given Order, the fraternity that to you. It is a mystery. you have chosen to serve It is a mystery and to belong to will be the because from now same church that will hurt on you will be sharing in the power of Christ the you; will be the same fraternity that will ignore you; teacher even if forever you will be a pupil. When will be the same friary that will suspect you; will be that time comes, my dear brothers, when you are so the same Church that will calumniate you; it will convinced that you are now a doctor and a master be the same Church that will take you for granted. and you thought that you don’t need to be taught, And yet you must serve this Church that hurts. You the people of God are at risk. must serve this fraternity that hurts. And you must The priesthood is a mystery because you have embrace the friary that has destroyed you, and rise been called to celibacy in a world that does not up with mystery with the Lord.

understand sacrifice and being alone. You are single, not married, but you cannot get married. If you put in your civil status “single,” that is how the government understands us. But if you ask your Minister Provincial, you are not single. And therefore don’t live like bachelors. Don’t wear a bachelor’s shirt. And don’t wear a bachelor’s jeans. And don’t live a bachelor’s home. Because you are of God. Your bed will perpetually be a single bed. No matter how wide you become don’t ever sleep on a matrimonial OFM Franciscans Philippines

My dear brothers, you would not be here if you do not have high IQ. You have passed the rigors of studies in Philosophy and Theology. You would not be here if you have a low EQ because the community has voted that you can belong to the fraternity. But you see, Jumil and Phoebe, IQ and EQ are not all that is required. You know a priest with high EQ, you know friars with high IQ and they can become a pain in the ass. You know why? Because they did not know the important Q that you will never loose: Third Quarter 2016


MQ – Mystery Quotient. It is the capacity to be caught in mystery and not be compelled to explain it; the capacity to be called in awe and wonder and stay there; that capacity to be able to say: “Wow”! If you lose that, even if you’re intelligent, even if you have a PR, you will lose the happiness, the joy of our priesthood. The key to a joyful ministry in the Lord is a deep sense of mystery. Don’t lose it in the name of relevance. Don’t lose it in the name of popularity. Don’t lose it in the name of burnout and anxiety. Don’t lose it because in the end, dear brothers, it is only that sense of mystery that will carry you to your silver, to your golden, even to your diamond anniversary. It is that sense of mystery that will open for you the doors of heaven. So that when the time comes, you can hear the voice of the Lord who called you “Come follow me” saying to you: “Welcome, good and faithful minister of mystery, enter your everlasting reward.” Jumil and Phoebe, before God created the world, the sun, the moon and the stars; before God created the mountains and the hills and the oceans; before God created the first man and the first woman; God already knew in the palms of his hands that I will ordain you on August 1st, 2016 at 6 o’clock in the evening. It is not by chance, it is by design. If there should come a time in your life as a priest in the future when you will be tempted to be relevant rather than to be mysterious, to be popular rather

than to be caught in awe and wonder; when you are tempted to quit and say “I give up,” before you make a decision please come over. We can talk together and we can talk to God together. And I know that the God who called you irrevocably will be the same God who will love you infinitely. Fr. Jumil, Fr. Phoebe if you fall in love with a woman, that is bad. But if you fall in love with money and comfort that is worse. And many priests fall not because of women, but because of money and comfortable lives. You did not become Franciscan priests to live easy lives. You became priests following the footsteps of St. Francis, hoping you can carry in your body the wounds of the cross; hoping that in your body the wounds of Jesus may be glorified again. And you my dear people of God, thank you for loving your priests, and I know you love bishops also. But please, do not spoil your priest friends. Never mind those special foods; never mind their clothes and shoes, pray for them. And I say pray for them, because the temptation is strong and the flesh is weak. Pray for them so that at the sunset of our lives, you can only say of us: “A holy man has entered heaven again.” The great poverty of the world right now is saints. Unfortunately, we are producing a lot of celebrities. Jumil and Phoebe, be the saints that we need.


FR. JOSE ROMERO FABABAIR, OFM Fondly called as “Fr. Phoebe”, he was born



on February 28, 1980 to Liwelyn Fababair and Erlinda Romero of Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro. Prior to his entrance to the seminary he finished his BS Computer Science course at Technological Institute of the Philippines. His first assignment as priest is at St. Francis Shrine in Donsol, Sorsogon.

