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Wednesday, December 1, 2004
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.


from India

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.

*** *** ***

(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)

*** *** ***

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)

22. Carried by the Current of God?s Love
L., Novice

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.


From Spain

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

Another Horizon
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)
Marcelino Leolando

Our Departure
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.

Our Feelings

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.

Our Hopes
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 ?

From India
? 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.

*** *** ***

From Japan
? 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.

*** *** ***

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

Posted by nelcabz at 12:01 AM JST
Updated: Saturday, February 4, 2006 7:06 PM JST
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Wednesday, September 1, 2004
Orient; Bulletin of the Piarist Fathers in ASIA
2004 SEPTEMBER n. 28

By: Fr. Jose P. Burgues

The General Chapter of 2003 decided the creation of some Formation Centers for native vocations of those countries where we are not yet present at the moment, looking for the expansion of the Order. Regarding the possibilities of vocations in some near-by countries, we decided to implement the project in Manila. We had already a proposition from the Claretian Fathers to start this inter-congregational project, with some other Congregations.

In reality, the other Congregations are not still ready for that project, so we have decided to carry it on by ourselves.. We are using a building that belongs to the Claretian Fathers, where they have their School of Philosophy and some of our students attend. The project is already a reality, in the beginning, yes, but with much hope for the future.

Fr. Rafael, responsible of the project, is living there, together with four Filipino Juniors and three foreign students, two from Vietnam and one from Zambia. At this time we are following up the applications of a group of candidates from Indonesia, after Fr. Rafael made some contacts during the two trips he made to that neighbor country. New interviews are necessary, psychological tests, visits to the families, etc. If everything goes well, before the end of the year, a group of Indonesian students will be with us in our PMVC.

For the moment, the Community is united to our Juniorate in Manila. In the future, we will see what path things take. It could be an instrument for the expansion of the Order in this part of Asia.

from India

By: Manoj Kalanki

What does poverty mean? It means "Ignored structural inequality and other factors that generate, maintain and reproduce misery."

A study about poverty in 2003 shows that still two hundred million Indians go hungry to sleep every night.

The main factors of the worst aspect of poverty are as follows:

Weak health. Health makes man rich. On the contrary, because of poverty, man loses health. Lack of food is the most serious problem in India. In Orissa there is a little numerous tribal race known as Sabar Race. Sabars? only source of sustenance is what they can gather on more or less edible roots they can extract out of the ground in the forest.

Sexual abuse of children.. The sexual abuse of children is a very serious problem in India. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) one in every four girls and one in every seven boys in the world are sexually abused. Those who cause the aforementioned abuse are tourists and even the very members of the family. That is a horrible tragedy. Most often the children victims of sexual abuse do not make their traumatic experience known. Only their silence can become eloquent if, by getting their confidence, we try to know their problems.

Prostitution. Prostitution is another consequence of poverty. The prostitutes consider their trade as a profession. They perform their evil task in order to obtain their daily bread.

Suicide. Because of the debts into which poverty obliges to get by asking others for loans, a lot of suicides are committed. Those who commit suicide believe that dying in this way is better than dying because of starvation. Ten in every one hundred people in India commit suicide because of their debts.

Working children. The worst aspect of poverty is that of the working children, especially in North India, in Bengal and Bihar, etc. Children work in the tea plantations. They do not go to school. Their parents get very low wages and force their children to work.

Geographical isolation. Poverty obliges those who suffer from it to isolate themselves in the slums? or wretched ghettos of the large cities. This isolation makes them still poorer and so they continue geographically isolated.

Inefficient access to the laws. The most poor cannot take shelter either in the laws or the courts. They do not get justice from the courts.

Lack of power. Because of poverty the poor are relegated to the powerlessness. They have no power in the society.

