Fr. Jose P. Burgues
After ten years in the Philippines, we are able to start a “standard” Piarist foundation in this country. We were looking already for a while for a place to start working, since some of our juniors are finishing their initial formation, and even some of them have been ordained priests.
We were looking for a place in the South, in Mindanao Island, and we had contacted several bishops offering our services, to no avail. But there was a place that was looking for us in the North, in Luzon Island, and it was the Bishop of Daet the one who contacted us asking us to render our service in his diocese. He offered us the parish and High School of San Vicente, a town in Daet diocese.
San Vicente is a small town of around 12.000 people, in Camarines Norte province, Bicol region, 350 km. southeast from Manila. Its setting is rural poor. San Vicente is between the mountain and the sea, at around 12 km. from Daet, the capital of the province. A community of four religious, for the moment, will start in San Vicente the Piarist ministry, in a very favorable situation to implement an integral service of education-evangelization, giving the priority to the poor.
The school has 220 students, because there is no place for more. They are crowding in four rooms. Hopefully we will be able to do something to improve the education in the town, with the help of the Providence… and some friends willing to help. In the town there is another High School, public, and several Elementary Schools, in some of the villages around. But there is not a Preschool. Maybe we can do something, and we can also thing of our own Elementary school.
Well, this is the beginning of a new stage in our Philippine History, where there are place for many dreams. May the Lord help us to dream the best, ad to put it into practice.
Fr. Thomas P.
Onam is one of the greatest festivals of Kerala. It is the festival which the keralites celebrate united without difference of caste and religion.
Onam is related with King Mahabali who was ruling Kerala in a time past. He was an Asura king but was very nice and truthful. During his ruling time it is said that people did not even lock their houses in the night because there were no thieves, no corruption, and no betrayal. And all people lived united without distinction between rich and poor. All were facing a good time. Like wise the king was so good that he will give anything to anyone.
At that time the Hindu lord Mahavishnu decided to test King Mahabali. He came to the earth as Vamana, a poor dwarf, and went straight to King Mahabali. He told the King that he had nothing and he wanted three feet of land to live. The king, hearing this, laughed and told Vamana to take three feet of land from wherever he wished. Suddenly Vamana began to grow and covered the whole earth with one foot and the sky with other foot, and asked Mahabali where the space for the third foot was. By seeing all these, the king understood that Vamana was not an ordinary person, and he had come to test him. So the king, without hesitation, showed his head to keep the third foot. Vamana put his third foot on the King's head and the King was pushed down under the earth (Pathala). The king, after going to Pathala, asked Vamana his true identity. Suddenly Vamana vanished and Lord Mahavishnu stood before Mahabali. Mahabali was overjoyed by seeing this. The lord told Mahabali that he wanted to test him and he had succeeded. The lord also told Mahabali to ask any boon for himself. Mahabali told the lord that, since he loved his people very much, he wanted permission to visit Kerala once a year. And the lord gave his permission. It is that day, the day Mahabali visits Kerala, that Onam is celebrated.
Onam is a celebration of ten days. It comes in the month of "Chingam" according to Malayalam calendar. People prepare flower mats in front of their houses, to welcome the King. There will be competitions of flower mats. Keralites all over the world will celebrate these ten days will pomp and gaiety. They will wear new dresses, will visit as many temples as they can, will perform lot of dances like Thiruvathirakali, Thumbi, Tullal, to name a few, and the most important thing, they will have a grant lunch on the Thiuruvonam day. Whatever might happen they will not miss this lunch. There is a saying in Malayalam that "Kanam vittu Onam unnanam" which means "We should have the Thiruvonam lunch even if we have to sell all our properties".
Bro. Kumar Moses
The preparation to go for Mission Experience took one month. I was to go to Nagaland with the permission of my Superior. So, I wrote a letter to the Bishop asking to give me information about the way to reach the place. After one month, I received all the due information from the Bishop’s House of Dimapur. My journey started. Everything was strange in the train. A furtive smile at others and wishing one another had a great impact in our communication. After one day of mutual interaction, we started communicating the purpose of our journey. Little by little, I came to know about the Nagaland’s present condition.
