Tuesday, December 01, 2009

TRA supports the call of Bishop Ambo David for GMA NOT to Run for Congress

The talk of Bishop Ambo David at the TRA meeting last night was well appreciated by its members. Bishop Ambo explained, in the light of his experience at Synod of Bishops on the Bible, how the Sacred Scripture finds its home in the Church and how Church life is permeated by the Word of God. He argued that after the destruction of Temple of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E, the Synagogue became the new home of the Torah. For the followers of Jesus later on, the home became the new house of the Word--the home becoming the first place of the Church. Today , he says, the Church is the open house for the Word and the world.

This "house" is supported by four pillars -- teaching of the apostles; koinonia or fellowship; breaking of the bread; and the prayers.

He ended his talk narrating how the Church in Pampanga (Diocese of San Fernando) tries to become the real home of the Word, revealing that 500 hectares of church land have already been given up by the Diocese for land reform.

While waiting for his turn to talk, we had an a chance to ask Bishop Ambo some questions on the politics of Pampanga. He confirmed that the GMA is running for Congress; his older brother Prof. Randy David has ditched his plan to run against the President for obvious reasons; and that by running, GMA is going against basic Christian principles of power and decency. He is therefore urging the President not to run for Congress. His prayer: "God save Pampanga!"

The Tagaytay Religious Association (TRA)--an organization of nuns, lay people, priests, and brothers belonging to 100 religious houses, seminaries, houses of formation, retreat houses, convents, secular institutes, and monasteries in Tagaytay and its environs--supports the call of Bishop Pablo Virgilio David for GMA NOT to run for Congress.
Seminarian-members of TRA at a prayer rally (file photo)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Talk of Bishop Ambo David - The Church: The House of the Word

Tagaytay Religious Association (TRA)
Divine Word Seminary
SVD Road
4120 Tagaytay City

Dear fellow TRA members:

In behalf of TRA Council of Officers, I would like to invite you to an afternoon gathering on Nov 30, 2009 (Bonifacio Day - Mon) from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm at the Aula Magna of Divine Word Seminary. Our constitution states that one of the objectives of TRA is to “provide opportunities for spiritual, educational, apostolic, economic, and formational enrichment of all TRA members of the affiliated communities” (Article II, Section 2).

The main talk of the gathering is on “The Church: The House of the Word” by Bishop Pablo “Ambo” David (auxiliary of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga). Bishop Ambo, an Old Testament expert, obtained his doctorate in Biblical Studies from the Catholic University of Louvain and did courses at the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem (Israel). Member of the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God (2008), he is also the former president of the Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines (CBAP). He teaches at major seminaries and religious formation centers (like Loyola School of Theology and Our Lady of Angels Seminary); serves as the parish priest of the biggest parish in Pampanga (Angeles City); and is the newly appointed chairperson of the Episcopal Commission for Biblical Apostolates (ECBA) [and the younger brother of Philippine Daily Inquirer’s columnist, Prof. Randy David].

Here is the order of the afternoon:
1. 2:00 pm – Registration and Welcome
2. 2:30 – 4:00 – General Meeting of TRA
3. Break
4. 4:20 – 6:00 – Talk of Bishop Ambo

and the agenda of the TRA meeting:
1. TRA activities for honest, peaceful and orderly election in Tagaytay.
2. Socio-political and economic condition of the city.
3. TRA and future relief and rehabilitation operations during and after calamities.
4. Re-creation of retreat teams for the retreat apostolate of TRA.
5. CLAIM’s activities

Each community shall bring own “baon” for the afternoon snacks (KKB). Hot coffee (Barako) will be served. Please be there. Blest be the Lord.

Fr. Randy Flores, SVD
TRA Chairperson
Email: rrandy33@yahoo.com; Text: 0927-390-9863

Monday, October 26, 2009

45 SVD-ALS take A&E Test

Photo taken as our SVD-ALS test-takers are about to enter
Dasmarinas National High School (Oct 25, 2009, around 6:00 am)

Around 4:00 am yesterday (25 Oct 09, Sunday), I brought our 45 SVD-ALS learners to Dasmarinas National High School to take the Accreditation and Equivalency test (A&E test) being conducted by the Department of Education. The SVD-ALS learners were part of the 4,324 test-takers from the whole province of Cavite, 330 of these were under the 8 learning centers supervised by Arnold Janssen Catholic Mission Foundation led by Fr. Jerome Marquez, SVD of St. Jude Catholic School.

Their instructional managers (teachers) and I expect a high passing rate for the SVD-ALS. Our students were well-prepared and said that the test was "madali" (easy).