Emigration and misery. The poor are obliged to emigrate to the cities. They say: ?We were not beggars in our native place, but the present circumstances oblige us to beg in this new place?. And they get involved in illegal activities. One of their consequences is the adultery in the marriages. And they get involved in crimes and violent riots and forced to the drug traffic pushed by the rich. They will get undernourished children who will suffer from chronic hunger.

This serious situation of the poor in India concerns all of us Piarists upon taking into account that it constitutes a challenge to our Calasanzian charism. Therefore we must
- defend the rights of the poor before the judicial authorities,
- give suitable education to the poor,
- make them understand the worst aspects of sin (sexual abuse, adultery?),
- visit them frequently in their slums as Calasanz did,
- eradicate poverty from among them,
- work without a break in their communities,
- speak to them about Jesus and teach them the way to salvation,
- help them economically,
- manifest their basic needs to the governmental authorities.

*** *** ***

By: Joseph Kunnel

Charismatic prayer movements are deeply rooted among the people of Kerala, especially among the Christian population. This charismatic prayer movement has been bringing out a strong spiritual revival among Christian and non Christian people. A centre of charismatic prayer, known as Divine Retreat Centre, is run by Vincentian Fathers at Pota and Murigoor in Kerala State in the southern Part of India. It has been a source of spiritual nourishment, experience and revival for more than two decades. People gather there from far and wide, from different parts of India and even from abroad, having different languages and culture.

I am a person who was against the Charismatic method of prayer and did not support it at all. I will share now my experience of attending a Charismatic retreat in Divine Retreat Centre at Murigoor. From 18 the July to 23 July 2004. First of all I must admit that it was a wonderful prayer experience.

I went to the charismatic retreat having an aversion to this way of prayer and with a critical mind to see what was actually happening there, since I had heard a lot about this way of retreat.

Still I had an inner quest and desire to make a good retreat and I prayed for that until the retreat began. My retreat started on Sunday at 3 p.m, with a few instructions and praise and worship which were followed by Holly mass. We were nearly 2000 people who gathered for the retreat speaking different languages, from various parts of India and a few from abroad. I was in the English section and we were nearly 600.

The first two days of the retreat I found it very difficult to adjust with this method of prayer. Such a loud praises with lifted hands and singing and clapping the hands etc.! Somehow I tried my best to be in the track and to be faithful to the retreat. There were a few talks on different topics and sharing of faith experience. I heard all of them attentively for all had their source in the holy Bible.

Anyway, from the third day onwards I was able to enjoy the Charismatic method of prayer and I slowly involved myself into the retreat fully, even without having much force from my part.

The rest of the three days of retreat went on very smoothly and very soon, I was fully involved in all the activities, praise and worship etc. I could see and witness the working of the power of the Holy Sprit on those who put their fait in Jesus Christ and accept Him as the Lord and Master.

I am now confident and believe that it is not the power of men that works in these retreats; it is rather the Spirit of the Lord that works and does wonders. And it is the power of the Holy Spirit that gathers people from far and wide, from different languages, cultures and backgrounds.

I came back from the retreat with great enthusiasm, happiness and spiritual nourishment and also I have the feeling of the attainment of something valuable for the nourishment of my whole life.

The living presence and the power of the Lord and His living Spirit are exhibited and experienced here?..Praise the Lord?.. Thank Jesus??. Alleluia!

From the Philippines


We arrived in the Philippines with our suitcase full of illusions. We want to collaborate, to share. We are really willing to do something and the time is very short. It seems that we have not realized what he whole thing means to us.

Our life in Europe is very different to the life here. It is natural to ask oneself for the motifs of this change; each volunteer has a different motivation. Nevertheless, all of us have something in common: we want something. Any aspiration presupposes an effort. He who tries to do good without any effort is like the one who wants to make people happy without curtailing his/her comfort.

What is our effort? Listening our new friends; persons who in spite of their simplicity of life teach us, at least, to know ourselves better. No one of these gifts has been bought by us. They are not either for nothing: they are a fruit of a free and unselfish inter-exchange that is called ?sharing?.