FR. JUMIL ALCASODA, OFM Fr. Jumil was born on November 11, 1986 in

Tagum City, Davao del Norte but grew up in Baybay City, Leyte. He is the eldest among five siblings of July Roluna Alcasoda and Milagros Gucela Jomoc. He is currently assigned as Asst. Pastor in San Vicente Ferrer Quasi Parish, Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.


The solemnly professed friars with the on going formation team during the Annual Accompaniment Program held at Poggio Bustone Spirituality Center in Botolan Zambales.


The yearly accompaniment program of the solemnly professed friars was held on June 15 to 23, 2016 at Poggio Bustone Spirituality Center, Botolan, Zambales. It was attended by fifteen friars both from the Province of San Pedro Bautista and Custody of St. Anthony of Padua in the South. The program has been introduced by the Order to attend to the exodus of friars from the Order, especially that of young friars. Till the fifth year after solemn profession, the Ongoing Formation Committee has been devising a yearly program that hopes to respond to the queries, issues, needs, guidance, etc. of young friars in the specific areas of Franciscan life and ministry:

OFM Franciscans Philippines

human, Christian, Franciscan and ministerial. All in the spirit of prayer, dialogue, fraternal activities, relaxation and recreation. The first part was the sharing in Botolan. Then, back to OLAS, the young friars were presented with the profile of the 2016 participants, a collation of the round table sharing in Botolan and were given a session on conflict management. Handouts on some Franciscan spirituality themes were given. Then, the young friars went to the provincial house for talks on pastoral management and exorcism. Issues connected with parish activities, keeping of the various books, attending to the

various parish ministries were addressed. The priest head of parish ministry of the Diocese of Cubao facilitated. One area we friars need to be familiar with is the issue of diabolical possessions and benign or malevolent spirits. People ask for house blessings because they have invisible residents who make their presence felt. The exorcist of the Diocese of Cubao was the resource person. Back to OLAS, the sharing continued to deepen their new insights and realizations as Franciscans. As usual, liturgical and pastoral questions were constant in this kind of gathering. The program was evaluated in the end.

Third Quarter 2016




A famous columnist shares her experiences with an American friar whom she argues is very much a Pinoy by heart. He became part of our family – eating New Year and Easter dinners with us, celebrating our silver wedding anniversary, sharing our triumphs and our defeats, our happiness and our sorrows. My parents-in-law announced that they were adopting him as their second son, and gave him everything they thought he needed (he never asked). And when he left for the United States, he was visited by the family members who had occasion to go there. There were emails and phone calls, but not enough of them, I realize (Photo of Fr. Hugh, through the courtesy of Ms. Bernie Andulte and now. My daughter, Toby, was at his Ms. Venus Manaloto.) funeral. She and two friends, Ino Manalo and Dindy Calalang, represented his Filipino family, and they r. Hugh was a priest for 54 years, two months, helped draw the cloth over his body. and 5 days (ordained on May 26, 1962, died on July 31, 2016). Twenty-nine of those years By the way, as an adopted son of my parents-inwere spent in the Philippines. So from a strictly law, he in turn adopted a very Filipino custom numbers point of view, Fr. Hugh as a priest, was which endeared him more to them – the “mano more Filipino than American. Thus, this title. And I po,” which he did everytime he saw them – this big know, for a fact, because he told me so himself, that bear of a man, bending over and doing honor to his if it were up to him, he would have spent the rest of Filipino parents. his life here. I will choose one memory to illustrate his being Pinoy But mere numbers don’t make the case. How to the bone. My mother, who was on a visit here Filipino was Fr. Hugh! There are a lot of stories I from the United States, suddenly and mysteriously can tell. Our 40-year friendship goes way back to fell ill. This went on for two weeks, and despite 1976, when he first came to San Antonio, through house visits from the best doctors, and all kinds of the EDSA Revolution, the coup attempts, the medications, she showed no improvement. It was transformation of San Antonio Parish with all its a mystery. And her flight departure date drew near. programs both outreach and “inreach,” his seeding One morning, when I was in her room with her, other parishes with Parish Renewal Experience, she quietly asked me to call a priest. She wasn’t Antioch, and Luke 18 programs, his transfer to anywhere near dying, and moreover, she wasn’t Santa Ana after thirteen years with us (where an even Catholic. So I asked her why, and she very unsigned note saying “Yankee go home” was pinned simply said that she needed one to talk to the spirit to the door of his room and nearly broke his heart, or capre that was in a tree in our garden. She felt because he thought he WAS home). that she had offended it by picking some leaves



