Celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart in Cagayan de Oro

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the most important patronal feasts that is significantly observed by the entire congregation of which it is dedicated and named after. This year the patronal feast was celebrated on June 23, 2017.

The concelebrated Mass in the afternoon was presided by the superior of the community Fr. Patrick L. Gutib, SCJ. After the reading of the Gospel, all SCJs renewed their commitment as religious, which was followed by the acceptance of new Postulants. Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, the Regional Superior, accepted four Filipinos and eight Vietnamese into the Postulancy Program. The candidates were presented by theMaster of Postulants, Fr. Patrick L. Gutib, SCJ.

The celebration, which was attended the SCJs from the nearby communities and many visitors, was followed by a common meal.

Preparation for Final Vows in Manila

From June 4 – 30, 2017, nine scholastics from the Asian Zone (India -5, Indonesia – 2, Philippines – 2) take part in Final Vows Preparation in Manila. The four week activities encompass the following topics: Dehonian perspective of the Religious Vows by Fr. Yudhistiro Adi Fritri Tyassanto, scj from Indonesia,  Apostolic and Social dimension of the Dehonian Religious by Fr. Nino Etulle, scj from the Philippines and Affective maturity and Religious Life by Fr. Michael Agustin Moses from India. As usual the activities will end with five day Spiritual Retreat (June 25 – 29) conducted by Fr. Delio Ruiz,SCJ, who is in charge of the whole preparation. The participants had an opportunity to visit the three parishes run by SCJs in Metro Manila: San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Quezon City, San Roque Parish in Bagong Silang and Holy Cross Parish in Tanay.

Renewal of Vows in Manila

On June 16, 2017, six SCJs on temporary vows (2 Filipinos and 4 Vietnamese) renewed their vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience in the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Eucharistic Celebration was presided by Rev. Fr. Aloisio Back. SCJ, the Vice-superior of the SCJ Philippine Region, and was attended by the SCJs from the nearby communities, scholastics from India and Indonesia – participants of the final vows preparation program and some friends.

Feast of San Isidro Labrador Parish in Kumalarang

More than 1,000 people attended on May 14, 2017, the celebration of the 36th annual feast of Saint Isidore, the Farmer,  in Kumalarang, Zamaboanga del Sur. Most Reverend Julius S. Tonel, D.D. was the main presider of the concelebrated Holy Eucharist, together with Rev. Fr. John Karl Cabaluna, SCJ,  the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Ronald Basco, SCJ, assistant parish priest, Rev. Fr. Franciszek Pupkowski, SCJ regional superior of the congregation (SCJ), Rev. Fr. Donald Longno, SCJ regional councilor of the congregation (SCJ), Rev. Fr. Joseph C. Butlig, SCJ regional secretary of the congregation (SCJ), Rev. Fr. Rico Lapinig, SCJ Formator of Aspirants ín Cagayan de Oro City (SCJ), Rev. Fr. Joseph Ryan Sereneo, an assistant parish priest from Kabasalan, Diocese of Ipil and Rev. Arnel Palado, a deacon from the Diocese of Ipil.

During the celebration there were 166 young people who received the sacrament of confirmation. Also, 56 extra ordinary ministers of the Eucharist (Kaabag), 82 Basic Ecclesial Community leaders (Alagad/BEC), 16 family life apostolate (FLA), 62 catechists (katekista), 12 members of the Community Based Health Program (CBHP) and approximately 25 members of Legion of Mary, in the presence of their bishop, renewed their commitment to serve the parish and faithfully take their responsibilities and obligations for the greater glory of God.

The bishop in his homily focused on the second reading from the first letter of St. Peter that says “Beloved: Come to Him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourself be built into a spiritual house to be Holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” He tried to convey a message that our Church (Roman Catholic Church) which was built in the foundation of Christ has been persecuted by many kings and leaders who attempted to put an end of our Church but they were all unsuccessful. Until now our Church continue the mission of Christ for more than 2000 years already, the reason behind is that our Church is indeed build on the foundation of Christ who continue to lead and protect His Church through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we have to make ourselves part of the flock (Roman Catholic Church) under one shepherd who is Christ himself. The celebration lasted more than one hour and half.

By: Fr. Joseph C. Butlig, SCJ

1st Grand Fiesta of the Holy Name Society in Dumalinao

On March 19, 2017, on the feast of Saint Joseph, approximately 800 male members of the Holy Name Society, excluding their wives and children, attended the ”1st Grand Fiesta Celebration.” The festivity took place at Saint Isidore Parish, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur. It started with the Celebration of the Eucharist presided by Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ and concelebrated by Fr. Franciszek Pupkowski, SCJ Regional Superior, Fr. Joseph C. Butlig, SCJ Regional Secretary, Fr. Donald Longno, SCJ Regional Councillor, Fr. Laurentius Suwanto, SCJ Scholastic Formator, Fr. Robertus Sutopo, SCJ, Balongating Sub-Parish in-charge and Fr. Joseph Muego, SCJ, Tigbao Sub-Parish in-charge. It was followed with a cultural program prepared by the participants.

