Page 1


Simply professed friars listening to Rev. Fr. Alberto Esmeralda, OSA’s lecture during the 5th AIFC.

isten to the talk; allow yourselves to be wounded by them… strive to be one, and even cry with it... Enjoy, learn and live what you learn from this 5th AIFC… hoping that everything we do in formation will transform and transfigure us to be better persons.” These words of Reverend Father Jose Rene Delariarte, OSA, Prior of the San Agustin Center of Studies Community and Chairman of the Committee on Vocations and Initial Formation of the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu echoed at the STVI Multi–Purpose Hall as he delivered his Welcome Remarks during the Opening of the 5th Augustinian Initial Formation Con-


STVI Day Tackles “The Connection of Philo and Theo”

s part of the celebration of STVI Day, a symposium was held last November 23, 2012. The symposium aimed at letting the philosophy students value philosophy and at the same time, theology. The activity started at 2:30 pm with the invocation and welcome address from the Over-all Decano of the Collegium, Post. Hareld Olita. It was followed with the introduction of the speaker, and the talk proper. The theme chosen by the INFACAD Committee was “Appreciating Philosophy and its Link to Theology.”

STVI Day /Page 5


First Year SP Friars Join APAC Joint Formation


ou can only do mission, if and only if, you have known to love yourself and know who you are and what you are.” This statement of Reverend Father Quirico T. Pedregosa, Jr., OP, during the Fifth Asia-Pacific Augustinian Conference (APAC) Joint Formation Program, substantially encapsulates the theme of the event. Held at Tahanan Sta. Monica, Tagaytay City on October 20-November 4, 2012, this program of APAC is held under the Commission on Formation and Spirituality. This fifteen-day experience was inspired by the theme, “Restless Heart: A Passion for Christ’s Mission.”

APAC Joint Formation /Page 4

SACS Continually Fulfills Its Commitment for the Environment

imple and solemn friars of SACS, together with the NSTP class of STVI, had their annual tree planting activity in Ipo Dam Watershed, Norzagaray, Bulacan last October 24, 2012. The activity was spearheaded by the Committee on Maintenance and Sanitation of the Professorium community in cooperation with the Manila Water Co. Inc. through Ms. Ester Yusingco and Mr. Roman Corpus (Forester of the Manila Water Inc. - Environmental Department).

Environment /Page 10

gress held last November 9 – 11, 2012 at the San Agustin Center of Studies, Quezon City, Philippines. Around 100 formands (STVI-Collegium, San Agustin Seminary in Makati, Augustinian Novitiate and Prayer House in Cebu and SACSProfessorium), with their respective formators and guest friars graced the annual event. The name of the congress was changed into Augustinian Initial Formation Congress (AIFC) from Augustinian Spirituality Congress. Fray Reo Cabahug, OSA, Chairman of the Committee on Education and Publication of the Professorium Community on his Perspective Setting said that the change of name is basically “Geared towards its (congress) improvement in order to have a more holistic Augustinian approach to the activity.” This year’s congress had three talks held separately for each level of formation; the objective is to address the differing needs of the formands.

AIFC 5 /Page 08





Ampatin Softens the Rock; Lion Swallows the Eagle

he teams, St. Matthew the Man and St. Peter the Rock, clashed for the championship crown in the hard court last November 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm at the SACS basketball court. St. Matthew grabbed the title with the final score of 74-69. Jomar Ampatin took the important steal that softened the Rock at the end of the game with his 12-point shots in the fourth quarter. Ampatin gathered a total of 25 points in the entire game and led his teammates in bringing the Man to be hailed the best basketball team in the 2012 Intramurals. St. Matthew started the game with fast break attacks by Asp. Jebie Jugarap, earning him 12 points at the first quarter while the Rock began with a slow running game. In the second quarter, Fray Joffrey Ocat, Fr. Harold Langahin and Asp. James Bryan Mondejar hardened the offense of St. Peter and cut the lead of St. Matthew to only 4 points with the score 2723. The battle became crucial when St. Peter clashed the lead of St. Matthew to 2 points, 56-54 with 3:05 remaining time for the fourth quarter. The lead was taken by the Rock with the score 59-60 when some back-toback three point shots were made by Asp. Joel Tejero during the remaining time of 2:25.

(Left Photo): Members of Team St. Mark the Lion jump in jubilation after winning the volleyball championship game in 3-1 sets against Team St. John the Eagle. (Right Photo): Fray Ocat (of St. Peter the Rock) attempting to block Fray Jasper’s (of St. Matthew the Man) jump shot.

The defense of the Man was changed to man-to-man and gave pressure to St. Peter. The score was tied at 63 when Fray Robert Lingo of the Man put his two free throws during the remaining 1:10. The last one minute of the game was a battle of free throws because the teams were in penalty situation. The score was tied again at 68 when a quick free throw shot was made by Fray Peter John Cardos. The lead was taken once again by St. Matthew when Fray Jasper Valmores made two successful charity shots from the fifth personal foul committed by Fray Pasabilla (thus causing his eviction) during the 35 seconds remaining time. A critical turnover was made when Tejero unsuccessfully passed the ball and was intercepted by Ampatin, converting it to a good two point shot. The quick shot gave a 4-point lead of the Man with the score 72-68 with 33 seconds remaining. Tejero missed a triple that would tie the game with 22 seconds remaining time but the defense of St. Matthew became tougher and maintained their posture until the end of the game. The team St. Matthew the Man defeated St. Peter the Rock with the score 74-69. Meanwhile in the volleyball championship match, the team St. Mark the Lion swallowed St. John the Eagle. The Lion finished the game in four sets (3-1) with the scores: 15-12; 13-15; 15-13 and 15-12. Although the game was tight, Fray Julius Tubid, James Comon and Eduardo Fortuna of the Eagle did not match the rally of Fr. Ericson Borre, Mark Cañete and Mark Placido of the Lion team. Fray Antonio O. Nombrefia, OSA

sacsupdate vol. 13, no.2 september to december 2012



SACS Employees Celebrate Sports Fest 2012

t was time for our beloved employees to get out from their working places and let everybody enjoy the day. The whole seminary was filled with liveliness and laughter as Reverend Father Ericson Borre, OSA, the House Procurator, organized the SACS Employees Sports Fest 2012 last November 24, 2012. Sixteen of the SACS employees participated during this momentous event as vigorously supported by both the SNTH