Three days had passed when we reached Gwahati at noontime. A fellow brother who came with me, Antony Reddy, got down also at Gwahati Rail Station. There, a priest was waiting for him to go to his mission place. I too was introduced to that priest. He took me with himself for accommodation. Thus, I relaxed for one day at Gwahati. In the following morning, other priest who was on the way to Dimapur accompanied me there. On the way I met another priest who was travelling in the same train to the Bishop’s House. With the grace of God, I reached the place. I introduced myself to the secretary of the Bishop, who provided accommodation until I got my final assignment from the Bishop. I was sent to Jalukiee in Dimapur. As I was a stranger, my whole body system took time to adjust. I went to Jalukiee in a jeep accompanied by some missionary sisters. Many bamboo trees covered the places as we were going through.
After four hours’ journey, we reached the Parish House of Jalukiee. The next day, I was introduced to the hostel boys and to some nearby seminarians. Fr. Sunny, who was my guide, took me to the school. That very day I was asked to take classes for boys and girls of 12th standard on social analysis and social problems. The Headmiss gave me a guidebook and asked me to take class on Educational Psychology too. The total number of students in each class was 105. Some boys and girls were listening quite well, but the rest were sleeping and speaking among them. I used the interactive method, asking questions and receiving answers about a subject. Somehow, I managed to involve all the students in the class. I learned to prepare and to plan the subject to be taught. After two weeks, I was asked to prepare a questionnaire on the improvement of education among boys and girls from 8th to 10th standard.
In the evenings, I used to accompany the priest to bless the houses. This opportunity made me aware of the socio-economic condition of the people who in Nagaland are called Nagas. They belong to different tribes. Each tribe has its own language and its own traditional colours in the dress, folklore and customs. They speak a language called Nagamese, which consists on a mixture of Hindi, Chinese and other words, which are borrowed from neighbouring countries. They cultivate paddy, ginger, yam and Naga chilly, which is the best chilli quality in India. They do not use spices in cooking and they like doll curry. Rearing pigs gives prestige to the family status. They cultivate always in different places because they believe that the soil quality may not be strong enough for the next harvest. Therefore, they constantly change the place of farming. Bamboos thatch the houses. The structure of the houses is an “L” shape, containing a kitchen with a hall and a bedroom which is at the same time divided into different sections according to the members of each family. They use to go to the farm at 8:00 a.m. and come back home at 5:00 p.m. The food habit of the Nagas is to eat in the morning and in the evening. There is no lunch. They are fashionable in dressing and in the use of cosmetics.
Since some youngsters were trained in health awareness programme, I went with them from village to village to speak about education and diseases such as malaria, dysentery, typhoid, and chicken pox. The walking distance from village to village took me an hour; and from the parish to some divisions took me nearly six hours. Once accustomed to walk, we began to enjoy the journey. The awareness programme took place at 9:00 p.m. because people came from the fields to cook, to eat and for gathering. This programme lasted for one hour and a half in every village. The catechist was my translator in every village. We covered up to 10 villages within 3 weeks.
Then we had the preparation for the inaugural function of the College of Arts. I cooperated with people and took care of the hostel boys in the absence of the warden. I was able to build up a nice rapport with the boys in that hostel. Normally, they were very rough and tough coming from the neighbouring villages, so I used to narrate stories, which enabled them to give encouragement and boost to their studies. The children were brought up very carelessly without any instruction from the parents; thus, they used to behave as they wished, never listening to anybody. At last, it was time for me to come back from the Mission experience.
I thanked the Bishop for giving me this wonderful opportunity and for his hospitality. This experience has taught me to be flexible and more able to understand the situation of the different places and cultures. Experiences such as this refresh the mind and the heart and help us analyse our life pattern.
HISTORIES OF NOVICES
28. Guided by the love of God
The love that I received from my parents is forever etched in my heart. Their love is the most beautiful gift I received during my childhood. For instance, my father and I used to play horseback riding before we went to bed. I enjoyed very much these special moments. Those were indeed moments of joy and happiness. I remember also that we used to go to the fish pen not so far from our house, maybe two kilometers away. We spent our time there swimming in the river, as well as catching fish. My father taught me how to swim. Those experiences were really a source of joy for me. The loss of my parents was indeed a great loss for me.
Many years had passed before I realized that the death of my father was a call for conversion. I changed my life after my father died. I believed that the death of my father was part of God’s plan. As I recall my experience, I think that I was guided by the love of God. God took an initiative to call me. He used many people to touch my stony heart and my stubbornness.
