From the Constitution #20
The Official Newsletter of Saint Alphonsus Theologate, Davao, Philippines
Ang Lingganay The Bell
“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.” (Matthew 17:20) On the cover page, “if we have strong faith, we can push up to the mountain”, is written. Our experience in Maragusan during the common vacation can attest to this. When we are almost near the resort, the van could not drive up to the mountain! All of us had to get off the van and literally push it with our sheer strength and power. Thank God, with a concerted effort, the van has surpassed the test of the mountain! As to life in the community, we are also pushing in our studies, community activities, and spiritual life all the time. When people gather as a community, one thing that unites them is “faith”. Here in Davao, we are a community of faith which gives us the volition to reach the same goal and dream even if we are of different nationalities. In this issue, you can see our pushed lives and how far have we pushed our way during the first semester. This is not only one or two pushes of our community, but also all members put their hands and move forward together. This is the core of our community life as brothers in the Congregation. Above all, our powers are important things that drive our community ahead. According to a Roman poem, “MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO” (a sound mind in a sound body); in the same way, our strong power also comes from our strong heart, strong spirit and strong faith. All of these salient qualities are what you will see as you flip through each page of this newsletter.
Prud Thipthong EDITORIAL STAFF Gary R. Alvarado, C.Ss.R. Thanapoom Manamuti, C.Ss.R. Mark Chia, C.Ss.R. Prud Thipthong, C.Ss.R.
E V E N T S
& Opening Mass 6 Admission DayWelcome to the club 7 8 Amazing Race Davao “To be the Salt of the Earth and the Lightof the World”11 12 Feast of Saint Alphonsus Culture and Mission and some glam shots! 14 17Keep Rolling! Game on!19 20 Jail and Hospital Apostolate “When heroes come to dine and cartoon characters come to life…” 21 Presentation 22 Missiological Theological Synthesis SATMI Film Festival 2010: The Beginning 24 25 Mid-year Evaluation “Disturb us, Lord”29 30Common Vacation
Merry Christmas & Happy New year 2011
Words from our Prefects &Capo Speaks
FRATERNAL CONVERSATIONS WITH SAT-MI STUDENTS
“A Thing of the Past Found Its Meaning in the Present” CPE the “orang asli” way… My Companion Confession of a Newcomer
CHRISTMAS 2009: An Experience of Homecoming
10 Beautiful GodSpero
Visit our blog site: http://sat-mi.blogspot.com
We sure don’t like to wait, do we? I am easily irritated and annoyed when
I end up in a long line of customers at the supermarket; or get stuck at the traffic jam on the congested street; or get stranded in the airport due to delay or change of flight schedule. I am guilty of not wanting to wait. Well, thankfully, Mother Church gives us the season of Advent. It is an opportune time of waiting- if we are willing to slow down and almost do nothing. Advent is the most countercultural season of all for Christians. The whole secular world is bent on buying and selling, partying, rushing around and worrying. Psychiatrists say this time of year is the most stressful of all. People worry about what kind of decoration to put up. They are afraid of feeling guilty if the gifts they give are not as good as the ones they receive. Isn’t it ironic? We have so much fear and guilt over the birth of the one who came to take away our fear and guilt! We need to prepare for Christ’s coming. But to do so, we ought to become like Mary of Nazareth. Mary was patiently, silently waiting and no one paid attention to her. What did she do? She prepared for the world changing event by quietly sweeping the cobwebs and dirt from where she was. She invites us as well to sweep the cobwebs and dirt from our hearts and souls. Prepare the person inside of us to make ready for the coming of the Lord. In the formation community, may we learn to collect, appreciate and embrace the formative values that the season of advent offers. Let us lay down our fast-paced life in an exacting, disciplining routine even monotonous repetitive work of cleaning and preparing for the birth of Christ in our life; humble, simple tasks done with great love. Doing house chores, washing dishes, completing academic requirements…These become the gifts that the child unwraps and delight in when He is born to us again. When possible, find a place: a room, a chapel, a garden, an outdoor setting which elevates to reflective thoughts and prayerful recollection of who and what is to come. Open Scriptures and slowly, deliberately, patiently read (perhaps) Luke’s gospel…meditate upon what it was like. There was no rush, no frantic activity then. There was only prayerful waiting and hope. The people of God have waited patiently for his coming. He has come again and again. He will come to us if only we will wait. But we must spend our time in waiting. We have dusted off the Advent wreath… we have positioned the candles in place and we lighted the first candle…The timelessness of Advent strikes anew as we approach this holy season.
Fr. Cruzito Manding, C.Ss.R.
“The people who had walked in darkness had seen a great light and those in silence have heard the ringing of the bells.”
the bells have been rung again. Have you already heard them? SPEAKS Yes, A few months ago, I never realized that I will be the next capo. Yet my journey had begun after the historical seventh ballot during the Studendate Planning at the start of the 1st Semester. Everything was new. The community had formed another system. Now we are grouped into BEC’s or the Basic Ecclesial Communities. It has helped a lot during the 1st Semester. The community is getting bigger and cultures are more diverse. We made it. We faced a few challenges during the semester. Thus, it was both learning and a moment of growth for all of us. Before the end of the 1st Semester we had to say goodbye to some of our brothers who had decided to trek a new journey. They will be always remembered because of the time they had spent with us. The bells are ringing for it is Christmas once again. And here in the Philippines it is a very long season. I remember when I was young; the bells were the signal to go to mass and to wake up and do the work in the early dawn. Being raised in the countryside, the bells became an important signal to spread the message that important people wanted to address to the community. The bells remind us to be vigilant and be ready when the message is being given. All of us are facing a new dawn. New changes are coming.
from the bottom of my heart... Someone used to say that doing good
things is like building a monument. I don’t remember who that someone is but I think his statement is worth pondering. Everyday, all of us are given twenty four hours equally. For some it’s too short while others say it’s too long. This is because we spend our time differently. Just don’t forget that the time that we have in our life can not be recycled again. Once it has already passed, it will never return. So let us reflect on how well we spend our time that we have in life. Do we spend it as if we are building our own monument? Remember that the most precious time is the time that we have now, not the past that is gone, not the future that hasn’t come. And no matter how much we try to treasure our time, just remember that when it’s gone, it’s really gone. So I would like to encourage and support everyone to move on and to live a life trying to make the best out of the time that we have at present so that together we can build our monument that is valuable and useful to others and society, like Saint Alphonsus, our founder, who gave us an admirable example of how we should spend time because he never wasted his time, not even a second.
Fr. Meechai Udomdej, C.Ss.R.
In a few more weeks, each respective unit will have their own new councils for a new quadrenium. It is a new moment for our congregation. Also the conferences are being strengthened. It a time to restructure and reinvent what is now in our midst. A new dawn comes after the last General Chapter. Innovations and changes are already taking place. If one does not still himself, how can he hear the bells of change? In the few months of being the capo, I learned many things. It is really great working with great brothers and confreres. Along the way I never thought that I was above the others for I am one with them. I am first their brother and friend before becoming their capo. I never changed my ways but I have matured in the process. I learned the importance of listening. So far my experiences helped me to be still so I can hear the bells and messages of hope. The 2nd Semester has started. A new journey is still emerging. We are all travelling in faith. Yet we are always called to be vigilant and be conscious of the signs of the times. Each of us carries a message of love, hope and faith. We all proclaim these messages through our lives. Are we able to be still that we can hear clearly the ringing of the bells? As missioners we must be able to retell the story of our faith through our lives. We are all called to be evangelizers and proclaimers of the Good News by virtue of our baptism. Let us ring the bell that is in our hearts. It must not be too grand or big. Changes come to a heart that is always open and a childlike faith that believes in the goodness found in each individual. We hope and believe. We sometimes need to be still to hear the message of the bells. Happy holidays!!!
From the little brother of all
Rufino Macasaet, Jr., C.Ss.R. December 2010
E V E N T
Admission Day & Opening Mass
There was a lot of pomp and circumstance including flag bearers, I thought it was like a United Nations day! All the students, both internal and external, the faculty and staff processed from the new SATMI building to the day chapel outside. Just in front of the faculty were the student reps from each country proudly carrying the flags of their respective countries. For that evening, I had the privilege of having duel citizenship of both Singapore and Malaysia, as I am the only member of my Vice Province which comprises of both those countries who is in Davao this year and thus carried the flags of both Singapore and Malaysia.
