Bulletin of the
Piarist Fathers in ASIA
2005 MARCH n. 30
PIARISTS IN INDIA, FOR WHAT?
Fr. Fernando Negro
Piarists arrived in India on the 10th of January 1994, when Fr. Alfaro, accompanied by the then Fr. Provincial, Placido Menditto, reached to Cochin.
Many things have already gone through in the Piarist history in India. God has blessed us with many and good vocations that we try to look after, without denying the difficulties. We have opened houses in different places such as Aroor, Bangalore, Kanyakumary, Jharkhand and Aryanad.
Nevertheless the future of our Piarist presence in India is from now onwards related to the aims, the vision and the sense of direction that we should implement. The real problem dwells on what to do with these vocations, preparing a good and attractive panorama of ministries that portray our real identity as Piarists in a land not explored before by our Order. This is why the title of this reflection, ?Piarists in India, for what?? fits so well in the context of our preparation for a future of hope. A future that must be discerned with much prayer, reflection, mutual dialogue and understanding among all the religious.
In a nation so populated as it is India, with more than one billion people, where vast areas are totally neglected the right to stand up through proper education, where the cast system is condemning so many ?outcast? people to be little more than animals, where the education system is much more banking than creative and liberating, where the Church is many times duly criticized for not been the voice of the voiceless, where many a time religious seem to be so far away from the crude reality in which millions of persons live abandoned to their fate of poverty and ignorance, where the Hindu fundamentalism seems to fight a tag of war to be imposed at all cost? we need, without any doubt, to reflect and to give an appropriate answer from the Spirit that knocks at our door.
In this context we, the Piarists, disciples of Calasanz, are invited to give answer to this challenge in fidelity and creativity. It is important to focus the attention equally on the actual reality in which the poor children and youth live, and on the Spirit of Jesus Christ who pushes us today as he pushed one day (more than 400 years ago) Calasanz to do something beautiful for God in the destitute children through education and catechesis.
We use many words, nice to hear but at times with little practical application in life. In some way we have lost the capacity to create something new. Why? The reason is that we have not risked in a new way of thinking. The word carries out what the mind and heart possesses and if what is inside is not changed, then the words shall produce just a repetition that, as a consequence, shall originate an old and repetitive praxis.
Now we are called upon to do something new and to do it together. From the experience of Jesus Christ as the absolute foundation of our being religious, we are all invited to dream and to share with one another the best of ourselves for this dream.
K.J.C. ? A PLACE OF WISDOM
Bro. Jeejo Vazhappilly, Bangalore.
It is evident that a sense of challenge and new perspectives emerge as an era of Technology and Information is advancing upon us. Therefore it is natural that people look for the best quality desired and required for anything and everything. If you are not qualified in any field, there is a danger of people keeping you aside. Parents want to send their children to a prestigious school; the youth want to do their studies in a posh college; students are very careful to join the relevant and scope giving courses; job seekers try to get jobs in a famous company. As we the Piarists who are dedicated to follow the charisma of St. Joseph Calasanz must be well equipped with the relevant tools necessary in the field of education. It is with this view that the Piarist Juniors over here in Bangalore are going to the Kristu Jyoti College, an institute where Philosophy and Theology are being taught. This is a college run by the Salesian Fathers. It was actually started in 1967 with the purpose of teaching Theology to the Brothers coming from various Salesian Provinces as well as for the members of neighbouring congregations. In philosophy there are only day scholars whereas in theology one can find both residential students and day scholars.
The title ?KRISTU JYOTI? is derived from two Sanskrit words, which respectively means ?Christ? and ?Light?. Christ the Light shows us the way of wisdom, knowledge, and holiness by guiding us through the right path. Every year the number of the students who join the college increases and the average number until now is 50 in each class. Theology in this college lasts for 3 years and 4 months and then comes a pastoral experience. There are at present students from 15 congregations including Brothers and sisters. The professors are well qualified in their own respective subjects and majority of them are from the Salesian Congregation. There are also visiting professors from other Congregations.
A trimester system is followed for studies. Accordingly we have examinations thrice a year; the first one at the end of August, the second one at the end of November and the third and the last being in March first week. The academic year begins on 7th of June every year and ends by 15th of March. The College offers many possibilities; there is a huge library and there is also a studio, which gives the professors opportunity to show some video-clips related to their subjects and to use the modern technology such as Power Point, slide show etc. And a large array of activities such as sport competitions, dramas, pastoral work etc. is conducted along the academic year. In the middle of the scholastic year a three-day seminar on a relevant topic is being organized for all the students of Philosophy and Theology.