Third Quarter 2016

off the tree. And she told me that she would not get well unless she expiated whatever sin she had committed. She had experiences in her youth with these things (she was born and raised in Cavite), and had heard many stories from relatives and friends. So her acceptance. That I understood. But I had a dilemma nevertheless. And I asked her, Mama, why not a Protestant minister? No, she said, a priest will do. I did not pursue the matter. Priest she wanted, and priest she would get. Naturally my next step was to call Fr. Hugh. Stuttering and stammering but unapologetic (was ready to defend her to the death), I explained about my Protestant mother’s request. His response was immediate| “Winnie,” he said, “don’t even try to explain. I lived in Samar for ten years, and I could tell you even weirder stories. I will go there and do what she wants.” He came to the house with a prayer book, went up to my mother’s room and had a visit with her (he told me not to go with him, as it might embarrass her), hearing the whole story from her lips. Then

he came down, went straight to the tree, read out of the prayer book, and it looked like he blessed the tree. The domestic helpers, seeing what was happening, asked him to bless other spots in the garden and near their rooms, which they said were also haunted. Fr. Hugh went around the whole garden, and blessed our whole house to boot, and went back to my mother’s room to report to her. He also recommended to me that the tree be cut down -- apparently he had arranged with the tree’s occupant that it leaves, and didn’t want to have another one take its place. The next day, my mother was up. She was emphatic that she owed her recovery to Fr. Hugh. Needless to say, I did not tell my doctor friends, all experts in their own field, what had happened. And I will always remember that Fr. Hugh believed her, no questions asked, because of his experiences in Samar. He was more Filipino than most of us. Father Hugh, you are in my daily prayers. I will miss your uproarious laughter. Your humor. And your love of Filipino food (well, actually, of all kinds of food). Truly an American Pinoy.

MORE ABOUT MACEK “HUGH” ZURAT RAYMOND, OFM Born: October 19, 1935 (East Chicago, Indiana, USA) Solemn Profession: August 15, 1957 (Burlington, Wisconsin, USA) Date of Ordination: May 26, 1962 (West Chicago, Illinois) Arrival in the Philippines: December 19, 1963 ACADEMIC DEGREE Bachelor of Arts, Major in Philosophy, Minor in Education Master in Family Life Education and Guidance TEACHING EXPERIENCE Christ the King College, Calbayog City, Samar, Philippines Sacred Heart Academy, Novaliches, Quezon City, Philippines Our Lady of the Angels Seminary, Novaliches, Quezon City, Philippines ASSIGNMENTS IN THE PROVINCE OF SPB Jan-Jun 1964 1964-1966 1966-1968 1968-1973 1973-1976 1976-1979 1979-1989 1989-1992

Asst. Parish Priest, San Isidro, N. Samar Director, Minor Seminary, Christ the King College Dean of Theology/ Praeses, Calbayog City, Samar Director, Christ the King College Superior, Our Lady of the Angels Seminary, Novaliches, QC Asst. Pastor, Santuario de San Antonio Parish, Forbes Park, Makati Pastor, Santuario de San Antonio Parish, Forbes Park, Makati Member, Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish, Sta. Ana, Manila

OFM Franciscans Philippines

Third Quarter 2016




A year after the release of Laudato Si, people around the world especially in the Philippines are awakened to make a response. FORMAL OPENING Last September 1, 2016, the Holy Eucharist was celebrated in the Cathedral of Cubao Diocese in Quezon City to formally open the Season of Creation this year. Bishop Teodoro Bacani, DD, was the presider of the Mass while the OFM College seminarians led the singing during the liturgy.

The mass celebrated during the opening of the Season of Creation.