We go to our country with our suitcase fuller, with memories we will never forget and that will accompany us for the rest of our life. It is possible that the humility and simplicity might be the secret of everything, as a result of being able to see a wider world. To learn to be happy knowing that ?after the winter, spring comes?.

*** *** ***


21. The Child and the Kites
H., Novice

Far from a distance, I saw a man; clothed in a white robe, but I could not recognize his face? an unfolding of my dreams to a childhood buddy that happened for three successive nights when I was a boy. I was upset about this dream and so I consulted my religion teacher in grade six.

Maybe God appeared in your dreams? he coaxed me and laughed at me a little. As a young boy, I did not comprehend what he really meant of it. Time passed and this dream was put into a waste part of my memory. We were living that time in one of the remote barangays in the northern part of the province when this dream happened, and we had bountiful blessings from God for my father had a stable job that could support the living of his 7 children and his wife. But all of a sudden, economic failure occurred; the sugar milling company where my father worked began to lay down its sugar production, until it was closed. For this reason, I am now to tell you a story of my sufferings?

The bankruptcy of the sugar company compelled my mother to transfer me to a public school in our barangay. I really suffered a lot in my education, especially during high school- walking for more than five kilometers everyday (morning, noon and afternoon; back and forth). There was a time that I was compelled to give up, near the strength exhausted. But what made me inspire to aim high for the good of my future was the kites. Everyday in the afternoon, while walking back home from school the beauty of kites in an open field inspired me to do some reflections: What makes these kites continue to sustain flying? This was the inquiry I made and answered for myself: ?Kites cannot fly without wind; and as long as the wind blows the kite will sore higher and higher.? I aimed higher in my future; the heat of the sun, the cold rain and the struggles enriched my strength and determination to finish even just high school.

Really I endured a lot of sufferings, but pondering what made those kites fly, I became optimistic. For this reason, in my early years, I trained myself how to be tough, with an excellent constitution but sad to say ?God had wonderfully helped me in my struggle? even I experienced a gap with Him. At last I completed my high school in the year 1989. After finishing high school, another problem arose: ?Could I continue my studies in College?? One day, a friend of mine informed me that our town mayor was offering a scholarship. In secret, I applied and by chance I passed the examination and entered a recognized state ran university in the region. I took first the course recommended by my mother- Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, but later because of my dream of becoming a well known Disc Jockey someday, I shifted to Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications, without the knowledge of my parents. This time my father returned to work. He was assigned in the southern part of Negros Occidental. My father decided to bring his family with him to this province. Before the classes had started, we migrated to Negros Occidental; I left studying in the city. Since then, I seldom visited my parents. My mother even wondered why I seldom asked for my allowance. In my mind was: I should not need to depend on my family? as long as I can support my own?? I paid my own boarding house; tuition fees from our town mayor and I got my everyday expenses through the fruit of my sweats in my tutorial and my part time jobs. I didn?t have time for myself; sometimes- relaxation seemed for my self the enjoyment with my work: a tutorial and after class in the afternoon, I went straight ahead for my part time job until 12 midnight and sometimes 1 o?clock early in the morning; then I went home and lay down and slept for four to five hours, and woke- up early to cope up with my school assignments. I always had an important and definitive objective; that?s the reason why I sacrificed my sleep and rested less in order to accomplish or attain what I wanted in life- SUCCESS.

In 1993, a month after my graduation in college, my dream of becoming a well known disc jockey came into a reality when The Mellow Touch accepted my application as the pioneer DJ in their newest Fm station in the city of Iloilo. I could feel the fame talking on the air starting on that moment, but this never lasted for long; I stayed in this company for almost two years. Then after this, hoping to find happiness, I applied to Bombo Radyo?s Fm station, and with good luck, I was accepted and I was assigned to Bacolod City. But as expected, happiness never last long; I rendered my service in this network for two years. ?I did not consider my self a successful one due to the absence of happiness.? For the third time, I changed my network and I was accepted by the Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC); I was assigned to the northern part of Negros Occidental as Officer- in- charge. There, I felt bored living in a small city; I felt no challenge with my job, for this was the only station operating in that city; no competition with other stations. I stayed there for six months, then I applied for a work transfer and the higher management granted my request and I was assigned to my native city- Iloilo- as Disc Jockey in their newest FM Station.

