Orient, Bulletin of the Piarist Fathers in ASIA
2004 DECEMBER, n. 29
MANILA: V Calasanzian Family Asian Meeting
Fr. Jose P. Burgues
Under the motto "Our presence in Asia: Religious Community, in a Sharing Relation", was held in Manila, from October 18 to 24, 2004, the V Asian Encounter of the Calasanzian Family. There were 15 participants. For the first time, there were present, besides the Piarist Fathers and Sisters, two Cavanis Fathers and a lay person, a member of the Cebu Calasanzian Fraternity. Fr. General and the Assistant for Africa and Asia were also present. There were representative of the three Asian countries we are working now: Japan, India and the Philippines.
In the encounter we have taken into consideration, in a special way, the themes relating to the Religious Life and Education, here and now. We understand that our present in Asia is weak and hopeful. The Religious Life is always at the beginning, because it always needs to be adapted to the environment. The education that is needed here, especially by the poor, is asking from us a lot of creativity. Asia is the continent where more than half of the population of the world is living. Except in the Philippines, the existence of Christianity is weak. Asia is also a Continent of great contrasts among rich and poor people. The interreligious and cultural dialogue, and the dialogue with the poor are our permanent challenges. Here, we all are missionaries; there is not any other option. Only from the communion, we can give answers to so many challenges. This is our conviction.
We spent also time taking into consideration some other important themes such as, the formation of our candidates, the lay people integration and the missionary expansion. We talked, too, about inter-demarcation and inter-Congregation cooperation. The Piarist Fathers and Sisters have been helping each other from the beginning in Japan, Philippines and India. In the meeting, we faced the possibilities of cooperation between the Cavanis Fathers and the Piarists in the formation of our candidates. For instance, sharing their Aspirancy in Davao City and our Juniorate in Manila, with mixed formation teams. At the inter-demarcation level, we consider as positive the present collaboration between Philippines and India, sharing the novitiate in Cebu. Moreover, we are thinking about the possibilities of expanding the cooperation regarding missionary projects, as much as we could. It is the best moment to open ourselves to others in confidence, and sharing our charisms for the service of the Kingdom and the Mission.
The Encounter ended with a great satisfaction after sharing our experiences and hopes with our Brothers and Sisters. Then, see you again in 2006. Where? It is undecided? At that time, we hope that some of our plans will be made a reality and then we will have many other things for sharing.
The participants address to all the members of the Calasanzian Family the following letter:
Dear brothers and sisters of the Calasanzian Family,
From October 17 through 22, in the Piarist Formation House in Manila, 15 delegates of the different religious congregations of the Calasanzian family present in Asia (Cavanis Fathers, Daughters of Mary ?Escolapias-, and Piarist Fathers) and lay people from the fraternities of the Pious Schools, in line with the invitation of the Holy Father John Paul II to make Asia the ground of the evangelization for the 3rd Millenium, gathered to share experiences and outline scenarios in the manifold fields of our mission.
Fr. Jesus Maria Lecea, Superior General of the Piarist Fathers, and Fr. Jaume Riera, General Assistant for Africa and Asia, in canonical visit to the Vice-province Japan- Philippines, were present at this meeting
The discussion was enriched and documented by outstanding presentations of specialists in Culture and Religious Life as well as in Education based in Manila but with extensive knowledge of these issues in South East Asia.
Under the theme ?Our Presence in Asia: Religious Community, in a sharing Relation?, the assembly discussed topics ranging from inculturation and formation to expansion, inter-demarcationality and cooperation between congregations.
We reckon that our presence in Asia is modest; however, through these kind of encounters we find hope and strength to go on in our mission to cater the educational and spiritual needs of the huge mass of the continent.
The cultural and religious mosaic of the people in Asia challenges our mind frames and methodologies. We feel invited to listen to and to dialogue with all the cultures we have been welcomed in with an open mind and heart.
During these days we have experienced that the church cannot be understood and lived without mission and that this mission is for us to reproduce in us and in our children, youth and families the Asian countenance of Christ.