June 14, 2010, was an exciting day for all of us here at SATMI. Well at least exciting for one person, me! After all the years in formation, aspirancy, postulancy and novitiate, I finally get to be enrolled as a student here at SATMI. I almost felt like a leprechaun who had finally found his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Well almost. However this could also be attributed to a certain feeling of Irishness in the air in these parts of the Redemptorist world.
Well after breakfast, all the students gathered excitedly in the AV room for the morning’s activity of form filling facilitated very professionally by Ms Ella and Sr Miriam who were both quite the experts in getting a room full of vowed celibate men to do exactly what they wanted. Talk about girl power!
After a very beautiful and inspiring Mass which might have made everyone think twice if not trice or four times before even contemplating to open facebook or even worse, the dreaded farmville instead of the Summa Theologica, we all gathered in the courtyard to have a very very simple, great emphasis on the simple, fellowship under the beautiful night sky.
After about an hour or so, most of the students had finished filling up their respective forms except for a few including myself who seemed to take forever to enroll for the huge, tremendous number of classes this semester……5! Ha Ha.
A simple day but then again, isn’t God found in the simple things in our everyday lives? Till next time.
Okay jokes aside, I really felt that this was a milestone day for me. It was the day when I officially began theological studies in the congregation. It was like a coming of age day…. When the boy becomes a man. This analogy admittedly is not original, it is inspired by my novice director. (Still trying to earn brownie points!) Later that day, in the evening, we all gathered for the opening Mass of the academic year.
Welcome to the club
Then, right after the planning is done, another important thing that usually follows is the election of committee coordinators and most significantly the election of the new capo (the head of students). This year the voting was so close that a neck and neck race between the two nominees seemed to go on forever. And finally, at the 7th ballot of voting, we had our new capo, Rufino Jr Mea Macasaet (Jun), a second year student, our hard working, talented, yet very humble brother from the vice province of Manila. Shortly after being elected, Jun expressed his sentiment in his facebook saying, “Now I know what Pope John XXIII felt when he said, ‘They are calling me Pope when I’m just a poor country priest.’ I say, ‘They are calling me Capo when I’m just an ordinary religious.’” Don’t worry, Jun, you’ll never walk alone.
So, one might ask, “what the heck are these meetings all about?” In fact, these meetings at the beginning of the school year are called “the student planning.” It is a venue wherein all the students and formators, aiming at the fulfillment of the core values in the Ratio Formationis, come together, discuss, and plan for the activities and schedules that will be done throughout the whole school year. In addition, the new students will also be introduced to the way of living in this new community. How we do things here. And also how they might get kicked out of the formation program! Of course, there is the pain (3 whole days of meeting is no fun at all), but the gain is also even considerably more beneficial to our growth if we consider ourselves as a mature religious formandee. We are the real co-formators. And we can truly say that this formation program is of us, by us, and for us.
After we were done with the election, we proceeded to the common room for a Gaudeamus, celebrating the end of all the meetings! No, I mean, the beginning of the new school year.
E V E N T
Welcome all our new CSsR students to Davao Formation Community for the school year 2010-2011. It has been our trademark now that, unlike other formation houses, here in Saint Alphonsus Theologate, Davao, we welcome our new comers with long days of exhausting meetings. For some, only a few moments after their feet touched the Davao soil, they already found themselves locked in a meeting room, listening to a discussion of which they had no idea whatsoever. And I’m telling you. This is just the beginning of the all new episode of “Survival SATMI.”
o a v a D
E V E N T
After a long and long time of planning, all new students had their activity called “The Amazing Race” – which in fact was just like a city tour. This activity was meant for the newcomers to explore and to have an exposure of Davao City especially in downtown area. New students were to look for the places in Davao according to the clues given to them. they were divided into groups consisting of members from different countries and units. They had to find and reach these places which included the City Hall, San Pedro Cathedral, China town, San Pedro Hospital, Ateneo de Davao University, Ramon Magsaysay Park and the final station, Gaisano Mall. We started the activity in the front of our convent. The members in the groups were mixed up with different nationalities such as Filipino, Thai, Vietnamese, Singaporean, and Indonesian. It was good for us that, at least, we could use English to communicate with other people naturally. We also had to follow the rule that no one had to take their own money because the organizers gave us money equally to all the groups. After that they gave us clues to reach the places or stations in Davao. When we reached each station we would get another clue to find another place until we arrived to the final station. In this activity, we got a good opportunity to be familiar with some of the important places in the city, like the hospital, the University, the Cathedral, and, of course, the Shopping malls. The city was so big that it was not easy for us to reach the place we wanted to be. So we asked the people along the way, even a Jeepney driver, how to go to the place written in the clue. We walked, ran, and Jumped up the Jeepney and the tricycle. We could say that we took all kinds of transportations in one day except Taxi because of our financial limitation. These were the good experiences for the new students to survive and to find all the places without losing. We finished and reached the final station, Gaisano Mall, and it was almost lunch already. As we went along the activity, we had a quick look of the city, the life style of people, and even witnessed the traffic in Davao. We also felt God’s providential guidance among us when we could not find the places that we were looking for. But in the end, everyone was able to finish the activity although sometimes we had to ask Jeepney drivers or other people for assistance. Most importantly, we found unity and friendship among ourselves. Finally, The advantage of this activity was not only to know Davao city but also to learn appreciate and live with new friends in this foreign land, and to know each other better as members of a big community. Thanks to the wise activity crafted our creative organizers which helped us know the city and new friends. It was a Good start for us because a good experience lasts, and can be one of million experiences that we will have here in the Philippines.
“A Thing of the Past Found Its Meaning in the Present” Some memories continue to live and become a source of inspiration in our journey in life… The year was 1989. I was in my 4th year high school and was wondering what life would be in the future. Curious about the human potentials, I asked my mother at one time if it is possible to develop fully the self? She said, “ Yes.” Being active in the Citizens’ Army Training, I thought of entering the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). There, I would develop myself physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. But questions surfaced when I contemplated about the plan. “Do the military have a heart for people?” “Is the spiritual aspect of a person important in their trainings?” The answers to these questions were significant for me. Nevertheless, I put them aside. (Maybe) I could compensate what seems to be lacking anyway. So I took the PMA written entrance exam. I passed and was telegrammed by the Officer-in-Charge of the Philippine Military Academy to report to V. Luna Hospital for another set of exams. A day before the exams, I bought a postcard. On the postcard is the portrait of “The Lady with Her Child.” I wrote on the back side: “10 December ‘89, Mary Help of Christians, PMA PhysicalMedical Exams.” In my eagerness to find my path early in life, I prayed to the Lady in the postcard: “Please, please, bring me to that life God intends me to be.” I was hoping that the Lady would hear my prayer by helping me pass the exams. But what I expected did not happen. I stored that postcard somewhere and continued my engineering studies in college until I finished and practiced my profession for several years. When I joined the Aspirancy Program with the Redemptorist in Davao City in 2003, I viewed some of my personal documents from a bag just to know what sort of things I brought into my aspirancy year. I also took out that old postcard and mused over it. Glancing again at the portrait, I got surprised! It was the portrait of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. For a long time, I was not conscious of this mistake. It was not the Mary Help of Christians’ portrait. But it was a strange one because it led me to connect an important past event to where I am. At the time when I bought that postcard, I asked sincerely the Lady for her help. But I forgot about it when I learned that I did not pass the exams. I simply shelved the post card. Yet, at that moment when I saw the portrait again, it reminded me of what I asked of Her: “to bring me to that life God intends me to be.” That postcard which I almost made as a thing of the past has found its meaning in the present. The question I asked my mother and those when I contemplated of entering the PMA came back to mind. And yes, the Redemptorist has a heart for people and they are concerned about the spiritual aspect of every person. As I was looking again at the portrait of our Mother of Perpetual Help, I realized that she never fails to listen a sincere prayer made by her children. She continues to do so and I am glad that I am part of the Redemptorist Congregation- the Congregation which promotes her devotion.
Beautiful God by Danilo Agustin Jr.
I am wondering where I’m heading. In my relentless search for meaning. My heart’s always left longing. If not for You, why am I living? I try to make a song Of beautiful words that touch souls. Yet, all of these are empty If You don’t inspire the lyrics and the melody. I try to paint Your wonders. Indeed, it amazes its viewers. If only colors speak for You It will reveal a face of You. It makes me wonder who I am In a world of a mysterious reality. In my quest for truth, the magic of Your love Can only suffice and answer my cravings. You keep the space; You provide the order. You are my other wing that enables me to fly. You keep me believing That life, from You, is a gift worth living.