This college is situated about 17 kilometres away from the Bangalore city; very close to the famous pilgrimage centre of St. Anthony of Padua at Thambuchetty palaya. The Piarist community is 3 kilometres away from the college. It is a very good exercise for all the Piarist Juniors to walk towards the college morning and afternoon. It is also encouraging to note that the juniors come out with flying colours in the examinations.
PASTORAL AND VOCATIONAL PLANNING MEETING
BANGALORE: DECEMBER 5, 2004 AND JANUARY 30, 2005
Fr. Antonio Marco
On Sundays 12-5-04 and 01-30-05, we had in Bangalore a Planning Meeting to evaluate and foster our pastoral and vocational work.
A well known law on Physics says that "the entropy of the Universe is growing", or in other terms, "the disorder of the Universe, on a molecular level, is growing up". Moreover, in a more understandable way we could express it as that "the disorder comes by itself".
The validity of this law of the Thermodynamics is applicable also to other environments, beyond the Physics. Spontaneously, we tend to become anarchic. To be organized and to establish plans always require an explicit act of the will, of overcoming what is an spontaneous, aleatory, and improvised thing. The planning regarding the pastoral, vocational or formative work, is always a necessity. It is not easy to agree, and even it is more difficult to be faithful to the programming, but that is the only way.
That is why, and trying to be an impartial observer, the work done in Bangalore by the vocational group - nine persons altogether -, during two days, is worthily to be praised.
? We analyzed the steps until the present
? We criticized the situations and decisions, according to the results.
? We marked the path to follow, choosing some changes that could be very important.
? We have been formed small groups for the intense work in March and April, indicating goals and methods to follow.
From the conclusions of these days of work, I want to stress two of them, according to their importance.
? To put less emphasis in the Vocational Camps - without forgetting them completely - and much more emphasis to the visits and knowledge of the families.
? To strengthen the friendship and cooperation ties with Parish Priests and Dioceses.
? To enlarge the geographical limits our vocations come from
Those who took part in the discussions came out with the conviction that although the distances are big - from Mantharamputhoor to Bangalore there are more than 15 hours of bus - the effort of sharing and uniting criteria and will, is worthwhile.
MY EXPERIENCE IN THE PIARIST MISSION OF JHARKHAND (INDIA)
Fr. Fernando Negro
It was the 5th of January of 2005. The train stopped in Ranchi at about 9:00 am. It was rather cool. As I went out of the carriage I saw Fr. Jose Alfaro and, a bit later, my brother, Fr. Jesus Negro, lost in the multitude. I found that both in good health though Alfaro was still recovering from malaria. Both took the pains to welcome me at the rail station. I was happy to meet them there. We went to make some few phone calls, we took a light refreshment and, while talking and talking, the time to go up to the Piarist Mission in Kamda, arrived.
The local bus was full to the brim. We three were fortunate to have found a seat. Finally the bus started off the journey from Ranchi to Torpa, and from Torpa to Kamda? About 80 Km. It was around 4:00 pm when we reached the mission. On arriving, we made a quick tour to the buildings: the schools, then the hostel, the Fathers house and the shrine dedicated to ?Our Lady of the Forest?.
I took a shower and then the three of us gathered to take supper. It was around 6:00 pm. We continued talking during and after the supper and we did the same during the rest of my stay in Jharkhand at all meals. Those fraternal gatherings gave us the sense of intimate sharing of precious areas of our lives.
Next day, 6th January, was the beginning of the second term in the school. At 9:00 a.m. all the teachers had already gathered previous to the arrival of the little kids who were coming from all corners of the jungle that surrounds the mission. The little kids and the staff members gave me a simple but heartfelt welcome with a Spanish song.
On the 7th of January, first Friday of the month, the Mass was celebrated in the Shrine of ?Our Lady of the Forest? at 5:30 am. It was very cool. Immediately after the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and remained thus till late in the evening. It touched me deeply to see that during the whole day families and children of the school had organized themselves in such a way that at any time there were people praying. Some of them had come from a far distance of about 12 Km. I thought to myself: ?This is a sign of God?s presence. When people pray and do thus with conviction, it means that God is leading them?.
