Celebration of the Immaculate Conception Feast in Aluba Parish

On December 8, 2019, the Immaculate Conception Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro City, celebrated its Patronal Feast. The concelebrated Fiesta Mass was presided by Fr. Julius Clavero, SSJV, the parish priest of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Pueblo, Cagayan de Oro City. As usual the main celebration was preceded with nine day novena and other activities, such as a Parish BEC Family Day on November 30, Walk for Fun on December 7, and culminated with the Acoustic Band Concert on December 8.

The Immaculate Conception  is also the Principal Patroness of the Philippines and this year is celebrated on December 9.

In 1854, Pope Pius IX’s solemn declaration, Ineffabilis Deus, clarified with finality the long-held belief of the Church that Mary was conceived free from original sin. In proclaiming the Immaculate Conception of Mary as a dogma of the Church, the pope expressed precisely and clearly that Mary was conceived free from the stain of original sin. This privilege of Mary derives from God’s having chosen her as Mother of the Savior; thus she received the benefits of salvation in Christ from the very moment of her conception.

This great gift to Mary, an ordinary human being just like us, was fitting because she was destined to be Mother of God. The purity and holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a model for all Christians.

The Immaculate Conception Parish in Aluba is being administered by the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SCJs) since June 1, 2011. At the present Fr. Janusz Burzawa is the Parish Priest and is assisted by Fr. Szymon Bendowski, and Fr. Ruel C. Paalisbo.

Miraculous Medal Quasi-Parish in Talisay declared a Parish

On November 30, 2019, the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Quasi-Parish in Talisay, Hilongos, Southern Leyte, was elevated to the rank of a parish. The declaration was made by the Most Rev. Precioso D. Cantillas, SDB, D.D., the Bishop of Maasin, during the concelebrated Holy Eucharist.  Also, during the same ceremony, the bishop has installed Fr. Arthur Guevara, SCJ, as a Parish Priest of the new parish. The celebration was a part of the 3rd Feast of the Patron and was preceded with nine day Novena and other activities.

In the Roman Catholic Church, a parish is a stable community of the faithful within a particular church, whose pastoral care has been entrusted to a parish priest, under the authority of the diocesan bishop. It is a territorial entity constituting a division within a diocese.

The parish is where the Church lives. Parishes are communities of faith, of action, and of hope. They are where the gospel is proclaimed and celebrated, where believers are formed and sent to renew the earth. Parishes are the home of the Christian community; they are the heart of our Church. Parishes are the place where God’s people meet Jesus in word and sacrament and come in touch with the source of the Church’s life.

The official SCJ presence in the Diocese of Maasin started on June 11, 2016, when the local bishop entrusted to the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ) a part of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Hilongos,  the St. Pope John Paul II Southern Mission Territory, with its main chapel in the Barangay Talisay, later on Miraculous Medal Quasi-Parish. At the moment there are three SCJs assigned there: Fr. Arthur Guvera, Fr. Christopher Alburo and Fr. Josepatro Gier, Jr.

On January 1, 2018, with the ground breaking ceremony, the parishioners of Talisay started construction of their new parish church, which at the moment is at the stage of its completion.

The celebration was attended by the Regional Superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, the Regional Secretary and Treasurer Fr. Joseph Butlig, SCJ, Fr. Elpidio Luza, SCJ, the Parish Priest of Bagong Silang, diocesan priests, religious from different congregations and parishioners. As usual, it ended at the table filled with the different kinds of food.

Entity Superiors Meeting in Rome and other events

The New Superiors Meeting was followed by the Entity Superiors Meeting. It was held at the SCJ Generalate in Rome on November 11 – 15, 2019. In between there were two important events organized by the Dehonian Studies Centre (CSD): International Dehonian Theological Commission (CTID) meeting and the International Conference on the Sacred Heart Devotion titled “Sacred Heart Devotion: Memory – Body – Image – Text; Continuity and Discontinuity.”

The first activity was an annual gathering  of the coordinators of the continental commissions, the staff of the Dehonian Studies Centre, and the two General Councillors, Fr. Léopold Mfouakouet and Fr. Artur Sanecki. The Philippines Region was represented in this meeting by Fr. Delio Ruiz.

The second event on November 8 – 9, 2019, sponsored by the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the University of Lucerne (Switzerland), was a conference attended by 120 participants including Dehonian confreres from all over the world, lay people, members of religious congregations dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and experts from Switzerland, Germany, USA, Spain and Italy.