BEGINNINGS The Season of Creation began on September 1, 2016. September 1 was proclaimed by Pope Francis last year as the World Day of Prayer for Creation in communion with the Orthodox Church who started it in 1989. Since then, many other religions have joined in celebrating the Season of Creation. From a one-day celebration, the Season of Creation was extended to one month, ending on October 4 (Feast of St. Francis). Here in the Philippines, the observance of the Season of Creation was spearheaded by the Global Catholic Climate Movement - Pilipinas (GCCM-Pilipinas) with Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM as one of its main convenors. The celebration was held with the collaboration of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP-Nassa) and the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) with Fr. Cielo Almazan, OFM as one of the Co-Chairpersons. 32

Third Quarter 2016

In his homily, Bishop Bacani called for an authentic ecological conversion which is exemplified by St. Francis of Assisi who considered the whole of creation as his brothers and sisters. The bishop also affirmed the commitment of the Filipinos in promoting the values of Laudato Si which quotes a portion of the Pastoral Letter “What is happening to our Beautiful Land?� released in 1988, the first Catholic Bishop Conference document to speak about the care of creation. To celebrate the Season of Creation, parishes around the country participated in various activities highlighting the importance of the four elements: Fire, Earth, Wind and Water.

Bishop Teodoro Bacani presided over the holy mass.

TRIVIA WHAT IS THE SEASON OF CREATION? The Season of Creation is an optional season for the church year. For the most part, the seasons of the church year follow the life of Jesus: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter. The remainder of the church year encompasses Pentecost Season, which celebrates life in the Holy Spirit. Of course, there are many special days and occasional services throughout the calendar of the church year, such as Christ the King Sunday and Rogation Days. God is celebrated throughout the entire church year. And God the

creator, Christ the redeemer of creation, and the Holy Spirit as sustainer of life are integral to worship throughout the church year. There is no focus in the church year on God the creator, no opportunity to reflect in a concentrated way on the foundations of redemption and sanctification, namely, the very creation itself that is redeemed and sanctified. For centuries, our theology, our ethics, and our worship have been oriented in two dimensions: our relationship

CLOSING CELEBRATION The celebration of the Season of Creation ended last October 4, 2016, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The activity this time was held at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City. The mass was presided over by Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, DD with Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM as one of the concelebrants and Br. Angel Cortez, OFM as the emcee of the program.

with God and our human relationships with one another. Now it is time to turn our attention to God’s relationship with all creation and with our relationship with creation (and with God through creation). The Season of Creation is a relatively new season of the church year, a season that is also known in the church bodies of some countries as “Creation Time.” As an optional season, the Season of Creation can be celebrated at different points in the church year. Most commonly it has been celebrated between Creation Day on September 1 and St Francis of Assisi Day on October 4. In this scenario, the four Sundays in September are the core Sundays of the Season of Creation. Nevertheless, the Season of Creation can be celebrated appropriately in the Easter Season or at other times in the Pentecost Season. Some congregations have spread the celebration of the four Sundays throughout the church year.

Toledo, OFM and Br. Angel Cortez, OFM helped in the organization and planning of the logistics. It is hoped that the next year’s celebration of the Season of Creation will be participated by more people in many other parts of the Philippines.

BOHOL ECO-WALK Another activity participated by the friars in the celebration of the Season of Creation was the EcoWalk held in the Diocese of Tagbilaran last October 8, 2016. It was organized by the Association of Women Religious of Tagbilaran (AWRET) and was participated in by about four thousand students and members of various civic groups. Fr. Dexter OFM Franciscans Philippines

The Eco-Walk in Tagbilaran, Bohol

Third Quarter 2016



CELEBRATING JUBILEE YEARS AS FRANCISCAN RELIGIOUS AND PRIESTS “Be reminded of the beauty and joy of faithfulness in living out celibacy, in living out the vows of chastity, obedience and poverty. In this celebration we are reminded that perseverance pays, faithfulness pays. Like in marriage, fidelity pays”. (excerpts from Fr. Cielito’s homily)

The Jubilarians with the friars of the Province of San Pedro Bautista after the Holy Mass celebrated at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish in Forbes Park Makati City.