The people around the mission are all ?tribals?, belonging to the Munda tribe. The Mundas are quite many and they are proud of being tribals or ?adivasis?, which is the generic name to denominate the first settlers of India. When the Arians arrived and brought Hinduism, the ?adivasis? already inhabited this part of the world. The word ?adivasi? means ?first dweller?. The adivasis have costumes that remember me past experiences in Africa: natural religion that brings them into the respect of nature from where they come and to where they must return, big sense of community, group decision making, honor of the traditions, harmonious way of singing and dancing, the market days, etc.
It is in this context that the Piarists have started this mission that comprises mainly the primary School ?Calasanz Hindi Primary School? with an enrolment of around 350 children, both boys and girls, and the hostel where nearly 30 children (all boys) are hosted. They only pay 10 rupees per month. And it is not obvious that all pay it. It is worth to notice that one euro is equal to 55 rupees. This dream could not be real but for the fact that many benefactors, especially from Spain, Argentina and Italy, are generously giving much material help. The children in the hostel are the poorest among the poor around the area. And they are selected by a board of parents who know quite well the economical situation of the families.
The goal of this mission is to make possible in the context of India the dream of Calasanz: school for all, from the tender age and totally free. Most of the children coming to the school are shepherds that help their parents to look after the cows, buffalos and goats. And you can see them in the morning seated on the floor of the schools (benches and chairs are not yet available there) and in the evening in the field with the flock. At times it is interesting seeing them riding a buffalo.
Little by little, in spite of the harshness of this life-style I started to like the place, to be very much at ease with Alfaro and Jesus, to get in touch with the teachers and the people around, to be more familiar with the children with whom I even played football, to like more and more the place. I became aware of the ?Calasanzian touch? of this work and life; and a missionary nostalgia broke through inside me.
Time came for me to leave the place and go back to Bangalore. I felt something special. The missionary nostalgia is still alive within me. I carried back home the singing of the little children invoking the name of Saint Joseph Calasanz who dreamed for them a future of hope on behalf of the God who makes everything new. In Jharkhand I have witnessed how children are educated in piety and literacy from their tender age, with a preference for the poorest so as to reach out to all?
HISTORIES OF NOVICES
23. Behind the Screened Gate
My life story started when my parents had missed an important date in their natural birth control. They failed to mark an ?x? in the calendar they were using. After staying in my mother?s womb, I came out as a normal baby weighing seven and a-half pounds. My family was happy for the normal delivery of my mother and of course their hearts were also filled with joy because a new angel had come to the family. From that moment, I was in a family of one sister and a brother with God-fearing parents.
The attention of the whole family was with me during my childhood because they were happy to have me as their youngest and also because their new baby was delicate in health. I was born with some abnormalities in my heart which caused me to stay always in the nearby hospitals in our place for some weeks or even a month. I became the major expense of the family but God was good enough that my father was employed in a mine in our place. Some of the hospital expenses were free because of his occupation in the mine.
I studied in my elementary years in a simple public school. During the whole six-year of my study, I felt discriminated against by my classmates because my physical ability was limited compared to theirs. I couldn?t play so much as they did. However, I was not disturbed because of the discrimination. I felt that I could do other good things.
My parents were among the good parents of our place. Both of them were good disciplinarians and I learned from them a lot, especially in the strict schedule of prayer. In my early childhood, they imposed to our family that at exactly 6:00 in the evening, every one of us ought to be at home for a family rosary. My mother was also a devotee in our parish. She had some devotions to the Virgin Mary and to some saints. Most of the time, I went with her to the parish and joined in some of her prayers. During Sundays, my family were together in joining the first mass in our parish. If one of us happened to miss this big rule of my parents without some valid reasons, he was liable for a punishment.
When I reached high school, I was enrolled in the public high school of the nearby barangay. Like during my elementary years, I did limited activities in these years due to my physical limitations. During this stage also, I came up with a great dream that was to wear a white coat named a Laboratory Gown, working in a high-tech industrial plant and mixing some colorful chemical compounds. For me at that time, dreaming to be in this endeavor made me very happy.
Following my parents? plan, after I graduated, I was sent to other place to pursue my tertiary studies. At my enrollment I was confused in choosing the right course for me. I was quite ambitious, and I was looking for an extraordinary course. But I did not know which it was. With some doubts and emptiness, I still pursued to enroll. During my first few months, I felt no contentment and fulfillment in doing the assignments and some projects. I felt extent emptiness in me. As a result, I failed in some of my subjects in the first year. With this, I lost my academic scholarship.