SACS employees with the Solemnly professed friars in a wacky pose after their Sports Fest.

and STVI seminarians. They were grouped into two teams: Ronald Flores led the Team Augustinians while Bryan Balos led the Team Villanovans. The solemnly professed friars were also present during the sports fest to compose the panel of judges. The program started at three o’clock in the afternoon and was held in SACS basketball court. Fr. Borre welcomed everybody in his opening remarks and afterwards, the participants made their oath of sportsmanship led by Post. Hareld Olita. The fun formally started when both teams showed their “cheer-dance” performances. However, the audience had their loudest cheer during the parlor games (Augustine-went-to-market, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Balloon Fight, Catch Churva’s Tail and Dive n’ Blow). A pukpok palayok was also prepared for the STVI seminarians. Then, a short recess was called for the community snacks and for our participants to get ready for the ball games. During the basketball game, both teams scored 10 points at their best, but during the volleyball game, Team Augustinians won the match with a solid 2-0 score against the other team. Both teams, nevertheless, were declared winners for this year’s sports fest. The program ended with Reverend Father Jose Rene Delariarte, OSA, gladly handing out the prizes for our dear champions. Fray Julius Tubid, OSA



SACS Opens Intramurals 2012

he 2012 SACS Intramurals started last October 22, 2012 at exactly 3:15 in the afternoon. A parade commenced the opening from the entrance of the seminary gate to the SACS basketball court. Afterwards, an invocation followed led by Asp. Van Emphasis. Reverend Father Pacifico “Jun” Nohara, OSA gave the opening remarks. In his opening remarks, he mentioned that this year’s intramurals is a short and simple one. “Short in the sense that unlike the previous years, it is good only for one month; and simple in the sense that there are Intramurals 2012 /Page 3

sacsupdate vol. 13, no. 2 september to december 2012

“Retreat in Benguet” /from page 4

God alone, love is the center of the Christian community, forgiveness is the condition for healing and the entire creation is the platform of our journey as Christians.” Towards the end of the retreat, Fr. Cajilig shared on the role of Mary as the Mediatrix of All Grace. He also challenged us Augustinians to reflect on that role of Mary in the context of her title in the



Augustinian tradition as the Lady of Consolation. In going home from the retreat house, the friars had a side trip in the summer capital of the Philippines, Baguio City, and visited famous and beautiful spots, enjoying the beautiful sceneries and the cool breeze of the air. They also bought souvenirs and delicacies from the City of Pines. Fray Cyril Jeth Tagalog, OSA

News Tidbits... • Claretian seminarians from Claret College Seminary in Sanville, Quezon City visited SACS last September 27, 2012 for basketball and volleyball friendship games against the Augustinian college seminarians. The Augustinians won both games.


• The ISA (Iisang Samahan ng mga Augustinans) Gathering was held last December 1, 2012 at the Villa Consuelo Retreat House in Novaliches, Caloocan City. The theme was “The Homecoming: Revisiting the Past Ten Years of Connectedness.” Fray Edmar Escobar, OSA headed the event.


The Simply professed friars, with Sr. Nelia Rodriguez, SPC, and Rev. Fr. Vicente Cajilig, OP(center), posing inside the chapel of Mt. St. Paul Retreat House in Benguet.

“Intramurals 2012” /from page 2

no flags, drums, and so on; however, what matters is that the intramurals is pushed through and friendships and camaraderie among brothers are alive,” Fr. Jun explained. After the opening remarks, Post. Hareld Olita, the Decano of the Collegium, led the oath of sportsmanship, and Reverend Father Fernando Cleopas, OSA, presided over the torch bearing and lightings. After which, Fr. Jun called for the presence of the intramural teams and declared the 2012 SACS Intramurals open. The parlor games followed: the best three-point shots and free throws. For the three-point shot game, the team St. John won represented by Zyrlord Malaya and the team St. Peter the Rock won the best free throw game represented by Fr. Harold Langahin, OSA.

In making the teams, the SACS Sports Committee decided to name the team after the four evangelists and two great apostles in line with the theme of the Professorium’s formation year: “Kerygma.” The six teams with their corresponding team captains were as follow: 1. St. Peter the Rock (Red), Junrey Melisimo 2. St. John the Eagle (White), Eduardo Fortuna 3. St. Luke the Bull (Yellow), Patrick Boyoc 4. St. Paul the Sword (Black), Christopher Bajamonde 5. St. Matthew the Man (Blue), Hareld Olita 6. St. Mark the Lion (Green), Mark Cañete Fray Peter John Cardos, OSA

• SACS solemnly professed friars, together with SACS layaffiliates Mrs. Myrna Garrido and Valerie Reyes, attended the 2012 Luzon Zone Christmas Gathering last December 14, 2012 held in Nuestra Señora de Gracia Parish in Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City.


• The community celebrated the 2012 SACS Christmas Party last December 15, 2012 at the College refectory.


• The SACS Conference Hall located in the SNTH Building is currently under renova-

tion. The renovation intends to improve its facilities which include the installation of irremovable computer, projector and sound equipments and a mechanical sliding projector screen.


• College seminarians left SACS last December 16, 2012 to spend Christmas vacation with their respective families and they will be coming back on January 3, 2013 as classes will resume on January 7, 2013 in the St. Thomas of Villanova Institute.


