Priestly Ordination of Deacon Dinh

D20A0416On November 30, 2015, Feast of Saint Andrew, the Apostle, Deacon Dinh Van Nguyen, member of the SCJ District in Vietnam, was ordained a priest. The ceremony of ordination took place during the Holy Mass at  in Tierra Verde Homes I Subdivision, Barangay Pasong Tamo in Quezon City, presided by the ordaining bishop, Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D., the ordinary of the Diocese of Novaliches, where the parish and the SCJ Formation House belong.

Fr. Dinh is 39 years old and comes from the family of seven children in Dong Nai Province in Vietnam. He has two sisters and four brothers. In 2002, he arrived in the Philippines to study Philosophy at the Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City, where he met the first SCJ students from Vietnam. Although his initial wish was to become a Jesuit, he got easily attracted to the spirituality of the Priests of the Sacred Heart and decided to be one of them.

His vocation to the priesthood started 21 years ago when he was an altar boy. He got attracted by his parish priest who was very simple and holy. His wish that time was to become one day like him, and now his dreams came true.

Fr. Dinh is the 8th SCJ, who underwent the formation process and was ordained in the Philippines. His plan after the ordination is to return to Vietnam, to work in the formation program and to teach Philosophy or Theology.


The ordination of Fr. Dinh was attended by more than 30 family members and friends from Vietnam and many friends from the Philippines.

Congratulations Fr. Dinh and God bless you on this new way of life from all the members of the SCJ Philippine Region!

+ Bp. Federico O. Escaler, S.J., D.D.

Bp. Federico EscalerYesterday, on November 28, 2015, the former and the first Bishop of Prelature of Ipil, Most Rev. Federico O. Escaler, S.J., D.D., at the age of 93, has joined the Lord. Bp. Escaler was one of the two bishops who in 1989 accepted members of the first group of SCJs into his Prelature, entrusting them two parishes: Margosatubig (now Diocese of Pagadian) and Kumalarang (Diocese of Ipil).

All members of the SCJ Philippine Region express their gratitude for Bp. Freddy’s fatherly care and love and join the prayers in his intention. May he rest in Peace!


Biography of Bishop Federico O. Escaler, S.J., D.D. (1922-2015)
By Sch. Amado T. Tumbali, Jr., SJ
Asst. Province Archivist

The Most Reverend Federico Ocampo Escaler was born on 28 June 1922 in Manila. On his birthday in 1941, after finishing a degree in Ateneo de Manila, where he also studied his primary and secondary education, Freddy, as he had been called in the Society of Jesus, entered the Jesuits at Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches. However, Freddy and his fellow novices moved to Ateneo de Manila at Padre Faura during the outbreak of WWII. They began Juniorate there on 1 June 1943 but eventually moved to La Ignaciana in Sta. Ana, and then, finally back to Novaliches. From 1945-1948, he studied and finished his M.A. in Philosophy at St. Robert Bellarmine College which was first located in La Ignaciana, and then in Novaliches. He was a regent from 1948-1951 at San Jose Seminary in La Ignaciana where he taught English, Latin, Tagalog, Spanish, Sociology, Philippine Government, and Geometry. He was also the Prefect of Discipline to the major seminarians and moderator of the Sodality, the choir, and INSTA. He studied and finished S.T.B. and S.T.L. at Woodstock College, Maryland, U.S.A. from 1951-1955. He was ordained deacon at Fordham, New York, U.S.A on 18 June 1954 by Bishop Thomas J. Feeney, S.J., D.D. and priest the following day by Francis Cardinal Spellman. From 1954-55, he did some special studies in Guidance and Counseling at Boston College and Fordham University, respectively.

After Fr. Freddy’s tertianship at Palacio del Santo Duque, Gandia, Valencia, Spain in 1956, his first assignment as a priest in the Philippines was Minister at San Jose Seminary in Highway 54. A year after, he was assigned Archivist of the Vice Province and Socius to Vice Provincial Francis Clark. In 1961, he became Superior and Minister of La Ignaciana Retreat House in Sta. Ana. While serving those competencies, he also gave retreats around the country.

In 1962, Fr. Freddy was Rector and President, while teaching Theology, at Ateneo de Davao. In 1966, he was back to Xavier House as Province Treasurer. While in Manila, he was also Chaplain of the Christian Family Movement. In 1973, he was assigned to Ateneo de Cagayan (X.U.) as Rector and President, while teaching Theology. Three years after, he was named as the first Bishop of then to be established Prelature of Kidapawan in North Cotabato. In 1976, he was ordained bishop on the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola by Jaime Cardinal Sin at Manila Cathedral. From 1976-1980, he was in Kidapawan until his assignment to pioneer the newly created Prelature of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay, where he dedicated himself for 17 years until his retirement on his birthday in 1997. Those indeed were tough years, including his first episcopal assignment. “Ipil and Kidapawan were hotbeds of conflict during the time,” as writer Christian Dy describes. Indeed, in 1985, Bishop Freddy was kidnapped and in 1995, another group of armed militants torched Ipil and left at least 53 dead.