Your Grace is my bliss. Your love impels me to share this happiness. Extending Your love and life to others is An opportunity to serve and praise You my Beautiful God.
10 December 2010
“To betheSaltof theEarth and theLightof theWorld” by Jun
We, as baptised disciples of Christ, are grace the occasion there was Fr. Joe Apisit called to the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World. Yet as religious we go a step further in this call. Part of the formation program is to immerse ourselves in another culture or tradition. Also part of the formation is the Sending–off Ceremony for these missioners who will do mission.
of Thailand, Fr Vincent Low of Ipoh, Fr Manoling of Cebu and Fr Caloy of Manila. Presenting the missioners was Fr. Cruz, our Prefect of Students.
Eucharist with the rest of the priest of the community and other conferers from other units. Fr. Brendan also was the one who gave the homily. His focus was on our journey as missioners and the call to be ready to be sent to wherever the Spirit leads us.
go to Manila for some time and from there go to their destined places of mission. We also remember the three other students who will be also in immersion year but have a different arrangement. Terence, Eugene and John are all going to various communities in the Ipoh Vice-Province.
At this celebration, Nathaniel “Natz” Arendain, Joseph Phung, Dominic Tra Tran and Alphonsus Chainarin “Joe” Lamprom received their mission crosses as they embarked on another step in their formation journey. They are assigned to different communities and countries. Natz is goin with the RIMT here in the Philippines. Joseph and Dominic will join the Mission Team in the North of Thailand. Joe on the other hand will join the Mission Team in Sumba, Indonesia. To
May God make their journey fruitful for this school year. May they learn more in the missions. We pray for the success of their endeavors.
E V E N T
Last July 14 at the 5:30PM Novena Mass, the whole St Alphosus Theologate community gathered together to Sendoff four of our brothers to their mission. Fr Brendan, our rector, celebrated the
It was a simple celebration yet very meaningful especially to those who are being sent and an inspiration for those who would follow them the next time around. After that we had a Gaudiamus at the Common Room. It was a simple token of appreciation from the community to our four students. The four will eventually
11 December 2010
E V E N T
Feast of Saint Alphonsus by Jingjing
“Choosing God, they possessed every necessary thing, anticipating eternity from the earthly life.” Last August 1, 2010 we celebrated the feast of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. It was our founder’s 223rd death anniversary.
On the same date, Pope Benedict XVI also gave a message to the pilgrims of the world in Vatican City and said of St. Alphonsus and equally of St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Eusebius of Piedmont and St. John Vianney of Ars: “These men acquired ‘a wise heart,’ accumulating that which is not corrupted and discarding all that is irremediably changeable in time: power, wealth and ephemeral pleasures. Choosing God, they possessed every necessary thing, anticipating eternity from the earthly life.” Indeed, the desirable qualities of St. Alphonsus in following Christ, the Most Holy Redeemer continue to be relevant and worth emulating for us, people of today’s world. They are timeless examples of what human beings can do when they totally choose God over themselves and other things. We, the Redemptorist students in Davao affirmed this; and one of the ways we continued to promote his desirable qualities was through a novena in his honor. The novena started last July 23, 2010. Each day of the novena a theme highlighting one of St. Alphonsus’ virtues was included in the prayers. Different student–volunteers took care in leading the people to prayer each day. However, the schedule of the celebration of the Holy Mass in honor of the feast of St. Alphonsus was anticipated. It was held on July 31, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. Fr. Brendan was the main presider and Fr. Caloy was the homilist. There were other Redemptorist priests also present during the mass. After the homily, our two brothers from Sri Lanka renewed their temporary vows. They were Br. Suresh Kelum Fernando, C.Ss.R., a 5th year theology student and Br. Morris Gerard Xavier, C.Ss.R., a 2nd year theology student. Fr. Cruz, the Prefect of Students, representing the Redemptorist Congregation, received their renewal of temporary vows. At around 7:30 in the evening, a dinner was held at the fourth floor of St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute (SAT-MI) building. Members of the house, church and office staff, and nonRedemptorist students of SAT-MI dined with us. Our two brothers from the VP of Manila, Br. Leo Mar and Br. Mon, who were in SAT-MI the past days for the presentation of their missiological papers, were also present to celebrate our founder’s feast day. The faculty of SAT-MI was also invited for that dinner, the eve of our founder’s feast day.
12 December 2010
CPE the orang asli way…
We had a little break once we got back to Singapore/Malaysia, had a month of community visits and finally settled down in Kuala Lumpur to start our 10 weeks long Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. I was personally very excited as I have not had the chance to really work or experience any form of pastoral interaction in my own country. The opportunity to really talk to the people, getting to know the local context, and to look deep into my own self all at once in this program was indeed very exciting for me. But soon, the initial excitement turned into hard work and frustration. Loads upon loads of assignments started to be piled on us, and we seemed to be using every single breathing moment working on papers. The visits were filled with anxiety as I struggled to fine tune my ‘pastoral care’ for the patients. I had one thousand and one things going on in my mind when I spoke to the patients, as I tried to find the right words to say and figuring out the right gesture to show my concern. Luckily , it was only a phase, soon, I sort of had a better grasp of things, and everything started to fall into place, and that’s when I started to have time to sit back and reflect. One of the most surprising realization I had was the fact that I actually know very little of the reality in my country. As I took time to talk to people of various walks in the hospital, I started to see the concerns and the issues happening around the place. I realized that in reality, nothing is ever perfect or ideal. There were cracks in the harmony that was presented, there were danger lurking in the peaceful outward presentation. People were worried of the state of the country; they were worried of safety, of economical stability, of racial tension, of the future of the country. On the other hand, I was also pleasantly surprised by the optimism that was shared by some. My onesided perception of racial tension was altered as I met beautiful people of other races who opened up their hearts and shared with me in deep fraternal bond. My fear of religious unrest was soothed when people of other faith dialogued with me in
deep sincerity. I was somewhat touched and edified. This was the first time that all my idealistic view of my country, our races and our religion was altered and readjusted with ground-level interaction and dialogue, and that was to me a truly enlightening journey. That aside, the unending processing of verbatim and other self awareness reports had also helped me understand myself better. I learnt a lot in the manner I deal with people, and managed to ‘field test’ a lot of methods to dialogue with people more effectively. One important thing I learnt of myself is that it is very difficult to have a good conversation when you have your own agendas building in your own mind. When before the other finished what he/she has to say, you already have all the response prepared in your mind, then you have lost the ability to truly listen and to know what the other really wanted to express. As I worked on this art of listening, I realized that actually most people don’t really need me to talk much. All I need to do is to show that I am truly listening, and people will (almost miraculously) open up and pour out their inner world to me. It was truly an amazing realization for me. I never knew that by just keeping silent I could get so much out of the others. I almost felt like I have gained a new super-power, and I can’t wait to get back out into the real world to try out these new found abilities Of course, tough as it is, the CPE is not constantly all work and no play. We did have some very enjoyable moments with our midterm break where we went up to Genting highlands and ran wild like little kids again. We also had some interactions with the casts and crew of “The Reluctant Saint Musical” (another long story for another day), and finally we had quite an exciting time towards the end planning our own graduation and saying goodbye to all who had helped us during our stay. The 10 weeks flew by in a flash. Before we knew it, it was gone. But for all of us, it was definitely a precious time of self awareness and personal growth. As we packed our bags up again and headed off to our respective mission community, we brought along with us the joys and the learning of this wonderful time. We have managed to arm ourselves with better ammunition and shield, and now we are ready to head into the world and face the giants. Mission immersion…. HERE WE COME!