The presence of lay people among us during these days has been enriching and promising for new landscapes.
Along with us during these days we felt your presence, very near to us in prayers and intentions. We are building something new. But not only by ourselves; the whole Calasanzian family has been journeying with us.
We want to share with you all our joy and hope. We want to ask for your support.
AS IT SEEMS TO MEBro. Jeejo Vazhappilly
We come across many people, many events and many other things on our journey of life. We meet some people and they may not make any difference in our life. Some others really make a great impact on our life through the way they deal with us. Such people remain in our life for a longer period of time. It is the same with regard to the many events we take part in and only few of them become unforgettable and memorable because of its great importance and relevance. The event I am going to describe has become part and parcel of my life because of the great significance it has not only in relationship to me, but also in relation to the world as such.
India has always been a land of rich heritage, a source of inspiration and encouragement; a place of pride and prestige for all other countries of the world. Here was a golden opportunity for all the Indians to be happy and proud since she hosted the Third Asian Youth Conference held at Bangalore from August 9th to 16th, 2003. Normally when our much awaited dream is materialized, we can not but be happy. For me it was not the case. I never had a dream that I would be part of the Asian Youth Conference. It was God?s grace that I could participate in this great event. Certainly I would say that I was not in a state of euphoria.
It all began long ago. Preparations were on. For the smooth running of the conference, different committees were formed. I was part of the security committee. I want to say that the conference was a great success due to the meticulous planning. It was organized by the Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM) and coordinated by the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC).
A mammoth gathering of 5000 people attended the inaugural function on the evening of 10th of August and was treated to the fiesta of cultural programs hosted by various youth groups from India and across South Asia. Each group came up with diverse and colorful programs depicting their uniqueness of their culture. 400 delegates from 148 dioceses of India, 400 delegates from other 18 countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Bangladesh etc. and about 200 local organizing committee members were present in this event. The flags of 19 countries waving on the Indian soil were really an elevating experience for the common man to see.
?Youth for Peace? was the main theme of the Conference. ?Youth is not a matter of age but of the mind. One can feel old at the age of 17. People must not worry about growing old but experiment new things to remain young?, said one of the spokespersons. In this world of modern technology and information, people can buy anything and everything except peace. That is what precisely is lacking in the hearts of people. Therefore it is the responsibility of each and every youth to work for peace in the family, society, state, country and in the world at large.
During the Conference many workshops were conducted. Leadership Crisis, Terrorism, HIV/AIDS & Drugs/ Alcoholism, Ecology & Eco-Spirituality, Un-employment, Migration, Globalization Development, Information Technology, New-Media culture, Religious Fundamentalism, Family, Consumerism & Conscientization, Moral Values, Gender Issue, Gangsterism, Conflict Management , Counseling, Healing, Stress Management, Self-image, Communication Skills, ?Seven Habits?, New Generation Youth, Career Guidance, Handing Intimacy, Inter-religious Dialogue for Culture of Peace were some of the themes for workshop.
Eastern Meditations, Syro-Malankara Qurbana, Syro-Malabar Qurbana, Mass according to Indian Order and Taize Prayer were some of the specialties of the event.
Many of the foreign delegates were given the prerogative of family hospitality. i.e., they were accommodated in different families on the day of their arrival in order to know something about the culture of India. To help Asian youth Pilgrims know the rich heritage of Indian Families, to get familiarized with the Inter-religious neighbors and friends, to visit Bangalore along with family, to meet, know and experience the ?Indian parish community? were the main objectives of the family hospitality experience. Discovery of India was also arranged for the foreign delegates in order to know more about India.
On 14th of August, a Peace-rally was organized. Around 6000 people participated in the rally, which started at 7.00pm preceded by the ?Mysteries of Light?. The participants walked towards the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the nation, shouting slogans while holding the lit -candles in their hands. The participants standing in front of the statue made the peace-pledge. It was something interesting to see the flags of India and Pakistan flying together in the air.
