Orient, Bulletin of the Piarist Fathers in ASIA
2004 June n. 27
BACK TO THE CONVENT
Fr. Jose P. Burgues
In 1955, the first Piarists arrived to Yokkaichi: Frs. Rivero, Iraola, Lasquibar?. Others Piarists were arriving in the following years. For 10 years the Piarists were living inside the school Kaisei, while serving it. In the year 1965 was constructed the "convent" or a residence for the Community, next to school. It was an ample building, as the hope of those Piarists that sketched it. In the year 1995, it was necessary to readjust the communities in Japan and the Fathers that still were living in the convent, had to go to live in the Parish House. That same year, a part of the building was rented to the Salesian Fathers that converted it in a Minor Seminary. Regarding the Piarist Fathers, there was a desire of going back, letting it in the hands of the Providence. At last, this school year 2004-05, a small Piarist Community has been back to the convent of Oiwake Street: Fr. Adam, together with the Juniors Tony and Edmund. The two Juniors as teachers at Kaisei. Fr. Adam is still studying Japanese. They have found a goof formula living together with the Salesians, while everybody is thinking how to plan the future of the building. It is a first step, very important, to maintain our Piarist presence in Japan. We give thanks to the Lord because we were able to do it and we ask Him to accompany us during the rest of our journey?
Fr. Pedro Recuenco
South of India, in Tamil Nadu State and in Kanyakumari District, 8 km. far from Kanyakumari, between this town and Nogercoil, capital of the District, our house of Mantharamputhoor is situated. Its name is ?Deva Matha Illam?, House of the Mother of God. This house was bought from the Franciscan Missionary Brothers. On June 15th 2003, feast of the Piarist Saint Pompilio, we took possession of it with the arrival of 24 new candidates under the care of Fr. Thomas Pallithazhathu from Adoor (Kerala) the Argentinian junior Andr?s Pablo Krivanosoff and the junior Philip Raj, Indian. On February 10 of the present year the junior Andr?s had to go back to Argentina, because the permission for his stay here had come to an end, and was substituted by Fr. Pedro from our seminary of Aroor. In this house there are only the aspirants of the 1st. year so that an adequate selection of them can be performed already since the first year of their stay. On January 6th of this year 2004, Fr. Provincial of Argentina came to visit the houses of our mission in India, which from North to South are: the one of Kamda (Jharkhand) with its house and hostel not yet completely built, the juniorate of Bangalore, the two houses-seminary of Aroor, the boarding-school of Aryanad, not yet completely finished in the inside, but inaugurated by the bishop of Neyyattinkara, Vincent Samuel, with the presence of Fr. Provincial, on January 20th of this same year, and finally the house of Kanyakumari. What in the map of India appears with the name of Cape Comorin, is a corruption of Kanyakumari, which means ?the virgin maid?, according to the name of the ancient temple dedicated to Parvati in the very Cape. In Malayalam, the language of Kerala, the Virgin Mary is called ?Kanyaka Maria?. In Kanyakumari three seas meet: the one of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabic Sea. The forest does not arrive till here. The ground is rocky. The weather is very hot, but it is dry, and at twilight an agreeable breeze coming from the aforementioned seas, refreshes the atmosphere and one can sleep well. Besides, it drives away the mosquitoes, which in Aroor constitute a continual torture. In Kanyaakumari they speak Tamil with an alphabet as complicated as the one of Malayalam, though some of our candidates speak Malayalam, because they have come from Tiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala, not very far from here. The Christians of this zone belong to the three rites, Latin, Sirio-malabar and Sirio-malankara. Our house, however, is located in the diocese of Matandam of Sirio-malankara rite, but we hope that the Sacred Congregation of Rites will grant permission so that our boys may pass to the Latin Rite. Our house is situated in a very retired place, beside the small village of Mantharamputhoor, at the foot of a lonely mountain. On its hillside there is a Hindu monastery. On the opposite side of the mountain there are the aforementioned seas, which meet by a point of the coast, which is a very important place of tourism, especially of religious tourism. For the Hindus, bathing in this place has an especial meaning and a highly purifying value, as well as contemplating both the sunrise and the sunset on the horizon of the three seas. A multitude of shops have been established to sell souvenirs near the small beach. Very near, there is a dock from which boats with a capacity for one or two hundred people sail to transport them to two small rocky islands. On one of them there are two large Hindu temples. One of them is dedicated to the most famous Indian philosopher Vivekananda in the very place where he spent several years dedicated to meditation. He advocated for a universal religion and morality as well as for the brotherhood of all men with one another. On the adjacent still smaller rocky island, there is the colossal statue of the also famous Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar, sculpted in the very rock. On January 24th of the present year, with the presence of Fr. Provincial, the bishop of the diocese, Yohannoon Mar Chrisostom blessed our house of Kanyakumari and its dependencies. Afterwards, as the chapel is too small for these occasions, on the terrace of the house, the