• Fourteen simply professed friars studying in Recoletos School of Theology joined the annual Communio last September 14-15, 2012 at Colegio San Agustin - Biñan.


• Fray Ric Anthony Reyes, OSA and Fray Elmer Lendo, OSA will be back in SACS this January 2013 after eight months of pastoral exposure in their respective assignments.


• On January 19, 2013, SACS will hold a song-writing competition in honor of Sto. Niño de Cebu, entitled SONGS SACS Offering to the NiñoGod through Singing.



PROFESSORIUM “APAC Joint Formation” /from page 1

Four first-year simply professed friars were sent by the Augustinian Province of Santo Niño de Cebu. They were Frays Ronelle Dogon, OSA, Jefferson Labadan, OSA, Joffrey Ocat, OSA and Alvin John Salgado, OSA. Other Augustinian congregations present were the Order of Saint Augustine (OSA) Vicariate of the Orient, Augustinians of the Assumption (AA), Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation (ASOLC) and the Augustinian Sisters Servants of Jesus and Mary (ASSJM). Notwithstanding the differences on the way they live the spirituality of Saint Augustine in performing missionary tasks, the participants were able to live harmoniously and be united in all the activities.

Fr. Stephen Cuyos, MSC, one of the speakers of the APAC Joint Formation Program, shares to the participants how to promote Augustinian mission and spirituality through social media.

The Commission scheduled talks within those days. And the talks were basically divided into three main topics, each topic receiving five-day activities (like group sharing and exposures) that were pertinent in deepening the experiences of the participants. The major topics were “Religious Community as Missionary,” “Mission on Pastoral and Academics” and “New Evangelization and Its Challenges.” These were the talks and discussions during the entire event: Topic 1: Religious Community as Missionary A. Panel Discussion on “Life as Missioner” moderated by Rev. Fr. Peter Casiño, OSA and Sr. Cristeta Grana, OSA (Oct. 21, 2012) B. Our Mentors of Doing Mission: Talk on the Augustinian Saints and Blessed by Sr. Jocy Widwid, OSA (Oct. 22, 2012) C. Biblical Foundations (Oct. 23, 2012) a. Biblical Foundations of Mission by Sr. Niceta Vargas, OSA b. Love that is Mission by Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, OP Topic 2: Mission on Pastoral and Academics A. On Academics (Oct. 25, 2012) a. Augustine on Education and Pedagogy by Rev. Fr. Czar Emmanuel Alvarez, OSA b. Sharing of a School Administrator by Sr. Gavina Barrera, OSA B. On Pastoral (Oct. 26, 2012) a. Augustine on Pastoral Concerns by Rev. Fr. Nelson Zerda, OSA b. Sharing of a Parish Priest by Rev. Fr. Asis Bajao, OSA Topic 3: New Evangelization and Its Challenges A. (Oct. 30, 2012) a. New Evangelization (in General) by Rev. Fr. James Kroeger, MM b. Catechesis and the Use of Media and Modern Technology by Rev. Fr. Stephen Cuyos, MSC B. (Oct. 31, 2012) a. Inter-Religious Dialogue (IRD) by Sr. Maria Luz Mijares, OSA b. Interculturality/Internationality by Rev. Fr. Gilles Blouin, AA Fray Joffrey Ocat, OSA

sacsupdate vol. 13, no. 2 september to december 2012

DLSU Sponsors Seminar-workshop on Journal Writing in SACS


he Seminar-workshop on News Writing last August 4, 2012 had its sequel. The facilitator of the workshop last September 8, 2012 entitled it as “SACS Workshop on Writing Articles for Journals.” He was Dr. Ronald Baytan, an Associate Professor of Literature at De La Salle University-Manila and the Associate Director for Literary Studies of the DLSU Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center. He has also authored books like The Queen Sings the Blues: Poems 1992-2002 and had been the editor of Ideya: Journal of the Humanities from 2007 to 2009, published by the DLSU College of Liberal Arts. Dr. Baytan started the workshop by helping the participants identify what type of journal the In Deum (the annual journal publication of the Professorium community in SACS) is. Using the criteria introduced by the facilitator, the group was able to determine that the publication falls under the professional/trade type of journal. This means that it falls between the two other types of journals which are the popular and the scholarly. He also informed the friars about the five W’s that must be consid-

ered in writing journals. They are the “who,” “where,” “what,” “why” and “when.” Moreover, in planning for publication, he also told us that the “how” is also vital. After taking a close look on the previous issues of the In Deum, Dr. Baytan enumerated the subjects that mostly comprised the articles of the publication. He observed that its subjects delved mainly on events, places, people and on one’s self. He further elaborated his discussions by sharing the corresponding elements that must be considered for each mentioned subject to further improve our journal articles. Exercises were also given after the discussion of each subject to reinforce the inputs. The facilitator concluded the workshop by saying, “Every writing is all about life.” He also encouraged us that since we, the simply professed friars, write to communicate and inform about “life” inside SACS, we need to improve our linguistic skills. This activity was spearheaded by the Committee on Education and Publication of the Professorium, with the generous aid of the DLSU-BNSCWC, to further improve their annual journal publication- the In Deum. Fray Joffrey Ocat, OSA