Prior to college, I became a member of a Charismatic Community. But before it happened, I experienced a “miracle” in my life. My manager bought a part of the market in Balintawak, Quezon City. She assigned me to drive the garbage truck. I accepted the job because it was an additional income. Besides, I did it only twice a week. One day while I was driving on the North Luzon Expressway, I noticed something wrong with my break. I needed to stop the truck, so I put my feet on the break pedal. And to my surprise I couldn’t stop the truck however hard I pushed my feet on the pedal. Upon realizing the situation my whole body quivered. I felt cold sweat. I had goose bumps. I felt scared and I thought I would die. Intuitively, I never lost hope. I veered quickly the shifting into a lower gear. Luckily, along the way there was a slow bus which blocked the other vehicles. I used it as an opportunity to drive my truck closer to the side of the road, and to go out of it. I managed to stop the truck. I was very lucky I told myself. I felt very happy, relieved and tired after the incident. I got down from the truck and sat along the road. I was mulling over the situation when I remembered someone who used to invite me to a prayer meeting before accepting my extra job. I always told her “yes I will attend”, but actually I could not attend their prayer meeting because it conflicted with my job. This person was very persistent. From time to time she dropped by my house just to invite me to attend their gathering.
After my near-death experience, I made a decision to attend my friend’s prayer meeting. So, I quitted my extra job. Thanks to God my manager released me without any fuss. At the beginning, I felt uncomfortable in the prayer meeting. I couldn’t understand the people. They were lifting their hands, shouting, and speaking strange words. I only started to understand them when I attended the Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS). In the seminar I learned that every strange thing they did was actually a way of praising God. For instance, while they were lifting their hands, they were actually praising God. Furthermore, I discovered the goodness of God during the LSS. For the first time in my life, I experienced the wondrous love of God. The discovery led me to acknowledge my sinfulness. I found myself crying, asking for forgiveness. I uttered: “Lord late have I loved you!” I believe that the seed of my vocation was planted here. I became a fervent member of the community. Their service to God became clearer to me. I became very active in the community. In fact, I became one of their speakers. I shared my life in front of many people; I testified to them how good God is.
In the same year I met Fr. Boy Cruz. Later on he became our spiritual director and adviser. I became close to him. I began to admire him for being simple and charismatic. One time I was touched by his words while listening to his homily. Something special happened within me. I felt that God was personally talking to me through Fr. Boy’s homily. His homily became alive to me. I felt the intense desire to follow Jesus more intimately. I told myself I wanted to be like Fr. Cruz someday. Incidentally, one of my co-choirs had a cousin who was a seminarian of the Society of Divine Word (SVD). This seminarian introduced me to religious life. With the little knowledge I had about religious life, I found myself attracted to it. So, I inquired at the SVD seminary and attended their search-in. Unfortunately, I failed their examination. I felt cheated by God. I told Him “why did you put this desire for the religious life in my heart but abandon me in the end.” I cried a lot. I felt that I was abandoned by God. The words of the vocation promoter were still vivid in my mind, “Peace be with you Joey! After the examination and some interviews I found out that you are not ready to enter the seminary yet. I advise you to finish college first outside the seminary and then, if you are still willing to come back, you can re-take the exam.”
Despite my feeling of failure, I realized that there was still hope. I took my rejection to the seminary positively. I tried my very best to be thrifty. I became more conscious of spending my money. In my mind I had already a plan to study. However, two days before the end of enrollment, I had only 1,500 pesos in my pocket. And this money was not enough for enrollment. I needed 2,000 pesos more to enroll. I prayed fervently to the Lord, “If you really want me to follow you, please do something.”
On a Thursday evening, I attended our fellowship meeting at St. Francis of Assisi parish despite my dilemma. I was worried over my predicament when Fr. Boy saw me. He was roaming around the patio of the Church while holding a rosary in his hand. He approached me and said, “Joey, come for a moment.” He asked me if I was going to attend the gathering. I replied, “Yes father.” So, I walked towards the door of the church. Again, he called me, “Joey, come here.” I approached him and asked “Why father?” “Do you want to study?” he asked. “Yes, I want to! But I have a financial problem,” I told him. He put his hands on his pocket and gave me some money. “Once you have begun, everything will follow,” he said. I was flabbergasted! The only thing that I could do at that moment was to say “thank you!” I felt delighted and overwhelmed. Indeed, God is good all the time!