Holy Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Provincial, the Dean of the zone, P. Geevarghese and the Fathers Antonio Marco, Baltazar S?nchez Alonzo and Thomas Pallithazhathu. The bishop was in charge of he homily, after which, his pastoral duties obliged him to absent himself. Finally, here are several mythological data about this region. According to the Ramayana, the sacred book of the Hindus, Rama, fifth incarnation of Vishnu, and his wife Sita dwelt here. Sita was kidnapped. Rama and his brother, so as to rescue Sita, went to fight against Ravana, king of the giants, who had ten heads and was also king of Sri Lanka. During the struggle, Rama?s brother was wounded and a demigod, Hannuman, king of the monkeys, by means of an enormous jump, flew to the continent in search of a determined medicinal plant. As he could not distinguish it from the other plants, he uprooted the mountain, where it grew and transported it to Sri Lanka. While flying through the air, a piece came off. This piece is the mountain by which our house is located. In fact, in this mountain medicinal plants grow, to which especial curative properties are attributed. Since then, the Hindus worship the monkeys as if they were gods. Mantharamputhoor means ?The new place of the breeze?, alluding to Hannuman, son of the god of the air.
ANOTHER STEP IN MY VOCATIONAL JOURNEY
Bro. Justin Anthony
June 8th 2003: a day that changed my life vision as well as my concept of education in mission schools. "Auxilium" is a school situated in Bandapura, a village near Bangalore. On the first day, travelling from our house to the school, I had enough confidence to take the class of fourth standard students (nine years old). After greeting the Headmistress, I entered the classroom. I could see the amazement faces of the children looking at a new teacher. I began my class, and after few minutes, I realized that among the forty-four children, none of them could speak English well; some of them could only understand it. I felt the communication gap between myself and the children in those moments. The reason was that until last year, they had been learning subjects through Kannada language. How to handle the class? How could I communicate with the children? After the first class, with a little sad feeling, I approached the Headmistress, Sr. Jacinta, and spoke with her about my language problem in class. She told me that she and most of the teachers in the school were also new. They didn?t have any language problem; only they had the problem of behaviour of the students. She was a little worry about the students? behaviour and academic performance. Sister called me and Br. Rai to talk about the present situation in school. She focused on two objectives: to improve the level of English of the students and to bring the children to a good standard. We accepted those two goals heartily. We had half an hour every day to give moral science to 4th standard students. But things began to change; we were asked to be in the classes during longer time for different reasons. At the beginning we were teaching IV, later on V, and after two months, we were asked to take all the classes. That was another big experience: 200 children, different in language, age and standard that I had to teach. At the beginning I thought that it was impossible to manage that big group, but after a month I began to feel that the classes were more joyful and easier. To improve the communication with the children I began to learn Kannada. After a few weeks I was able to speak some sentences in Kannada. One day, listening to my Kannada practice, Sr. Jacinta asked me to take Spoken English for IV standard students. I began to teach English for fourth and other classes, whenever I got free time. We tried to help the school to bring the children up to the standard of central government schools. Among the children, 80% are coming from very poor families. Despite this fact, they are the pioneers in the field of education. Sisters sponsor most of them. At the beginning of August, Sister Jacinta called us to be members of the panel for Independence Day celebration. There were a lot of things to be done. The programme was successful and colourful in the history of the school. As time went on, I found that some changes were taking place in my life and in the school. I was growing in the field of Education as an Educator. Children were enthusiastic to learn new things and all were seen happy in our work for the little ones. In the month of October, Sister asked us to join Teachers Day Celebration. On that day, children?s programmes were special. The students performed very well without anybody?s help and it gave us a good message. That day I realized their love towards their teachers. As a compliment, all the teachers received a gift from the management office of the school. Each good action produces abundance of good results. We could see the changes of the students clearly, thanks to the Almighty?s blessing and hard work of the staff. November 14th was a joyful day in my teaching life. "Children?s day". We made it so colourful with lots of fun and sports? We were the sports-in-charge. Among the items, volleyball was so amusing and interesting to watch... The Superior of the community addressed the children and teachers. She expressed her happiness about the school. Days passed very fast. Mid-term exams were over and the results were good. Sister asked a hundred percentage commitment from everybody. During those six months I became a friend of all the students. At the end of November children were brought for a picnic. We were also asked to join them. We tried our best to make them happy. With God?s grace, everything went well. On 