If you think that culture shock only happens in a foreign country, then think again! After only a year back in dear ol’ Davao, it was time for us to pack our bags once again and head to the wonderful world outside to ‘test our skills’ and ‘sharpen our swords’. Nope, we are not going into the native Amazon jungle, but yes, we are heading off for our Pastoral year back into the comfort of our own country, or so we think …
E V E N T
Culture and Mission and some glam shots! The evening of August 8, marked a significant event in
St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute (SAT-MI) history. The Institute held a Cultural Exhibit, showcasing the different cultures of Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Samoa and Philippines. The event was formally opened by the ribbon cutting ceremony with Sr. Miriam Alejandrino, OSB â€“ the Dean of SATMI and Fr. Senen Javier, C.Ss.R. The whole activity was graced with the presence of different visitors from the Church groups and parishioners, students from other congregations and orders with their respective formators and superiors, staffs of the SATMI and some friends of our dear students. The Cultural Exhibit showcased both the diversity and uniqueness of different cultures in Asia. Each booth was prepared, arranged and manned by our brothers according to their respective nationalities with some basic information regarding their cultures. It was also the time for the 4th year students to exhibit the details (including some glam shots) of their experiences during their immersion year in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. After a few minutes of chit chats and some cocktails, the rest proceed to the second half of the Cultural Night which is the program proper. Showcase of talents followed next. The first years (count me in!) wowed the crowd (I hope!) with their opening salvo. One also of the highlights was the presentation of different entries of the students in different categories such as visual arts, essay writing, poem writing and song writing. The audience also had the chance to listen and be informed ( and be entertained!) by the extemporaneous speeches given by each representative from different year levels focusing on the theme, â€˜Mission through Cultureâ€™. It is interesting to see and learn how the students envision their role in this widening mission and how they recognized the importance of culture in realizing the mission of Christ. The rich experience of every student shared during this event served as inspiration to others upon realizing the giftedness of this pluralistic and diverse community where we belong. The message of the whole activity focused on how each culture though has its distinct character and substance, and to appreciate its resemblance with others. It is this connectedness that makes us appreciate more the mission that God has entrusted to us. The night ended with pure joy and appreciation both for the message and importance of our persons: distinct and unique, and of course the prizes that we received.
14 December 2010
My Companion by Arnel
During my thirty days retreat in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, I usually started my day with an hour of
This scene makes me curious and once I talk to one of the women. I even suggest to them to let the man walk with a stroller so that he can learn and be confident in walking alone. According to them, they already tried but find it not effective. The young man, according to the women does not have the initiative to move forward if they let him do the walking alone. He needs to be held and most of the time to be forced to walk so that his legs can gain more strength for him to become more confident. One of the women says that one of their difficulties is the young man’s attitude, specifically his taking a nap while walking. Perhaps he feels assured. He is not minding his responsibility anymore because of the persons holding him. This is the reason why one of them needs to shake and to wake him up by suddenly pulling the young man’s arm. The young man’s situation leads me to reflect about my own journey in religious life. I see myself in the same situation; I have my weakling legs too. Along the way, I experience both of them shaking, especially when I see that the road ahead is not plain and comfortable. Yes, I know, I can move forward but I am uncertain and not confident whether I am capable to sustain my own balance. I am afraid to stumble down. There are times in my journey that I become over confident too. Seemingly, I close my eyes and neglect my own responsibility to move forward, to learn and to grow. Perhaps, this is the reason why my companion in this journey shakes me at times. In times like this, I become more insecure and confused. This typically makes me protest against him whom I think will assure me to maintain the favorable status quo. I complain. I do not want to be disturbed. I want to feel free and comfortable in this journey. How ignorant am I in behaving like this. Like the young man in the park, I tend to choose comfort that eventually leads to my own fall, getting stuck with a weakling legs. Confronting life’s uncertainties is fundamental in life’s journey. Yes, it is. Anybody who tries to avoid it looses the real meaning of life. I do not want to loose the meaning that I have found in the religious life. Although the path is rough, I do not want to remain standing and just looking at what is up there. The meaning, though I have not fully grasp. Yet, I cannot afford to let it slip away, because I believe it is precious and worthy of my whole being. I know I am weak to pursue my journey. I know I am afraid to confront this life’s realities with my shaking faith in God. However, I know that my companion cannot deny helping and holding me as we go along in the journey. I know that he knows me more than I know myself. He knows that I always need his arms to enable me to stand and keep my balance as I move forward. I become strong because of him. I look forward with hope because of him. I embrace what this life entails not because I know I can bear it. I will pursue this life not because I am certain and feel assured of what it may bring. I do it because I believe I have my companion who loves me truly from the very start of my journey. My companion, who constantly holds me, assures me of his presence as I continue in taking my journey.
15 December 2010
physical exercises. Sometimes I took a walk around the village. At times, I went to their capitol park and had a few rounds of jogging. Several times I happened to meet a young man with two women with him when I go there. The women always hold this guy by both his arms, one on his right and the other on his left. Obviously, the women are assisting him while taking his rounds to walk around the park. These women, by holding his arms, keep the young man’s balance and assure him that he will not stumble as he moves forward. However, I noticed one time, the woman on his right made a quick pull of the young man’s arm. This made them quarrel. The young man, in anger, murmured and at times he even shouted at them.
Only when I whisper the softest prayer that I’m heard Only when I weep in silence that I’m hurt, I’m scared Only when the universe conspired that I learned Only when the world defied when I am freed
I whispered a little prayer and wept a little tear I wept a bitter tear and found myself in vain Just when I thought the universe conspired for my defeat I learned too that I was a part of it. Refrain: My silence becomes my song that serenade the dark My tears have joined the rain and in the sky it reunites, oh!
was a bit excited when I heard that the August’s recreation is bowling for it would be my first time and I found out most of us were first timers. I wondered what it would be like. Its seemed easy to roll the ball but to hit the target is another thing. Anyway, thanks to the initiative of the BEC of the month - St. John Neumann’s group, for organizing the activity which was held in NCCC mall last Monday, August 23 2010. The fun started at around 2:00 in the afternoon and lasted for an hour. Together with the students, the senior community joined. Fr. Allen, Fr. Cruz, Fr. Caloy, Fr. Bebot, Fr. Meechai were present and a confrere from Singapore, by Danilo
Chorus I cried for help and someone answered “Here is my home with you,” he said “You shall be mine, my love I give you.” “I will forever be with you!” The world that was has passed; no more crying, no more pain. No more death or mourning, new life begins again. Someone has come in our midst, as he promised, as he said. Yesterday is gone; He will make all things new instead! Let his voice resounds to all nations, to all lands. Let my heart be healed, oh my mind be satisfied. Let the silence whisper with a soft breeze of love. Let my tears flow more, but one that speaks of life!
Lyrics by: Julius Martin Malacas, C.Ss.R. Music by: Rico John Bilangel, C.Ss.R. Ang Lingganay
one of the students’ spiritual directors, Fr. Vincent was around. Looking back to what had happened, I realized that bowling is not just a game or a recreation and not just for fun, but a lesson to be appreciated and learned. It was good to see everybody enjoying, playing with enthusiasm and passion. Moreover, it is even better to notice the way the community behaved. I tried to be observant not for the sake of making an essay for the blog, of course I didn’t know I was going to (ha-ha,) but rather to be more appreciative of the community where I belong. After the game, I realized how vital it is to feel at home in the
16 December 2010
community for only then that you can express and develop yourself. Isn’t it good to be who you are and everybody accepts you no matter what? Besides you can only mature when you are yourself, free and vulnerable.
if not a spare. No one would have wanted a canal unless he/she desired I guess. The truth is the holder would aim for a good strike always.
hit the pins on the end side, I was drawn into a reflection. I asked myself, “What or who keeps me going like the ball which was driven by a force?” I went farther in asking, “Who holds me in the first place like the ball?” Taking figuratively the image of bowling, it seemed that the one who holds the ball has his/her purpose at the beginning of the game to make a strike or
cheers. Indeed, you are happy when you did a strike. Isn’t it what life is about? Being happy. And isn’t happiness like when you had a strike as you intended. What keeps us going, anyway? A desire to be happy? But, before knowing where to go, would it be best to know who holds it and what his/her intention is? I guess happiness lies in understanding who we are
E V E N T
and where we come from. It is rather difficult to unravel but the journey would provide answers. It is as if asking, “What keeps us in love?” And only when you love that the Moreover, the more accurate answer is found. One face of and harder the ball hit the pins life is about the experience of the greater the possibility of a meanings. Remembering the ball on my strike. Glancing around,it was hand, feeling its heaviness noticeable when anybody had Life is not about the and trying to manipulate it to a strike there were yells and destination, but the journey.
The journey might lead us to various paths which may not be a straight line and a smooth floor like that of the bowling court, and many canals may be around, yet still we are hopeful that amidst those adversities we will get a strike. We are even luckier, for we journey within a network of relationships, a community that loves us, unlike the ball rolling alone. Canals and low scores cannot hinder us from stop trying again and again for each second or later attempt is another phase of opportunity and gained strength. Our greatest defeat is to deny ourselves of another opportunity and quit.
So, keep rolling!