Oh! My friends, can you expect me to describe my feelings at that time? I, who was depending on my own labor for a living for many years now experiencing success in life because of my hardships? Oh, my friend, if you only knew then that although, success was in my hands but still I was longing for something greater than that?? I started to look for it?
I changed again my job and I joined Systems Technology Institute (STI College) as Career Adviser; assigned back to Bacolod City. In this city, I had a chance to see an old best friend of mine- a Nurse by profession. One day, he visited my office, inviting me to accompany him for the ?Search- in? in the Redemptorist Fathers. At first, I was hesitant to accompany him for this might take a long hour stay.
?This Search- in takes only half an hour,? my friend said. ??but why should I? I didn?t have any plans to be a priest and in fact I had my board work (part time job in radio station) at 6 pm!? I acted like a scoundrel that time in dealing with my friend. But later on, I accepted his invitation.

The day came; we were the first two who went there early. We knocked at the door, and somebody opened. ?Oh! Come in? I?m Mr. Lopez. Our search- in will be at two thirty. It?s still one o?clock; have a sit first,? the vocation promoter welcomed us. ?Please write your name here?? he added and at the same time handled over a shit of paper to my friend. Then he wrote.

When the hour came, Mr. Lopez read all names written on the list. To my surprise my name was announced among the list of the aspirants- my friend, without my knowledge, wrote my name. I wanted to leave! But my friend stopped me. ?OK!? I responded with annoyance. I really don?t know what to do at that time; I stayed, suppressing my emotion towards my friend.

The search- in started with a passage reading from the book of Samuel- the Call of Samuel (Chapter 3:1- 8). ?Try to get something out from this passage that will strike you most?? Mr. Lopez instructed eight young boys (including one Vietnamese).

I was inspired how God called Samuel (read Samuel 3:1-8 for a detailed story). The suppression that I felt against my friend became a joy of happiness from that moment, when my tears fell out of my eyes unconsciously. And when asked what phrase struck me most, I said: ?I DID NOT CALL YOU!

Yes! God did not call me but why was I there! I started to ask my self in silence. It was during the time of meditation that the long forgotten dreams came back into my memory- a person appeared in a white robe in my dreams, for three times- and what my religion teacher had said: Maybe God appeared in your dream.

I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in me that time. I could only express my happiness through tears that came out from my eyes, while giving my testimony. Starting then, I felt the light emotion in my feelings, peace in mind, love in my expressions, calmness of my heart and I felt of surrendering my whole self to God. . It was really a wonderful day. The spirit of the Lord got hold of my self and I was mightily convicted and converted right there before leaving the monastery. And starting that day, I always had the habit of attending the Holy Eucharist every at 5 o?clock in the afternoon, after my work at STI and before my part time job at 6 pm.
My eagerness of entering the seminary was intensified when I decided to resign my part time job- DJ. The manager asked me the reason for he never saw any problem in my performance on- air. ?My conscience cannot take a giving service to the station not on time while receiving my salary in full,? I explained.
After resigning, my mind was focused only in the service to God; I became a member of the Redemptorist Choir and the reader in the Cathedral. I became closer to God in rendering my service to His church. And finally one day, I decided to enter the seminary.
?But we will give you time to discern more with your vocation,? instructed the Redemptorist priest. ?We?ll see after six months or one year, if you really have?,? he added. ?Six months or one year, was a long time to wait.? I really wanted to enter the seminary, so instead of waiting? I tried to find another congregation, but I knew no one else.
One day, after attending the 5 o?clock mass, I saw posters in the cathedral?s bulletin board. I jotted down the e- mail address of 3 congregations: Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (SSS), Order of the Carmelite (OCarm.) and that of the Piarist Fathers (Sch.P.). I sent each one an e- mail, inquiring about the Order, requirements, etc?The Blessed Sacrament responded first, followed by the Piarist Fathers. No Response from the OCarm. I became acquainted with these orders through the net- exchanging of e- mails.