15th December, I left the school and had my holidays with my parents in Kerala. On January 7th, I returned to school and began the second term with new energy. On January 14th, we celebrated Moral Science Day. The theme was ?God ?. The children under our direction did all things. February went very fast and we finished our entire portion and began revision. March was the busiest month at school. On March 15th there was an inspection from the central government to accept the school in the level of ICSE. The educational quality of our school and the job we do, were to be examined by the government. So the last days, I tried my best to prepare the students for the inspection. At last, on the 12th of March, I left the school for holidays with so much pain and tension. Even though Sr. Jacinta was so busy, she found a little time to give us a send off. After some days I called to the school from Kerala. Sister Jacinta told me ?our work was so successful that the school got permission from ICSE. You have to be here to see the happiness of the children?. With so much joy I put down the receiver and thanked the God Almighty for his wonderful grace on the little ones. This year of blessing, children?s love and true experience of the Calasanzian vocation, changed my life. With the grace of The Almighty, I am getting ready to travel, more and more, in my Calasanzian vocation.
HISTORIES OF NOVICES
I am just a poor boy P., Novice I was told that the root of our family came from Irong-irong. My parents were born in that place. In his young age, my father worked in a fishing company. At the same time, my mother earned money by doing laundry, selling native delicacies and sometimes fish. Because of their miserable situation in life they migrated to another place called Antik. There we have been living for several years. My parents are good and devout Catholics. During her youth, my mother was an active member of the Legion of Mary in our place. She likes to pray the rosary everyday. Sometimes she is asked by our neighbors to pray the prayers for the dead. Somehow, my father is different. He is a quiet, and shy type of person. He likes to stay in peaceful, harmonious and tranquil places. I have seldom seen him going to Church. However, the Protestant Pastors in our place have found difficult to influence him. I remember that one day the Born Again Movement leader of Panay Island visited my father. This man was one of the closest friends of my father when he was young. He encouraged my father to join their movement. Sometimes he brought to my father a pack of coffee. Sometimes he offered to my father hundreds or thousands of pesos just to convince him to join. I am happy because my father bowed his head and refused it. This is what I admire in my father: he has no interest with regards to material things. He will never change the valor of religion to pesos even though we are poor. I am the youngest child in the family. I have two brothers and four sisters. When I was young, people in our place saw me as an ordinary, humble and very simple boy. I wore simple clothing. I played with toys made of wood or bamboo. I was fond of making guns from banana or coconut trunk. I went to school without any peso in my pocket to buy my favorite sweets. I did not handle or even touch a new bag to put my school materials. My mother was the first who taught me how to say simple prayers, specially the four basic prayers. She reminded me oftentimes to trust God, to love Jesus and to respect Mary. She told me that if I did not know how to solve my problems, I should just ask refuge from Mary and she will look for the answer of what I was asking for. My mother shared to me her dream about Mary covering with her clothes our family. About that story, I am not sure if it was true. Our house is not far from the shore. During my childhood I used to play on the beach. It was a beautiful morning when my two playmates and I were playing there. Then I saw a huge hand from heaven pointing a finger towards us. I asked my playmates if they saw it. One of them nodded, but the other did not. Because we were still immature at that time, we did not pay much attention nor gave importance to it. Suddenly we forgot everything. What we did was to leave the place without any feeling of amazement. Even myself, I did not give serious meaning to it. I was six years old when I started my elementary education. I was very happy because like the other children I could now learn how to read and write. My teacher informed my parents that I was very quiet in the class. I did not show naughtiness nor create any disturbances inside the classroom. I preferred two subjects: values education and catechesis. I liked always to lead the prayer and the ?Hail Mary? was my favorite one to recite. In my little age I learned to work to have my own personal savings. I sold bread every Saturday and Sunday. If I had extra time I spend it helping my parents. I passed this stage with much sweat flowing from my body. I decided to pursue my high school. At the very beginning of the classes I was eager and inspired to study. I received good marks. After several months of studying I felt that high school life was boring. Later on I felt not to persevere and really I lost my desire to study. Besides, I wanted to escape from my life doing work inside the house and at the same time studying. I wanted to change the flow of my life. I neglected all school requirements because of barkadas (group of friends). My life really changed. It became terrible and awful. I realized later that I had made a great mistake. Perhaps it was the first conversion that happened in my life. I reflected then about the vision that I had seen during