Going back to school was exciting as well as painful for me. I found it interesting as well as difficult. It was exciting because after a long time there I was studying again. I experienced new things, I made new acquaintances and built new friendships, and I was exposed to a new environment. All of these made my life far more interesting. However, I was not spared from pain because I had to make a lot of sacrifices. I discovered many new things about myself. I pitied myself because I was very poor in English. I remember that I used to cry after class because of frustration. I almost gave up. I almost lost my trust in myself. But God was good to me. He never abandoned me. He helped me and provided for my lack. I was able to improve myself through the help of friends God had given me. I almost overlooked the true reason why I continued my studies. I almost forgot that I was called by God. God truly affirmed to me that he was faithful even if I was not.
After college, I entered the seminary with a strong faith in God. My faith was my primary strength. I had a strong conviction that I had a vocation despite my difficulties in studies. But despite my convictions, I left the seminary after two and a half years. I left the seminary because I could not see myself fitted to the congregation’s charism. In addition, some unresolved issues popped during my formation. For instance, I discovered that I had a hang-up with my mother. In addition I saw that I wasn’t ready yet to cope with the demands of the congregation. Thus, I left the seminary.
Four months later my mother died. The loss of my mother shook again my faith. I felt emptiness in my life. I was disoriented. During that time I remembered my Godfather (confirmation). He was a priest. I visited him to ask for advice. He was assigned that time in Malolos Cathedral. I stayed with him for a week. There, I spent most of my time in the prayer room. Along the way to the prayer room I saw a poster. I was struck with the words written on it “forever young”. I scanned it. I found it very interesting. Then, I wrote down the address and telephone number. A few days later, I called and asked some questions. From that time on, I became interested in the charism of the Order. I attended their Saturday workshops. I came to know some brothers. I experienced their simplicity of life, and their joy in teaching the children and youth. I regained the fervent desire that I had before the death of my mother. I was filled again with the spirit of love that I had received before.
Now, I am a novice journeying towards religious life, and learning to follow radically the call of Jesus. I am grateful to God, because he never abandoned me. Now it becomes clearer to me that everything that happened to me had a purpose. That purpose is to train and to mold me the way the Lord wants me to be. Although I still have some difficulties, I am confident enough to trust my God. I am more confident in His providence. “I discovered that the more I give myself to God the more graces I receive from Him. The more I give myself to others the more I know myself. The more I give my service to others the more I improve myself”. With all conviction I can proclaim now that my faith is growing stronger day by day because I am guided by His love.
JAPAN: IMPRESSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
Fr. Fernando Guillen, Sch.P.
I arrived in Narita Airport, Japan, on December 15, 2005, going from Manila, and I came back to Manila on January 19, 2006. A short stay, yes, but full of impressions for a “Westerner” who comes from Africa and lands in Asia for the first time. In a short way, as a whole impression of those days, it was to find myself in the first world, and maybe in the first country of the first world.
It goes without saying that historical, religious and cultural aspects called my attention in a special way. Regarding education, I did not have the opportunity of visiting our Kaisei School in Yokkaichi. I hope to be able to do it in the next opportunity. At Tokyo Juniorate, nevertheless, we had a short session about education in Japan, using some articles from the magazine edited by Oriens Center (CICM), about the mission. For me it was enough for grasping a little the complexity of the matter, while realizing the national “obsession” for study and diplomas. I think that this teaching theme confirms what I said above about being in a country of the first world, a real first world. It is not necessary to say that the “obsession” for education carries with it a constant occupation of adolescents and youth and it puts many obstacles to the Christian formation and even to the presence during Sunday Masses of the small baptized minority.
And here comes the practical part of these simple reflections: how to evangelize the Japanese children and youth? I speak about “evangelization”, since there is not any important necessity of instruction, and I speak about the general Japanese children, without adding “poor”, because there is not such clearly social division.
Without denying the importance and utility of the Christian schools, and there are rather many, it occurs to me the possible creation, in a Parish or school environment, of something similar to “Calasanz Centers” for adolescents and youth of High School. What is it? Places of “cultural analysis” and “spiritual initiation”.
The image of “Cultural Centers” in Cebu City, Philippines, is behind this idea, but in an “un-cultured way”. In the third world, those “home-work schools” as they are called in Mexico, where there are so many, serve to help the public education in its evident deficiencies and holes. Then, it is possible to reach, in a simple way and not so expensive, the really poor children that continuing in the state public institutions do not have professional future and almost no moral or religious formation. That is something really Calasanzian.