Back in Manila, he continued pastoral work as Spiritual Director of Buklod ng Pag-ibig, Chaplain of A.I.M. and the Cenacle Prayer Group. Towards the end of 2015, a mass was discovered in his liver for which he declined further intervention. He died on 28 November 2015 in his family ancestral residence in San Miguel, Manila.



Remembering SCJ Martyrs

November 26, 2015November 26th  is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Monsignor Joseph Wittebols, SCJ – the Bishop of diocese of Wamba – together with six other missionaries in Congo in 1964.

Twenty-eight religious altogether gave their lives in 1964, during the Simba revolution. Their deaths occurred during the month of November from the 3rd  to the 27th.

There many more SCJs who died as martyrs:

  • Bl. Juan dela Cruz in Spain,
  • 5 SCJs who died during World War II (one German, two from Luxembourg, a Belgian, and an Italian),
  • 11 Dutchmen who died in concentration camps in Indonesia,
  • 3 French missionaries who died in Cameroon in 1959
  • and another Dutch missionary from the North Brazilian Province who died in 1975 as a result of his protective assistance to poor fishermen in Northeast Brazil.

Their deaths were the consequence of a life choice made much earlier …

They are our inspiration and a source of strength for our vocation and mission.

For this reason, in a session of the General Council held on May 11th, 2004, an SCJ MEMORIAL DAY was decreed to be celebrated every year on the 26th of November, anniversary of the death of Bp. Wittebols, SCJ.

“This date should be opportunely prepared for and celebrated in all communities, especially in formation communities, and with lay people who share our pastoral, educational, and missionary activities.

Let the celebration of this day become an occasion to learn about and remember those persons who have impacted the history of a province / region / district and the Congregation, or a particular work or section of our mission”.

Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho, scj


candleWe Pray…

God our loving Father, we praise you!

We thank for all our SCJ brothers who died as martyrs, for their faith and dedication.

Through their intercession, enable us by Holy Spirit of Love, to live and die for you and your beloved people, hoping that we may be transformed day by day into the likeness of your Son Jesus.

Lord God, may the witness of our SCJ brothers, who died as martyrs, strengthen our faith.

May their martyrdom be the seed for our growth in holiness. Give us the power of your spirit to promote understanding and reconciliation, that all may live justly and in peace as brothers and sisters of Jesus, your Son.


Blessing of New Parish House in Bagong Silang

DSC00826The San Roque Parish Phase 9 in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City is being run by the SCJs for more than four years. The parish is a part of Santo Niño Vicariate and it belongs to the Diocese of Novaliches. At the moment the parish is being served by three SCJ priests: Fr. John Karl Cabaluna, Fr. Elpidio Luza, Jr., Fr. Christopher Alburo and one seminarian on exposure Bro. Alex Jumawid. It is located in very densely populated area with a little space for the parish church and some parish facilities. The access road is very narrow and not accessible to trucks or bigger vehicles. The whole area is covered with little, very close to each other, houses, a kind of squatter place inhabited by the very poor who have no access to tenured land of their own.

Among the different ministries and activities such as Lay Ministers, Catechists, Youth, Altar Servers, Legion of Mary, the parish has one of the strongest BEC (Basic Ecclesial Communities) Program in the whole diocese. Also, the parish, with the initiative and support of the Parish Priest, Fr. John Karl Cabaluna, scj, has organized many programs benefiting the poor, sick and homeless. One among them is the “Bath, Eat and Go Program”, where the homeless can come to the parish, take shower, have a meal and go back to their shelters. Everyday. the parish is serving more than one hundred meals and selling kilos of rice at a lower price.

In the beginning, the parish was served by Fr. John Karl from  the Dehon House, an SCJ Formation House in Quezon City, who was helped by the priests from the formation community and some seminarians. Since  four years ago, the priests assigned in San Roque Parish were living in the parish, first in the rented house and later on in a temporary, very simple and perishable hut, with no privacy and basic facilities.

To have a decent place, where the priests could rest, pray together and feel safe, was not only a dream of the priests assigned there, but also of the parishioners and the SCJ Congregation.

Finally, the dreams came true on November 7, 2015, when the new parish house was completed and blessed by Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD. The SCJs in Bagong Silang got their new house, fruit of cooperation between the priests, parishioners, the Diocese of Novaliches and the Philippine Region of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SCJ).

The blessing was preceded by the raffle draw with motorcycle as the first prize.

Congratulations to the winners, to the SCJ priests and all parishioners!