At that moment, I did not feel like enrolling in the next semester, for I had neither courage nor willingness to continue. My elimination from the said scholarship was a great despair which made me quest in myself what I really wanted. It was during my saddest and desolated summer term after my second year college when I was brought to a strange venue. It was due to an unplanned circumstance. The place was not known to me though it was just a walking distance from my auntie?s house.
The said place was so-called a paradise for children. I was invited to be one of the facilitators in their new program, the Saturday Workshops. I was so hesitant to accept the invitation that even in our first meeting I brought with me a child companion. It was a happy place for me. I met some friendly seminarians, priests and even children. I was amazed with the talent of one of the priests in doing some magic tricks. It made me laugh during the first few days of my being a volunteer.
With this simple job, I found the happiness that I had been searching since my early year at college. I enjoyed teaching the poor children with my simple ideas. It was always my fulfillment when I saw the innocent-dirty-smiling face of a child after learning from my simple lessons. With this I was encouraged to enroll again.
In order to have a new environment, I transferred to another school and took a different course. My inspiration did not come anymore from the dream that I had in my high school. I wanted to gain some new knowledge that I could share with my children in the Saturday Workshops. Being a volunteer in the said center I involved myself not just in the Saturday Workshops but as well in some different activities such as youth organization and newsletter publication. With this my studies became the second priority.
While I was enjoying my involvement in the different activities, I happened to see the projection of my life beyond the screen gate which separates the two building in the compound. Beside the cultural center was the seminary of my companions in the Saturday Workshops. One of them invited me to their search-in. I was hesitant to enter their formation house and to take the lunch with them since I was just living in the next corner.
During that search-in, they did not allow me to go out to take lunch at my house because it was a part of the search-in activity. While I was in the search-in, some of my companions asked me if I was willing to be like them. At that very moment, I was not able to answer them. Few weeks after the search-in, I received a mailed letter. I was amazed, since the letter was just from my neighbor. I mean, their vocation promoter wrote me about the search-in I had attended offering me one of their priests as my spiritual director. It was really my big laugh since the sender was just a walking distance neighbor.
At the end of the year I was invited for a two-week search-in which included the summer camp in Camotes Islands. After that event, I stayed with them while finishing my studies. With some unexpected problems and situations, I went out to focus in my studies. At that very moment, I needed a lot of time for my time-demanding academics. In spite of this, I continued teaching the children in the Saturday Workshops during my vacant time.
After I graduated, many plans came into my mind and one of those was to go back to the seminary. Although some circumstances such as job offerings, friends and others hindered that plan, in some ways I still kept deep within me the great possibilities of going back to my previous life. Few weeks after my graduation, I contacted the Superior asking to be re-admitted. Luckily, the response was positive. I hurriedly went home to ask permission from my parents and to provide for some necessary requirements.
It was June 2, 2003 when I started again the rolling of the ball. I enrolled in Philosophy as one of the great highlights of my Postulancy.
Now, I?m in the novitiate looking forward to the projection of my religious life. For me, this is an extraordinary stage of quest for a better life that I must have to do the most of my days. This is just once in my life that I must make each day always fruitful and meaningful in every way. I am not considering this formation as a preparation for my temporal profession but as an extent training of my whole life as a future religious making the smile of the children as my great inspiration.
Though it is sometimes quite hard to walk in the rainy season of the formation, I have a companion in me, my God, who gives me the raincoat to traverse the journey with Him.
From Devon (USA)
BACK TO OUR ROOTS
Bro. Dong Cantilang.
The days changed very fast and now I am one year and several months old, here in Devon, in the United States Province. My experiences for the past year and months allow me to have a wider perspective and understanding of the Order, globally talking. Although I have limited experiences, I have sensed the different challenges each Province and Communities are facing, especially here in the United States.
This year is our last year for our graduate program/degree. My study widened my perspective and understanding of the relationship between spirituality and psychology. I have learned that our spirituality, our relationship to God is embedded to our day-to-day experience. Our experience allows us to notice God?s present in our lives and it is always relating to us.