These brother jubilarians have chosen to stay behind and continue making sacrifices for the sake of the kingdom of God. They have denied themselves of the pleasure to have wives, children, and properties and to follow their own will. They have been trained to master their natural instincts and live a simple lifestyle in a community and to be happy with the little that we have.” Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM, Minister Provincial said this in his homily during the Holy Mass for the Jubilarians at the Feast of the Stigmatization of St. Francis of Assisi. The event was held at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish in Forbes Park Makati City last September 16, 2016. Along with the commemoration of the feast of the stigmatization of St. Francis of Assisi, eight brothers thankfully celebrated their jubilee years as Franciscan Religious and Priests. Joining them were 34

Third Quarter 2016

their’ relatives, friends, benefactors and the brothers of the Franciscan fraternity. Fr. Cielito also recognized the jubilarians’ profound dedication to follow Christ not in their own convenient ways but in the context of the fraternities in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. They live the life apart from their loved ones and families and do missions everywhere in the service of the Gospel. He also asked the community to continuously pray for them for more graces, that they may persevere more, become more effective in their ministry. That they come to full spiritual maturation and graciously slow down as servant-leaders in the church. Fr. Jesus Galindo, OFM, who celebrated the golden anniversary of his priestly ordination thanked all those who participated in the celebration (by Jhay Vasquez Ogmar).



25 Years as Religious


25 Years as Religious

Presently assigned in Palanan, Isabela as administrator of St. Mary of Magdalene Parish. Fr. Andy entered the Franciscan order in the year 1991. He was ordained priest on February 26, 1997 in Lamitan, Basilan. He studied at St. Bonaventure University in New York , USA for his MA in Franciscan Studies. He also served at the Foundation of Blessed Joseph Vaz in Sri Lanka.

Fr. Arman is from Viga, Catanduanes. Fr. Arman joined the OFM Fraternity in 1991 and was ordained priest in 1996 . Presently, he is the Procurator of the Our Lady of the Angels Seminary in Novaliches Quezon City. Fr. Arman served as formator in the Franciscan Postulancy and also served as Chaplain in Poor Clare Monastery in Cebu.

25 Years as Priest

FR. RAY ANTHONY FERRER, OFM 25 Years as Religious

He is a Francisan Missionary in Morroco since 2007. Fr. Ray joined the Franciscans in 1991. He was ordained priest in 1997 in San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City. He served in various OFM communities in Southern Philippines as Parochial Vicar and Parish Priest in North Cotabato. Before he left for mission abroad, he was the Parochial Vicar of Casambalangan, Cagayan.



He is the only remaining Spanish Franciscan friar in the Philippines. He solemnly professed in 1964 at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish in Forbes Park Makati City. He was ordained priest on May 21, 1966 at the Poor Clares Monastery Chapel in Sariaya Quezon by the Most Rev. Alfredo Ma. A. Obviar, DD. Fr. Jesus is presently the chaplain of the Makati

Fr. Hilaire is a resident and professor at the Our Lady of the Angels Seminary in Novaliches, Quezon City. He is the proofreader of the Communicator Magazine. He has been in the country since 2012 for mission. Fr. Hilaire belongs to the Province of Our Lady Guadalupe in in the United States of America. He was solemnly professed in the year 1959, and was ordained priest in the year 1964..

50 Years as Priest


This friar is known for his long time advocacy of caring and protecting the environment. Despite his age, he is still active in his ministry, especially for the poor. Presently, he is the local animator for JPIC at St. Gregory the Great Friary in Quezon City. Fr. Bernie served as formator in various OFM formation houses.

Fr. Apolonio Arcala, OFM or simply called as Fr. “Nonoy� He enter the Franciscan Order in the year 1985 and was ordained priest in 1991. Fr. Nonoy was born in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental. He is now the Guardian of the Juan de Placencia Novitiate House in Brgy. Laguan, Liliw Laguna.

OFM Franciscans Philippines

Medical Center.

60 Years as Priest

FR. AGAPITO DIEZ, OFM 50 Years as Priest

Fr. Diez is a Spanish friar who came to the Philippines along with Fr. Galindo for mission. He served in various communities such as Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of the Gate Parish in Daraga, Albay, formator of Novices and Postulants, spiritual assistant to the Secular Franciscan Order and confessor to the Poor Clare Nuns. Later he was recalled back to Spain.

Third Quarter 2016



The Teatro de Sta. Clara of Navotas, the youth from Gibang Caliat Nueva Vizcaya and different OFM communities dramatized the transitus of St. Francis of Assisi (as highlight of the celebration.)


A friar narrates how the Transitus is celebrated in the Philippines.



t is so inspiring to see that on October 3, 2016, the Transitus of St. Francis of Assisi was celebrated almost simultaneously in many parts of the Philippines. From as far as Cagayan Valley, down to Mindanao, the passing away of St. Francis of Assisi was celebrated also by different Franciscan groups.