Confession of a Newcomer
insights are all worth pondering and yes, all worth sharing.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” - Robert Frost
The lines may sound a bit clichéd, but I guess when I was asked to write something about the freshman’s experience of being here – these were the same lines that automatically came to my mind. They readily capture my attention. It describes where I am now, my own reality, my here and now with my new community. I daresay that I prepared myself before coming here. Through some interesting SAT-MI blog entries, a bunch of stories about the life of the students “down under” and most of all through some helpful as well as unhelpful information about how it is to be in a multicultural and very diverse community, I geared myself ready to trod another formation journey. Being here and having first-hand experience of living the life of a student in Davao is in million ways more credible than just reading some blog entries or hearing stories. I guess no amount of blog entries or helpful or unhelpful information would do justice to describing how it really is here. From the outsider’s point of view, living in this community might be perceived as both serious and monotonous or sometimes even too academically focused. Some might see us from a far as a community of all work and no play i – individuals that are conditioned to attain perfection, endurance and discipline. But sometimes it is good to pause and say to our self, ‘Hey stop! Not too quick dude! You’re missing all the fun!’Whilst, some of these things are true, experiencing how it is to be here offered so many insights that helped me, either to confirm what has been said before or even more challenge the existing ideas that I once believed and considered as truths. These
On the top of my list is the feeling of being a misfit in the community. At first, it was so hard to adjust and make myself fit in that whole jigsaw puzzle. But I realized that it takes time to do it. There are opportunities wherein we learn about taking the initial step to fit and be part of the community. But more than this, there are instances wherein we learn that the community is willing to reassemble the whole puzzle, making room for new pieces to truly fit and for the entire picture of the puzzle to be more captivating. Second, the old Chinese proverb, ‘asking questions make you a fool once, but never asking questions make you a fool forever’ proves to be always right. Guides and helps are always available; all we need is to ask. It’s very assuring to realize that upon embarking on another rung of the formation ladder, God is unstoppable in providing companions, mentors and unexpected aids along the way. Sometimes it even comes in a very ordinary and simple package often unnoticed but always essential. Lastly, the feeling of excitement and awe fuels every single day of my stay in this community. It is the accompanying feeling of being always amazed even at the simplest things, people and events that truly make the whole community alive and breathing. We may at times be too serious in our goal of becoming missionaries for the world, ready to embrace new culture, traditions and customs but there is always that part in us that will remain appreciative of the things present in our here and now. No matter how serious, predictable or tedious life may be at times, there is that part in us that loves to enjoy life even in the simplest game we play or the out of the tune songs that we sing together in this community. These are the reasons why I feel contented being here. These are the reasons that made all the difference.
18 December 2010
The afternoon of Friday September 10 saw the Redemptorist Community, students, priests,
sister and even staff head down to the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary (Remase) for an afternoon of physical interaction, in the form of basketball and volleyball. This was the first outing and match for our newly formed Varsity Teams who as previously blogged have been practising very hard. We were warmly welcomed at Remase by the Rector of the Seminary Msgr Abel Apigo who is also our professor for Church History here at SATMI.
Meanwhile, the cheering squad were also busy getting ready ensuring that they had the best seats in the house so as to maximise the effect of their morale boasting, power giving, spirit filled cheers, shouts and whistles led by none other than our very own Dean of Students, Sr Miriam. After a short prayer for a fair game, and a petition that no limbs, appendages, fingers or toes would be harmed during this afternoon’s friendly matches, the players entered the courts, the referees stood ready, Msgr Apigo and Fr Cruz eyes turned to heaven, and it was GAME ON! Both the Basketball and Volleyball matches were played simultaneously providing non-stop action for the spectators and cheer squads. Encouraging shouts resonated up and down the courts as the captains of the teams gave their instructions, encouragement as well as the occasional lambasting to their teams. The cheering squad were screaming, squealing from one side to the other “Go go Ryan”, “Volleyball quick turn turn”, “Go Felise”, “Turn back turn back to basketball”, “Go Bird”. It was a nail biting afternoon as the scores for both sides were very close and each side gave its all. Did it really matter which won or lost? For me, it really does not. What is more important was that it showed that it is possible for people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, personalities and abilities to come together and work as a team and in working together also have fun. In the end there is only one winner..God. For we are all working as brothers and sisters in all we do for the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. In that, both the basketball and volleyball matches proved that we all have in our own way, whether as players, reserves, supporters or formators, we each have our place in the proclamation of God’s kingdom. Until next time.
19 December 2010
E V E N T
Our Varsity Teams wasted no time and in their brand new designer uniforms, they were soon on the courts warming up. Shouts of “Eye on the ball, eye on the ball” reverberated around as the players started their warm up routine.
E V E N T
Jail and Hospital Apostolate After I heard that all second year students would have a pastoral work at Davao Medical Center (DMC) and at Davao Jail, I was really excited because it would be a new experience for me. We, second year students, altogether are ten students. We were divided into two groups. In DMC after the Sunday 7.30 am mass, we would help in giving communion for the sick and visiting them as well. Visiting patients makes me realize that there are many people who have worse conditions in life than us. Most of the patients are poor and could not pay for the expenses of the medicine and their stay in the hospital. I still remember when I visited a ten year-old girl who had a kidney problem, lying on the bed. Her aunt shared to me that she had not enough money to pay for her niece. I believe there are many other patients who have the same problem. I also visited bone cancer patients. When I saw their eyes, it seemed that they were desperate in their life. It made me have pity on them. To see the patients’ condition, I understand that there are many people who are facing more difficult problems in life than me. For the jail apostolate, there are almost 1000 male detainees. They are separated into two zones; under 50 years old and over 50 years old. And there are almost one hundred female detainees in another side. There are around 20-30 people per cell (room). The mass started at around 7.15 am. What amazed me was the way they sang the songs; it was very lively as though they sang them with their sincere heart. When I visited a male zone, I saw a woman who came to visit her husband. The wife was weeping and embracing him tightly. He was trying to soothe and stop his wife from weeping. When I saw this, I was really impressed at that moment.
The experiences I had from the jail and hospital apostolate made me realize that life has both hope and also struggle. Both patients and detainees are waiting for a person who cares and has concern for them. Our presence is meaningful for them all. Perhaps these experiences would remind us of what Jesus has told us “I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me (Mt. 25:36).” It is a good opportunity for me to visit them and more importantly it makes me reflect more about my own life. I never thought and appreciated much about life until I experienced both the patients and the detainees. Now I really appreciate and am extremely thankful that God has given me many things, and is also always with me. However, let us care and love one another in the community. I feel that I understand my own life better when I experienced other people’s lives that have worse conditions than my own. If we have hopelessness, disappointment, difficulties, sadness, despair in life, we need to ask God to enter into our heart and let God help us with our journey in our everyday life.
20 December 2010
Last Sunday, September 26, 2010, as I entered the community refectory I was surprised to see Superman, Wolverine, Green Lantern and the Men in Black. I thought I was dreaming because I too saw Aladdin, Ryu and the Prince of Egypt. Later, I found myself enjoying a sumptuous dinner with the boy named Russell (of UP) with his colorful balloons. I remember he was proudly showing me his ID picture. As I was refilling my plate at the buffet table, Edward greeted me with his skin glittering like diamonds but I was wondering where Bella was at that time. During that night, I also rubbed elbows with Indiana Jones, a pirate and a gangster from New York. I met a lot of hero-looking pals. Some of them looked familiar but I had forgotten where I met them in this world.
white puffy d with somedine with us? go k e re G a to t also me l these heroes here e? What’s the And oh, I h y were al aracters come to lif W . e yl st hair rtoon ch ca se te? e th llished story. Why had they all came to celebra or any embgethe monthly n o cti at fi th t n o n io was durin occas aming. This effort was last Sunday I was not dterers really came to life of September. Muchr costumes te nth the moon tional charac e These charac on for pu tting theirarfic celebravitidu ly see on TV. Th y on I it in n s rs u al te r m ac no m ho co n by most indi ch to e y th rt e pa give almost lik ed the said costume ed ve ok ha lo to ly al gh re that they month: St. Gerard host th. Neil was lucky enou t just for BEC of the celebrants of the mons birthday. But it was nohe Greek the birthday party on the day of hi r Allan (Ryu), Gilbert (t a costume was also a celebration fo d Morris him. As it ussell), Dominic an our dear of god), Lhionnel (Rwa st fea y s also the (Superman). That da r. ge sin ga ng Blessed Gaspar Sta
They proclaimed Su the Greek God an perman, d Russell for the third, se first prize respectivcond and ely. On behalf of ever yone who enjoyed the ce lebration, we would like to than k the BE the month for the effor C of have exerted to makets they our community celebration colorful, lively and enjoyable.