Simply Professed Friars Hold Annual Retreat in Benguet


wenty-six simply professed friars of San Agustin Center of Studies had their annual retreat last October 15 to 19, 2012. This was held at St. Paul Retreat House, in Pico, La Trinidad, Benguet which was managed by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres. The retreat was facilitated by Reverend Father Vicente Cajilig, OP, Chaplain of the Collegiate of Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Intramuros, Manila. The theme for this year’s retreat was “Kerygma: Proclaiming the Word of God in an Authentic Witnessing of Christian Life.” Fr. Cajilig reflected on the journey towards authentic Christian life as a kerygmatic value. He pat-

terned his reflection on the “Mysteries of the New Way.” These mysteries consist of the Holy Family’s journeying to Egypt, Jesus’ Preaching of the Beatitude, the Preaching on the Commandment to Love, the Preaching on Forgiveness of Sin and Healing, and the Preaching on the Father’s Care for all Creation. The “Mystery of the New Way” focuses mainly on the contents of Jesus’ message in the gospels. “These mysteries are the core message of the Gospel,” Fr. Cajilig said. He also synthesized that “Our Christian life is a journey in itself, true happiness is not found in this world but in Retreat in Benguet/Page 3

sacsupdate vol. 13, no. 2 september to december 2012




Collegium Withdraws in Tagaste

oth aspirants and postulants of the Collegium community had their three-day annual retreat in Tagaste Retreat House, Magallanes Drive, Sta. Rita, Tagaytay City. The procurator of Basilica del Sto Niño de Cebu, Reverend Father Norberto Dominic “Toto” Don III, OSA facilitated the retreat last October 15-17, 2012. On the first day, Fr. Toto described priestly vocation as a love story with Jesus. One enters this kind of life because he believes that God loves him. Moreover, he said that, “[T]his calling is very special, for God calls us to hear our voices, to talk to us, and to be closer to Him.” He also encouraged the student-seminarians to find time to stop and pause, in order to silence their selves, to think of how far they have walked, to be open to possibilities, and to pray for what they

need. On the second day, Fr. Toto shared the Parable of the Pearl. In tackling this, he emphasized that one’s priestly vocation has greater value than any other things we consider great. “There are many great things in life, but being chosen by God to act in his person is greater,” Fr. Toto said. That is why, he advised the seminarians to do more in nurturing their vocation. At the end of the day, he synthesized that God’s grace prevails in whatever we want in life. Before the retreat ended on the third day, the participants visited the famous Taal Volcano for an otium sanctum experience. During the last session, Fr. Toto gave the seminarians some tips for survival, not just in the seminary, but in life in general. He quoted Fr. Edgardo Lazo’s words, “Do not complicate yourself.” He also

stressed the importance of purifying one’s intentions in entering religious life, and letting go of the things that pull us out. “Instead of thinking of the reasons why you want to go out, look

for reasons why you should stay,” Fr. Toto directed. Lastly, he also reminded the participants to be serious in their prayer life, to pray for each other and for unity. Post. Hareld B. Olita

“STVI Day” /from page 1

The speaker was Reverend Father Enrico Gonzales, OP. He was very enthusiastic in making the students laugh and listen. He started his introduction by telling them humorous stories about philosophers and philosophy students. He told them about philosophers who were notorious in asking questions, but never answering even one of them. After that, he discussed the encyclical of the late Blessed Pope John Paul II, Fides et Ratio, which dealt with the mutual relevance of faith and reason. The encyclical was aimed at reminding the contemporary age about its mainstream thinking, i.e., the reductionists and intellectualists explaining reality in a minute object. The other aim was of repeating the

many. This clarification made the students realize that philosophy is not complicated, that philosophy should help us ask the right questions. He also made Mary the example of correct questioning. When the angel announced to her about her conception of Jesus Christ, she did not ask “why,” but “how.” The second part of the symposium stressed the need for faith to liberate reason from its selfentrapment. “This,” for Fr. Gonzales, “is one of the factors why reason should not be separated from faith.” Faith, on the other hand, needs reason to dialogue with the world—the word of man in the service of the word of God, philosophy in the service of theology.

STVI Seminarians Attend Heart Sense


leven seminarians from STVI attended a psychospiritual talk last September 22, 2012 entitled “Heart Sense: Your Guide to Emotional Wellness.” This was held at the Nuestra Señora de Gracia Parish Formation Center, Guadalupe, Makati City. Enriching talks on emotional wellness, characteristics and dimensions of emotions, helpful tips in getting in touch and dealing with them were the topics of the whole day seminar. It started around 9:00 am and lasted until 5:00 pm. The event was hosted by the Augustinian formands of Monasterio de Guadalupe San Agustin Seminary. Aside from some STVI seminarians, the activity was attended also by seminarians from San Agustin Seminary in Intramuros,

Manila, nuns from the Daughters of the Child Jesus and parishioners and catechists from NSDG. The participants from SACS were Post. Patrick Boyoc, Post. Hareld Olita, Post. Mark Louie Cañete, Post. Christopher Bajamonde, Asp. Ryan Cutamora, Asp. Keith Lawrence Ermac, Asp. Francis Sumarago, Asp. Jebie Jugarap, Asp. Carmonuel Lopeth Opano, Asp. Yurii Ramos, and Asp. Gerrick Joy Casipe. They were accompanied by Reverend Father Michael Alvin Sequio, OSA. The facilitator of this talk was Earnest Tan, a renowned speaker on human growth and wellness, human intimacy, and relationship enhancement and empowerment who studied in Ateneo de Manila University, AB major in psychology. Asp. Yuri Ramos

Rev. Fr. Enrico Gonzales, OP, discussing the close link between philosophy and theology.

notion that intellectual pursuit is not all about feelings, but of thinking; that in every adversity, the only thing permanent is our minds. He highlighted that reason is very powerful, but dangerous; we are responsible for every thought of ours. Fr. Gonzales also emphasized the real sign of a wise man: he who leads others to the answer, which is God. “The problems of philosophy,” as Fr. Gonzales explained, “rose from our mode of questioning.” For him, we should avoid the conjunction “or,” and replace it with “and.” For example, the question about whether God is one or many must be changed to God is one and