The Meeting of the Entity Superiors was attended by 37 confreres from all of the provinces, regions and districts of the Congregation, along with members of the General Government and the main services of the Curia. During five very exhausting days the superiors, among many different topics, reflected on the challenges the congregation is facing, new perspectives, structures, internationality, collaboration among entities, finances, etc.

On November 13, 2019, the superiors of the entities have been invited to commemorate the confreres killed and presented as models for Dehonian consecration and vocation: Blessed Giovanni Maria della Croce and P. Martino Capelli, whose 75th anniversaries of martyrdom are being celebrated and are recognized as important steps in the process of Canon for beatification. The relics of Blessed Giovanni Maria della Croce and the original 1931 document of the renewal of the vows of Fr. Martino Capelli were present in the meeting room. At the end of the day the superiors of the entities and several members of the Generalate community went to the Basilica of St. Bartholomew, to honor these Dehonian martyrs of the 20th and 21st centuries. Together with the Community of Sant ‘Egidio, they prayed Vespers and transferred the relics and memories of these confreres, placing them in the chapels.

For more information please visit the webpage of the congregation http://www.dehoniani.org/en/

Parade of Saints 2019

Like in the previous years, on November 1, 2019, parishioners of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro, took part in a “Parade of Saints” to celebrate All Saints’ Day. The parade is a counter-culture activity to the pagan celebration of Halloween and an avenue of catechizing children at an early age, and families, about the lives of the saints.

Catholic saints are people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint, the Church honors, responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts for the glory of God and the good of others. God calls each one of us to be a saint.

Similar celebration was also held at San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Quezon City, Diocese of Novaliches.

All Saints’ Day in the Philippines

The Solemnity of All Saints’ Day, also called All Hallows Tide, All Hallomas, or All Hallows’ Day, on November 1, is a celebration of all Christian saints, known or unknown, canonized or beatified, but more particularly those who have no special feast days of their own. In many countries, including the Philippines, All Saints’ Day is not only for remembering the saints, but also for honoring and paying respects to departed relatives and friends, through prayers, floral and food offerings, vigil, and lighting of candles at gravesites. For Catholics, it is a holy day of obligation, as they go to Mass and participate in ceremonies for the dead.

All Saints’ Day originated from the ancient tradition of honoring the martyrs of Christianity. As the number of persecuted martyrs grew, the church instituted a common commemoration of their faith. Pope Boniface IV consecrated the pantheon at Rome to the Virgin Mary and all the martyrs on May 13 in 609 A.D. Pope Gregory III (731-741) instituted November 1 as the official date of All Saints’ Day.

Filipinos, known for having great respect for their deceased relatives, consider All Saints Day, called “Undas” or Todos los Santos, a day of remembrance, an important liturgical celebration, next to Christmas and Holy Week, that begins at Vespers on evening of October 31 and ends at the close of November 1. Undas is similar to the Mexican tradition of “Dia de los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead,” in which the focus is on family gatherings before tombs of loved ones.

Filipinos go home to their provinces where their loved ones are buried to pay them honor and respect; they offer flowers and food baskets and light candles in cemeteries, memorial parks, mausoleums, and columbariums where they reunite with relatives and friends, share stories and memories, and together pray for their dearly departed. In rural communities, groups of older people, and sometimes children, organize singing groups that go from house to house to serenade families, called “pangangaluluwa” or the Visayan “kalag-kalag” (souling), a practice belived to bring peace to departed souls.

Ordination to the Diaconate in Dumalinao

On October 16, 2019, two members of the SCJ Philippines Region on final vows: Bro. Victor M. Lingasa, SCJ, and Bro. Julius D. Socorro, SCJ were ordained deacons.

The two SCJs were ordained by the Bishop of Pagadian Diocese, Most Rev. Ronald I. Lunas, D.D., at the San Isidro Labrador Parish in Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur.

Dn. Victor comes from Pitogo, Diocese of Pagadian, while Dn. Julius from Bayugan, Diocese of Butuan.The new deacons are assigned, respectively, at the Holy Cross Parish (Parokya ng Banal na Krus) in Tandang Kutyo, Tanay, Rizal, Diocese of Antipolo, and San Roque Parish in Bagong Silang, Diocese of Novaliches.