The A&E test" is designed to measure competencies of those who have not finished either the formal elementary or secondary education." Those who registered for the test consisted of unemployed/underemployed out-of-school youth and adults;formal schools leavers/drop-outs; persons with physical disabilities; inmates, rebel/soldier integrees; members of cultural minorities; indigenous peoples;Industry-based workers,housewives, helpers, factory, workers, drivers.
The afternoon batch of ALS A&E test-takers

Most of our 45 SVD-ALS learners are formal school leavers (drop-outs) from Tagaytay City, Amadeo and Silang; 2 workers of Divine Word Seminary, 1 housewife; 2 workers of the FMM; and 2 workers of the Dominican Sisters.

With the SVD-ALS inside our compound and being supported by DWST, our seminary does its part in what we SVDs call "prophetic dialogue" with the poor and marginalized.
SVD-ALS during President's Cory's Funeral

What does one benefit after passing the ALS A&E Test? The following came from DepEd's website:
• Enroll as High School Freshman for elementary level passers;
• Enroll in post-secondary courses (tech/voc, two/three/four/five-year course of the
CHED and PASUC member institutions);
• Access to Meralco Foundation, Inc. and TESDA skills training programs; and
• Opportunity to acquire eligibility to government employment positions under CSC
Resolution No. 499.

The ALS, if I may add, is not only about passing the A&E test but, in the modules, there are a lot sessions about good values and moral conduct, becoming good citizens, and the awareness of the issues of justice, peace and integrity of creation (e.g. preserving the environment).
SVD-ALS learners with Father Superior General
(Philippine SVD Centennial at DWST)

In behalf of the 126 SVD-ALS learners (45 of whom were qualified to take the test) let me express my personal gratitude and deep appreciation to the following who lent a hand to make the first batch of SVD-ALS a success:
  • Fr. Fred Saniel, SVD, our rector and the rest of the Divine Word Seminary community for the all-out support including the use of the Dispensary building, free use of water and electricity, and basketball gym.
  • Ma'am Olive Tolentino - our head instructional manager; Perla B. Costa and Ritchelle Q. Razon, our instructional managers. They did an admirable job (in spite of meager remuneration).
  • Ma'am Gemma Patricio, ALS Supervisor of Arnold Janssen learning centers
  • Fr. Jerome Marquez, SVD and the Board of Trustees of the Arnold Janssen Catholic Mission Foundation.
  • Fr. Nielo Cantilado, SVD and the provincialate of Philippine Central Province for the significant financial assistance.
  • Revs. Jong Biton, Ferds Bajao, and Dante Barril - SVD deacons who assisted in the administration.
  • Fr. Flavie Villanueva, SVD and his friends. Fr. Flavie is tasked to conceptualize the livelihood skill program for "graduates" of SVD-ALS.
  • Atty Yolly Doblon; Ms. Nini Carbon, and Ms. Seni Basilio, Ms. Tess Tatlonghari (soup kitchen), Ms. Truly Griffiths (Hongkong), and last but not the least, the CTS 2009-2010 students.
From left: Rev. Dante, Rev. Jong, Ma'am Che,
Rev. Ferdie, Ma'am Perla, and Ma'am Olive.
Our SVD deacons will be ordained on Dec. 5, 2009

Our three SVD-ALS instructional managers (teachers)

From: Fr. Randy Flores, SVD - SVD-ALS Site Coordinator.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Seminarians join relief operation for the victims of Ka Ondoy

Members of Divine Word Seminary of Tagaytay Students' Association (DWSTSA)--composed mostly of seminarians in theology have joined the Task Force Ondoy of Ateneo which includes the seminarians' network and the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB). Fr. Alex Muana, SVD (the dean of studies) and Fr. Raul Caga, SVD (the vice-rector) also are with the group in the clearing operations, loading and unloading of relief cargo, and distributing emergency relief goods for the victims of the flood in Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Southern Luzon.

Last night (close to midnight actually), I went to check on a family who live in Jesus de la Pena in Marikina, just a kilometer or two from Provident Village. It took me an hour and a half from Ateneo to Marikina due to the clearing operation going on, the road is now passable although a lot of work will still have to be done. At least relief goods can now be brought easily to the affected families, including potable water.

Along the A. Bonifacio road, I saw this solitary car parked and clearly a victim of Ka Ondoy and with the SVD centennial plate in it, maybe owned by a former SVD seminarian (?). I thought of asking - what could be God's message for us (SVDs and XVDs) that on the 100 years of Philippine SVD such tragedy has come upon us?