December 26, 2002, I joined the Piarists? ?Convivencia? and stayed until the new year of 2003. Few weeks later, SSS Vocation Promoter, Fr. Mike, visited my office and gave me the entrance examination for the congregation. I passed it! I was in the middle of confusion of where to enter.
Follow what your heart desires? Brother Aljun said.

Finally, I decided to leave my job, for I found success and happiness in life in the service of God?s people- the education of the poor youth and children, May 8 of 2003.


From Japan

ACHICKOCHI NI ARU PIARIST (Piarist, here and there)
By: Br. Tony Matias

Our daily action is based upon our understanding of the nature of the world and of our self. If our understanding is correct, we generally know where we are in life and we have a good sense of purpose and direction. The light of Truth brightens our environment and allows to see clearly rocks and difficulties along our way. On the other hand, if our understanding of the world is inaccurate or incomplete, we are more likely to get lost and find ourselves in situations that we don?t understand. We may feel confused and uncertain about how to solve our problems, and we may lack a clear purpose and direction in our lives.

It is our duty, therefore, to make sure that our view of reality is correct. It is a sort of ?map? based upon which we get our bearings in life. The problem is that making sure our map is accurate takes effort, sometimes lots of effort. All throughout our lives we are faced with new information that may contradict what our map tells us. We can ignore the new information and go on through life with a possibly an incorrect map, or we can revise and update our map and incorporate new information as we receive it.

Unfortunately many of us chose the easy way and ignore all new information that is inconsistent with their current view of reality. They just don?t want to deal with it. This can be unhealthy because we can then become misguided due to inaccuracies in our map, and as a result make wrong decisions in life. This may be one reason why people become close-minded: it is easier to routinely reject new information than to expend the time and energy necessary to find out if it is true and relevant to our lives. It is essential to validate and update our understanding of truth and reality, our map, if we really want to know where we are in life and where we are going, and if we hope to make wise decisions.

How do we know if our understanding of our nature, life, our ?map of reality? is correct? One way is to examine and study it everyday. By opening ourselves up to friendly challenges from other people who have a different view of life. Sharing our views with like-minded people does not really work as a ?challenge? though, because they will usually reinforce the ideas we have in common.

In order for this to work we need to be honest with ourselves. When we are challenged it will benefit us only if we are honest with why we think the way we do. It takes courage to admit that we have been misguided or misinformed about something. It takes even more courage to decide that we would better off changing in a particular area of our life. Sometimes we find ourselves resisting accepting something we know is true. It does not help if we open ourselves up to challenge, realize we need to update our map, and then we don?t follow through with that change. Changing our view of life is hard, but it is well worth the effort in order to have a more accurate map of reality.

We are in a new environment and in a new kind of community where two communities are living under the same roof. We Piarists and Salesians are living almost as a single community. Praying together and sharing the same table of the Eucharist for our spiritual growth and sharing the same table to nourish our bodies. The information and knowledge we have learned for more than two years in the Japanese language school are continually developing through our willingness to accept new information from the mouth of the Japanese people. Before coming here we had already in our bags bundles of information in order to mingle, work and be with them, but that is not enough. And some of it is useless in dealing, working and living with them. That is why we are always open to new information in order to adapt and update our map to be good missionaries here in Japan.