The last part of the symposium explained that faith leads reason in understanding the mystery of God, while reason likewise leads faith in understanding the mystery of man; without the mystery of God, man becomes more mysterious to himself. Also, the Holy Trinity lets us understand the whole person and his uniqueness. Fr. Gonzales concluded his talk by telling the students that they should be men of hope, and they should not just survive, but succeed. The giving of token and certificates followed the talk; then the Hymn of the Province was sung. The symposium ended at 3:55 pm. Asp. Jules Van Almerez



sacsupdate vol. 13, no. 2 september to december 2012

EDITORIAL The most famous modern definition of health was formulated during a Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2) and entered into force on 7 April 1948. “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Without our health, can we do anything else? Someone once said, “Our health is our first wealth.” Smart person. Many of us, when we talk about being healthy, think about losing those extra few centimeters off our waistline so that we can fit into that newly purchased jeans, look good at the beach, feel good about how we look, etc. However, is that what all health is? People today are having a renewed consciousness about being healthy. “Fun Runs” are being organized here and there every now and then to raise funds and health conscious people buy this idea of running to become healthy and at the same time for a good cause; alternative healing and food supplements are being rediscovered. I believe that it is because we only live once (at least this is the only life we’ll ever remember) that we need to look after our health. After all, as I said above, if we don’t have our health, what can we do? Here in SACS and in the Augustinian Province of Sto. Nino de Cebu at large, there is a clamor to have people as healthy as they could to be able to keep up with the demands of studies and ministries. An increasing number of members of the community and the province have some weight-related health problems and to prevent further problems, we availed of a fitness program to at least have our ideal weight. Having your ideal weight is an important part of your health but if that was all there was to it, why do so many thin and apparently healthy looking people die of heart attacks? There are some people who tell me that since both fat and thin people can die of heart-related conditions, there is no point in making an effort to be healthy. You might as well enjoy all the food you can because you only live once! Besides, it is not a sin to be fat as what one of the friars blurted out when he was exhausted after finishing one session of the fitness program. The perspective from which we look at health needs to change. Here is how we may view health – energy for living! If you have the energy to be able to live a passionate life, to be able to perform well in your

chosen career, your friends and the various other demands that are invariably placed on you – and you can still wake up refreshed and ready to go, that would be health enough! How are your energy levels? By defining health as being energy for living, it makes things so much easier. Health is no longer about eating celery sticks or deprivation diets, worrying about looking good at the beach or trying to trim down to fit into a small sized jeans and shirts. Rather, it’s about how alive you are – how much energy you have. So with energy being the key requirement for health, we also need to make sure that we are constantly replenishing our energy levels as well! What do you need to change today to start increasing your energy for living? Do you need to sleep more, rest more, eat better, work less, stress less, worry less, exercise more? What is it for you? Remember that health is energy for living and we need to ensure that our energy levels are always topped up. Otherwise, you’ll end up a leaky bucket giving energy to everyone but never giving yourself the time to top your energy levels. If you drive a car and never fill up the tank, eventually it will stop – just like a car, we’ll stop too. Look after your energy levels – change your definition of health to be energy for living and see how your whole life changes. Oh and by the way – when you focus on energy for living, it’s amazing how easy it is to get those six pack abs or fit into that small sized T-shirt. “A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic who is too busy to take care of his tools.” (Spanish Proverb) Fray Arvin Salceda, OSA (E).

Even the Devil Knows the Truth Fray Reo G. Cabahug, OSA

There is a saying that says “Even the devil knows the truth.” This can be exemplified in Mark 1:24 where the devil exclaimed, “I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Aside from this, the devil could even quote the Scriptures with ease and use it against Jesus for his own malicious purposes (Cf. Mt 4:6; Lk 4:9-11). This would mean that he knows even our creeds and the doctrines of the Church. He knows that they are true, but his knowledge of them doesn’t have to do with faith. It is because he, the devil, could have known and assented what the truth is, but he does not put his trust in God. Faith therefore is not limited to mere intellectual assent to true statements. Saying “I believe this, I believe that!” can never suffice in determining whether a person has the Christian faith. In fact, even the devils comprehensively knew religious truths even before we were born. But even if they knew these true ideas, they never trust or hope in the Lord. Faith, specifically the Christian faith, therefore, is not just something intellectual. It doesn’t only concern the mind but the totality of the person. This doesn’t mean,


sacsupdate vol. 13, no. 2 september to december 2012 however, that it is against rationality or is anti-intellectual, but that head knowledge is just a part of it. It is not simply a matter of believing true ideas. It is a totally personal experience. It is a commitment to trust, hope and loyalty to God, whom we know is ever faithful even if we are not. In transmitting the faith, one should not only catechize the head, but also evangelize the heart. Catechetical instruction may be vital in handing down the faith, but what is more essential is the invitation to experience God’s own faithfulness personally the way Israelites experienced Yahweh, and what disciples felt in Jesus. God, as portrayed in our faith, is always faithful to His promise. He will certainly fulfill it because when making a promise, He obliges himself like that of a debtor. As St. Augustine said, “He became our debtor not by receiving anything from us, but by promising us what He pleased.” And the righteous people in the Bible are portrayed as people who are waiting for the fulfillment of His promises. They view their history as the time between God’s promise and its fulfillment. Early believers and biblical authors are faithful also to God because they had experienced His fidelity, and not just because they are told about it. Before writing their faith experiences, they recalled how God saved them and liberated them from misery. From hindsight, they were able to realize that the progress they have made could have not been from their own doing. Everything perhaps may have been so ordinary when they were yet living those previous events, but from recollection, they must have realized that it was God’s hand which led them along the way. They had put everything in the hands of God, and later they saw God’s hands in everything. Indeed, one cannot trust and have faith with God unless he or she has personally discovered and experienced Him as his or her faithful savior. One cannot worship God authentically and fully unless one has experienced personally His mercy. Without this kind of experience, liturgical acts could only remain as mere requirements that must be complied with. Failure also to consider these things has been the reason why many Catholic schools are successful in catechizing their students, but unfruitful in evangelizing them. (E).