Abra violence, Balweg and SVD

A Group of SVD missionaries in the late 70s
Standing from right: Bishop Vic Manuel (+); Conrado Balweg (+)
Fr. Dom Flores (working in Australia); Fr. V. Bartolome (working in US)
Photo taken in front of Arnoldus Library (from the file of Fr. Randy Flores, SVD)

The article is written by Vincent Cabreza and appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on 02:08:00 09/30/2009

TO SOME Filipinos, Abra will always be associated with two extremes: Stories of unending political violence and of slain rebel priest Conrado Balweg, a man of the cloth who returned to the path of peace and facilitated the creation of the Cordillera Administrative Region.

To 6,131 priests and brothers today, however, this landlocked province is the gateway to the Catholic Society of the Divine Word (SVD or Societas Verbi Divini), 100 years ago.

That gate has never closed, said Father Jerome Adriatico, SVD North Luzon provincial superior.

“Politics, the kind that promotes greed, must be reinvented here in Abra,” Adriatico said, quoting discussions among fellow SVD priests as to how the congregation hoped to end the province’s notoriety.

Adriatico helped lead the Centennial Mass at the Cathedral of St. James the Elder in Bangued, Abra, last month.

Bangued Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian said the Mass celebrated the first SVD mission station in Cagutungan, a community that evolved into today’s San Isidro town, which was established by Father John Scheiermann and Father Louis Beckert, a five-year veteran of the SVD missions in China.

Adriatico said it was the SVD’s “purposeful mission of creating a community among the Tingguians,” which remains its most powerful legacy.

“[Violence] is the nature of politics [in Abra and parts of Ilocos], but it was not like this [during the] early 20th century. SVD wants to bring back the sense of caring, the sense of unity [we helped develop with] the Tingguians,” he said.(photo file: R. Flores, SVD)

First SVD mission

The first SVD mission in the Philippines tailed by two years the 1907 Philippine mission of the Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae (Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary or CICM), said Adriatico.

But like the Belgian-led CICM, the SVD and other European Catholic congregations began sending missionaries to the Philippines in response to a plea made by local parishes that were confronting the end of the Spanish colonial period.

They were meant to serve northern Luzon parishes that were abandoned by friars who began to withdraw to the cities when Filipino priests under their supervision were recruited by the Aglipayan Movement (Philippine Independent Church), Adriatico said.

Abra has always presented itself as a historical case study of how colonial governments tried to pacify the Igorot people in order to get at the fabled gold in their mountains, said history professor Raymundo Rovillos, dean of the College of Social Sciences at the University of the Philippines Baguio.

Religion and the mission stations played a strong part in these efforts, he said.

Abra was visited by Augustinian missionaries as early as 1650, but it was in the last part of the 19th century when Spanish pacification efforts “became intense,” Rovillos said in his essay, “Technologies for Disciplining Bodies and Spaces in Abra,” in the Cordillera Review.

“Because it was the takeoff point for the official Spanish war against the Igorots, Abra became militarily and politically strategic,” he said.

(photo file: R. Flores, SVD)

Tingguian alienation

Adriatico said what SVD intended to do when they took over the Spanish parishes was to remove the alienation of the Tingguian.

Balweg, despite his credentials as leading figure of the communist rebellion in Abra, had always been an important chapter of the SVD story because of his Tingguian roots, Adriatico said.

Balweg was one of the first two Tingguian priests to join the fold, and the SVD, according to American historian Gerard Finin, author of the book, “The Making of the Igorot.”

Finin, deputy-director of the Hawaii-based East-West Center’s Pacific Islands Development Program, said: “Although the SVD order could claim significant achievements in working with Abra’s ‘non-Christians,’ not a single highlander during the first 40 years of missionary work was accepted for theological studies leading to ordination as an SVD priest until Balweg and fellow Tingguian Tito Belisario in the 1960s.”

Adriatico said the rebel priest broke ties with SVD but had maintained a “deep understanding of community” because Balweg eventually fought for the so-called Igorot nation.

Monday, September 28, 2009

SVD-initiated distribution center for the victims of Ondoy

The SVD Philippine Central Province is now coordinating help for the worst hit of the SVD parishes in Metro Manila: Smokey Mountain (Balut, Tondo), Dampalit (Malabon), and St. Arnold Janssen Parish (Cainta).
The churches and convents in those places are relatively unscathed but their parishioners could use some help (food, clothes, etc)); this also includes our own employees, some of whom live in the affected areas.

Relief efforts for flood victims are being organized by the SVD Philippine Central Province through the Secretariat of the Characteristic Dimensions (Ben Beltran, Raul Caga, Ring Malbog, and John Regalado). Donations in kind ( used clothes, canned goods, etc) are welcome. You may send them at the Provincialate (Catholic Trade) Manila) or care of the above mentioned office or individuals. Cash donations may also be sent to the following bank account at Allied Banking Corporation: Account name - Divine Word Biblical Center; account number - 0280046648.