The ordination was held a day after the SCJ meeting on October 15, 2019, at the Novitiate Fr. Dehon in Lower Locuban, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur and was attended by almost all members of the Philippines Region, priests and religious from the Diocese of Pagadian, family members and friends of the two new deacons.

The ceremony of ordination started at 9:00 am and ended with a lunch at 11:00 am.

25 Years of SCJ Presence in India

On October 6, 2019, falls the 25 anniversary of SCJ presence in India. It started in 1994 with the arrival of +Fr. Martin Van Ooij, SCJ, a Dutch missionary in Indonesia, who later was joined by other missionaries from different provinces. Many of them, due to the visa restrictions or other commitments in their places, were able to stay only for six months. Some others managed to stay longer. In this way many missionaries from different entities passed through India, of whom some have already gone to the Lord. Also, some of the missionaries moved to the Philippines or China.

Officially, the Mission in India became a District of India on May 1, 1999, thirty days before the Philippines became a District (May 31, 2019). It grew very rapidly. Today the District of India has around 100 members of which a half are priests. Some of their priests are assigned in other entities of the congregation. They have 13 communities.

The two-day celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Dehonian presence in India started on October 5, 2019, with the Holy Eucharist presided by the General Superior Very Reverend Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez Cordorniú, SCJ. The homily was a shared reflection by several Dehonians. After the homily, the district’s first Lay Dehonian made a year-long commitment to Dehonian spirituality; Fr. Carlos Luis received her commitment.

The Holy Mass was followed by a cultural show and Agape. The celebration was held at the SCJ Theologate in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, South India.

The main celebration is scheduled on October 6, 2019. Among the invited guests were former missionaries to India, heads of different entities and members of the congregation. Philippines is being represented by the Regional Superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ and Fr. Showe Bala Reddy Nekkanti, SCJ.

Congratulations to the District of India!

Silver Jubilee of Religious Profession of Vows of Sr. Yollie C. Novabos, TMM

On October 1, 2019, the memorial of St. Therese of Lisieux and patronal feast of the pious association of Theresian Missionaries of Mary (TMM), Sr. Ma. Eulogia “Yollie” Novabos, TMM, celebrated her Silver Anniversary of religious vows of Chasity, Poverty and Obedience.

On this occasion during the concelebrated Mass, presided by Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, D.D., Sr. Yollie repeated her commitment to God, the Church and her community.

The association of the Theresian Missionaries of Mary (TMM) was founded in 1985 by a Columban missionary Fr. Francis Chapman, SSC. As of now the community has 14 members on final and temporary vows working in different places and apostolates within the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro. The motto of their group are the words of St. Therese “My vocation is love.”

Sr. Yolly, who comes from Lugait, Misamis Oriental, made her first profession of vows in 1994. As a religious, she was assigned in many different places and positions. The longest time she spent in St. Joseph School in El Salvador City as a financial oficer. Since July 16, 2014, Sr. Yollie has been working for the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ) as a secretary in the fundraising office.

During the same ceremony her co-sisters renewed also their vows.

The celebration was attended by many diocesan and religious priests from the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, family members, friends and benefactors of the community. At the end of the Mass all participants placed red roses at the feet of St. Therese known as a “little flower.” The celebration was held at the “Our Lady of the Snows” Parish in El Salvador City.

SCJ Meeting in Tandag Kutyo and Anniversary Celebration at San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish

On July 16, 2019, the SCJ Philippine Region held its regular meeting at the Holy Cross Parish (Parokya ng Banal na Krus) in Tandang Kutyo, Tanay, Rizal (Diocese of Antipolo).

On the following day on July 17, 2019, all SCJs gathered at San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish, Tierra Verde Homes I, Brgy. Culiat, Tandang Sora, Quezon City, to celebrate in Manila Zone, the 30th Anniversary of SCJ Presence in the Philippines. The Thanksgiving Mass was presided by the outgoing bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches, Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D., at the moment an apostolic administrator of the diocese.

Bp. Tobias was one of the two bishops, who together with Most Rev. Federico O. Escaler, S.J., D.D., of Prelature of Ipil, accepted the Priests of the Sacred Heart into his Diocese of Pagadian in 1989.

On July 1, 2016, Bp. Tobias entrusted to the Dehonians San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish, where he also ordained many SCJ deacons and priests.

The SCJ Philippines Region is thanking Bp. Antonio for his friendship and fatherly care.