In the case of Japan, the problem of helping the deficiencies is not valid. On the other hand, the aspect of filling some holes, it seems possible. Japan seems to me a marvelous country regarding the public morality level in business and civil exigencies. I am sure they are also good in familiar moral and respect to life, although regarding this matter I cannot speak because I completely lack contacts and information. Where could we find, therefore, the problem of the “Japanese personality”? Maybe in a too much national pride and even personal, united to a certain inner spiritual vacuum, and it would explain the tendency towards suicide and the difficulty of conversion to the religion of the Crucified. We cannot forget that the most strict categories of “observants" of the law and the most nationalistic, were completely closed to the preaching of Jesus. But He is Christ, the one who illumines any man and that attracts the whole humanity, precisely from the Cross.
Therefore, the suggestion would be, first of all, to create centers of “cultural analysis”. It would be to offer to the young people of 15-18 years old, a kind of “clubs” where they could analyze easily, with interest and Christian criteria, the different happenings and positions of the cultural environment of Japan and of the world of today, for instance: globalization effects, purification of the Japanese memory (critical acceptance of their own history), bio-ethics, impact of the mass media, future of the country, after 60 years of the “American” Constitution…
Other types of offers that occur to me are some kind of prayer meetings, where it is explained and practiced the Christian meditation, for instance the Carmelite or Ignatian types. It is, maybe, another aspect that calls our attention and that it appears underlined in the documents: the contemplation in the evangelization of Asia, and also the spiritual testimony (I refer to “Ecclesia in Asia” of John Paul II).
Regarding the social aspect of our charism, I think that we could think about the educational-apostolic action among the immigrant workers and their children. Something similar is happening in North American and Californian Pious Schools. It is not necessary to say that the field seems attractive, wide and maybe not too much dealt with.
My last observation is regarding the preparation. That type of “Calasanz Centers” that I suggest, requires Piarists, especially young Piarists, immersed in the culture of the place and with a sensibility and preparation nor ordinary in theology and spirituality. I am completely in accord with the idea of being in contact with initiatives already in existence that in some way are similar and have given proofs of efficacy and interest.
Fr. Miguel Medizabal from Sophia University in Tokyo was inviting me, just before Christmas, to pray for Japan. Certainly, to pray with the full confidence in the faith of the One who wants to be known and loved by all, to take all in an explicit way to the Father. That is the deepest and most urgent thing of all. The Holy Spirit will not stop illuminating where maybe we expect the less…
(STELLA MARIS MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL)
Fr. Jesus Lacarra
On November 26, the 1167 students of Kaisei, together with the teachers and guests, met together in the School Gymnasium to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the School Institution.
It was in April 1945 when some lay people started the High Education Institution named “Kuwana English Institute”. The number of students was rather small and it seemed that they could not continue for a long time. They moved the School from Kuwana City to the actual place of Kaisei, to two buildings that had belonged to the Japanese Army. In 1950, a Catholic University from the near Nagoya City, took over the school, changing the name to Nanzan Second High School, as the University was called. In 1955, there were the Piarist Fathers who took over the Nanzan School, changing the name to KAISEI, as it is called now. Therefore, the celebration was of 60 years from the beginning, 55 from Nanzan, and 50 from the starting of KAISEI. Three dates to celebrate, and a meeting of fraternity and common work.
There were speeches by different important persons, among them the Mayor of Yokkaichi City. We also had a Catholic Mass, presided by the Bishop of the Diocese of Kyoto, concelebrating 10 Priests and reading the Gospel our first Filipino Deacon in Japan. All the students and guests took part in the Mass, and together with us, they gave thanks to the Lord for the marvelous works He have done among us. After the Mass, there was a fraternal agape, sharing the food and conversations among those who for a long time we had not met and now they came for the celebration.
KAISEI SCHOOL has 246 Middle High School and 921 Senior High School students. Around 85 teachers take care of the education of the students, helped by around 15 others employees. Together, during these 50 years, they were able to give education to more than 14000 graduates. And among them, no doubt that many were the ones who helped make a better society for the present and the future.