On the last day there was a variety of programs staged by each country and it lasted about 4 hours. Finally the time arrived for everyone to depart. Yes, parting is always a sad moment. But what can we do? It is inevitable. Just accept it positively and keep fond memories of persons and events in our hearts. If there is love, in spite of the boundaries of countries, which separate one from another physically, I am sure, pen and prayer cannot separate anyone (of course e-mail). Let us believe that out of sight is not out of mind. This would have been the thoughts and feelings of most of the delegates when they left the country.
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A NEW PIARIST SCHOOL IN KAMDA
(From some ?Letters to the Friends? of Fr. Jose Alfaro)
Well. First of all I have to tell you: ?we are not building a school?. ?What?! ? You will ask in surprise. ?Such a fuss and you are not building a school?? I am going to explain it to you reminding the anecdote of that bricklayer who was asked what he was doing in that construction which looked like a church. The guy could have replied ?I prepare the mortar?, ?I carry the bricks?, ?I carry the water buckets?? or something like that. But no, sir! My friend answered: ?I am building a cathedral?? And I do the same: we are not building a school. We are refounding the entire universe, the whole cosmos that we, human beings, have turned ugly. We are refounding religious life, the whole Christianity? We are beginning to be human beings again, starting from the Man, striving to look like He. ?Starting afresh from Christ?. That is our cathedral.
I would like that also the house in which I live, the school, the bricks, the walls, the floor, the roof, what is and what is still lacking, might preach and shout all these things we are talking about? If fifteen or twenty persons are going to live in that house, we cannot build a matchbox, but certainly not a palace, either. If those who are going to live there are guys who want to live like poor among the poor, the same as their Master, tell me what type of house they must live in not to make their life a contradiction to what they preach. Well, very simple: do without such things that you don?t need, those things that your brothers do not have either. They do not have electric light, well? don?t you have it, either. They do not have running water, telephone, television, refrigerator, or? or? Well, don?t you have any of those things either. Do it for your love to them and for your love to your Master as well. (Letter 10, July 2003)
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We chose two young teachers that looked quite well for pre-school. I thought that it would be enough with one as teacher and the other could collaborate in writing documents and in the communications with the students and their parents. But it happened that on the very first day of registration they were more than 400 boys and girls admitted. It was unbelievable! A minute had passed, and the application forms had been finished. And again and again? We had to make three more trips for more copies? Unbelievable! A great benediction and response from God and form these people! From all towns, sometimes quite far, families have come with the dream of having their children registered. And nobody is rejected. The Lord is sending them and they are His present. His great present! First we received them with joy and later we shall study how to manage this situation. The God who is sending them will inspire how to manage the situation. Besides, if I stop or happen to say ?this one, yes; that one, not?, they may even pull down the school? I have no choice.
Around here they advise to have only four teachers with 115 students in each class? Do not open your eyes that wide, because it is not strange around these contours to find schools of mission with 120 children per classroom? The Commission has decided that, so far, there will be no uniform (all, all the schools have their uniform) because it is very expensive for the poor. And thinking of them the registration fee and monthly tuition were established in 10 rupees (20 cents of Euro) and also a little rice or some wood to cook.
What do you say? That we are crazy? Maybe. But two years ago we had not even a rupee and in this forest there were only lands and trees, and now, with your help and that of God, when you receive this letter we will have a school with 450 little, poor children of God who will be getting educated thanks to your craziness and my own. Blessed be this madness! More and more mad people would be necessary! Don?t you think so? (letter 14, April 04)
HISTORIES OF NOVICES
22. Carried by the Current of God?s Love
There was a boy who happened to exist in a particular place, in a particular moment. There is much to talk about that boy but it isn?t talked about. He doesn?t like to talk about it. Perhaps his parents forbade him to do so. Anyway the boy has given me authority to talk about it.
The boy once dreamed to be an angel. He used to listen to stories from the elders about how beautiful the heaven is. It had been said that angels are playing, running, flying from one cloud to another. He liked to be one of them.