Summer experience. Last summer Cesario and I did a summer job at our School, in Devon. We tried to be more fruitful during summer by means of working like cleaning, painting and other manual work at the school, together with some of our students. Our involvement in the summer was sending me a message that as a Piarist/Escolapio Religious, we are not limited to our religious spiritual and clerical obligations, but we are also concerned about the daily life activities of the ordinary people and at the same time there is our concern for our physical health. The most important was the promotion and formation of Christian values, such as humility, availability, and service through the summer job. I think those character traits and values are necessary not only for Christians, but most of all for a Religious. For me, summer was a time for physical renewal and cultivation after a tedious, mental and physical work at school and in our different ministries.
Community. Summer was also the time to re-experience the spirit of brotherhood, connectedness and community life. We had a Provincial retreat during the month of June, and at the same time, we had the chance to visit our community in SEPI, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale, and we visited some interesting places there too. We celebrated the feast of Calasanz in SEPI. In the morning, during the feast day, we, the juniors, pre-novices and aspirants went to Miami Beach to enjoy each other presence and being together. Our visit was a time for sharing our experiences, our joys, and difficulties. We talked about the future of our own Province, and at the same time the future challenges that we may face in our time as a new generation of Piarist/Escolapios. There was a feeling of hope and determination to continue the work Calasanz did 400 years ago.
Foundational Formation: Looking back to my experiences here in US and in the Philippines, I am thankful to God for my roots and for all the experiences that I have been through. My family values and orientations had a great positive impact on the life I chose and in the formation that I am now experiencing. Perhaps, if I had not been rooted well in my early childhood formation, in my family, and in my religious formation back in the Philippines, most likely I would have found difficulties in facing personal problems, cultural differences and spiritual and emotional crises. I would say that formation for a future Piarist/Escolapio Religious must be rooted and drawn in his own cultures and local religiosity before exploring the global world. There must be a solid ground before moving to a more challenging and complex reality of community life and/or in the world we live in. It is said that we cannot give what we do not have.
Education. Our life is dynamic, full of challenges and mysteries, and our world is constantly and quickly moving. I agree and believe that education and learning is always an ongoing process that never ends. Human beings must recognize this reality and the importance of ongoing formation. The necessity and benefit of valuing the ongoing formation is to update ourselves not only on technological innovations, but also in theology and spirituality. Calasanz never stopped to promote education to children; he continuously encouraged his Religious to study and not to stop learning.
The enthusiasm and ideas of Calasanz in educating and accompanying souls, inspired me more, even though I am in a rich culture, to continue prioritizing the poor children in our ministry and to spread the Gospel through our charism, ?evangelization through education.?
Challenges. Thus, for me, it has always been a great challenge for us Piarist/Escolapio Religious to revisit our roots, the ideals of Calasanz on community life, our ministry, our religious life in general, and to be attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, in reading the signs of our time. In this way we could humbly claim our own identity of who we are and what we are for in this world we live in
From the Philippines
The Postulants? Goum 2004
By Marlon Sayde and Simon Arias
Our hiking expedition is a profound and humbling experience. We covered a distance of approximately 140 kilometers, reached an altitude of about 2.400 feet, walked in the scorching heat of the sun, trudged on muddy rough roads while being pelted by big drops of rain ? a feat astounding for inexperienced hikers to accomplish. We were denied the basic creature comforts like a bed, shower, proper change of clothes and most of all food. This is one of the necessary requirements for the goum.
Sunday afternoon we were herded onto a rinky dinky non-aircon bus to get to Alpaco, the starting point of our hike. Everyone was quiet in anticipation. The trip was uneventful, except for the intermittent stops the bus had to make to let some passengers on and off. When we reached our stop in Naga, we all jumped off the bus, carried our bags and walked uphill for about two kilometers on paved road to get to Alpaco Elementary School. The scenery started to change little by little. The cries of cows and goats reminded me that we were not in the city anymore. The mechanical sounds of buses and vehicles were gradually silenced by sounds of rustic life.
Barangay Alambijud in Argao will forever remain in my memory because of the sense of community the people there possess. We were welcomed by the elders and officials of the barangay. I felt the warmth and genuine concern of the people in their sparkling eyes, firm handshakes and consoling words. They prepared a special delicacy of cornmeal cake called suman or rice cake. I was surprised that the two chickens loitering around the room on the ground floor, mysteriously disappeared the next day. I then found out that while we slumbered all through the night, some of the women toiled to prepare chicken soup for our breakfast.