KAISEI is the school where many Piarists spent their life dedicated to the formation of a. Christian environment, in a Shinto’s and Buddhism surroundings. Some of them have already been called by the Father and surely they have already received the great reward prepared for them from all eternity. But some of them are still continuing even in the old age, spending their last energy in the farm the Lord has prepared for them
KAISEI, in a space of more than 40.000 square meters, has been able to give a Christian education in the main three story building, helped by different other buildings such as a library-teachers building, a big gymnasium for sports and general gatherings of all the students, another building for typical Japanese sports such as judo and kendo, a Calasanz Hall for smaller meetings, a cafeteria and different spaces for cars, bicycles, practicing baseball, soccer, and tennis, etc. Of course, the school is surrounded by small gardens and statues of Calasanz, the Virgin Mary with the Child and the last one, the Resurrected Christ. Inside the school, there is also a Japanese style Chapel where prayer meetings and Masses are held from time to time. Ethic or Religion classes are held for all students, at least one hour a week, besides the talks given by the Principal of the school. On Christmas days, a special celebration is held at the Gymnasium, with Christmas carols sung by all the students…
Regarding the sports clubs, there are more than 40 clubs, practicing different activities besides the study. Among them, the Baseball Club has been one of the most outstanding clubs, getting many trophies for the school. Of course, we cannot forget many other clubs and the spirit of those students who together with their studies, try to form a “mens sana in corpore sano”
KAISEI is the school of the future for us, in Japan and in the Philippines. Now, 7 Filipino Juniors are staying in Japan, two of them already teaching at Kaisei. And we hope that in the future, the Filipino Piarist Priests will be the ones who will continue the work at school and in the Parishes. We live with that hope, as St. Joseph Calasanz when he saw his Work almost completely destroyed. The future vocations from the Philippines will be able to create a new environment, working also for the new Piarist Japanese Vocations. We live with that hope and we pray to the Lord to fulfill our wishes in this part of Asia.
From the Philippines
Technical Vocational Education Program
Ms. Adriza May Gabutan
One of the two well known quotations that characterize Calasanz is that: “The ministry of education is really the most worthy, the most noble, the most meritorious, the most beneficial, the most useful, the most necessary, the most pleasing and the most glorious.”
In the aim to seek various ways in educating children and youth, the Calasanz Cultural Center in Cebu City, Philippines, was able to come up with the plan to offer vocational courses benefiting those out of school youth in the community, who were less fortunate to pursue college. It was then that the Technical Vocational Education (TVE) program came into realization. It started with the blessing of the newly constructed building “Alberto Corrado Center” (Center 2) last June 2, 2005, located at Tipoloville Singson Compound, Guadalupe. TVE is a short course offering SHOPS for the males that includes basic electrical, plumbing and welding instructed by Mr. Wilbert Arnibal and SEWING for the females by Mr. Gabriel Yballe. Minor subjects such as English, Ecology and Human Formation were instructed by our junior brother, Bro. Dennis Descallar while Mathematics was taught by Ms. Adrienne Marie Kwan, the Calasanz Cultural Center project coodinator. Last December 16, 2005, 15 technical students were recognized for completing the number of hours required. They were the first batch of students in our TVE program. One of the newly recognized students, Ms. Lisa Taboada said: “ We are so grateful and blessed to be given such a great opportunity of learning and at the same time to been nurtured with the vital values in life, exposed into activities which helped in our intellectual and spiritual growth. Being surrounded with people dedicated to service, piety and learning, somehow inspired us to do the same thing, maybe not exactly the same way as they did so.” Indeed, these students were inspired; in fact some of them were lay volunteers and actively participating in all activities of the center.
As of the moment, we have already started classes for the second batch of students in our TVE program; we had the orientation last January 9, 2006. Hoping and looking forward to recognizing more of them at the end of the period. Truly I could say, that learning is a long and never ending process, for as long as you live you always get to learn new things from experiences, people and even from ourselves. The Piarist Fathers are incessantly educating the youth and children, for they believe on the though of St. Joseph Calasanz that said: “ If the children from their early years are instructed diligently in piety and learning, it must undoubtedly be expected that their whole life will be a happy one.”
… Brief News …
- As we foresaw in the number before of Orient, on December 16, 2005, the Archbishop of Bangalore blessed our new Juniorate in Bangalore. Many neighbors, friends and members of the nearby religious communities accompanied us. The building shows its simplicity in the design and its colorful and luminous aspects.