You can also course your donation through Divine Word Seminary, SVD Road, 4120 Tagaytay City - Tel. 046-4131253; fax 0464131251; or write: rrandy33@yahoo.com
Note from the SVD Provincialate

Saturday, September 12, 2009

All Praise to Thee

Night Prayer: All praise to thee my God this night. For all the blessings of the Light. O keep me keep me king of kings, beneath thine almighty wings. Forgive me Lord through Christ thy Son, the ill that I this day have done, that with the world, myself and thee before I sleep at peace may be.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

On the Birth of Mary, Birth of SVD, and Family Feast

Family Feast 1999 (Tagaytay City)

Today (9/8/2009) is of the birthday of Mary and the Birthday of the SVD (9/8/1875). At Divine Word Seminary, to celebrate this day, we usually hold a Family Feast – a sort of intramural games. We, including our employees, are divided into different “families” and compete in three levels: physical (sports), intellectual (quiz bees, essays, poetry); and cultural (drama, song composition). Everything ends in the beach—where the four families, with good food, become one family again.

Such tradition goes back to Arnold Janssen, the Founder.
This year, however, the Family Feast is cancelled—because we have a bigger family feast – the centennial of the Philippine SVD. Last month, the whole “family” went to Abra to join the celebration there.

In 2003, I was invited to preach at the mass in Christ the King Seminary on the occasion of their Family Feast. For those who might want to reflect with the SVD on this day, here’s an excerpt of that:

The Family Feast is an emblematic celebration of two humble birth-events: the birth of Mary and the birth of the SVD.

The birth of heroes and special persons are always surrounded by legends and miraculous stories. Remember the interesting birth narratives in the bible, that of Moses (Exod 2:1-10); Samuel (1 Sam 1:1-28); John the Baptist (Lk 1:5:25); and Jesus (Lk 1:26-38). When the legendary Ilocos hero Lam-ang was born, he could immediately talk and climb tree (was it a guava?); so with the Ilonggo epic hero, Labaw Donggon who was told to be already a mature person (datung tawu) when he was born (cf. E. Damiana, The Filipino Epics, 2001).

The birth of Mary is not found in the Bible but in apocryphal gospels, particularly in the Protoevangelium of James (Proto-Gospel of James), a pseudoepigraphical writing composed in the late second century A.D – more than 150 years after the death of Jesus.

As the story goes, Joachim and Anna, the parents of Mary, were getting old and could not bear a child. Anna was barren. In that culture, that situation is shameful. . But one day, an angel appeared to Anna in the garden at the same time as an angel also appeared to Joachim while pasturing the flock, announcing that Anna shall conceive a child. And so Mary was born and after six months Mary was said to be already walking on her feet. The story is inspired obviously by that of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18.

What is historical though is the fact that the birth of a baby girl is not worth rejoicing in a male-oriented culture, the condition where Mary was born. In the ancient Mediterranean culture, the birth of a son is announced loudly and joyfully by the father (in Hebrew): hinne ben nolad! (“Behold, a son is born!” cf. Rut 4:17; 1 Kgs 13:2; 1 Chron 22:9; Isa 9:5[6]; Jer 20:15; Job 3:3; John 16:21). The birth of a girl did not create such excitement.

In the Protoevangelium of James we have a different story. Anna, upon giving birth, asked her midwife: "What have I brought forth?" The woman said: "A girl." Anna then exclaimed: "My soul has been magnified this day" (similar words of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:1).

In any case, this “humbled” birth of Mary could be reflected in her longest recorded words found in the Gospel of Luke, the Magnificat (1:46-56). In that song, she indirectly spoke of her situation “the humiliation of the maidservant” (cf. v. 48.52).

The birth of the SVD as well was set in a “humiliating” and hostile situation. Nineteenth Century Germany was anti-Catholic (cf. J. Alt, XIV). Thus, this first Catholic German missionary society had to begin outside Germany, in Holland (Steyl). The birth of the SVD in a foreign) was foreshadowing the unique international character of this Society.

It was an irony that when Nineteenth Century Germany was becoming ethnocentric in the movement that was called Kulturkampf, the spirit of the Founder was one of openness and generosity. While the German government was confiscating and secularizing Catholic churches’ properties and expelling foreigners (Alt, XIV), Arnold Janssen was envisioning to send German missionaries to foreign lands.

On the positive side, the Nineteenth Century Europe witnessed the progress of sciences. Arnold Janssen, before he commenced his theological studies, trained himself in philosophy, mathematics and natural sciences and taught them after ordination (e.g. physics, mineralogy, zoology and botany, cf. Alt, 16-20; 24-30). Later, he would send his men to study natural sciences, chemistry and geology. One of them went on to study linguistics and became an excellent ethnologist known all over the world for his novel studies on “primitive cultures”—Fr. Wilhelm Schmidt, SVD (1868-1954) the founder of Anthropos Institute and Anthropos, a seminal journal on Cultural Anthropology (cf. E. Brandewie, When Giants Walked the Earth: The Life and Times of Wilhelm Schmidt, SVD (Studia Instituti Anthropos 44; Fribourg, 1990).