One of the residents of the area, Susan Villafuerte, whose apologetic voice and radiant smile I still recall, gave me a vivid description of the situation of the children. ?The kids here normally postpone going to school,? she mused pointing to the little tots curiously ogling at me. ?We even have this twelve-year old boy who is still in second grade in elementary school because his parents are both working so he?s left to take care of his brothers and sisters.?
On the fourth day, we were told that our destination was Mantalongon, Dalaguete. On this day, I was not really eager to walk anymore because my legs were aching so badly especially when I started to move them. But, I forced myself to get ready and walked with the others. During the first few hours of walking, I could still keep up with the others. So I was able to appreciate the company of some of my co-postulants. We talked about trivial stuffs such as our aliases and the fun that we had in the seminary.
Talking and laughing with my co-postulants helped me not to be focused so much on my aching legs. But whenever we rested, it kept getting harder and harder for me to move my legs without suffering the pain. So I preferred to keep going rather than taking a much deserved break. For instance, before we stopped in a house whose owners Cholo knew and who offered us coffee and sweet potatoes, I could still move my legs, but when the time for us to leave came, it was really hard for me to walk anymore.
In the afternoon, thanks to God that Victor also had an injured leg, so I was not alone in trailing behind the rest of the group. In fact, we were so slow that we couldn?t see the others anymore, but Victor made me feel a lot better because of his jokes and his effort to lighten me up. We rested many times, so our distance from the others increased all the more. Nevertheless, I was not afraid to get lost because Cholo waited for us. In fact, we arrived in Mantalongon at the same time. A few miles before we arrived, I noticed that there were many pine trees along the road and I could feel the coldness of the mountain air. Then, when we were close to our destination already, I saw fireflies in the bushes. Victor commented that it was a good omen because it seemed that they were welcoming us. He added that we should be thankful that we arrived late because we wouldn?t have seen the beauty of the place at night. When we arrived, we had to climb the stairs to the parish and then to the second floor of the house. With the state of my legs, it was pure torture but I had to do it. After we had settled, I asked the others if they had already met the parish priest, Fr. Danilo, but they had not met him yet. Fr. Danilo was a very gracious host. He prepared a comfortable place for us to sleep in and he also had dinner and breakfast prepared for us the next day. In the morning, I appreciated the beauty of the place all the more. In fact, I commented to the others that the place is like a better version of Baguio City.
Before we left the formation house, we were reminded not to accept people?s offers of food and water. But we realized that this was not entirely possible. The hospitality of the people we met along the way and the graciousness of the hosts in our destinations, were immensely humbling. Although these people did not have much, they still insisted that we take what they have prepared and offered, and were even apologetic for the poverty of the fare.
Despite all the hardships, all fourteen of us survived back home. Thank God!
I?M THANKFUL TO BE HERE
When I came out of the Cebu airport I could not believe that I am in another country. Except the Language of the people, all other things looked like in Kerala.
Having a lot of mixture of feelings I arrived at the house of Escolapios in Cebu. ?Welcome to the Family??. a warming welcome to the new comers from India. How sweet to see the people, singing and dancing with joyful hearts to welcome us to the house.
As normal, the beginning days were very formal asking each other names and their activities and so on. Of course when the freshness of a new comer got over in me, I needed to change my daily life in to a normal rhythm of a Piarist novice.
Well, what can be the most difficult problem a foreigner face when he tries to encounter with people? The answer is: the Language of the people. I find here too a normal communication gap. It?s normal for us Indians, since our States are divided mainly based on Language and culture, when we enter in another state we need to speak a common communicative language, like English, which helps us to communicate with others easily.
In the house I haven?t found any difficulties in communicating with each other, but when I tried to communicate with the children in our apostolate area, during Saturday Workshop I thought ?it?s impossible?. But it was a problem of the first days; after being with them for some more weeks they became very friendly with me.
At the end of first semester we went with them for the field trip. We had to change to a new area for the next semester. After the field trip when I left them and was asked to go to other area, I found that it was painful for me to leave them, and I realized that my vocation is to serve the little ones with love and care for the glory of God.
?SATURDAY WORKSHOP?: A new way, a different vision to serve the poor little ones. This is the first time that we help children to polish their knowledge and creative talents outside the schooling curriculum. The experience which I have acquired through these activities enriched my capacity to facilitate, to teach, to accommodate and to handle any kind of, any level of (knowledge, age) children in our educational ministry.