“Like a Thorn Bird” Fray Jasper Valmores, OSA

Community living is like the legend of the thorn bird. The legend is about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest, it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Who is not like a thorn bird? Everyone in the community is like a thorn bird. I am a thorn bird and everybody is a thorn bird. We left our nest and looked for a thorn tree until the moment we find one. We all have our melodious songs signifying our individuality, unique from any other creatures on earth. We set out in search for a thorn tree until we find what is distinctively our own thorn tree – our community. The marvel of the legend goes on to whisper…singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, doing so, it rises above the agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price! Community living is not a bed of roses. It is sometimes or oftentimes the longest and sharpest stake that we use to impale ourselves. It is the sweetest agonizing pain as we make a collage of personalities and individualities among the savage branches of our togetherness. Yet, it makes a wonderful collage. Wonderful, indeed, for it brings about a beautiful song of diversity aimed towards unity. Amidst the sublimity and loftiness of words on the demands and the “should be’s” in community living, is the reality of the dayto-day struggle demanded from it. Here, it matters a lot for what comprises the community are individual entities – human persons with complex and diverse personalities - coming together to form a community. The words of Thomas Moore can be used to correlate that “Many are preoccupied with the dysfunctional family. But to some extent all families are dysfunctional. No family is perfect...” With this correlation, community life is very much akin to a family, in fact more complex. In as much as there is no perfect family, there is also no perfect community. Every community has this sense of dysfunction, and to the larger extent, all communities are dysfunctional. The dysfunction

meant here is not on the futility of the members nor of the community itself but the dysfunction lies on the shortcomings among individuals in the failure to acknowledge the complexity of the members and the failure to appreciate the quirks and deviances of the individuals while focusing on the lofty ideals and the “should be’s” of the community – the unyielding and uncompromising attitude. The point is, “we may come to realize that individuality is born in eccentricities and unexpected shadow of tendencies in the soul, more so than in normality and conformity” lest we may become community of robots than men, more terrible than being a community of slaves and prisoners. The words of St. Augustine in the Rule are still very vibrant, “The Lord grant that you may observe all these precepts in the spirit of charity as lovers of spiritual beauty, giving forth the good odor of Christ in the holiness of your lives: not as slaves under the law but as men living in the freedom of grace.” These words of St. Augustine are our superlative song and the price of our existence. This community living in the spirit of unity as lovers of spiritual beauty and giving forth the good odor of Christ in the holiness of our lives makes the whole world listen. As the legend of the thorn bird melodiously continues . . . “but the whole world listens, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of a great price . . .” I believe that our Holy Father St. Augustine is quick to recognize this dysfunction in the community. He himself, I believe, has acknowledged the so-called quirks and deviances in the attitude of every individual. It did not disconcert him for he did not reject and conceal them nor feel indifferent to them. Instead, he uses it as a venue to draw out some greater good. Taking for instance the admonitions in the Rule specifically that of Chapter IV where he not only rejects the act of looking and gazing at women but gives it a favorable and special attention that it highlights a greater good of safeguarding chastity and fraternal correction. St. Augustine here is not aiming for a cure for human foibles but the care of them. Thomas Moore has something to say on this and I affirm when he says, “Care has a sense of ongoing attention. There is no end. Conflicts may never be fully resolved. Your

character will never change radically, although it may go some interesting transformations. Awareness can change, of course, but problems may persistently never go away.” Alas! We are given an insight here, that though we may not totally have a perfect community, the care and concern for one another as the translation of love among brothers in the community is more sublime and loftier than striking tenaciously on the letters of the law and thereby overlook its spirit, where St. Augustine says “. . . not as slaves under the law but as men living in the freedom of grace.” All of us in the community are like thorn birds. The legend is about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature in the planet. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then singing among the savage branches, it impales itself on the longest, sharpest spine. And, doing so, it rises above its agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price! But the whole world listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of a great price . . .” Such is the legend of the mysterious bird. (E)

Editorial STAFF Fray Reo Cabahug, OSA


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sacsupdate vol. 13, no. 2 september to december 2012

“Augustinian in Initial For mation Cong ress Five” /from Page 1

Fr. Tito Discaya Soquiño, OSA A CRY OF A WOUNDED HEART Bearing the theme, “A CRY OF A WOUNDED HEART,” speakers brought a new light to the participants of this year’s congress. Reverend Father Rodolfo Bugna, OSA, speaker of the SACS–STVI Aspirants, explicated that “Aspirancy is ideally a stage for the candidates to be led to discover, discern, and understand what Augustinian religious life is.” For Fr. Bugna, there is a need to have a “general orientation to the framework of the initial formation under the Plan of Formation of the Order of St. Augustine or the so-called Ratio Institutionis that strongly emphasizes Human Formation, Christian Formation, Religious Augustinian Formation, and Pastoral Formation.” Fr. Bugna is currently the Provincial Treasurer and a member of the Provincialate community in Cebu. Speaking before a group

of Postulants from STVI, Reverend Father Romanico Cañon, OSA, a member of Basilica del Santo Niño de Cebu Community in Cebu, underlined that “Formation and community is a preparation for a life of love, relationships, and the practice of humility.” Inspired by St. Augustine’s humility as an essential characteristic of community life, Fr. Roman, as he is fondly called, said to the postulants, “You don’t have to be a slave in order to be humble.” However, Reverend Father Tito Soquiño, OSA, a member of Basilica del Santo Niño de Cebu Community in Cebu and who spoke to the pre-novices (Professionals) from San Agustin Seminary highlighted the relevance of Augustine’s thought on community which can be seen from the perspective of the Filipino “LOOB.” The experience of community life lived by Augustine is not alien to Filipinos because they themselves are oriented to com-

