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.

Mass of the Holy Spirit – Acceptance of new Postulants and Aspirants in CDO

With the invocation of the Holy Spirit, on June 10, 2019, the formation community in Cagayan de Oro I officially started new academic year 2019 – 2020. During the Holy Eucharist presided by the Regional Superior, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, three (3) Aspirants (2 Vietnamese and 1 Filipino) were accepted into the Postulancy Program, six (6) into the Aspirancy and five (5) into Orientation Year. The new Postulants were given Bible, while all the others “Rules of the House.” Altogether there are twenty (20) young men, who expressed their wish to follow their vocation in the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SCJ).

Dehonian Youth Mission 2019: A Christ-Like Journey

In celebration of the Year of the Youth and in unity with the 30th anniversary of SCJ presence in the Philippines, this year’s Dehonian Youth Missionaries (DYM) summer mission is mainly centered on the theme: “Sharing Dehonian charism, serving the Gospel and living in the community.” With open minds and open hearts, 17 young missionaries (from the Philippines, Vietnam, and East Timor), bravely said “YES!” to the call of meeting God through serving His people in the humble sitio of Balongkot, under Jesus Nazareno Chaplaincy of Dansolihon, Cagayan de Oro City.

Just like how it normally is, the activity started with a 3-day stay-in formation seminar, called “Umol”. It is composed of spiritual inputs, recollection, and team building, on May 20-22. This is to establish camaraderie among the missionaries before we were sent forth to the mission area on May 23. The mission proper started in the afternoon of the same day, respectively.

We visited the Christian households in the area, blessed their homes and had faith sharing with the families. We also conducted activities like Flores de Mayo, animation, community building, recollection, and Taizé Prayer. One of the many challenges was to reorganize and strengthen the community’s core group and establish a strong foundation for the adult catechists and the youth.

What inspired us aside from the community’s warm welcome was the fact that we were sent there to see Christ in every person we meet and every situation we face. Moreover, we became missionaries not only to the people in Balongkot, but also to each of our fellow missionaries as true prophets of love and servants of reconciliation; embracing the community life selflessly regardless of our differences. Thus, this has been a clear manifestation of the SINT UNUM taught by our founder, Ven. Fr. Leo John Dehon.

By: Rexy Gracey

Summer Youth Mission 2019

May is not only the month of “Flores de Mayo”, but also, in the SCJ parishes, of “Summer Youth Mission.” Here below is an account of the youth mission in Banal na Krus Parish and some pictures from Cagayan de Oro and Dumalinao.

As we celebrate the year of the youth, Banal na Krus Parish (BNKP) Youth Ministry happily granted the challenge of being missionaries and be with the people of Sitio Pantay, Brgy. Tandang Kutyo Tanay, Rizal on May 18-23, 2019, for the first time since the Dehonian Priests run the parish. In relation with the Year of the Youth, the theme of the first BNKP youth mission is: “BNKP Youth in Mission: Beloved. Gifted. Empowered.”
This mission was participated by 17 young missionaries under the Parish of Banal na Krus. The said mission started in two (2) days formation seminar last May 03 – 04, 2019, at the BNKP formation hall. During the seminar, the missionaries had the chance to know more about themselves, to work with others, to grow mentally, morally, emotionally, and more importantly spiritually. They also experienced the team building, recollection, and Taize Prayer.

The Missionaries of Banal na Krus had sent off in the mission area at Sitio Pantay Brgy. Tandang Kutyo Tanay, Rizal last May 19, 2019. They arrived in mission area at exactly 10 in the morning of the said date. And they were able to meet the Chapel officers of that area. The missionaries were divided in three groups to handle the kids, youth, and adults.
Every morning, the missionaries assigned to handle the kids are off to chapel for “Flores de Mayo”, which will be included the catechism of the children, teach them the basic prayers, pray the Holy Rosary, offer flowers to Mother Mary and after that the assigned missionaries will lead the game for the kids.

There are also missionaries who are assigned for house visitation. The visitation is meant to talk them personally and listen to their experiences in the family and the community. After the visitation of the house, the BEC cells had also a chance to do the Lectio Divina together with the missionaries.

In this mission, the people of the area were touched and inspired by missionaries’ community life on how to live the life of BEC. They learned and idolized the young missionaries for serving, and sharing the word of our Lord Jesus Christ at their young age. Moreover, they were inspired and enlightened also about the purpose of Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) by witnessing through the life of the missionaries as community.

Having experienced with the life in Sitio Pantay Brgy. Tandang Kutyo Tanay Rizal, and with the community, the missionaries were inspired and became appreciative to what they have, and knew the importance of being contented in their lives. They learned so many things in this mission, and looking forward to have more missions in the future and be an inspiration to others in their personal and spiritual lives.