We spend the night with some games and ice cream for everyone! We were lucky to have with us Sr. Evelyn Flanagan, PBVM. She is here with us for three weeks to help us improve our English. She was also one of the judges during that night together with Fr. Caloy and Fr. Allen who proclaimed the winner for Ang Lingganay the Best in Costume.
21 December 2010
E V E N T
e n i d o t ” e … m e f o i l c o s t e o e r e m h o “Whdencartoon characters c an
merci beau coup! by 007
Missiological Presentation by Richie
E V E N T
Last July 30 and 31, the fourth year Redemptorist SAT-MI students and two students from Manila each presented a lecture about their experience of their immersion year. Gary Alvarado, CSsR, Jean Paul Tabasa, CSsR, Leo Mar Arenillo, CSsR and Raymond Urriza, CSsR shared their experiences and reflections of the people in the island of Sumba, Indonesia. Richie Cuaton, CSsR, Julius Martin Malacas, CSsR, also shared their experiences and reflections about the Pgaz K’nyau people in the province of Chiang Mai, Thailand and Neil Bryan Lesaca, CSsR about the Melanau people in Dalat, Malaysia. Their Missiological presentations dealt with the culture and how it relates to mission of the church in Asia.
“I don’t want to be an eagle, nor do I want to be a worm. What I want is to simply be a priest with a soft heart but a sharp mind.”
After semester- long laboring, the final day had come (Though it was not really final and it was a week rather than a day). On the last week of September, SAT-MI had devoted its whole afternoon for an event called “public lecture.” This public lecture was part of the theological synthesis of the fifth year students who were moving toward their graduation in the near future.
It was a moment of intense feeling and excitement since some of them were firsttimers in this kind of lecture. Nevertheless they took the challenge of presenting a lecture in contextualizing their learning in missiology. They were given 20 minutes to give their topic based from the Missiological paper that they wrote. After the lecture, each panelist gave their comments and questions. The studentpresentors responded to their questions and considered the panelist’s suggestions in improving the paper. In the end it was a fruitful and meaningful experience for a time when students would synthesize all the scriptural-theological-moral -pastoral learnings they had for years in this institute and came up with a systematic presentation to prepare the ground for them before they would immerse themselves in their future ministry. This year, the academic council decided to change the method from synthesizing each subject separately to make it as a whole in order to respond to the given pastoral issue. After choosing the topic (pastoral urgency) prepared by the council, the students used their first semester to develop their topics in the related areas such as biblical, doctrinal, moral and pastoral aspects. In developing
Before I would tell about the actual experience from the public lecture, I would like to tell you a little bit about this theological synthesis. It had been a tradition here in SATMI that on the last year in their academic life, students would be asked to do systematic theological synthesis. It was
22 December 2010
that the Spirit of God is already in their midst and thus, in some way, has guided them in their life. Thus our task is to utilize it and bring it into the full light in Christ. Following this famous phrase in relation to missiology:
the 4th year students because aside from the academic learning of this lecture, it also gave them an experience on how to give academic lecture to fellow students. Moreover, it provided them with a reflection on how to improve their skills in writing and delivering a missiological paper.
â€œOur first task in approaching another culture, another religion, is to take off our shoes, for the place we are approaching is holy. Else we may find ourselves treading on menâ€™s dreams. More seriously still, we may forget that God was here before our arrival.â€? (M.A.C. Warren)
their topics on the basic area mentioned above students are ask to come up with a presentation (public lecture) of their topic at the end of the first semester before professors and other students. However the challenge did not end here and the work will still be ongoing because students had to develop their topic into an academic paper on the second semester. Having arrived at the point of the public lecture; the week was heavy but fruitful for every fifth year student who worked so hard with their mentor (Bro. Ramon.) At the public lecture, after presenting their topic, everyone would receive feedback, comments, and suggestions from the panelists to improve their work in the future (next semester.) It was a good academic experience indeed and we would like to use this moment to show our appreciation and gratitude for everyone who also worked hard to realize this project.
E V E N T
We can learn from this lecture that in doing theology it does not only happen in the classroom or in the library. Theology can also be done in actual life of the people by interacting and observing them in their daily life. Likewise in going to another culture, we have to understand
summarize and remember the studies that I had for many years but also to be able to see their connection to the real pastoral situation, to make a criticism and to suggest some possible solutions on the ground I had found in my study. It was an exercise of mind indeed that I was challenged to have a critical mind to see the whole picture of the pastoral issue I had chosen while at the same time be sensitive to the outcome of the pastoral guidance that I may give in order to respond properly to such an issue.
Even tough, the public lecture has been completed,, the study continues and there will be a lot to learn next semester. I at the moment feel that I started to become a minister with a soft heart and sharp mind as our synthesis intended. Thanks be to God.
Personally, I felt more challenged to apply this method in our synthesis because in the process I did not only have to review,
23 December 2010
SATMI Film Festival 2010: The Beginning
E V E N T
October 16, 17 and 18 of this year saw the discovery of the acting talents of the students, as the St. Alponsus Theological and Mission Institute (SAT-MI) Film Festival was fashioned. It was a response to the challenges of the times to create an attractive means to sow the Gospel seeds in the heart of the multitudes in a fast changing world. Started as the first year’s class requirement, it surprisingly pushed its luck into becoming a SATMI program. With the initiative of the organizer, Bro. Julius Martin Malacas, C.Ss.R., and the approval our Dean of Studies, Sr. Miriam Alejandrino, OSB, SSL, SThD, the Film Festival was formalized. To make it more appealing, and as a SATMI’s effort, the second year students contributed to the creativity of the event through their exhibits while the fourth year students conducted seminars on scriptures on the 17th of October. The endeavor was great and ambitious. Consequently, though, despite its idealism and complexity, it enabled the students bring out their best in the enterprise. It has now become part of the SATMI history that developed consciousness to the needs of the time, meaning and beauty to the religious education of the institution. Certainly, all of us learn to stand and walk with a guide. And sometimes, you will need a push to start pondering about a journey. Personally speaking, as we made the film, it felt like a baby learning go balance and take steps. You will never know how far you can reach if you will not dare to take a step. The SATMI Film Festival is a great opportunity to experience something new in the Institute through the trust and belief of all who have pushed it to happen and made us walk the path. It was a meaningful experience. It makes me grateful recalling what has happened along the way. As we prepared, and dis-
cussed about the movie, we could not find an assuring direction. Our ideas were scattered. Our concepts were confronted with the realities we encountered and needed to address. We relied much on our inner resources and the expense on our pockets and of course God’s providence. There were moments when we had decided not to include a certain idea due to time and financial constraint. There were a lot of considerations: cast, script, message, finances, time, venue, and devices. Amidst the odds, we continued the endeavor hoping to find a light on the way. God has been good. He provided. It seemed so exceptional that things worked out after all. From the experience, I begin to be conscious not just of how the story flows, imparts its message and ends but of how movies are created. It was a series of thorough analysis and repetitions in the taping. Tough situations make strong characters. What is true with our experience is that the lessons learned mostly came from what we have been through and not what we have reached. I will always carry the inspiration that says, “Life is not about the destination but rather it is about the journey.” I will be forever grateful for the friendship built among the members of the group and the casts, the talents that were discovered, the support and encouragement of Sr. Miriam that we are able to come up with the idea, the tensions between us that made us strong, the guidance of God as we discerned for His message and His revelation, in the generosity and kindness of the people we met and who supported us along the way. These are the treasures worth keeping. The seed has been planted. I am hopeful that this beginning will inspire the future of the Institute. Time and circumstance are constantly calling for versatility in proclaiming the Gospel. God speaks through various ways.
24 December 2010
Studendate Program Evaluation and Peer Feedbacking: Looking Back with Gratitude and Continuing the Journey with Hope
Last October 25- 26, 2010, the Redemptorist Students Community in Davao had its Mid-year Program Evaluation. It was an exercise of critically and honestly evaluating the success and the lapses in terms of the implementation of the studendate program and of the way students responded to it for the present school year. Although there were some gray areas in the process and procedure of the evaluation the exercise was able to give us a picture of the past, with its graces and lessons. There is a reason to be grateful since generally the evaluation on the different aspects of the program was good. The students also responded well to the program and their efforts towards its implementation were commendable. We, however, are continually challenged not to be complacent. There is nothing that one can do to undo the lapses of the past- there is no reason to cry over a spilled glass of milk but there is reason to cry when one keeps on spilling the glass of milk! On the afternoon of October 26, 2010, after the studendate program evaluation, a coformatorship exercise, peer evaluation, was held. The focus of this exercise was on the individual members of the community. It was a venue for the students to express their appreciations, their fraternal love and concern, and their constructive critiques to one another. Fr. Cruzito Manding, C.Ss.R., the student prefect, facilitated the activity. The process this time was different from what had been done before. Each student was still given a sheet of paper for them to write their feedbacks and for them to hand to the concerned individuals. Everyone was given an equal opportunity to give their written feedbacks to their fellow students. But instead of having the formal sharing of feedbacks done within the whole studendate community, they had it within their BEC and Batch groupings. The Studendate Program Evaluation and the Peer Feedbacking were venues that allowed the students to look at the past, to discover and to be grateful for the hidden graces that were and are there, while being open to be taught by the lapses that occured. It is, moreover, an opportunity to practically examine our vision for the future, and a stepping stone for us to continue our journey with hope.