my childhood. I asked myself what was the meaning of that vision? Was it true? Why I saw it? Perhaps it had something to foretell me. From that day on I returned to my previous way of living. During my last year in high school I was confused about what course I was going to take. I decided then, but the problem was who was going to pay my tuition? Nobody had the answer to my question. My parents could not afford it. I thought I could not proceed to college. I was desperate but what should I do? I had no means. My only dream at that time was to experience life in college. I needed whatever means to earn money in order to continue my study. I went fishing when I had no class or if it was holiday. Yes, I had to collect and save money through fishing. I graduated in high school after all those miseries. One month before my graduation, one of my teachers approached and told me that the faculty of teachers agreed that, if I wanted, they would send me to the seminary to take the entrance examination. I thought that perhaps this was the answer to my desire. I accepted the challenge. I tried my best to take the exam and I was glad because I passed it. I had no problem in terms of financial needs, because there was somebody who volunteered to shoulder them. I did not know who he was. I was very happy because he paid my board, lodging, and tuition fee in the seminary. I informed my parents about my plan to enter the seminary and I asked permission from them. They joyfully granted what I was asking except my older sister. My older sister wanted me to look for a job. She liked me to help first our family. I disobeyed my sister. I followed what my heart had foretold. I entered the diocesan seminary for five years. I finished two major courses, Philosophy and Religious Studies. In the seminary I obviously realized the meaning of my vision and the plan of God for me. I realized my purpose. I realized that God had called me to an extraordinary way of living. In the seminary I built this idea to become a simple and good Christian and a good defender of the poor. After five years, I decided to leave the seminary. I wanted to experience life outside the four walls. I chose to take personal regency. I lived my life profoundly outside seminary rules, without the guidance of formators. I was free to do what I would like to do. First I volunteered as a catechist in our Parish. As a catechist, I taught religion in secondary and tertiary level. I had no salary, just a little compensation coming from the catechetical fund of the Parish. Several months later, I decided to go to Manila. Before going to Manila, I joined the search-in conducted by the Society of Saint Joseph Missionary or Mill Hill Missionaries. I promised to enter this group perhaps after working and experiencing of having my own salary. In Manila, I was challenged by an incident that happened to my mother. My mother was brought to hospital because of serious sickness. I was deeply affected. My brothers and sisters had no enough savings to pay the bill. All of us thought that our mother might end up her life if we did nothing. What could we do? We gathered all our salaries and we paid the hospital expenses. We prayed for the recovery of our mother. This incident pushed me to work hard just to have more salary. I could not enjoy the fruits of my hands. All of my salary went to the hospital. This incident pushed me to make a deal with God. I said that if my mother were healed, I would go back home and enter the seminary again. One month after, my mother was healed. I was very happy to see my mother regaining her good health. I fulfilled my promise to God. I returned home and joined the Mill Hill. I was in this group for one year. When I was in the formation I noticed that my heart was not happy. I was not comfortable and my mind was always out. Also I found that my talent was unsuited for it. My formators recognized these things. I stopped and returned to my previous work in our Parish. I helped the Parish in its mission program. I was sent by the Parish to some rural areas just to teach catechism. I taught catechism for adults, children and youth. I enjoyed sharing my time with them. I could not deny that I missed my seminary life. Sometimes I thought of reapplying and returning to my first seminary. Sometimes my friends advised me to follow what was the desire of my spirit. Our Parish Priest advised me to go back to the seminary if I liked. He encouraged me because he saw my sincerity in teaching to different levels of people in the Parish. He observed that I was effective in teaching them. During those days the Piarist Fathers were strange to me. I had no idea about it. Then one of my friends visited our home and talked about it. He briefly explained me about the Order, the Founder and the charism. When he finished, he handed me a leaflet to be filled up if I wanted so. I accepted the leaflet and signed it. He told me that he would go to Cebu for the search-in. He brought my letter to Cebu. After one week he returned and encouraged me to join them. I told him that I would reflect about it. Three days after one of the Piarist brothers came to meet me in person. We talked and after it he asked if I would come with him to Cebu. The next day I answered him that I wanted to join the Order. The same day I left Antik and I joined the Order of the Pious Schools. Whew! I cannot believe my story. I trace my life and I find it this way, from poor family, migrant parents, simple boy, visionary during childhood, quiet during elementary, desperate during high school life, strong and determined, vendor, fisherman, seminarian, philosopher, catechist, missionary, teacher, and brother. See! God is good.