When he grew a little older, he realized that it was impossible for him to be an angel. But he wasn?t desperate on his dream of heaven because the elders told him that he could still be there. All he needed to do was to be a good boy. That is, to be holy.
The boy tried to be holy. He saw the church as a holy place here on earth. He thought that people there are all holy, so he liked to be one of them. He joined the acolytes in their parish and then he became a seminarian of their diocese.
Being a diocesan seminarian, he had opportunities to be with some religious of different congregations as he was assigned to be their tour-guide every Vocation Promotion Week of their diocese. One of those was a Piarist Father. He had a little inclination to some of the congregations because he loved their charism. He loved to work in the education of the poor children. Many congregations offered such job. He once thought of joining one of them. But because there were a lot of them, he had difficulty in choosing the best among them. So he decided to stay in the diocesan seminary. Anyway the diocesan has general work in the parish. He could still work in the education of the poor children.
Though he?d finished his high school, he was still a boy when he was a diocesan seminarian. As a boy he was so idealistic. He was too young to discover the dark side of the church. He was immature to know that people of the church are not as holy as he thought. He dreamed of change, he criticized sometimes the church leader, including their formators.
According to the seminary formators, it was so hard to understand that boy. He got so high in his IQ exam but had very low in his academics. He had difficulty in facing the crowd. He needed to improve his ability to lead. He was absent-minded sometimes during some seminary activities. Seminary might not be yet the place for him. Thus, after three years in the seminary, the boy was advised to take a period of regency.
He couldn?t understand the will of God. The decision of their formators hurt him so much. He even considered it as a milder way of saying no. His only consolation then was his special friend to enkindle his life somehow. His special friend never failed him at the start but she left him at the long run. He couldn?t blame her because she was also wounded by the circumstances. Their friends accused her as the cause why he went out of the seminary. The boy didn?t dare to explain the real situation. He had no confidence to do it. It hurt her so much that she avoided him all the while. And that made his life more miserable.
He was desperate. He lost his direction in life. He just did his own way and let come what may be. He lost his dream of heaven. For him, heaven and its residents were nothing but a dream. Bible and other spiritual books were as worthy as any novel and fairy tale.
But God never abandoned him. He still received graces. He was just the one who disregarded them. But he couldn?t escape the love of God. He was blessed to be carried by its current.
As he no longer went to church, his ex-classmate in grade school invited him to be with the youth in their parish. She was a leader of an active youth club. Perhaps she had high expectation of him because she knew him as an ex-seminarian and once a good pupil during their elementary. She always visited him at home just to say yes to the invitation. The boy had run-out of excuses, he joined the club. I don?t know whether the boy was able to meet her expectations or not.
In the organization, he met another man who had been searching for his vocation in life. The man was looking for his companion in his journey. As a happy-go-lucky guy, the boy accompanied the man. They attended search-ins on several religious congregations, including the Order of the Pious Schools, also known as Piarists. The man joined the Piarists on that year, while the boy preferred to continue his life outside the seminary. His role was nothing but being a companion of the man in his search. And so when the search ended, his job was finished
He had some inclination but his insecurities reigned in his heart. He was afraid to suffer the same heartache once again. And he knew that it would be more painful if the scar were wounded again. Thus he said to himself, as final, ?I won?t be back to a seminary. Priesthood is not for me.?
When he earned his degree, he wanted to be independent from his family. He was without a job then. A group of friends invited him to go fishing, some nights. He joined them to avoid the feeling of unworthiness and loneliness. He was disappointed because every night they went fishing, he had the lesser number of fish.
Another group of friends worked in constructing a house in their neighborhood. He helped them though his skill was not satisfactory for such a job. He was paid just a little allowance and the drinking session at night. He was like garbage in the Guadalupe River during the rainy days.
God bless! There was a group of friends that planned to attend search-ins on some religious congregations. They invited him to be with them. The poor boy joined them just to entertain himself. His experience in every search-in somehow awoke his idealistic dream of changing the world but he tried to ignore it. He believed that it would lead him to heartache. After every search-in, he went home just like a tourist from a tour. He just set aside the feeling he had. Though sometime watching the poor children along the way had touched his heart somehow, that never carried him to decide.