St. Francis was attended by many brothers and sisters belonging to the different congregations of the First and Third Order Regular. Many members of the Order of Franciscan Secular and Youfra groups from all over Luzon came. Students from different Franciscan Schools with their teachers and staff also attended.

In Metro Manila, the celebration of the Transitus was led and organized by the InterFranciscan Ministers Conference of the Philippines (IFMCP), with Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM as chairman. The Transitus is one event that is always well attended and participated by members of different Franciscan groups scattered in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. This time the celebration of the Transitus of

The program began with the welcome remarks of the SFIC Provincial, Sr. Julie Saguibo. It was immedietely followed by the Transitus proper. The dramatization of the Transitus was performed by the Teatro Clara of the Santa Clara Mission Community in Navotas, together with the Mass Communication Students of St Joseph`s College. Fr. Chris Tibong, OFM was the director of the play.

Third Quarter 2016

In between the Transitus sequences, reflections on different topics were done. The reflection on the Year of Mercy was delivered by Bro. Joel de Jesus, OFMCap. followed by the reflection on Extra Judicial Killings given by Bro. Angel Cortez, OFM. The Transitus was followed by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, presided by the Most Rev. Honesto Ongtioco D.D., bishop of the Diocese of Cubao. The ministers provincial of the three branches of the First Order and other friar priests also concelebrated. After the final prayer Sr. Josie Mata, FAS Mother General, thanked everybody in behalf of the IFMCP.




week before the day of my reporting to the Our Lady of the Angels Franciscan Seminary, I found myself praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament asking God a lot of questions. Should I be diocesan priest or a religious? Am I fit to be a Franciscan? Do I still have that fire to follow God’s call? Questions, questions and a lot more questions. Finally, I asked myself: Am I ready to go back? I never had these questions when I first entered the seminary immediately after high school. My eyes were filled with a youthful gaze when I spent my Collegiate Formation in a seminary in Baguio. But the so-called “honeymoon” period did not last long. After college, I left the seminary and decided to live a “normal life.” Some of my friends would ask me why but neither do I know the answer. There are just lots of questions and I know that I would need to find myself first before I get to answer them. Before I made my step towards the unknown, I prayed: “Hold my hand, O Lord. Never ever leave me. Lead me and guide me to the path where you want me to be. I entrust everything to you…” Then, I worked as a teacher in a Catholic school. As a full-fledged teacher, I found

fulfillment in what I did. I enjoyed imparting wisdom to young people and I thought I was already on the right track. Little did I know that God would speak to me one day again during a Sunday Mass in August 2014. I was attending Mass when the presider shared his vocation story. He said that whenever one is making a decision about a life, one should always consider and remember all the good works the Lord had done. He said that every time he is having some troubles, he remembers his ordination day which is enough to keep him back on track. I am not sure but I felt that he was talking personally to me that day. His sharing led me to reminisce the day when I first entered the seminary. When communion came, the priest asked help from some former seminarians who were present in the assembly to help in the distribution of the communion. At first I hesitated but I decided to respond to his invitation. While giving communion, I found my hands trembling while memories of the barrio where I served began to flash in my head. Then, I could no longer stop my eyes from crying. There, I realized that God has always been faithful to me and was calling me back. After much soul-searching and after a series of spiritual direction, I applied to become a Franciscan but still I found myself with a lot of questions. In the middle of my prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament I experienced epiphany. I realized that questions would forever be a part of my spiritual journey for I cannot be fully certain of anything. Amidst all these uncertainties, the only acceptable response is “Yes, I am ready.” It only then that I felt peace within. Indeed there is a time for everything, and this is not a time for more questions but to trust that God will do his work in His own perfect time. Krister Keith Manaig hails from Nueva Vizcaya. He is now a postulant, a stage where a candidate “postulates” if Franciscan life is really for him. He is currently working anonymously as a clerk in his job exposure. Postulant Keith and Fr. Jhoan Pader, OFM, the OFM Vocation Director.

OFM Franciscans Philippines

Third Quarter 2016



Communicator Digital Copy(Third Quarter 2016)  

The Franciscans Magazine, Philippines

Communicator Digital Copy(Third Quarter 2016)  

The Franciscans Magazine, Philippines