From the Philippines
Encouraged by the General Congregation, we are trying to establish in Manila a formation house for foreign vocations of our near Asian countries, with the purpose of founding later communities on in those countries. We have already visited Vietnam twice, and we have two postulants from that country, hoping of having more. Fr. Rafael went to Indonesia last March with the same purpose. We offer you a report of his trip. Fr. Rafael Buitrago The purpose of the visit to Indonesia, that was carried out at the beginning of March, 2004, was to have a first contact with the Bishops, Religious, formation centers for civil and ecclesiastical studies and in general, to get a first hand knowledge of the culture and idiosyncrasy of the Indonesian youth. Our proposal to the Bishops and to the Clergy was to obtain from them the approval of sending a first group of Indonesian students to our international and inter-congregational mission seminary in Manila. After a few years of initial formation, these seminarians would go back to their country in order to continue their studies. On a second step, we could think about opening in Indonesia a formation house and finally, an educational work. A dialogue with Ecclesiastical Authorities and Religious Congregations Yogyakarta: Yogya, as it is also called, is a city for students. Several Universities and High Educational Centers have their places there. The climate is more benign than in Jakarta and the city is an important cultural center, besides being the second tourist place after Bali. Msgr. Ignatius Suharyo, the Bishop of the Diocese of Samarang to which Yogya belongs, expressed his welcome to the community. He hopes that in the proper moment, the community will be established in his Diocese. He accepted what was proposed to him, and he is waiting for our second visit after which he will instruct the Parish Priests of his Diocese regarding our project, and that we have his permission to start our vocation campaign. Bali: Without any doubt, Bali is the center of the tourist attraction in Indonesia. It offers a combination of a tropical spa, rice terrace landscapes and many temples and Hindis "Oratories". Msgr. Benyani Bria is the Bishop of Denpasar, the capital of Bali. He was also ready to welcome us, and of course, with the same conditions of opening a formation house and later on educational centers. Flores: The Flores Island is on the South-Western part of Indonesia and it is a part of the Nusa Tenggara Region, a group of islands that spread to the east of Bali Island and ends in Timor. Flores was colonized by the Portuguese but was sold to Holland. It is the center of the Catholicism in Indonesia (95% of the population are Catholics). The Diocese of Ruteng is on the West part of the island. The Ruteng City is on a high plateau, surrounded by volcanoes, rice terraces and coffee plantations. The Bishop, Msgr. Eduardus Sangsun, is a Religious of the Divine Word Fathers. He is the most open Bishop regarding the Religious Congregations in inviting the youth to the Religious Life. There are more than 20 female and 4 male Congregations. The Divine Word Religious have carried out an important work of evangelization around all these islands. One of their biggest projects has been the creation of several minor seminaries where most of the Religious of the different Congregations have been educated, and also the seminarians for the Diocesan Clergy. They have been giving the Parishes to the Diocese for the administration. In the Ruteng Major Seminary, this year, there are more than 700 seminarians. The same as the Yogya seminary, it is run by a group of Religious and Diocesan Priests. Maumere is a city on the Northern Shore of Flores. Several Communities have there, too, their formation house. Not far from here, in the mountains, is the Major Seminary where more than 700 seminarians study. Most of them belong to the Divine Word Community or to the Diocesan Clergy. Many of their professors have obtained their Doctorate in Italy. The Archdiocese of Kupang is in West Timor. Kupang is the political center of the Nusa Tenggara Region. Talking by telephone with the Bishop, Msgr. Peter Turang, we agreed to send more information about our Order and our formation project, besides arranging a personal visit for the next time. In Kupang, I had the opportunity of visiting the Claretian Community. The Vocation Promoter of the Community, Fr. Emanuel Lelo Talok offered himself to accompany the Piarist Promoter during a Vocational Campaign around the Islands if the chosen calendar would allow it. He could be an interpreter and a guide. In any way, one of the formator commented that it is difficult to make a campaign in a Protestant City. Nevertheless, their seminary is full? Vocational Promotion and Formation Process of the Religious Communities The candidates to the Religious Life come, most of them, from Flores and surrounding islands. In this region, there are not big centers of Superior Education, and the scarcity of the economic resources of the people, most of them fishermen and farmers, do not allow them to send their children to the University. Therefore, the Communities do not expect that their candidates would have a professional title, but only a High School diploma. In Indonesia, the High School lasts for 6 years. In the Philippines, only four. Candidates with university degrees can be found in Java and