25 December 2010
E V E N T
The way we live our present life is essentially how we learned from the lessons of the past; how we discover and appreciate the hidden graces that were and are there; and how we envision our future.
FRATERNAL CONVERSATION is featuring the most requested confrere in town - the person who both confreres and parishioners alike are interested to know up-close and personal. He is no other than Rev. Bro. Thanapoom Manamuti, C.Ss.R, from Thailand, known to us
orn on the 23rd day of June 1981, Boy is now on his last level of formation and is preparing himself for sacerdotal ordination. His hobbies include sleeping, photography, guitar playing, internet surfing, tennis, basketball and movie watching. He likes the color red because he sees it as a color for passion but at the same time likes black, white, yellow and blue. His palate is for Thai food but he also loves Japanese cuisine. He enjoys watching the TV shows like Iron Chef because he considers it appetizing and also enjoys shows like the Biggest Loser and Night Talk Shows about celebrities and famous people being interviewed. His favorite sport is tennis but likes basketball, football and car racing. When asked about things/activities that he loves but have not done yet, he gave a variety of answers ranging from scuba diving and yachting to driving an F1 car and then travelling around the world and flying a jet. Boy is the kind of person who does not have one answer to every question. Before this conversation happened he was given a questionnaire to fill-up. He was asked to write one favorite for each category (like food, movie, color, etc.) he cooperated by answering the questions but he never allowed the conversation to end without him expressing his feelings about it: “Why do you have to ask me to name one that I like the most because I have a lot of things that I like. I always wonder why people have to only choose one…” FC appreciated much his honesty
and it painted a new picture about him. Life is indeed complex and for him you can never have one answer to every aspect of life. He is maybe a man of few words but he is not at all thrifty in sharing himself. If there is one word that could best describe the things that he likes it would be: variety. FC: Who is Boy? Boy: (smiles)Boy? (thinks) Human being?
years ago when I had the chance to actually take a photo. So I borrowed a camera from my mother, at that time I really did not know how to shoot and later on I became interested in it. FC: Who influenced you in your love for photography? Boy: Actually none. I cannot think of anybody. It’s like the first time we went into a vacation with the seminarians and then I borrowed my mother’s camera and I started shooting and after I looked at the pictures I liked it. I felt it’s nice to have it—something to capture beautiful scenes, memories, stuff like that.
FC: If you were to introduce Boy to someone, how would you introduce him? Boy: eeehh… tough question.. well maybe it would be a short introduction, just to leave them thinking… My name is Boy, I am from FC: You also love to play guitar, is Thailand, I am a Redemptorist.. yeah! guitar playing for you a past time or that’s it! (smiles) a passion? Boy: Now it’s a past time before it FC: How would you describe a typical was a passion day for a Thanapoom Manamuti? Boy: Sleeping! (pause) .. Typical FC: What made it just a past time day? Maybe studying, praying short now? prayer from time to time and sleep Boy: Because I am more interested (giggles)… Drink Coke! in something else photography! And study too… less time for guitar and FC: What is in Photography that you we don’t have like venue to perform love the most? I only practice hard when there is an Boy: Being part of that is the event coming up. memories because when you take photo it’s as if you capture the FC: So if we will have venues where memories that you cannot describe you could showcase your talent in by words music, can you say that your interest in guitar would resurface? FC: What’s you favorite subject Boy? Boy: Yeah! Yeah! I am not a musician, Boy: Nature…landscape unlike Fr. Cruz and Dennis they are musicians… FC: When did you start to love photography? FC: How do you define a musician? Boy: I think it has to go back like six Boy: A person who really loves
26 December 2010
FC: How would Boy express love? Boy: …die for somebody.
as “Boy.” Fr. Senen fondly calls him “silent boy” but mind you, during this conversation he was not silent at all. Boy bares things other people may have not known about him and shares details of what the mysterious world of Boy is like. music! I don’t love music, I just play for performance.. FC: Aside from guitar is there any other musical instrument that you play? Boy: Drums. Bass. You have a short memory, do you? Last year during our performance I played drums.. it’s a very interesting instrument.. very fun to play.. very fun! FC: If given a chance to learn another musical instrument what would it be and why? Boy: Piano. I love the sound. I have tried but I did not succeed. Maybe I don’t like it that much that’s why I did not have enough determination (giggles) to pursue. FC: Everybody knows you love sports, among the two sports you love— tennis and basketball Which do you prefer most?(tennis) And why? Boy: At the moment I prefer tennis. Considering the age and also the size of the playground.. before I used to play soccer in a big field, then basketball which is smaller, tennis even smaller (giggles) there’s a lot of fun in tennis.. just two players trying to hit the ball to each other. There’s a nice feeling when you hit the sweet spot, it feels great! FC: What sort of movies do you watch? Boy: I watch movies a lot, not just one type, because I think they are good in different ways.. I like comedy (specially Thai comedy), love story, war, action, and animations. I like inspiring movies the most- like the ones that make you wanna do something…
FC: What makes Boy sad? Boy: when my loved ones are sad… (smiles) FC: What makes Boy angry? Boy: …small stuffs, like when I do something and it doesn’t go my way.. I don’t know how to explain it… it’s like when I’m doing something and things just fall down.. very small stuff! I’m angry at small things but I’m not angry at big things.. like when you spill your coffee on the table I get very angry or when the internet connection is not working, I would really curse. But for big things, I kinda suppress my anger.
a sense that we have to celebrate mass has never been my dream.. like to wear women’s clothing is something I never dreamt of…like celebrating mass in church is not my inspiration… FC: What made you want to continue? Boy: …the work… to live for others, the poor and the commitment FC: What makes you SMILE? Boy: good jokes…and just to be with the one , those whom I love.. FC: Love is Boy’s favorite word… Boy: I’m a loving person maybe that’s what I would like to tell the community—loving in my own special way… FC: Thank you Boy… Salamat Boy: Yeah! Salamat… what do I say?
FC: Is there anything else that you would like to say? FC: What’s the joke the Boy would Boy: No. Oh by the way, why do you enjoy? have to ask me to name one that I Boy: dirty jokes… (laughs) any kind of like the most because I have a lot of joke… I enjoy jokes… things that I like. I always wonder why people have to only choose FC: If somebody wants to engage in a one… because I have a lot… I cannot conversation with you, what type of name one. conversations do you enjoy? Boy: …try to begin with something FC: (laughs out loud) I’m sorry! natural… don’t push it too hard I thought you are a man of few like try talking with things that I’m words.. interested in because I think I can Boy: Like you asked me of my sense that.. so don’t come to me favorite food, I said I like Thai but and talk about photography if you’re you see I also like Japanese… not interested in photography… just be natural… I can engage in any conversation but I’m not the one who initiates the conversation. I’m not good at that. oy has always been a man of few words. His words FC: Scuba diving, flying a jet, are what one can consider travelling around the world, yachting, short and sweet-- short driving an F1 car, all these are very enough to be interesting interesting… what’s in these activities and long enough to cover the that you long to experience? essentials. His words are sweet Boy: Maybe the sensational aspects… because he speaks of caring and like in travelling, the sight seeing… helping others, of being with those and driving the adrenalin (giggles) people he loves, of being like the and flying a jet that’s my favorite historical Jesus who laid down career… his life for one’s friend. The name “Boy” is such a short and sweet FC: If there is one thing that you name. And our very own Boy would reveal to the community, Manamuti here in SATMI lives to something that you want to tell them that name who speaks words short or things we do not know about you, and sweet. And at the very core of what would it be? his being, he speaks of the shortest Boy: I have always been honest and the sweetest word he knows: to myself, I have been myself… LOVE. (pause) maybe becoming a priest in
27 December 2010
FC: You like love stories, do you consider yourself a loving person? Boy: Yes. I am a loving person but I am not romantic. I haven’t been romantic.