But it seemed that God had his own plan. As his friends settled the required document for the entrance in some religious congregation, he also did. He just took it for granted. But, I think it was God?s will that he didn?t met any difficulty in securing the papers. He was the first to secure all the papers among his friends who sincerely wanted to join in.
He received letters from the religious congregations he used to be acquainted. All were willing to accept him. He was also invited by a diocesan priest to reapply to the diocesan seminary since his period of regency had already finished. That priest, when he was still in his theological study, was a former partner of the boy in a Summer Apostolate, a one-month immersion in a certain parish of their diocese. That gave the boy confidence to reapply to the diocesan seminary during that moment the priest was one of the formators there.
He was thinking then. He decided before not to go back in the seminary. He had gone unto it and he wanted to close that chapter of his life. That world had lost its glory so he wanted to create a new story. He decided not to reapply in the diocesan seminary.
But, what was the meaning of his life then? Obviously there was an empty space in his heart. Then this idea came into his mind: ?It is true that the chapter of his life as a diocesan seminarian has already ended. What is done, is done; what is gone, is gone. But that was diocesan; religious formation would be something new for him. This could be a beginning of a new chapter.? He was justifying his words before. He decided to join a religious congregation. He chose the Piarists because he felt more inclined to their charism.
He joined the Piarist without being totally convinced that this life was for him. But within the Order, his faith was resurrected. He was regaining his spiritual life. His vocation was resurrected too.
He was inspired by his companions in the community. He felt he was accepted as he was. He also saw his formators as good models. They were not perfect but they were doing their best. The fruits and flowers in the garden, the ball and board games he used to play, the hiking in mountains and city, the study of philosophy, and so many others things inspired him.
But what inspired him most were the poor children and youth in his apostolate. He felt, being a Piarist, he somehow would be able to do something for those children and youth. He understood that he could not change the world alone. But he could do a little way to make of it a better place. He somehow found the meaning of his life.
He is now a novice. He doesn?t know how long would his vocation last. He just treasures every moment of his life as a Piarist novice. Everyday he is answering the call of God and says, ?I must be willing to follow if I want God to lead.?
How is he this moment? Well he has just finished sharing with you the story of his vocation.
WE MUST BE?
Bro. Mark Sagrado
Again, I would like to share with you my experience in this land full of encounters, Madrid, Spain. This is an experience that for many is not new, because they have experienced it before me. This time is an experience inside the classroom and in the chapel in our School of Getafe where I had the apostolate last school year.
Many of us have the experience of being talking with the children about different topics, religion, sports, places, persons, etc. Many of us have in their mind imagines of an educator, teacher, catechist of children, when we saw with our own eyes a group of children wanting to learn. Now, after reflecting about all, I have my own new imagines engraved during last school year in my catechism class for the First Communion and in the Continuous Prayer.
It was a year full of experiences and reflection. I had 14 children of the second year of elementary school for the continuous prayer, and 12 children of fourth year of elementary for the catechesis of First Communion. It was a heterogeneous group: boys, girls, Spaniards, foreigners; good children and not so good children; young and not so young, etc. Everything was there! Being a Piarist catechist for these groups, I had also many experiences. Children that loved me, had confidence in me, respected me and also those who rejected me, laughed at me, did not pay attention, etc. That is the reality I had in my groups.
It was an experience full of happiness. How happy I was with my wonderful children! What a joy when we met together learning in harmony who Jesus was, His Church, the community, the society, the sacraments, etc., when they behaved well. What a tranquility when we were in silence praising, praying, asking together to Jesus! What a joy when we finished a theme full of living experience! How happy I felt when they loved me! "Hi, Markos, don't you miss your family? Do not worry, we are with you" How happy I was when they accepted me, in spite that I belonged to a brown race! "Nothing happens. Markos, if you are a Filipino. We are friends. We want to help you to learn Spanish well!" What peace I felt when I saw each one of them praising, asking Jesus for the group, families, school, the Religious, for the famine, the injustices, the wars, the love, etc.