the Jesuits select them in their universities. All the Communities I met have at least one formation house in Indonesia. Some with one priest, but in other cases in charge of one or several students of Theology while doing their magisterial year. Some Religious Sisters admit that they have been sent to this mission without a proper formation. Most of the foreign missionaries have made a great effort in learning to speak the Bahasa or Indonesian language. The Philippines Religious learn it easily, since its structure is similar to Tagalog. Perspectives Certainly, Indonesia offers to the Piarist Community possibilities for the incarnation of its charism, especially in the remote regions where the Catholicism has been developed and has kept its principles and traditions. The necessity of formal and non-formal education is clear in many regions, as well as the necessity of native priests to accompany the Christians in their faith when they go to regions of Muslim majority. The character of the young Indonesians and his idiosyncrasy would be a humanistic, cultural and spiritual contribution to the Order. In the young Indonesians, we can feel their simplicity, spontaneity, sincerity, and seriousness in their work and studies. The seminarians adapt easily to the community life and help in strengthening the communitarian relations based on the truth. Some formators even are grateful when the young people question them when they see that their decisions are not properly done. All the foreign Missionaries value these characteristics that help for a religious and priestly solid formation. We have the doors open for entering Indonesia. Some Religious found in their time more difficulties. It is an opportunity worthy to be taken into consideration.
VOCATION . . . a PRECIOUS GIFT from GOD (part I)
Bro. Andres Dragon
"Many are called but few are chosen" (Mt. 22:14). This wonderful biblical quotation has caught my attention going through a deep and thorough reflection in response to the great need of harvesters to the vineyard in this new era, due to the scarcity of religious and priestly vocations. This is tantamount to say that many who had responded to this divine calling of service and in the vineyard of God - the Reign-Kingdom of God- , perhaps they were not definitively called to this way of life, or maybe they had not cooperated along with the process while the vocation seed they had received from God was cultivated, enabling it to grow in the persons as a soil in whom it had been sown. Or maybe, extremely speaking, this phenomenon is caused by the inability and the negligence of those who were entrusted to nourish it and to take care as a vinedresser. God has called everyone without exception. He called men and women, young and old, able and unable, educated and uneducated, rich and poor, and the like, to know, to love, and to serve God and His creation, as far as the purpose of his existence is concerned according to each one?s capacity and ability. This invitation of God to be in communion with Him has been preconceived by Himself beforehand even before a man or a woman is born. God has prepared a place for everyone. He purposely did it because in the first place, He wants every human being to be happy and to live a life to the full, for ?God?s glory is man?s fully alive? according to St. Irenaeus. Hence, He gave everyone his/her own talents, abilities, skills, and others means to enable him/her to direct himself/herself towards the end, which is in communion with God the Father. In the second place, ?For God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life? (Jn 3:16) i.e. because of His unending, unconditional, and immeasurable love to humanity. God has willed everything through Jesus Christ who became man, dwelt among us and became one of us, except sin. ?He has come among us in order to bring us life, that we might have it more abundantly? (Jn.10:10). Jesus is the One who died on the cross to bring the Good News of salvation for us. Both, Jesus? death and resurrection are profound expressions of God?s love for us. Jesus died for our sins and rose for our justification. Eventually, Jesus is the perfect revelation of the Father through whom the love of the Father is perfectly revealed and is lovingly carried out by the Holy Spirit, who is the Emmanuel, ?God is with us?, after Jesus? resurrection and ascension into heaven. Thus, through Jesus we are all led to the Father in the graciousness of the Holy Spirit. The gift of His Son Jesus Christ is the perfect example of this divine calling of God. During His earthly sojourn, He had performed the three-fold offices of a king, a priest, and a prophet. In this sense, God has invited each one of us to do in the same manner as Jesus did, to be a servant to all. Jesus has shown us that in order to be great in the Kingdom of God, one must be a servant and must be at the service of everyone. To take care of all the needs of his brothers and sisters. That is to say, he/she must be a man of service for the sake of God?s kingdom and for other?s sake, for God says, ?Whoever serves the least of my brethren has done it unto me.? Consequently, he/she must deny himself for the sake of the Reign-Kingdom of God in which he/she is called for. Therefore, the fundamental concept of this divine calling is SERVICE. We cannot deny the fact that from the very beginning of his existence, man is called to work. In fact, man