This mission will not be successful if there is no support from our Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Marcial C. Aguirre, SCJ., Assistant Priest Rev. Fr. Nathaniel D. Robilla, SCJ., Bro. Victor S. Lingasa, SCJ., parishioners and benefactors.

By: Justine Estrella

Balungkot, Dansolihon Chaplaincy

Lambayao, Dumalinao

Sacrament of Confirmation in Dumalinao

On May 21, 2019, 535 young people in Dumalinao (Zamboanga del Sur) received Sacrament of Confirmation. On May 22, 2019, another batch of 530 will be confirmed; 380 from Tigbao and 150 from MAIS area (Mga Anak sa Inahang Simbahan – Children of the Mother Church, barangays:  Pag-asa, Pag-laum, Camanga, Sumadat and Pinig). The ceremony of confirmation was held at the San Isidro Labrador Parish church, during the Holy Eucharist presided by the Bishop of Pagadian, Most Rev. Ronald I. Lunas, D.D., who was assisted by the Regional Superior, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, Fr. Horst Steppkes, SCJ from Germany, Fr. Yohanes Sono Pribadi, SCJ, from the nearby Novitiate Fr. Dehon and Fr. Robertus Sutopo, SCJ, the parish priest. The last confirmation was held four years ago.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is one of the three Catholic sacraments of initiation. Confirmation in the Catholic Church includes the laying on of hands, and anointing in the sign of the cross with Chrism oil. Confirmation is the third and final sacrament which completes Christian initiation for Roman Catholics, as well as eastern Catholic churches, and is also prominent in the Orthodox Church and other Mainline Christian denominations, including the Church of England, Methodist and Lutheran churches.

Confirmation calls us to live a life of holiness and obedience to God’s will. That call is primarily through a renewal of our baptismal promises that were, in most cases, made for us by our parents when we were baptized. Our parents also made a promise at our baptism to raise us in the faith and teach us about our Church. That might take the form of encouragement to pray the rosary or adopt other devotional practices like the Stations of the Cross to deepen our faith. Hopefully, these statements within our creed were made real for us in our home-life, so that when the time comes for us to receive the Holy Spirit, we would be prepared to confirm our faith. We receive the Holy Spirit in seven unique ways through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are:

  • Wisdom – Helps us to rightly order our interpersonal relationships and the centrality of God and his will in our lives.
  • Understanding – Helps us to comprehend the Gospel and the will of God as communicated through his message.
  • Knowledge – The capacity for exploring and pondering God’s revelation along with the awareness that some mysteries of faith are beyond our ability to grasp completely.
  • Counsel – Helps us to choose the path of God when presented with choices that relate to our journey toward him.
  • Fortitude – Also refered to as courage or strength helps us to do what we know is right even when it might be difficult or costly.
  • Piety – Is a strong devotion to God through prayer
  • Fear of the Lord – Is not to be afraid of God, but to be in wonder of his power and might, and to marvel at his majesty.

The blessing that the bishop gives over the confirmands during the Roman Rite of Confirmation encapsulates all of these gifts beautifully

“All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you freed your sons and daughters from sin
and gave them new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon them
to be their helper and guide.
Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgment and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.”

(CCC 1299)

Empowered by these gifts and the sacramental grace of God, the confirmed Catholic has everything they need to spread and defend the faith in both word and deed, or as many put it, to be a “soldier of Christ.”

Thanksgiving Masses of Newly Ordained SCJ Priests

On May 19, 2019, the two newly ordained priests were saying their “Thanksgiving Masses”, Fr. Joel J. Bolo, SCJ in Dansolihon and Fr. Ruel C. Paalisbo, SCJ in Bacolod (Lanao del Norte).

The celebration in Dansolihon started at 8:00 AM and was attended by some SCJ priests from the formation community in Cagayan de Oro and parishioners from the Jesus Nazareno Chaplaincy. The homily was delivered by Fr. John Karl Cabaluna, SCJ, the parish priest of Kumalarang, who once was in charge of the chaplaincy.

After the Mass, Fr. Joel gave his individual blessing to all who approached him and kissed his hands. The practice of kissing the hands of a newly ordained priest is a long-established custom in some countries. During ordination a new priest’s hands are anointed with chrism as a sign of consecration and of the change that has been effected in his soul. The custom of kissing his hands stems from a recognition of the fundamental change that has occurred and of the particular importance of the sign of the hands in priestly ministry. After ordination the priest uses his hands to hold the Eucharistic species during the consecration, to make the sign of the cross while absolving sins, to anoint the sick and dying, and on occasion to impart the sacrament of confirmation.

The celebration ended at the table which is a very essential element in the Philippine culture.

Similar celebration was held at Santo Niño Parish in Bacolod, Lanao del Norte, the place of Fr. Ruel C. Paalisbo, SCJ.