- On December 19 we had the Priestly Ordination of Varghese Kizhakkemathummel in his native place, Aripalam (Trissur, Kerala). The Parish Temple was beautifully decorated. In the celebration, most of the faithful were present, besides relatives and friends of Varghese. It should be stressed that it is the first Ordination of the Parish after many years.
- Fr. Provincial, Ernesto Hermann, was with us for these important events and at the same time he visited all the houses, included Kamda, in the Northern State of Jharkhand.
- From February 9 to 24, Fr. Fernando Negro went to visit Kamda, where Fr. Alfaro is, and to start this year the first steps for the vocation campaign in the zone.
- In the meantime, Fr. Antonio Marco was substituting him in Bangalore. The house, although it is not completely free from masons and workers, it is finished in reality, but for small details. With the effort of all, each one of the rooms is becoming clean and ready to be used and furnished with the indispensable things for functioning.
- On February 26, having in mind the festivity of Saint Paula Montal, was held the Profession of the first Indian Piarist Sisters. The celebration was presided by the Bishop of Cochin, Dr. John Thathunkal and there were present Mother General, Isolina Vazquez and Mother Provincial, Clara Toda.
- The school year examinations have already started almost at all levels. Our juniors, after finishing them, will go to different pastoral experiences – most of them to the Northern and North Eastern parts of India – during two long months.
- Fr. Fernando Guillen came to visit us on December 15. He gave some Calasanzian seminars to the Juniors and then he directed the Spiritual Retreat for the Piarists in Japan. Afterwards, he was a good help in the Juniorate for Fr. Lawrence while he was recuperating from the operation he had overcome at the beginning of the month. He returned to Manila on January 19.
- On February 11 took place in our Yokkaichi Parish, the Priestly Ordination of our Brother Tony Matias, the first Piarist ordained in Japan. The next day he celebrated his First Mass at the Parish and the following week he presided the Sunday Eucharist in our Tobe Parish, Yokohama.
- Regarding this event, Fr. Vice-Provincial, Jose P. Burgues, came to Japan, and he spent three weeks with us. He had the opportunity of visiting the communities and the persons. He was able to reach a contract with the Salesians who are going to construct a new building in our Oiwake garden, since the numbers of their aspirants is increasing.
- Bro. Brian went back to the Philippines to continue his studies there. Bro. Jesley will start his studies of Philosophy at Nanzan University, Nagoya, while Bro. Marino and Bro. Moises will do it at the Tokyo Seminary, since they have already finished their Japanese studies. The Juniorate will prepare the place for new Juniors who will arrive in June, God’s willing.
From the Philippines
- This year, the traditional “family immersion” of the novices at the end of the year had place in Mantalungon, a town at the south of Cebu. It was a nice experience. The Manila Juniors had a similar experience in Antipolo City, near Metro Manila.
- On January 17 was held at the Cebu Cathedral the priestly ordination of our Brother Aljun Maglangit by our Cardinal Vidal. It was a historical moment: he is the first ordained Filipino Piarist Priest. Fr. Aljun had just returned from Italy where he had spent 6 months getting valuable experiences and learning the language.Fr. Franco Scarsela, from the Roman Province, accompanied him and spent with us some days in his visit to Cebu and Manila.
- In Manila, as well as in Cebu, we have tried our best regarding the vocations, with “convivencias”, visiting different places, etc… We hope that a number of postulants will decide to joint us in the next school year. And we move not only in the Philippines, but also in other places. Fr. Baltazar has made a trip of two weeks to Mandalay (Myanmar) invited by the Bishop over there, in order to propose to the Diocese Seminarians our vocation.
- In Cebu City and in Manila are preparing the summer camps in two different places. The juniors in Manila carried out a Carol Singing Campaign for found rising. It was rather successful.
- At last arrived in Cebu City, at the end of December, the four Indian Novices. After their arrival, the number of novices reaches the highest number: twenty. We hope that the next Indian Brothers will not find the difficulties of this year for their visas and may arrive at an earlier date.
- The Bishop of Daet Diocese, Msgr. Benjamin Almoneda, has offered us a Parish and a School in San Vicente Town, Camarines del Norte Province. It is the first “ordinary” Piarist work in the Philippines. With the approval of Fr. General, we are going to establish there a community of four members, being Fr. Jesus Lacarra the first Superior. We hope that in this way, the Piarist presence in the Philippines will root solidly and start giving fruits for the service of this land.