is predisposed to work by his very nature. God gave him all the necessary faculties including his will, intelligence, freedom, his body and all the necessary parts of it in order to respond to this divine invitation to know, love and serve God and His creation, as the appointed lord or caretaker of the universe and as the apex and summit of God?s creation. It is in this reality therefore, that everyone is called to work in order to serve. This divine calling from God is inevitable and without exceptions. Everyone is predestined to fulfil such a mission in this earthly sojourn. That is, we are called to become a minister, which means, ?the one who is called to serve? to be the servant to all. A service which doesn?t discriminate or choose no matter if he or she is white or black, good or bad, rich or poor, man or woman, young or old, educated or uneducated, and the like. A service which gives due respect to everyone?s right and dignity as being created in the image and likeness of God. Eventually, one can be a teacher, an engineer, a scientist, a metro helper, a photographer, a barber, a driver, a farmer, a labourer, a fisherman, a carpenter, a teacher, a doctor, a politician, a nun, a priest, a religious, and the like. All these and other types of works and ministries which I don?t mention, are of various natures and kinds of vocations, but all of them are one and for the same purpose ? to render service. Henceforth, in this manner we can profit from each other in our multiple ways of commitment, because every vocation is special in what it is called to do, how it is expected to serve, and in its contribution toward bringing about the full accomplishment of God?s kingdom. Of all these types of vocations I mentioned above, I will only be focusing onto the religious or priestly way of life which I feel most able and favoured to share with my limited thoughts and reflections. It is in this particular topic that I will dwell and develop. It is my fervent hope that this would help each one to deepen his/her desire and commitment to follow Christ towards the life committed to the service of the Kingdom of God. The ever-increasing number of peoples throughout the world of the different religious denominations and those who do not know any religion so to speak, shall we call them ?the theists and agnostics?, are concrete manifestations and proofs of the signs of the times of this awful need of religious and of secular priests and nuns. This worldly phenomenon is a reaffirmation of the dire need for more labourers and harvesters in the vineyard ?To unite all things under Christ? (Eph.1:10). This is a concrete manifestation that tells us the overflowing demand for more. A very exigent invitation that is addressed to everyone to partake in this laborious endeavour in order to produce good harvests. ?The harvest is great but the labourers are few? (Lk. 10:2). In view of this challenge, many religious Orders and Congregations have come into existence all over the world. Each one of them has been founded with various apostolates and charisms to respond to the needs of the times. These are painstakingly founded by their respective founders and foundresses especially to endow not only the spiritual need of the people (to which they are called to serve), but as well as their material, emotional, physical, educational, etc. needs. A lot of our brothers and sisters have become religious or secular priests and nuns, but all the more the demand for more is greater than ever each day. This trend is very widespread all over the world these days, particularly in Europe. Day by day, a large number of religious, secular priests and nuns are getting older, yet unfortunately a percentage of those who apply for and are accepted are only very, very few. This is apparently a clear denominator that there is really an insufficiency of vocations. Alas, the number of those who would like to become religious or secular priests and nuns are flagging and declining nowadays. (to be continued)
- Brief News -
After finishing our Academic Year, our seminarians are dedicated to different activities. The Theologians have almost two months of pastoral experiences around the Indian geography, in the States of Mizoram, Chattisgarh, Kerala and Gujarat. The Philosophers, after finishing their university studies, are helping in the Vocational Camps organized during the summer time. Another group has been visiting and helping Fr. Alfaro in the mission and school at Kamda (Jharhand).
-There were also some trips for the renewal of visas and permits of residence; Fr. Marco went to Spain, Fr. Baltasar to Singapore and Frs. Alfaro and Jesus Negro to Spain. Fr. Recuenco, after spending six months in the Mission, especially in the house of Mantharamputhoor, went to Spain. But at his 78 years, he is already preparing himself with a new enthusiasm for coming back in July to the house of the First Year Aspirants.
-During the past six months, the same Fr. Pedro Recuenco, while giving classes of English and Drawing to the Aspirants, found time to prepare a "Malayalam Grammar for Spanish speaking people". And there is news that he is also preparing another Hindi Grammar for Spanish speaking people,
-Fr. Agustin Maizon was nominated by Fr. General, Initial Formation Coordinator in Asia. Regarding this, he was some days in Rome, at the end of March, taking part in some meetings organized by the General Curia.