From Italy

By: Br. Andres Dragon

Consequently, vocation promoters of various Orders and Congregations have been very enthusiastic or fervent in promoting their vocations respectively, from East to West and from North to South. They have done everything to make themselves attractive and or enviable to the youths, only to find out that there are only very few who submitted and committed themselves to this lifestyle. Precisely, we can't say that they are ineffective as fishers of men, but probably this reality has something to do with the predicament of religious and priestly vocations. It is very sad to say that there are only a few who are fascinated by this way of living. Certainly because worldly or earthly pleasures and vices seem to be much more eye-catching and self-gratifying to the extent that they fog up and contaminate the minds of today?s young generation. These forms of temporal deceptions caught them up from seeing the much more elevated value that only very few wanted to give them up in favour to a more difficult demand of following the footsteps of Christ Jesus in and through the Mount Calvary.

However, in spite of all these worldly deceptions, there are still a few who have seen the light of truth and have taken the challenge to follow its direction. Auspiciously, they responded to the heavenly invitation and entered into convents, formation houses, and seminaries according to how they felt and perceived the calling of God in relation to the charisms of the Orders and Congregations that would fit to their qualities based on their desires to follow Christ. These few individuals are not so many; few are those who have given such importance and much attention to those precious gifts. God has planted this seed of vocation in each one of them and the formators must take care of it, in such a way that these vocations are very exceptional and fragile. These must be given an extraordinary and careful attention per se, to let them sprout and bear fruits in the future.

This small number of individuals who have felt the urgency of following Christ, are blessed enough. They are opportune or privileged in such a way that they voluntarily and wilfully submit themselves in response to God?s invitation to partake in His ministry amidst all the good opportunities the world offers. They are blessed not because they will become good religious, secular priests and nuns in the future; the fact is that this depends so much on their ability and availability to respond to the calls of formation and to the creativity and aptitude of the formators in guiding and facilitating the formation of each one, in order to permit these seeds of vocations planted by God in them to mature and to bear fruits. That is to say further, it depends upon the grace of God to work upon each one and the formators in the seedbed or ground in and through the ambiance of formation. However, they are blessed because they unreservedly said ?yes? to the invitation from up above to give up everything and to surrender and detach themselves from this messy world in order to carry out the plans and the will of God for them.

But, is this already an assurance that they are the chosen ones, after they have been accepted to the formation? Precisely, no! As what I have said before, this depends so much upon his/her accessibility to follow the processes of formation, honesty to the formators who are going to journey with them in this search for life, and most of all upon their openness to the divine providence. As what the Bible says, ?Many are called, but few are chosen? (Mt. 22:14). In view of this, everyone and mostly the candidate must be sincerely and wholeheartedly committed himself/herself, i.e. giving all the best efforts he/she could. To give himself/herself up totally without reservation and with all the honesty, readiness, and openness to be formed. Thus, making himself/herself on hand and unreservedly and freely submit to the will of God and through the formation process and to the formators with whom God speaks as His representatives. On the one hand, the formators then play a vital role in the formation of the formandee. As representatives of God, the formators must make sure that the formandee is best facilitated, guided, served, and directed in his/her discernment towards the full realization and materialization of this raw material of vocation he/she has received through the light of his/her faith in Christ, and must willingly, conscientiously, diligently, and dedicatedly help the candidate intensify, objectify, pacify, and purify his/her intentions of following the footsteps of Christ in this way of life.

That means, the candidate, the formators, and God are the most important elements as far as the formation process in general is concerned. Each one plays a very important role towards the full realization of this endeavour and to work hand in hand. To provide a good and fertile ground - the favourable ambiance of the formation to enable the candidate to freely and responsibly grow and reach his/her maturity through an approving, supportive, helping, and healthy environment wherein everyone aims at developing fully his/her ability and capacity without reservations, discriminations, and ?favouritism? in preparation of a much wider and greater vineyard in which he would be tilling as the vineyard worker in the future. A candidate is presumed to be most able, most spirited, most committed, most fervored, and most willing before he is going to be sent into the field. That is to say, he must be spiritually, physically, morally, psychologically, emotionally, and intellectually prepared. Further, he must not only be a man for others (able to serve), but to this effect, he must be a man of prayer and a man of God. In this manner, there is no doubt that he could lead and bring everyone to his/her ultimate end that is to see God face-to-face ? the ?Beatific Vision? through his good examples and modelling. It is in this aspect then that the laborious task and the great responsibility of the formators lie.

