Sending Off Missionaries to Colombia

The concluding activity of the third day of the SCJ Annual Assembly on February 12, 2020, was Holy Eucharist. It was held at the Immaculate Concepcion Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro City and was presided by the Regional Superior, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ. Besides the two SCJ deacons, Fr. Lukas was accompanied at the altar by Fr. Delio Ruiz, SCJ, and Fr. Rogereve U. Pausanos, SCJ, who will join the new international community in Colombia. On February 17, 2020, they will leave for Madrid in Spain and after a few days, they will proceed to Quito in Ecuador. In Ecuador, they will meet the rest of the group, will organize the new community, and make plans for the future, while Fr. Rogereve will learn Spanish. The most probably by June 2020, they will move to Bogotá in Colombia. The new community will include one SCJ from Indonesia and one from Brazil.

The ceremony of sending off the missionaries took place after the homily. The Regional Superior, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, gave them a special blessing and handed over to each of them the Missionary Cross, a symbol of being sent to proclaim the Good News.

Fr. Rogereve U. Pausanos, SCJ, is the third Filipino SCJ who volunteered to join the foreign mission. He comes from Balongating, formerly part of Dumalinao Parish, run by the Priests of the Sacred Heart since 2003. Working as a parish worker, he had many opportunities to learn the Dehonian Way of Life and of doing things. “My heart actually fell in love with the SCJ charism, recalls Fr. Rogereve, the way they work in the parish, taking care of the families, the BEC, lay empowerment, and the social involvement...”, made him enter the Congregation. After finishing his college studies in the second part of 2008 reported at the Sacred Heart Formation House in Cagayan de Oro City to start the ten-year-long preparation for the priesthood. As a deacon, he was assigned in the SCJ parish in Kumalarang and continued to work there even after his ordination as a priest on July 10, 2018. His favorite work was to organize the BEC (Basic Ecclesial Communities). It was his love and passion and was very happy to do it. Before, he also helped to organize the BECs in Dansolihon, Cagayan de Oro.

The decision to join the new mission of the Congregation in Colombia came quite unexpectedly. It was Fr. Delio Ruiz, SCJ, who made him think to go to Colombia. Before he did not consider such an option, but he agrees that God has His own ways and was preparing him for this for a long time. It was the spirit of “Ecce Venio” of which he had heard so many times that made him say YES. Asked about his feelings, he says, he is at peace and happy. The biggest challenge he had to face was his mother, but he knows that she supports him and prays for him. Going to Colombia he has no expectations in order not to be disappointed. He trusts in God and believes in His plan for him.

Fr. Delio Ruiz, SCJ, comes from Argentina and is 59 years old. He was ordained as a priest on November 21, 1987. In his Mother-Province, he was assigned in the pastoral and formation work. Prior to his arrival in the Philippines, Fr. Delio completed his Biblical Theology at the Gregorian University in Rome with a licentiate degree allowing him to teach, which he loves so much. His big dream was to become a missionary in the Philippines. His third application for the mission ad gentes was finally approved in December 2002 and on May 31, 2003, the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, arrived in the Philippines. His first assignment was at San Isidro Parish in Dumalinao. At the same time, he started to teach Holy Scripture at the St. Mary’s Theologate (SMT) in Ozamis City, which he continued even during his second assignment as a formator in the Sacred Heart Formation House in Cagayan de Oro City. In Cagayan de Oro City, besides being a formator, very often he went to say the Mass in remote villages of the Dansolihon area, and of course, started to teach biblical subjects at the St. John Vianney Seminary. After four years in Cagayan de Oro (2007 – 2011), Fr. Delio has transferred to the Manila Community. In Manila, aside from being a formator and later superior of the community, he continued to teach Bible in the different Schools of Theology: MST (Maryhill School of Theology), RST (Recoletos School of Theology), ICLA ( Institute For Consecrated Life In Asia) and other institutions. On January 29, 2018Fr. Delio Ruiz, SCJ, has defended his STD Dissertation and received the degree Doctorate in Sacred Theology with the field of specialization in Biblical Theology.

In the Philippines, Fr. Delio has spent almost 17 years of his priestly life, serving the Church and the Congregation. He was liked by everybody, especially by his students, who called him “Boss”. He felt happy and fulfilled. As he says, he would never think of changing the mission and going to another place, so how it has happened? Every time going to Argentina for vacations, Fr. Delio would have his stopover in Rome in the SCJ Generalate. Normally, he would stay there for one or more days. Last year it was just for a few hours, but it was enough to change his life; he got a proposal to be a part of the new mission in Colombia. God has His own plans and ways of directing the things and the answer can be only one “Ecce Venio” (Here I am), as both of them did. He was given time to reflect on it and to give an answer, this is what he said: “So, after two weeks I replied from Argentina…I cried to myself on the plane going to Buenos Aires, imagining this new assignment. I waited in Argentina, found Mama Mary from tour Novitiate that there is still in the Provincial House, I prayed. It was the Visitation of the Virgin Mary, May 31, the same day that I arrived in the Philippines, the same day I wrote a letter to the General Council ‘Here I am'”.

Thank for this, for accepting the challenge!

We will miss you! All the best! God bless!

Colombia: Quick Facts

  • The official name of Colombia is the Republic of Colombia.

  • The name “Colombia” is derived from the last name of the explorer Christopher Columbus.

  • 99% of the population speak Spanish, the official language of Colombia. There are also many indigenous languages spoken throughout the country.

  • Colombia shares a land border with 5 countries including Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru.

  • Colombia is the only country in South America that has a coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

  • Bogotá is the capital of Colombia. It is the second-largest capital city in South America and at 2640 m (8661 ft) it is one of the highest capital cities in the world.

  • Colombia has a population of over 49.07 million people as of July 2017.

  • Colombia is classed as a “megadiverse” country, ranking as the 2nd most biodiverse country in the world. It has the highest amount of species by area in the world, including the most endemic species of butterflies, the most orchid species, the most amphibian species and more species of bird than all of Europe and North America combined.

  • The area covered by modern-day Colombia was originally inhabited by the indigenous tribes Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona. In 1499 the Spanish arrived making the area a Spanish colony called New Granada.

  • The currency of Colombia is called the Colombian peso.

  • Colombia is the world’s leading source of emeralds and its coffee is world-renown.

  • Stands selling fruit and juices are found throughout Colombia, especially on the Caribbean coast.

  • Colombia has a vibrant music scene, two of the most well-known Colombian musicians are Shakira and Juanes.

  • The traditional national sport of Colombia is called Tejo. It is a team sport that involves launching projectiles at a target.

  • The most popular sport in Colombia is football (soccer). The Colombian national team won the 2001 Copa América (South American Championship).

  • Other popular and successful sports of Colombia include roller-skating, weightlifting, baseball, boxing, motorsport, and cycling.