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.

Celebration of SCJ Memorial Day 2019

November 26, 2019 marks the 55th death anniversary of Mgr. Joseph Albert Wittebols, SCJ, the bishop of Wamba, who was killed together with six other missionaries in 1964 in Congo during the Simba revolution.
Since 2004, the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ), remembers on this day all SCJs who have died as martyrs for the sake of the Gospel and Kingdom of God.
The SCJ Memorial Day is celebrated in a very special way in all formation communities together with the members of the Dehonian Family, friends and benefactors.
This year, the celebration of the memorial day in Dehon House in Manila, was presided by Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, the Superior of the SCJ Philippines Region, while the homily was delivered by Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, from Cagayan de Oro,  in-charge of the fundraising office.
In his homily, Fr. Francis shared about the meaning of martyrdom, history and the common call to be living martyrs.
After the Mass, the participants were invited to watch a short video presentation about the SCJ Martyrs, which was followed by a common meal.
The celebration was attended by the SCJs from the Zone of Manila, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga del Sur, guest priests, religious of different congregations, friends and benefactors.
Similar celebrations were held in the Sacred Heart Formation House in Cagayan de Oro and Novitiate Fr. Dehon in Lower Lucoban, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur.

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.

First Dehonian Family Encounter in CDO

Seventy one (71) participants from the SCJ parishes, all over the Philippines, members of the Dehonian Youth and Lay Dehonians, took part in the “First Dehonian Family Encounter”, that was held at the Sacred Heart Formation House in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro City.

The purpose of this meeting, which was a part of celebration of the 30th Anniversary of SCJ presence in the Philippines, was sharing of experiences, learning more about Father Dehon and fellowship among the different groups.

The meeting started on Friday, October 25, 2019, with the Holy Mass to the Sacred Heart of Jesus presided by Fr. Janusz Burzawa, SCJ. On the following day, October 26, 2019, during the morning session Fr. Janusz deepened the theme: “Sharing the Dehonian Charism Serving the Gospel, and Living in the Community” by sharing about the life and works of Fr. Leo John Dehon, and as well  his personal experiences as a missionary in the Philippines for the last 26 years.

In the afternoon, Ms. Elaine Gutang conducted the team building activities. The Eucharist was presided by Fr. Patrick Gutib, SCJ, one of the main organizers of these activities. In the evening, all participants took part in a special program prepared and presented by each group.

On Sunday, October 27, 2019, all the participants attended the Holy Eucharist at the Immaculate Conception Parish, across the street, presided by the regional superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ. The lunch was followed by the closing activities, namely evaluation and planning. At 3:00 PM the meeting was over and all could return to their respective places. The biggest group came from San Isidro Labrador Parish in Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur. Some of the groups were accompanied by their priests.

Hopefully, this was not one time activity, but it will continue in the future.

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.

Renewal of Vows in Manila

On June 14, 2019, in the Sacred Heart Retreat House and Seminar Center, 132 B, Gonzales St., Loyola Heights, Quezon City, six SCJs on temporary vows: Bro Argol C. Chavez, Bro. Rene D. Adorable, Bro. Francis S.J. Atayza, Bro. Giovanni B. Bautista, Bro. Rackie M. Roxas and Bro. July P. Zambrano, renewed their vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience in the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SCJ). The renewal was accepted by the superior of the Philippine Region, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, and witnessed by the members of SCJ Zone of Manila.

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).