On the other hand, another important factor, if not the most important one, that also plays an important role in the formation of the candidates is the candidates themselves. Their concerns and sensitivity towards each other and the needs of each one and a strong support-system, camaraderie, and sprit de corpse must be enriched and nourished within and among themselves. That is to say, the spirit of fraternal correction and feed backing in a spirit of love and in a friendly manner as a sign of concern must be strengthened. Thus, ?pakikisama? and ?bayanihan? systems which are known to be very typical and have strong values among us Filipinos, must be lived and practiced in a proper perspective. Precisely, these are good values to be strengthened and nourished in the community as far as ?community life? is concerned. However, these could also be very dangerous values if they were not lived out in the proper way and in a right order. They can be a threat in some circumstances and might endanger the vocation of anyone in some way, especially if these two values are not properly and objectively understood well. I mean, instead of helping build a healthy and harmonious community, if misconceived (i.e. using them in the negative sense in order to strengthen unity and other things), they could be used instead to tolerate and give consent to the wrong doings and misdemeanours of others. The danger of misinterpreting these values lies in this matter.

Finally, every participant in this divine endeavour must work hand in hand. He/She must be an active co-operator and collaborator of truth to this divine project. Let them be submissive by the good examples of Christ as a perfect model to all of us. Everyone is invited to be like Christ and to do the same ? dying to oneself. This is the most fundamental gift of vocation that each one has received from Him, and to do as what Jesus did if we were to follow Christ. We are called to become one with Him as He is one with the Father. We should give ourselves back to him in and through a triumphant death by dying ourselves for God?s sake and for the sake of others, and for the greater glory of God here on earth. This is what the famous line from the Bible says, ?Many are called but few are chosen? (Mt.22:14). In this connection, those who would be chosen to be sent to the field could be the few, but the well-chosen ones and the most effective catalysers of change, who would be dynamic, upright, and effective witnesses of God in the proclamation of the Reign-Kingdom of God ?which is already, but not yet,? to all the ends of the earth. ?Let us pray then to the master of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest? (Mt. 9:37-38).


Brief News

From India

-At last, after quite complicated bureaucratic procedures, our novices were able to travel to the Philippines. They are already at Cebu, happy and adjusting to the new place, fully integrated into the life of the novitiate.
-The Vocational Summer Camps were fruitful. 24 boys from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand started their First Year, under the direction of Fr. Thomas P., helped by Fr. Pedro R. and the junior Stalin N., in his year of pastoral activity or ?Regency?.
-In Aroor there are 27 boys studying Higher Secondary School or ?Plus II? accompanied by Fr. Augustine T. All of them were admitted in Regular Schools, in order for them to receive a good education in an environment similar to the one in their own families. There are in Aroor also 30 boys studying for their Graduation or Post/graduation in different Colleges.
-Fr. Jaume Riera, General Assistant for Africa and Asia, spent the month of July in Bangalore. His target: to improve his English. We think he reached it. Besides, his presence was very encouraging and appreciated by the juniors who have enjoyed very much his company. With his presence, we had the ground breaking of the Juniorate on the 27th of July. We had already all the permits and the construction is going on fast. The foundations are almost finished, and hopefully the house will be finished at the beginning of the new school year. For the moment our juniors are leaving quite crowded in three rented houses in an almost empty neighborhood near their school.
-Fr. Jesus N. was sent to Kamda (Jharkhand), in order to accompany and help Fr. Alfaro in his mission in Northern India. We know that is already well integrated in his new assignment.
-Fr. Provincial made a flash visit to Bangalore during the third week of August. He was able to talk with the juniors, see the situation of the works of the Juniorate and resolve some problems regarding our presence here in India.