OLANGO IMMERSION was another experience which enlarged my vision and knowledge about the Piarist mission. During the immersion I had the opportunity to live and experience a daily life of poverty which I never experienced before. This changed my concept of poverty, asked me to understand the real meaning of poverty, to live in it and to situate myself fully in the mission of Escolapios in the future.
?EDUCATION THROUGH PIETY AND LETTERS? when I analyze this Piarist Motto in my day to day life I can see it as my way of life here today Like:
Preparation for daily meditation, daily reflection, Monthly evaluation, Spiritual Reading, Holy hour, studying Constitution, rules, church?s teachings and desert day?s ?. Oh how wonderful how many ways to talk and be with God. Really I am very thankful to god giving me this beautiful time to be with him. Improving English, Learning Spanish, improving IQ, knowing inner self better through the help of Psychology, Music practice which enriched our Liturgical service lively and daily and weekly manual which help me to prepare my self to be a future Piarist Educator.
Here I am now, being here for several months as one member of the Filipino-Piarist family. When I began my novitiate in India, all of our juniors told us that novitiate is beautiful experience where you will encounter with Jesus through the guidance of St. Joseph Calasanz. I experience now those words of love in my day today activities here in Cebu.
4th ANNUAL PIARIST LAY COOPERATORS (PLC) Convention
MONTA?O HALL, TURNO, DIPOLOG CITY
Fr. Jesus Lacarra
It is true that one of the most important problems in our Order is the problem of Vocations. Each demarcation tries to solve it as wisely as possible. Nevertheless, we know very well that it is not so simple. Sometimes, we do our best and the results are almost nothing. But I am still convinced that if we try and try in different ways, the results will be really positive. Of course, the way of working is not the same in all places, but the dynamic of working for Vocations, I think it is the same. Maybe one has to hit the nail 100 times, but at the end, the nail will go in. If we hit only 10 times, the nail will not go in. In other terms, we have to continue ?calling and calling in a thousand ways? so that the Vocations might come.
Here in the Philippines we are trying to hit in many, many different ways, because we are convinced that if we do not call, the vocations will not come. One of the ways we are trying to call is through the cooperation of lay persons, men and women. In different cities, we try to form groups of ?Cooperators for Vocations? and they are the ones who are helping us in that important task of calling for Vocations. And every year, at least once a year, we have with them a ?convivencia? of some days to give them the Calasanzian spirit and to encourage them continuing working for Vocations.
Last October 28-31, we had a ?convivencia? in Dipolog City, in the southern island of the Philippines. Different small groups of several cities met there and we had a nice gathering of about 30 people, young, middle age and not so young, but with the spirit of working for Vocations. Our Br. Aljun is in charge of everything, Br. Marlon Nacua and Fr, Jesus, were helping him. The second day, a specialist couple in family matters, gave a talk followed by questions and answers. It was the main theme of the gathering. ?The family: seedbed of vocations?. We had other talks, sometimes in small groups and later on meeting together; and at the same time, we had also some recreation, songs and sightseeing. We had Holy Mass four times and during the last Mass, we had the ceremony of accepting new members and the renewal of the promise of the old ones. The ?promise? to work for vocations in the spirit of Saint Joseph Calasanz. It was really a very nice ceremony, full of encouragement and vitality, looking for a new future with many vocations, for the Pious Schools in the Philippines and for Church.
We hope to continue on the same path, widening the places and the spirit. We also were committed to give to the COOPERATORS more Calasanzian formation and we were also talking about the Calasanzian Fraternity Organization. Time will bring the fruits we expect.. But as we say in Spanish, we must continue giving with the mallet while we pray hard to God: ?A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando?.
? Brief News ?
? On December 27, at 3 o?clock in the afternoon, was held in Arthumkal Parish (Allepey District), the priesthood ordination of Raju A. Panackal, the third Indian Piarist Priest. The Ordination was carried out by the Bishop of Cochin, Exc. John Thattunkal. Beside the Piarists, there were in the celebrations some diocesan priests from the same Parish. After the Liturgical Celebration, there was an agape and social meeting of almost 2000 people among relatives, friends, neighbors, etc.
? On January 30, in a simple celebration but full of meaning, in our chapel of Bangalore, Bro. Varghese F.K. received the Acolyte Ministry. Some of ours accompanied also Bro. Varghesse, just few days later, in the funeral of his father, on February 2, and in a Eucharistic Celebration on the fourth.