-At the school of Kamda (Jharkhand) Mission, started the classes in the month of April. At the moment, only the Pre-Primary or Kindergarten. The school is a success, with more than 400 children, boys and girls, taking part in the classes.
-During April and May, three vocational camps were held, reaching the North, Center and South of Kerala State. Until now, 19 young men have been selected to start the fist year of Aspirancy on June 14, at Mantharamputhoor (District of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu).
-On next June 12, the Junior Joseph Raju Panackal will make his Solemn Profession and the following day, the Feast of Corpus Christi, will be ordained as a Deacon by the Bishop of Cochin, in our Aroor chapel.
-"Asha Nikethan", the Boys' Home or boarding house we have in Aryanad (District of Trivandrum, Kerala), finished the activities at the end of March. In May, however, it is starting again with a group of young men who will do their Eighth Grade this school year 2004-05. For the time being, until the classes start at School, they are receiving help in English and other subjects.
-Five Indian young men are ready to start their Novitiate in Cebu City (Philippines). They were supposed to go at the end of April, but they got difficulty in getting the visas, They had to postpone the trip. We hope that the bureaucratic problems will be solved and they will be able to start their Novitiate experience as soon as possible.
-Fr. Jaume Riera, the General Assistant for Asia and Africa, has visited for the first time our houses in Japan before coming to the Philippines. He was surprised after admiring what the Piarists are doing in the Country of the Rising Sun.
- Bro. Bryan is in his second year of philosophy in the Diocesan Tokyo Seminary. Bro. Nelson, after finishing his Japanese studies, is doing his preparatory year in Galilea house. Bro. Arnel has come back to Manila for his Theological studies. Three new Juniors, Bros. Junji, Moises and Jesley are going to Tokyo in June to start their Japanese studies.
-Bros. Tony and Edmund are in Yokkaichi since March, together with Fr. Adam, in our "convent", in a new inter-congregational experience with the Salesians. We hope that their experience as teachers at Kaisei School will be a satisfactory one for them and a fruitful one for Kaisei School.
-The Religious activities in our Parishes during the Holy Week were well attended by the people.
-Our Kaisei Baseball Team has been getting laurels. It was declared Spring Champion in the Province. Nevertheless, to take part in the Summer National Championship, it should be declared champion in the Region Championship.
From the Philippines
-For us, here in the Philippines, it is a season of Professions and Renewal of Vows. Among our Juniors, 25 made their renewal of temporal vows around Easter. On May 8, 12 novices made their First Profession in Cebu City. On May 2, in Cebu City too, 13 young men started their year of Novitiate, To all of them, our congratulation and our prayers so that they may follow faithfully to Christ on the footsteps of Calasanz.
- During the month of April, we held different vocational 'convivencias' in Manila, Davao and Cebu, under the supervisions of Bros. Aljun and Nonoy, with the attendance of more than 20 young men, all of them graduated from Universities. We hope that many of them will join us for our Postulancy this coming school year.
-Fr. Rafael Buitrago has been transferred to Manila in order to put in movement the Piarist Missionary Vocational Center (PMVC). Together with him will go four Philippine Juniors and two Vietnamese Postulants. Fr. Rafael, after his first trip to Indonesia in March, is going again in May, with the intention of selecting some candidates that could start the formation during this school year.
-Fr. Juanjo Mendinueta has been nominated Initial Formation Coordinator for the Philippines. Bro. Tony Matias is the Vocational Coordinator for Japan.
-In Cebu City, as well as in Manila, the traditional summer camps have been held with the attendance of children and youth. The camps in Cebu were held in Panlao (Bohol Island) and Manlapay (Cebu Island). The one in Manila was held in Antipolo City, near Metro Manila. Special congratulations to the Juniors from Manila, who have carried out for the first time this activity.
-The Piarist Fraternity is going well. On May 8, two new members were accepted in the adult group and seven in the young group. They also had their own summer camp with children from Bantayan Island. The project of constructing a second cultural center, in relation with the Fraternity, is going to start soon, since we already have the plans and the money (generosity of "Manos Unidas", Spain) to carry it out.
CALASANZ FORMATION HOUSE - Piarist Fathers - Escolapios 1401 Andres Abellana Extension. Guadalupe, 6000 Cebu City, PHILIPPINES Tel. - Fax (32)2542085 Email firstname.lastname@example.org : URL: http://www.cvis.net.ph/escolapios/