Together with the advance of sciences was the flowering of biblical studies especially Protestant Germany in the Nineteenth Century. The works of Julius Wellhausen, Hermann Gunkel, the biblical scholars from the University of Tübingen revolutionized and influenced modern biblical scholarship up to the present time. The historical-critical study of the bible had drawn out both controversies and renewed interests in the Sacred Scripture. The bible as never before was now studied in an objective and scientific manner. Even Arnold Janssen, as attested in his academic records, had taken courses in Biblical Greek and Hebrew (cf. Alt, 14;21), two subjects which most seminarians avoid today. This humble but fervent quest for the explanation and understanding of the Sacred Text in the late Nineteenth Century would have been also a key factor for Arnold Janssen to name his newly born mission congregation, Societas Verbi Divini (“Society of the Divine Word”).

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Philippine SVD in the Philippine Panorama

This Sunday's issue of the Panoroma, Manila Bulletin's weekly magazine, has its cover and editorial the Philippine SVD. Please click on the pictures above or on Panorama's website here.

Updated (further) information: For the year 2009, there are 6,131 listed members.
Note that the Editorial mentions the Alternative Learning System (non-formal education) as part of the mission of prophetic dialogue by the Philippine SVD. Please click here for more info on SVD-ALS.

On January 29, feast of St. Joseph Freinademetz, the SVD will confer the SVD Mission Awards. For nominations, please click here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The State of the Websites of Philippine SVD

"There's nothing new under the sun" (Qoheleth 1:9).

Philippine Central Province

Philippine Northern Province

Philippine Southern Province

Fr. Ramon Velasco, SVD (1959-2009)

Fr. Ramon "Mon" Velasco, SVD, an extern priest in residence at St. Alphonsus Church, Seattle, died of cerebral hemorrhage on Augusts 24, 2009. He was found unconscious, lying on the floor of his own room (St. Alphonsus Parish Convent, NW Seattle) around 8pm that day. He was no longer brought to the hospital. Mon turned 50 years old last April.

Fr. Mon was an alumnus of Divine Word Seminary (Philosophy-1986; Theology-1991) and was ordained priest in 1990.

Here's a report of the Memorial Mass from Fr. Julius Lopez, SVD.
Click here for pictures of the Mass courtesy of Fr. Lopez.
"mga 'tol, tuloy pa rin ang pagdadalamhati natin para kay Mon pero sa kabila ng lahat masaya kong ibabalita sa inyo na napakaganda ang naging Memorial Services na inalay para sa kanya kahapon at ngayon (Aug. 27-28) ng dati niyang parokya ng Holy Family Catholic Church, Seattle. very moving and very touching is all i can say.

nagsimula ang Rosary kagabi ng 6:30 at nagulat na lang kami ni teody ng dumating kami sa dami ng sasakyang nakaparada sa simbahan. sa katunayan nahirapan nga kaming mag park. pagpasok namin sa simbahan nabigla din kami sa nakita naming dami ng taong nakiramay. ika nga "from all walks of life" - lay and religious. also of all races: may mga blacks, latino, asians of course and caucasians. dalawa pa nga ang rosaries inoffer sa kanya, one in english and one in spanish dahil din sa magandang ministry nya sa mga hispanics.

for the 10am mass the following day mas lalong dumami ang tao, siguro palagay ko easily over a thousand ang nag attend. presider was Archbishop Alexander Brunett ng Archdiocese of Seattle and together with him were his two auxiliary bishops and about 30-40 priest concelebrants. preacher was fr. phil bloom na dating kasama ni mon sa holy family parish for 7 years. napakaganda ang homily nya which i hope to share with you later (i am awaiting his email for a copy of his homily). nagconcelebrate kami ni teody. kasama rin namin ang 12 paring pinoy ng seattle. pinoy choir ang kumanta at 95% ay tagalog songs at nakakabagbag damdamin talaga. pagkatapos ng communion nagsalita din si Archbishop Brunette - a eulogy for mon. both homily and eulogy expressed the fact that mon has been well loved and appreciated by the faithful of seattle. he touched so many people in so many ways through his simple and cheerful spirit. he simply had a beautiful heart. talagang spirit-filled ang community sa kanya, ika nga.

eto pa magandang nangyari: nilibre ang casket and all funeral services para kay mon courtesy of the funeral home mon has always helped by saying funeral masses, etc. pati mga embalmers mahal na mahal si mon!