It was a reflection experience. Lord, help me with these my children! And how bad I felt when everybody was talking and was not listening to me.
In this case, I felt stressed. And I was asking for a miracle when they believed even more a magician than Jesus.
This is the reality of being an educator, of being a Piarist, a catechist, etc. I had this living experience. It was an experience full of learning and reflection. To be an educator, a Piarist, is not an easy task. It is necessary to know HOW TO ATTRACT the children for their learning, discipline, life, happiness, and sense of humor. One must be strict, flexible, open, discrete, etc.; it is necessary to know who are Raul, Ronaldo, Beekham, Ronaldino, Saviola, etc.; it is important to know who won the competition of the young people. Who is the most famous actress, actor, director of movies, etc. It is necessary too, to know the news of the society and of the world, etc.,etc.,etc. It s necessary to know about everything so that the children might go out of their own shell.
Our Holy Father, St. Joseph Calasanz, says that vocation to education is one of the greatest graces of God. Starting from this sentence, the road for me is to have love for education. The Piarist ministry of giving piety and learning should be born from the love to Christ, as Jesus was teaching with full love to his disciples. It is necessary to love while teaching because in this way we form the children to become disciples. It is necessary to love while teaching because this, teach the children to belong to a people formed by God, where nobody is rejected. Where there is love, it is easy to discover His hand, when in a subtle way, with ties of love and "human cords", He is calling every one of these children to belong to a people of love.
From the Philippines
Bro. Marlon Nacua
As I am writing this article, I am here in this beautiful place in this retreat house of CICM in Taytay Rizal. I can see that the whole Metro Manila is foggy due to smoke from the vehicles running around the cities and because of the pollution from the different factories located in the busy cities.
From the place where I stay I can see the high rising buildings of Metro particularly the buildings in Makati which is the economic center of the Philippines. Suddenly the rain starts and now the tall buildings are not visible anymore. They are like the unseen squatters or informal settlements in Metro who are most of the time unnoticed and uncared.
It disheartens me to see the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Those poor people are usually invisible to our naked eyes. I am even bothered to see a beautiful townhouse in front of our formation house while I suspect that the people who build the townhouse do not even own a house; some are just renting a house, or worse, are living in a shack. Besides the townhouse is a very big three storey house with a very high fence and automated gate. On the third floor of the house, there is a basketball court; however they have problems in parking space to accommodate their more than 8 cars as far as I can count and see, while the people who live in squatter areas like in Damayang Lagi, wherein we have been conducting our apostolate, are jam-packed in a small room. The extended families are living in small houses. The majority of the children are undernourished. Their parents have no permanent jobs. Opportunities are quite distant to them.
And the irony of this is that I?m here in this beautiful place attending the seminar on ?Leadership in a Participatory Church?. We envision our Church as the ?Church of the poor? as the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC) would insistently say. However, from my personal perspective there is still a lot of work to be done especially alleviating our brothers and sisters from the quagmire of poverty. I do not know if as a religious I try to be one with them. I want to ?live simply so that others may simply live? but I know that it is easier said than done.
We have just had the Asian Meeting of our Order, with other members of the Calasanzian Family, and I am happy because I was able to attend the said meeting. I commented particularly about the education system in the Philippines, in which in the near future we will be building schools for the evangelization of the poor children and youth, but the danger is to commit the same mistake in catering only the children of the rich and the elite.
Although we know education is one of the best ways to alleviate people in dire poverty, this task asks us to do a lot of hard work. Time, talents, skills, motivations and faith in God is badly needed here. But the irony is that before we can change other people and society we need to change ourselves first. Then, transformation will be attained little by little, starting from our community towards society.
From this horizon I see some dark clouds but I am pretty sure that behind, there is a shining sun which will bring us to a brighter future and unlimited opportunities if only we start to live up our dreams now.