? Fr. Antonio Garcia Rios, healthy and young in his 78 years old, arrived from Argentine on December 2. Taking advantage of the school vacations in that country, he came to help us in our liturgical singing, especially in Gregorian and Christian Prayer Liturgy songs. Some seminarians took advantage of his presence receiving some extra music classes.
? Fr. Fernando Negro went to Jharkhand during the month of January. The purpose of the visit was to meet his brother, Fr. Jesus Negro, and Fr. Alfaro, and to know a little more that reality. He came back very much satisfied with the experience he was able to live. Fr. Fernando came so happy that fr. Baltazar was a little ?envious? of him. Fr. Baltazar left for the same place on February 3, in order to spend some days in that mission.
? The boys from Aryanan will soon enjoy a Basketball playing ground, thanks to the generosity of the Hungary Province and to the interest shown by Fr. Provincial, Fr. Jozsef Urban. From Orient we want to thank all, although the boys will do it in a special way.
? During two weeks, on Sundays December 5 and January 30, we had in Bangalore a work of Pastoral and Vocational programming for the next school year 2005-2006. The Priests who are working in the formation attended, and also the Juniors in the last year. Nine persons in all. .Many ideas were shared and we hope to see the good results soon.
? We are just entering the last part of the academic year. The examinations are just at the door, and a climate of working and effort is felt around, hoping for good results. Fr. Pedro Recuenco is already thinking about the exposition he wants to do, showing the artistic and the manual works done by our seminarians in Mantharamputhoor during the school year 2004-2005.
? Fr. Viceprovincial visited our communities during the month of December. We had a seminar on Missionary and Piarist Spirituality directed by him in our Tokyo Juniorate
? We had the Annual Spiritual Exercises for all Piarist in Japan in the House of St. Paul Sisters in Tokyo. Fr. WIlliam Johnston SJ was the director.
? During the Community Mass on the Festivity of Mary Mother of God, Fr. Vice-Provincial conferred the Ministry of Lector and of Acolyte to Brs. Tony and Edmond as well as the Ministry of Attention to the Poor to Bro. Bryan and Christian Education to Bro.Nelson.
? Brs. Bryan and Nelson successfully ended their '04 school-year in the Seminary of Tokyo. After some weeks of vacation in their country the Philippines, both will start their Theological studies in the same seminary on April '05. Bros. Junji, Moises and Jesley continue their studies on Japanese language.
? Fr. Jesus Lacarra has spent again some weeks in Yokohama, accompanying Fr. Pedro L.Perea, who is recovering satisfactorily from his surgical intervention.
From the Philippines
? On December some juniors in Manila helped packing and loading sacks of relief goods at Mt Carmel Shrine Parish to be transported to the typhoon ravaged area of Quezon Province. Later on, all the juniors attended a Christmas party for all religious living within the jurisdiction of Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish. The party was held at the Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish?s social hall. And then we had a Christmas party for the little children (kinder ? grade one) of our apostolate in the three respective areas of our apostolate, and another Christmas party for the children (grade two ? first yr. high school). These parties were held at our house in New Manila.
? From December 29, 2004 to January 02, 2005, we had a five-day community (New Manila & Tandang Sora) outing at Subic, Zambales. The community had a new and wonderful experience of celebrating New Year in the atmosphere of silence outside the formation house. The community celebrated New Year?s Eve mass with the people living near the area.
? On January 15, 2005; 3 Postulants (Cao Tri, Marcelino & Jerry) were accepted to the pre-novitiate. The acceptance was held at our house in New Manila, Quezon City. With Vinh and the other 13 in Cebu, their number is 17 in all.
? In Cebu we had also the traditional Christmas parties (Cultural Centre and Community). The postulants went on holydays for two weeks after. The novices, with their Master, had the traditional Immersion experience in Olango Island. Our friends form Olango returned their visit the day of Sinulog.
? February is the Vocation month in Cebu. As usually, our seminarians take active part in the different activities to promote our vocation. The Vocational Jamboree, the last Saturday, attract many youth. Let us hope that many youth will discover their vocation and follow it.
? Miss Sandra Santiago, who for 6 years has been collaborating actively with us in the Cultural Centre, has resigned her work in February. We want to express to her our gratitude from these pages, and wish her good luck. We welcome Miss Adrienne Kwan, who will replace her.
? The Cultural Centre II has already been finished. Some activities take place there already, and we are equipping it for new programs that will start the next school year.
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