An Experience of Homecoming
I was in the mission when we celebrated Christmas last year. We were having our mission in Mareda Wuni, Sumba, Indonesia. I was in a place where electricity was not available and water was scarce. Most of the people in the area are economically poor. Apples, chocolate cakes, wine, ice cream, lechon, and all the delicious and special food that Filipinos associate with Christmas were not available. There were no exchange of material gifts, nobody goes house to house for caroling, no sparkling Christmas lights and wonderful, yet expensive, Christmas decors hanging or being placed at people’s houses. It was the first Christmas that I experienced that Santa Claus, and the pair of socks for him to put his gifts, cannot be found hanging at doors.
Missa de Gallo is not a tradition in the area. I missed the church bells, or the annoying very loud Christmas music being played to signal the start of dawn masses. I also missed the struggle to wake up very early in the morning to participate in the nine day dawn masses. There were no rice cakes, chocolate brews, and morning snacks (pama-init) being sold at the church compound. Aside from the tradition of Misa de Gallo the tradition of having Christmas parties, where people prepared exciting presentations, dances, games, and whatever activities that they believe could provide fun and rejoicing, were absent. At first, it was an experience of homecoming in the sense of “I want to come home!”, “I want to come home to the Philippines!” In one of our informal conversations with the mission team leader, I told him that I received a text message from a confrere in the Philippines that some of the mission teams already took their Christmas break and returned to their communities. But he told me that Christmas is a very important and significant event in our life as Christians and that the people in the mission area need us to be present with them during Christmas. Our mission is to be with them and to let them experience Christmas through the liturgies and the sacraments that we celebrate with them. After my informal conversation with the team leader; I climbed up a tree not only to be able to receive a cellular signal that allows me to use my cellphone for communication but also to reflect and to look into my inner struggles of being away from home during Christmas.
The words of the team leader stayed on my mind. As I recalled and imagined the faces of the people in the area and as I looked at some of their houses, the song “Silent Night” played in my mind. It was at that moment that I understood that this Christmas is God’s way for me to experience a “silent night” Christmas. That “silent night” Christmas experience was my homecoming. A Homecoming to the real essence and meaning of Christmas, a homecoming to the little town of Bethlehem where the child Jesus was born in a manger, and at the same time a journey away from the consumerist, secularized, noisy, and “worldly” meaning and celebration of Christmas. Christmas 2009 was an experience of coming home to Bethlehem. Mareda Wuni was my Bethlehem, where the absence of electricity, of consumerist and secularized meaning and celebration of Christmas, and of the noises produced by very loud Christmas music provided me with a venue and an atmosphere to meet the child Jesus. The child Jesus who was born, not in a palace made of precious materials, and adored with expensive stones and decorations, but who was born in a manger since there was no place for him and for Mary and Joseph in the inn (cf. Lk 2: 7). It was not the rich or the middle class who could afford glamorous parties, special and delicious foods, and who have extra money that could be used to purchase gifts and to give to the carolers, were the first to visit Him. It was, rather, the shepherds who were the first to pay homage and visit him. (cf. Lk. 2: 8-20). This experience of homecoming made me realize that Christmas is about Jesus being born into our human family, into our human context, who emptied Himself for us because of love. It is about love, humility, self-emptying, and relationship. It is about celebrating the mystery and the meaning of His birth through the way we love, we serve, we offer ourselves for others, and through the way we humbly and justly relate and share our resources with others. Nonetheless, my experience of homecoming is the beginning of a story of homecoming. Every Christmas is an opportunity for us to begin our story of homecoming, a homecoming to our heart, to prepare our hearts to be mangers where Jesus could be born.
28 December 2010
“Disturb us, Lord” by Neil
And to facilitate us in the four days retreat, Fr. Rogie prepared a series of reflection sessions. The first and second sessions focused on reflecting on the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. He emphasized that it is the breath of God that gives life to our lives. It is also the challenge to every religious to hope in God to renew them every step of the journey. Session 3 was about recalling our “sequel Christi,” our vocation story. Fr. Rogie encouraged us to remember the moment that we first responded to the “call.” He also wanted us to reflect on the ups and downs of our journey in following Christs, and to remember why we first chose to follow Him so that we will know where we are going. Then, the rest of the sessions were all about deepening our “sequel Christi” with some reflections of the evangelical vows; poverty, chastity and obedience. These sessions reminded us about the meaning of these evangelical vows in relation to our formation and desire to follow Christ as a Redemptorist.
Aside from the formal sessions, Fr. Rogie also used some downloaded videos from YouTube to help us in our reflection. The videos were short films, some funny advertisements to amuse us and some serious dramas that made us stop and reflect about our own lives. In general, the videos were helpful to bring life, and point of reflection, while listening to the input. And our retreat days would not be complete without our creative opening prayers. We danced and prayed through the steps of some bibliodrama dances.
I am also reminded to be in touch with the life giving breath of God to refresh me every time I feel dryness in my life. “Breathe on me, Breath of God”
E V E N T
After a semester of studying, doing projects and extra-curricular activities, the Redemptorist students had their four- day retreat last October 27 – 31, 2010 at the Dominican House of Prayer, Matina, Davao City. It was facilitated by a Passionist priest, Fr. Rogie Castellaño, C.P. His view of a retreat is to be disturbed by the Lord. He explained that people might find their life mechanical, scheduled or structured but a retreat is a time for the Lord to come and disturb these kinds of feelings. He further explained that it is not to make life more complicated but to rather breathe new life into it. It is more of putting things into new perspective. Therefore, he reminded us to pray, to be in silence and to listen to God’s message and God’s will after finishing the first semester.
On a personal note, I really enjoyed the light schedule of the retreat. It was also helpful that Fr. Rogie gave a simple but direct message during his inputs and sessions. He was also dynamic in acknowledging the good things of the different cultures present. And the place was very inviting to reflect and to be in touch with our inner stirrings. In my reflection, during the retreat I was disturbed by the Lord in a good way. I was reminded that what I experienced in the past semester is just part and parcel of my “sequela Christi,” my journey of following Christ. I am also reminded to be in touch with the life giving breath of God to refresh me every time I feel dryness in my life. “Breathe on me, Breath of God”
29 December 2010
Maragusan COMMON VACATION 2010
E V E N T
ardly a day had passed since the end of our mid year retreat that the students were off again. This time to Davao Del Norte and Compostella Valley for our much awaited community vacation. The students had given the community committee a very challenging task by requesting for a vacation that encompassed the elements of Sun, Sand and Sea as well as Scenic Views and Cool Mountain Air. I don’t think that mother nature in all her beauty and grandeur would be able to meet the demands of the students in one location at least here on earth. However the community committee did not let this seemingly impossible requirement from getting in the way of planning a fantastic vacation for the community. In addition, the Philippines as an island chain formed by seismic and volcanic activity does offer though not in one location but in relatively close proximity the elements requested by the demanding students. Thus the plan would be to drop by a beach resort on the first day in Pindasan, Maco close by to Tagum City before heading off to Haven’s Peak Resort in picturesque Compostella Valley. First stop was Sun, Sand and Sea at Manaklay Beach Resort. Some of the students spent the morning swimming and playing beach volley ball, whilst others were content to just soak in the refreshing sea breeze and laid back atmosphere of the beach resort. After a packed lunch of pasta, chicken and water melon, the students were on the road again heading further east up into the mountains of Compostella Valley. After a 5-hour drive through some challenging country roads, we finally reached Maragusan. Home of Haven’s Peak our mountain resort and home for the next 2 days. Passing through the town proper, our convoy of three vehicles were soon reach the base of the resort, but due to a slight down pour earlier, the dirt road leading up to the resort itself became an impediment for our vehicles and thus one by one, the students and formators chipped in to push the vehicles through and up to the resort‘s entrance and carpark only to find that the final challenge lay in walking the 203 steps up to the resort itself. What a trek! The rest of the evening saw the students in various parts of the resort enjoying the cool and refreshing mountain air. The next day was a jam packed, activity filled day from morning to evening as the students went river trekking, swimming at two different waterfalls and cold spring. The day was nicely capped by a relaxing dip in a hot spring. Well relaxing at first until some of the students decided to human trampoline the others one by one. All too soon on the next day, the vacation came to an end. It was a tremendous effort done by the community committee. Kudos to the guys who went out of their way to ensure a great vacation for their fellow students.
30 December 2010