?WOW?!!!?(A Journey from Indonesia to Manila)
On September, 18th 2004 with the help of Mr. Kristian Tambengi and his wife, sponsors in Atambua, West Timor, we finished processing our papers, passport and ID card, in order for us to depart for Manila, Philippines. After that Fr. Rafael only gave us four days to prepare all things that we needed to bring to Manila. ?Wow, it?s too short, we need more time!? That was what we said when we heard that we only had other four days to be in our places and stay with our families. But we did it.
On September, 23rd 2004 we took our flight to Bali. Fr. Rafael was in Ruteng doing vocation animation, but he said he would meet us at Denpasar airport. After a two-hour flight we arrived in Denpasar. We stayed there overnight. At 07.00 a.m. the following day we flew again. We went first to Surabaya, arriving at 7:00 AM What? Did we fly so fast? No, actually the flight took one hour; it happened because our country has three time lines. We continued out flight arriving in Jakarta 25 minutes later. From Jakarta we flew again to Singapore. ?Wow, it?s really a high class airliner!? We stayed there for about four hours. During this time, Fr. Rafael invited us to visit some interesting places in Singapore: The Esplanade, Merlion, etc. Singapore is a beautiful city. Then we set off again, about three and a half hours, from Singapore to Manila.
We arrived in Manila airport at 10.00 p.m. Then we took a taxi from the airport to our house in Quezon City. At 11.00 p.m. we arrived there. We were very tired by then, but soon all our exhaustion went away, after we found the kindness and hospitality of our brothers in Manila.
While our plane hovered over Manila by 09.30 p.m., we spoke to each other: ?That?s Manila?... It?s fantastic? it?s a beautiful city!? Yeap? Manila looks beautiful at night from the plane. Then we teased each other about where we would stay, what we would do if we knew how to speak English, and many other things. But deep inside our heart we were praying God and thanking Him.
At that time we didn?t feel any sadness. Happy?...We were not sure. Instead, we felt wonder, amazement, and a feeling of unbelief. ?It is not about the trip from Kupang to Atambua. But it is about going abroad. And now we are about to arrive. Wow, it?s unbelievable.? I said to myself.
Then we begin with our daily life. First day, second day and the third we didn?t feel sadness or uneasiness, or homesickness. Because, aside from the languages and cultures, other things looked as similar as those we have in our place. Few days later when we realized that it would not be easy for us to inculturate ourselves, those feelings came and we felt sad, homesick and yearned for our family. And?. Psssttt! We?d cried also. Please, don?t tell to any people from our place that we?d cried, please. They will laugh at us and mock us (in our culture, it?s a taboo, a ridicule thing and an embarrassment for a man to cry). Well, it just happened for a few days. After that we feel fresh and ready to walk on our life and our vocation here.
We realized that we still have to learn many things in order to improve our knowledge and skills, but also to find in discernment God?s call upon us. And for this we have to start from the very beginning, from zero. And it is something impossible if we only step with our own feet. We need support and help, we need to be guided by others, by you: our brothers and fathers and also by our God.
We hope that we will be able to survive and to live our life here. We can live in fraternal love with brothers from any place. We can learn fast and understand the languages here. And we can inculturate ourselves in this environment, appreciating the customs, the food, and most important, the people here. But also we hope that we will be able to bring something new, unique and useful for our community, and if it is possible for the people here.
For all that, we need help and be guided by you and God our Father.
? Brief News ?
? In the middle of October, Fr. Fernando Negro arrived to Bangalore. A kind of re-encounter with his former novices. He will remain in India for several months, being part of that community and helping in the formation of Juniors and pre-novices. We welcome him wishing his stay be a blessing for our community in Bangalore.
? Fr. Baltazar went back to Mexico to visit his mother and to renew his visa for another period of time in India. We wish him restoring holidays and we await his return very soon.
? Fr. Antony Marco went to Manila for the V Asian Meeting. During these days he had the opportunity to meet Fr. General and to inform him about our reality and necessities. After that, he went to Cebu, to visit the Indian novices. These were wonderful days plenty of feelings, remembrances and dreams.