From Japan

-On the month of June Fr. General Delegate spent two weeks in Japan for the canonical visitation. He had the opportunity to stay a few days at every house, and to talk with all the religious. He had also a meeting with the Direction Team in Kaisei, and attended in Yokohama to the ceremony of Confirmation of 16 youth and adults.
-This year it is holiday?s year for some of our brothers in Japan: Frs. German, Andres and Jose Luis, and Bro. Jesus Cegama went to Spain to enjoy of a well deserved rest. Fr. Jesus Lacarra, who arrived on June accompanying the three new juniors, stays in Japan for three months, replacing those who have gone on holidays.
-During summer vacation Bros. Nelson and Bryan went back to Komaba. The juniors in Yokkaichi, Bros. Tony and Edmond, also went to Tokyo to spend some days with the rest of the juniors. Bros. Junji, Moises and Jesley have already finished their first term in their studies of Japanese. Last August 4, all juniors in Japan went for a trip in Mt. Fuji. It was a hard, but wonderful experience.
-Bro. Bryan is now working in the parish of Sueyoshicho, as a part of his training in the Seminary of Tokyo, teaching catechism to the children. And together with those children, he went for a summer camp from July 30 until August 2.
-Bro. Tony has started his activities as a vocational promoter in Japan. Let?s pray the Lord to bless the work of our brothers in Japan with some vocations.


From the Philippines

-On June 8, the General Congregation erected the General Delegation into an Independent Vice-Province, as a result of a juridical normalization adapted to our new Law. It was done without any modification regarding the structures, jobs or situation of the Religious. We hope that this new situation might be for all an encouragement to work even with more enthusiasm for the development of our demarcation.
-The new school year has started in our houses. The novelty in Manila is the Piarist Missionary Vocational Center we talk on the first page. Other novelty is that several of our juniors are studying Theology at Loyola School, run by the Jesuits Fathers. In Manila there are, at this moment, 20 juniors and 3 Postulants. In Cebu City there are 15 novices, four from India and this is also the great novelty, and 16 Postulants.
-The works of the second Cultural Center, called Corrado Center, started at the end of June and they are progressing to a good speed; they will be finished in October. The new building will allow us to carry out new formation activities for children and youth, especially on the line of professional formation.
-Fr. Rafael Buitrago made his second trip to Indonesia in May. He had the opportunity of meeting many aspirants and to organize the things so that a selection process would take place. After a third trip, scheduled in a near future, it is foreseen that some young men from Indonesia might come to Manila.
-As during the past years, a team of volunteers from SETEM Andalucia (Spain) has come to Cebu City to carry out different activities in cooperation with the Cultural Center; they have contributed to an enrichment of experiences, for everybody. This year, too, we had the opportunity of receiving a volunteer from Korea, Miss Dosoon, who has carried out a bread-making short course. Or gratitude to all of them.
-Alter three years in Madrid, Francis and Mark have come for a holiday to the Philippines. Armando came also with them, but he has decided to abandon the Order. Edwin, coming from Rome, has taken the same decision. We wish them the best in their new lives.

CALASANZ FORMATION HOUSE - Piarist Fathers - Escolapios
1401 Andres Abellana Extension. Guadalupe, 6000 Cebu City,
PHILIPPINES Tel. - Fax (32)2542085

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Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Orient, Bulletin of the Piarist Fathers in ASIA

2004 June n. 27



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?


from India


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.


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.




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.


From Italy

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 -

From India

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.


From Japan 

-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 : URL:

Posted by nelcabz at 12:01 AM KDT
Updated: Friday, August 4, 2006 6:42 PM KDT
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