munity. Fr. Tito emphasized how Augustine teaches us today to find ourselves first despite our wounded “KALOOBAN.” And when asked where these woundedness came from, the pre-novices identified 11 and these are: dysfunctional family background; negative interaction from people we meet; unawareness of our actions and their consequences; inappropriate desires; selfishness; developmental stressors (life crises); rejection; resistance to correction; misuse of freedom; negative experiences and personal inadequacies or deficits. Reverend Father Mamerto Alfeche, OSA, talking before the Novices said that “We are not formed in a vacuum. Formation is self-formation. We are all products of our environment, and are formed with this external factor. Our background experiences determine the way we respond to the formation process. To be able to form oneself accordingly, one should first of all discover (know) and accept who and what he is. Discovery and acceptance of oneself lead to one’s better discovery or knowledge of God.” Fr. Mamerts, who had been a formator for almost two decades, shared to the novices his experiences with the formands and with formation as a whole. He advised them to be prayerful and faithful always to the chosen vocation God has gifted to them. Fr. Mamerts is assigned as the Local Prior of San Jose Placer Com-

munity in Iloilo City. Reverend Father Alberto Esmeralda, OSA, who demonstrated the theme of the congress to the simply professed friars, used the three images of the wounded heart drawn from the liturgy, the Scriptures and Augustine as references to reflect on the vocation to religious life. He said that “The first is supplied by the Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart. The second is from Psalm 22 as explained by St. Augustine. And the third is from the Confessions of St. Augustine.” He stated that the first two are the images of the heart of Christ. The third is the image of human subjectivity called to transcendence. At the end of his session, Fr. Abet highlighted the use of Sacred Scriptures in training the heart on how and what to pray. This is where “Lectio Divina” finds its relevance and meaning to Augustin-

Fr. Mamerto Alfeche, OSA ian Spirituality. “What is significant in the process of ‘Lectio Divina’ is its listening-dialogue character that builds up a community of faith, hope and love,” he said. Fr. Abet is currently assigned in Colegio San Agustin–Biñan Community. Fr. Mamerts, who gave the synthesis on the theme during the plenum on the afternoon of the second day, shared some thoughts to the formands regarding vocation as a gift. According to him, “Our life as Augustinians is both CONTEMPLATION AND ACTION. Being in one mind and heart on the way to God brings us more closely with others as we are called to be builders of community,” he said. “This Augustinian mindset, from the very beginning of our history, is still rele-

sacsupdate vol. 13, no. 2 september to december 2012

vant even until now since the pastoral thrust of the Church today is the building up of the Basic Ecclesial Community. The challenge for you now in initial formation is: ‘How can we form this ecclesial community if we cannot even integrate ourselves to the community?’” Fr. Mamerts added. A WHOLISTIC APPROACH TO FORMATION To form a unity and consistency among Augustinians in the Province which begins in formation, Fr. Delariarte, in his homily during the Opening Mass of the Congress said that “We too in the Church have continued the handing over of the different traditions.” One important key in living out this continuous tradition of the Church is that “Our formation is a reflection of sociological structure. This means that our formation has a bearing in the life of others and in us. Our formation is something related with others, and is being transformed by God’s wisdom,” Fr. Delariarte added. Thus, as a concrete realization of this thought from the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Congress, the


FEATURE participants spent an hour of silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament to reflect and ruminate what they learned from the first day of the congress. Fr. Joel Beronque, OSA, Master of the Pre-Novices (Professionals) at the San Agustin Seminary in Makati asserted that the holistic approach to formation would hopefully lead to happiness. In his homily during the second day of the congress, he said, “Jesus is asking us what can truly make us happy. Is it the love of God or the love of money? He presents us these options because He knows our negative tendencies. And without this reminder, we might deviate from the real source of our happiness.” With this thought, he concluded his homily with a challenge to all participants, “I guess this congress has the same purpose. It facilitates the discovery of our woundedness, hoping that this may lead us to our healing. As such, we can be freed from our fear of mortality and eventually, with God’s grace, we will experience the joy of promised eternity.” The participants, on the afternoon of the second day, through the initiative of the Con-

Fr. Rodolfo Bugna, OSA gress Ad Hoc Committee headed by Fray Aimark Asor, OSA, facilitated a team building activity by batch whose goal was to affirm the identity of each member of the batch despite one’s woundedness and imperfections. To integrate the activities of the second day and offer what they learned to Mary, the Liturgy Committee headed by Fray Peter Cantones Jr., OSA, facilitated a Corona for the Mother of Consolation, a devotion unique to Augustinians. The second day ended with a fantastic fire-works display. Participants from STVI and ANPH entertained everyone by their songs and dances. The audience was delighted with the special number rendered by special guests from Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod. A FORMATION OF THE HEART Aside from the talks given to each level of formation by their respective speaker, secretaries from different levels of formation presented a synthesis on the third day of the congress. Meanwhile, the 5th Augustinian Initial Formation Congress was capped by a Closing Mass held at San Agustin Chapel

Fr. Romanico Cañon, OSA (center) Dear brothers and sisters! Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you now and always. We hereby appeal for your support toward the training of our seminarians. The following are the account details:

PESO SAVINGS ACCOUNT: Bank of the Philippine Islands Account Name: San Agustin Center of Studies Library Account Number: 3371-0034-43 DOLLAR SAVINGS ACCOUNT: Bank of the Philippine Islands Account Name: San Agustin Center of Studies Library Account Number: 3374-0300-77 May the good Lord grant your heart’s desire and fulfill every plan of yours through Christ our Lord. We are looking forward to hearing from you soon. We count on your support. SACS Friars