? On 27th December 2004, 3,30 in the afternoon, in his native place, Arthunkal (Allepey Dist.) will have the priestly Ordination of Br. Raju Panackal. From these lines we implore the blessings of the Lord upon his servant to be a faithful Piarist in the service of the Church.
? From Kamda (Jharkhand) we got some bad news (Fr. Alfaro was hospitalized with malaria) and a lot of good news: Fr. Alfaro recovered very well, and 13th October was the blessing and official inauguration of the religious house, School and Hostel for children.
? On 1st December Fr. Antonio Garcia Rios will arrive to Cochin to spend three months (summer School holidays in Argentina) in our Formation Houses. There is a lot of hope to improve our musical skills, specially in what is referred to liturgy. His ?young? presence of 78 years old will bring a sound witnessing to Piarist ministry.
? In December it will start our vocational promotion. We are finishing details for achieving a goal: to make this year a different one.
? In our future Juniorate in Bangalore, walls are going up. In most of the building we are at lintel level o preparing to cast the slab. Now we are almost sure that next academic year we can enter a new house.
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? Some sport news from Kaisei: our baseball team won the autumn competition in the province, although it was not able to win in the region. The tennis players, however, after winning in the province, won also in the region, and they will participate in the national competition in spring, in Shizuoka. Good luck!
? During the past months Japan has suffered a lot because of typhoons and earthquakes. The situation is not yet settled. In the places where we are present, there were not serious damages or fatalities.
? In our parish of Tobe was offered a seminal about ?Alfa Course?, a missionary method for evangelization. A group of faithful from the parish, accompanied by some Piarists, had an outing to Yokokawa, where they visited a monastery of Carmelite Sisters.
? Fr. General and his Assistant have visited Japan at the beginning of November, after visiting the Philippines. Both knew already our people and places, but they have had a new opportunity to see more closely our Piarist reality in this country, and to share our worries and hopes.
? Fr. Pedro Perea, our eldest, needed to have some surgery in order to facilitate the blood circulation. He must stay for some weeks in the hospital, and we hope that everything will go fine. Fr. Jesus Lacarra has traveled again to Japan in order to help us in this moment of need.
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From the Philippines
? From the middle of October to the beginning of November we have received the Canonical Visit of Fr. General and his Assistant. They have attended to the V Calasanzian Asian Meeting, as we say in the first page. Their visit has been a time of grace for all of us. From Cebu they departed for Tokyo to continue there the visit.
? At the end of his third travel to Indonesia, Fr. Rafael brought with him six Indonesian Aspirants, who are receiving formation in our Missionary Seminary in Manila. For the moment they must improve their English, and then everyone will be placed in the level of formation more adequate. Their ages go from 18 to 28 years.
? Fr. Antonio Marco, who attended the Meeting in Manila, came after to visit the Indian novices in Cebu. All of them are well and happy, waiting for the arrival of their 5th companion, who has not yet got his visa.
? In the past months we have seen the departure of some juniors: Mamerto in Cebu, Piere-John in Tokyo, Malcolm in Manila. We wish them the best in their new life. In Manila and in Cebu we keep on striving for new vocations. Two new postulants have joined the group of Cebu, Simeon and Marven. Welcome.
? With the presence of Fr. Jesus and the juniors Aljun and Marlon Nacua, took place in Dipolog (Mindanao), from 28 to 31 October, the IV Annual Piarist Lay Cooperators Convention. More than 30 representatives attended.
? Fr. Jose visited the FF. Cavanis in Davao. They have a High School, a parish and a formation house. During the Meeting in Manila the idea of a possible intercongregational cooperation in matters of formation was proposed. We will see?
CALASANZ FORMATION HOUSE - Piarist Fathers - Escolapios
1401 Andres Abellana Extension. Guadalupe, 6000 Cebu City,
PHILIPPINES Tel. ? Fax (32)2542085
Email firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.cvis.net.ph/escolapios