in his eulogy for mon, the Archbishop mentioned the SVDs. he read (in toto) a letter of thanks from the provincial of the SVD california province, Fr. Briccio Tamoro, also a pinoy. in the letter Fr. Tamoro thanked the Archbishop and the faithful of Seattle for their warm welcome of Mon and for arranging the beautiful memorial services. Arcbishope Brunett mentioned that technically Mon still belongs to the SVD Central Province as his incardination to the archdiocese was not officially completed. he also acknowledged the presence of Mon's confreres, though not by name (dalawa kami ni teody). umabot ng isa't kalahating oras ang mass.

after the mass, mon's remains were transported back to the funeral home for the meantime that arrangements have been made to fly him back home! yes, mon is coming home to manila na buong buo, not cremated!!! teody and i were so happy to know that the family finally decided against cremation. so, humanda kayo - Mon will take manila by storm again! nilalakad na ang mga papeles. they projected mon will be in Manila the first weekend of September. he will be buried with his mom and dad sa may laloma catholic cemetery. (sana mag offer ang svd central na sa christ the king din sya ilibing...ehemm. .. after all svd pa rin naman sya... but well... please don't quote me ha... hehe...)

anyways, despite our heartbreaks we are consoled by the fact that everything turned out beautiful for mon. though short, mon's journey was absolutely unique yet beautiful!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Alumni/Alumnae who came up to Tagaytay - 20 August 2009

From left: Atty Rolly Arellano; Prof. Cadz Malbarosa;
Dr. Max Felicilda and wife Angie;
Atty Nova (guest); Fr. Randy Flores, SVD;
Atty Allan Montealegre; Mr. Glen Catubig
Thank you for coming.
Click here for more photos

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fr. Antonio del Mar Pernia, SVD - Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2009

Fr. Antonio del Mar Pernia, SVD
Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2009
Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City (Philippines)

The academic community of Divine Word Seminary— faculty and students, led by the Rector, Fr. Fred Saniel, has conferred the Distinguished Alumnus Award on the occasion of the 100 years of Philippine SVD. The award, given for the first time, went to no other than Fr. Antonio del Mar Pernia, SVD Superior General who was DWST's special guest during the SVD Tagaytay Centennial Celebration and Alumni/Alumnae Homecoming last August 20. 2009.

The citation for the awardee was read by the most senior of the faculty – Fr. Antolin Uy, SVD. The plaque was presented by the Rector, Fr. Fred Saniel, SVD assisted by Fr. Alex Muana, SVD, the Dean of the school of theology.

Then the alumnus pin was placed on the awardee by Dr. Marita Gueverra, MD, to represent the Certificate in Theological Studies, the Saturday theology program for the lay and religious which began two years ago. [The proceeds of the alumnus pin went to the SVD-Alternative Learning System, an education program for the out-of-school youth hosted by Divine Word Seminary].

Then the latest book on Filipino theology written by Bishop Francisco F. Claver, SJ, The Making of a Local Church, a theme dear to the awardee who himself is a Filipino theologian, was presented by SVD scholastic Eric Lacandula, head of the Divine Word Seminary Students' Association.
Fr. Nielo Cantilado, SVD Provincial of the Philippine Central Province also presented the awardee a copy of the latest CD album produced by Divine Word Seminary, the “Complines and Vespers” composed by Bishop Mike Cinches, SVD one time professor and rector of the seminary and Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD, former bible professor. The prayers in the album were chanted by senior members of the SVD community led by Moral theology professor Fr. Raul Caga, SVD and arranged by a former SVD novice, Mr. Nez Marcelo. The proceeds of the sale of the album will support the alma mater — Divine Word Seminary.

After these, the awardee delivered his keynote speech before the academic community, alumni/alumnae and guests.

Fr. Randy Flores, SVD, who wrote the citation, hosted the awarding ceremony.
For citation for the awardee - please click here.
For the keynote of speech of the awardee Fr. Pernia, SVD please click here.

*Portrait of the awardee is done by Ms. Christine Verzosa, a young artist from Tayum, Abra (place of the first residence of the SVD Community).
Fr. Fred Saniel, SVD (rector); Dr. Guevarra, M.D. (CTS student);
Fr. Nielo Cantilado, SVD (provincial); Fr. Antolin Uy, SVD (church historian);
Frt. Eric Lacandula, SVD (Students' Association)

Terry Briones, XVD; Fr. Mollaneda (alumnus); Fr. Villegas, SVD (NT professor)

Bob Fisher, SVD (former Liturgy professor)

with Bishop Bastes, SVD

Fr. Schenk, SVD (German missionary- Mindoro
and in charge of German correspondence for the seminary;
Bro Ric Atencio, SVD (College of the Holy Spirit dean of nursing)

Fr. William Lepatan, SVD (Tacloban);
Fr. Ed Guarin, SVD (Kamuning)

Fr. Randy Flores, SVD (host) with the Rector

Monday, August 24, 2009

100 years of SVD - Back in Abra - link to pictures here

Concert on August 13, 2001 - more pictures, click here.