presided by Reverend Father Eusebio Berdon, OSA, Prior Provincial. In his homily he was so grateful to the organizers, participants and resource persons who made the gathering a big success. “The importance of this gathering does not consist only in the amount of inputs learned, or on the sharing of ideas, insights and experiences, but also on various activities participated in, particularly the Eucharist and other liturgical celebrations,” Fr. Berdon emphasized in his homily. “The woundedness of the heart has been experienced by everyone and it is not for us to really suggest concrete solutions to overcome these wounded aspects of our being a Church, but to be aware of these obstacles and continuously pray for a discerning mind and courageous heart to move ahead in our faith,” he concluded. Fray Aimark Asor, OSA Ad Hoc Committee Chairman, thanked those who, in one way or the other, have made the congress a success. “Now that the congress has ended, what we heard and learned should not only be kept in our hearts but also be put concretely in practice as we live day by day,” he said. Fray Rodel Magin, OSA



sacsupdate vol. 13, no. 2 september to december 2012

SACS Continually Fulfills Its Commitment for THE Environment/from page 1 At around 8:30 am, the participants gathered in Manila Water, Ipo Watershed Center for an orientation about the importance of the Ipo Dam and of the nearby watersheds as the source of water for Metro Manila and nearby provinces. The proper way of planting seedlings was also introduced to the participants. The briefing was given by the head forester of the MWSS – Ipo Watershed, Mr. Glenn Paul Flores. In the open discussion, the Prior of the House – Reverend Father Jose Rene Delariarte, OSA said that, “This activity is an annual activity of SACS community and part of the community’s commitment to the government and Ipo Watershed is to plant trees in this area.” The prior also pointed out that “[T]he tree planting activity was part of SACS’s commitment to the government by virtue of the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered by the SACS community with the DENR – Region III, the Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), the Manila Water Company and the Municipality of Norza-

Friars Conducted a Feeding and GiftGiving Program to the Dumagats


he Professorium community’s Committee on Apostolate and Mission, in coordination with the Committee on Food, conducted a feeding and gift-giving program last October 24, 2012 to the Dumagats at the IPO Watershed, in Norzagaray, Bulacan. The activity took place after the simply and solemnly professed friars, together with the first year STVI seminarians, held a tree planting activity in the area. On that day, the Committee on Apostolate and Mission gave to the 50 children, from grades one to two, school bags with notebooks, pencil cases and toys as assistance and support for their studies. Aside from this, seven bags with t-shirts and shoes were given to some Dumagat families. Christmas spirit indeed has begun to spread in the community even as early as October, the spirit of giving not only of money and material things but of the gift of presence to the people of Norzagaray. Indeed, a small thing you do can sometimes mean everything to another person. Fray Ian Geoffrey Kasilag, OSA

SACS friars (Solemn and Simple) and first year aspirants taking a pose after their Tree Planting Activity in Ipo Dam Watershed. (Inset). Fr. Michael Alvin Sequio, OSA makes his own contribution to save mother earth.

gay, Bulacan.” On behalf of the community, the MOU was signed by Fr. Jose Rene Delariarte, OSA, when he was the prior of SACS during 20042007. In the MOU, the SACS community expressed its desire to help and join hands with the DENR

SP’s Friday Fasting and Christmas with Street Families

– Region III, MWSS, Manila Water, and Norzagaray – LGU in implementing its forest management program by adopting an identified portion of the Ipo Watershed, through Manila Water’s, “Adopt a Watershed Program.” Thus, by the virtue of the 2007 MOU, the SACS community shall adopt five

hectares of land area within Ipo Watershed for forest protection and tree planting activities for a period of five years. At around 9:00 am, the participants departed from the watershed center to the planting site (15 minutes of boat ride and 15 minutes of hiking). Tree planting followed immediately upon their arrival in the area and around three hundred seedlings were planted during the activity. After planting, all went back to the center for the NSTP class’s sharing of experiences and the friars’ feeding and gift–giving activity for the Dumagats (natives living near the Ipo watershed). The 2012 Tree Planting at Ipo Dam Watershed activity was successfully concluded with a simple lunch and sharing of experiences. Before departing from Ipo Watershed, the Manila Water Forester Mr. Corpus expressed his thanks and desire to see the friars and seminarians for the next year’s tree planting activity. Fray John Ion Miranda, OSA.

Friars Undergo Apostolate Processing


uring the season of Advent, the SACS community had again showed its commitment to go beyond the comforts and confines of the seminary for charity’s sake. At 3:30 in the morning of December 17, 2012, a group of simplyprofessed friars expressed their season’s greetings to the fifteen families living in kariton with food, toiletries and used clothings. The distribution of goods to these poor families in the sidewalks of Quezon City was done through the initiative of the Professorium community’s Committee on Mission and Apostolate. The budget for this program came from the proceeds gained during the community’s practice of fasting every Friday. Fray Wendell Allan Marinay, OSA

CEFAM facilitators (in pink shirts) are joined by the SP friars together with their Master, Fr. Nelson Zerda after the culminating activity, Augustinian way of celebrating the Year of Faith.


ast December 17, 2012, the Committee on Mission and Apostolate organized a whole-day activity aimed at processing the apostolate experiences of the simply-professed friars. A team of five headed by Ms. Lei Lopez from the Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM) facilitated the processing activity in the light of the past thrust of SACS, “Growing in Communion: Revitalizing Community Life.” The whole-day activity was thematically guided by six Cs paired off into Call and Conversion; Charism and Commitment; and Communion and Community. A set of group exercises such as the “Letting Go,” “Crossings (Human Waves),” among

others, was conducted. The activity ended with a grand Sinulog festival of vintas depicting the Augustinian way of celebrating the Year of Faith. The personal approach, ushered by the CEFAM team, in the processing of the experiences made the activity more meaningful. In his welcome address, Fray Ian Geoffrey Kasilag, OSA, the Chairman of the Committee on Mission and Apostolate, emphasized the importance of knowing “how and what we feel in our apostolate.” Similarly, Ms. Lei Lopez noted that the processing helps us “to be more in touch with what we’re doing in our apostolate.” Fray Wendell Allan Marinay, OSA

SACS Update Vol. 13 Issue No.  

The Official Newsletter of San Agustin Center of Studies.

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