Mass with the Superior General in San, Isidro - Philippine SVD birthplace
Click here for more pictures.

Mass with the Papal Nuncio in Bangued, Abra.
Click here for more pictures

Classmates in the Tagaytay Alumni Homecoming: Frs. Sebio, Mat, Ed, and Nico

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Day in Tagaytay's Divine Word Seminary

Fr. Fred (rector); Fr. Tony (superior general);
Ate Cory (who does not know her? ); Fr. Pio
; and Fr. Magboo (?)

I'm posting here my letter to Ms. Chin-Chin Gutierrez, Philippine actress, environmentalist, and Time Magazine's 2003 Asian Hero. Chin-Chin is close to the SVD and consider's Divine Word Seminary as her second "home."

Dear Chin,
Thanks for your email. Indeed your father looks like Fr. Tony (Superior General) and how about Fr. Fred Saniel (Rector)? He looks like Arnold Janssen!

It's 3:03 am here and at 4:30, 49 of us here in Tagaytay Seminary will leave for Christ the King Seminary where our we get our chartered bus, one of the three buses hired, to bring us to Abra.

The scholastics and the seniors here deserved that "break" -- we had been working hard, very hard to make our Centennial celebration and alumni/alumnae homecoming in Tagaytay a success, and indeed it was.

Yesterday (August 20) was a big day for Divine Word Seminary, and will be remembered so for years to come.

It began with a good weather that we had been praying for. And so the 300 visitors who came up to Tagaytay beheld the beauty of the seminary--flowers all over, buildings repainted (thanks to many good benefactors), main gate refurbished, manicured lawns and well-trimmed plants. The Clean and Green seminary stood out. For pictures, you can click here-- this is the Facebook of Fr. Gil Alejandria, SVD and you might need to sign up to view them.

Few minutes before 9:00 am, the Superior General blessed the two huge statues of Saints Arnold and Joseph placed infront of the chapel and donated by former SVDs (who call themselves, "Manus Dei"). Then we moved to the Mission Museum for the blessing and opening. This Museum contains many interesting interesting items on the beginning of the seminary and of course on the mission of the SVD--thanks to the initiative and effort of Fr. Alex Muana, our dean.

Just before 10:00 am, we went to the conference hall to confer the "Distinguished Alumnus Award" to none other than Fr. Tony. It's the first time the seminary gives such award. The citation was read by the most senior of the faculty, Fr. Antolin Uy; the plaque was presented by the Rector, Fr. Fred; the alumnus pin was placed on the awardee by Dr. Marita Guevarra, M.D. who represented the Certificate in Theological Studies, the Saturday theology program for the lay born two years ago; the latest book on Filipino theology (F. Claver, S.J., The Making of Local Church, 2009) was presented, the awardee being a theologian himself, by Eric Lacandula the head of the student body; and the latest album "Complines and Vespers" sung /chanted prayers of Divine Word Seminary was also given to him by Fr. Nielo Cantilado, our provincial who is one of the signers and soloists.

After these, Fr. Tony gave his address to assembly. It was an inspiring and theologically stimulating talk where he outlined the role of Divine Word Seminary in the coming years, especially becoming a center of missiological studies in Asia-Pacific region. I will post the text of his talk when I come back from Abra. After Fr. Pernia's talk, the provinicial officially anounced the approval of our affiliation with UST of the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)--Missiology.

The Mass was held around 11:30 am presided by Bishop Artemio Rillera, SVD of San Fernando, La Union who is an alumnus and Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD also an alumnus preached the homily where he narrated stories of the beginning of the seminary being one of its first graduates.

In the afternoon, Bishop Chito Tagle (Imus) gave a talk to the alumni/alumanae on the importance of theological studies in one's life and ministry. Bishop Chito, who is a professor here, and member of the Vatican initiated Theological Commission, shared some interesting points on the value of theology--each one is graced with "faith" that should constantly be nourished; most especially for pastors to whom a faith-community is entrusted.

As the sun was setting, we gathered in the chapel for our evening prayer -- a sung vespers which is found in the CD Album "Complines and Vespers." It was a great moment to thank God for The Day.

After dinner, Fr. Raul Caga, SVD and his Arnoldus Company (composed of 6 scholastics) staged a concert. The songs and performance was wonderful and really something to be proud of. We were awed. They did very well.

And thus The Day ended, very well.

click here for more pictures of the event.

God be praised!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Alumni/Alumnae Homecoming and Centennial Celebration in Tagaytay City

The "refurbished" DWS Gate:
"Raised your head, O Gate; Let your alumni/ae of glory come!

Divine Word Seminary will have its turn to host on August 20 (Thursday) an SVD Centennial Celebration and also a big day for its Alumni and Alumnae.

Who is a Divine Word Seminary alumnus or alumna?

The rule of the thumb is anyone who had stayed, studied, taught and worked here: former SVD novices, former postulants, former DWS students including the new graduates of CTS (Certificate in Theological Studies), former teachers and professors, former formators and rectors. Anyone left out?

It means when you come up, you're an alumnus or alumna.

"Alumnus" in Latin means simply "foster child," or "pupil," or "'someone who has been nourished by an institution." So you're on it.

Here's the "order" of The Day:
AM which is Morning
7:00 - Registration, with Barako Coffee (halina't mangape, just like the old days)
8:45 - Blessing of the Statues of Arnold and Joseph F. (donated by Manus Dei)
9:30 - Video Presentation on Divine Word Seminary: "before, during, and after."
10:00 - Special Snacks (heavy if you wish)
10:15 - Distinguished Alumnus Award and Address of the Awardee - Fr. Antonio Pernia, SVD (Superior General)
11:15 - Holy Mass - Bishop Artemio Rillera, SVD (San Fernando, La Union) as presider and Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD (Sorsogon) as homilist.

PM which is Afternoon
2:00 - Talk of Bishop Chito Tagle (TMP rector and Bishop of Imus) on the " Relevance of Theological Studies to One’s Life and Ministry"
4:00 - Snacks and Free Time /Ball Games
6:00 - Sung Vespers (Guitar version) see the just-released Album.
7:00 - Dinner
8:00 - Concert of Arnoldus Company
9:00 - Subdued - "light" moments
As you see, "the day" is loaded. After this day, you'll be home renewed, enriched, inspired, and more "holy."

What to see when you're here:
The Mission Museum - collection include artifacts brought home by missionaries; chalices used by the first SVD missionaries; images of local gods and goddesses. The director is Fr. Alex Muana, SVD who is a licensed missiologist and the dean of the school of theology.Arnoldus Library - with its new extension (old Arnoldus Hall), the library boasts of excellent collection in theological literature including recently published books from reputable local and international publishers. It is one of the better theological libraries in the country. A visit of this place is a must if one wants to have a "quick" and "inexpensive" updating in theology.The Miraculous Grotto - it's also called the Grotto of the Virgin of the Poor or Our Lady of Banneux. After a some of years of neglect, the grotto (the biggest image of the virgin in the seminary) is now a better and more environmental friendly place to pray to the Blessed Mother and also to meditate. That it has become such a lovely grotto is miracle itself. In the last nursing board exams, students were seen streaming to the grotto. The SVD community gathers at the grotto every first Saturday for its morning mass . Our own SVD-ALS (out-of-school youth) frequent also the place do some cleaning and pray for a better future. The Lady, indeed, is the Virgin of the Poor.Click here for more pics of the grotto

The SVD-ALS - this is the SVD-Alternative Learning System located at the former Arnoldus Dispensary Building (at the main gate). This is a program for the out-of-school youth, mostly from Tagaytay. On its first year, the program is now serving 124 learners who are being prepared to take the Department of Education's e Accreditation and Equivalency tests. The site coordinator is Fr. Randy Flores, SVD, working with 3 SVD deacons and 3 teachers. Click also here.

And of course, to buy the album - SVD Complines and Vespers (centennial edition) - limited copies so make it sure you buy you have your own personal copy before you leave. The sung prayers are not only nostalgic but also are useful prayers for people on the go - you can listen and prayer in your car, in your mp3s, and wherever you are--so you won't miss your evening prayers.

This album "SVD Complines and Vespers"--prayers sung during Saturday nights and Sunday evenings at Divine Word Seminary chapel (composed by Bishop Cinches and Bishop Bastes) is now out in the market. You can now buy your copies of the centennial limited edition (with Jubilate) at Christ the King Seminary Store, Catholic Trade Manila, Divine Word Seminary-Tagaytay; or you can write an email to me rrandy33@yahoo.com or text Fr. Raul Caga 09282756270. Price per album with musical notes (Jubilate)= P500.00.

Tomorrow (17 August, Monday) is also the start of the sports, academic, and cultural fest of the DWS students' association or DWSTSA (Divine Word School of Theology Students' Association) which will have its culmination on the Alumni/Alumnae Homecoming on Aug 20.