The Holy Name Society was founded in 1961 by one of the Columban Fathers. Mr. Didong Sandalo was the first president. Unfortunately, the organization did not last long and it came to an end sometime in 1964.

In 2005, the organization was revived through the initiative of Mr. Roberto Torrecampo Anding, who became the president. This time the group was given a new name Mga Alagad sa Parokya (MAP) with 28 members. Among the various activities the group committed itself to clean the church every 3rd Saturday of the month. They also started to participate actively in the BEC  and Bible study every 3rd Thursday of the month. In addition, the group volunteered to prepare food during big celebrations and occasions of the parish.
In 2006, Fr. Janusz Burzawa, SCJ seeing the need of men’s participation in the church, officially recognized the organization and proposed to go back to the old name of Holy Name Society. Fr. Janusz supported very much this group during his time as a parish priest, which is continued by the present parish priest Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ.

The celebration is a way of thanksgiving to God for all the graces and blessings received by the group and to encourage them to continue their mission in serving the parish. Today, the organization extended their services and membership to the sub-parish of Balongating and sub-parish of Tigbao.

By: Fr. Joseph Butlig, SCJ

Flood in Cagayan de Oro

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A Low Pressure Area and the Tail-end of a Cold Front triggered flash floods in Cagayan de Oro City on Monday, January 16, 2017.

Thousands were stranded and hundreds of families were evacuated due to floods. Among those stranded have been students in universities, including those in the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines where floodwater has been chest-deep.

This is how Cagayan de Oro looked on January 16, 2017, in the afternoon, after some hours of very intensive rain with streets, cars and establishments submerged in water

Thanksgiving Mass at Dehon House

On January 9, 2017, a day after the ordination, Fr. Dang Van Nguyen and Fr. Luong Van Nguyen celebrated their first “Thanksgiving Mass” for the formation community in Dehon House. Fr. Dang was the main celebrant, while Fr. Luong delivered the homily and words of thanks in the end of the Eucharistic celebration.

After the final blessing both of them gave a special personal blessing to each participant, who in turn kissed the hands of newly ordained priests.

The celebration was attended by the SCJs from the Vietnamese District and Philippine Region, members of their families and many Vietnamese priests and religious sisters of whom many live in Manila. As usual the celebration was concluded with a common meal and special program prepared by the SCJ scholastics.

Priestly Ordination of two Vietnamese SCJs in Manila

20170108_121304On January 8, 2017, on the Feast of Epiphany, which in the Philippines is celebrated on Sunday after January 6, two SCJs from Vietnam: Dn Dang Van Nguyen and Dn Luong Van Nguyen were ordained priests. The ceremony of ordination, as in most cases, took place in the San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Tierra Verde Homes I Subdivision in Quezon City, a walking distance from the Dehon House, which at the present is under the pastoral care of three SCJ priests.

The ceremony of ordination headed by the Bishop of Novaliches, Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD, was held during the main Sunday Mass at 10:00 am, and it was attended by many SCJ confreres from Vietnam and the Philippines, priests and religious from different congregations, family members and friends.

Fr. Dang  is 33 years old and comes from the Diocese of Thai Binh, while Fr. Luong is 37 years old and comes from the Diocese of Bui Chu. Both of them arrived in the Philippines on September 30, 2007, where they underwent the process of initial formation and completed their studies. Prior to this, both of them were active in the Church; Fr. Dang was the organist for the children’s choir and Fr. Luong was the leader of altar servers. Fr. Luong wanted to become a diocesan priest, but due to some circumstances he was not able to fulfill his plans. Instead of entering the seminary he went to Saigon to continue his studies. In Saigon he met Fr. Jerry Sheehy, SCJ, who invited him to join the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Fr. Dang’s vocation to the priesthood was born when he was still in the grade 6. As he relates “I felt that I am a sinful person and I should become a priest to repair it.” In Saigon where he studied and taught catechesis in a Dominican Parish, he met also Fr. Jerry, who deeply impressed him and helped him to enter the seminary.

Wishing to the newly ordained priests all the best, especially perseverance in their vocation and serving the people, we offer a prayer for them as we expect them to pray for us too.

The Lay Missionary’s Experience in the Philippines

dsc_0960Miss Karolina Mankiewicz is a lay missionary from Poland who arrived in the Philippines in October 2016. Prior to this she was working as a teacher in grade school and was very active in the campaign organized by a Polish SCJ, Fr. Piotr Chmielecki, called “Zbieram to”, which  means “I collect it.” Together with other volunteers, she collected used batteries and cellphones, old appliances, and many other things for recycling. The purpose of this action is double: to save the environment and help the missions. The money obtained from this are used to help the poor and needy in different countries where the SCJ missionaries are working. Among many beneficiaries of this action is also the Philippines, particularly the victims of typhoon “Sendong” (Washi) living in “Mother of Divine Mercy Village” in Opol, Kasanag Daughters Foundation, and others.

Since her arrival, Miss Karolina is very much involved in the life of the “Village” where she spends most of her time, and “Kasanag Daughters Foundation” where she stays, organizing and participating in different activities. Recently, she attended the nine day Novena before Christmas called “Simbang Gabi” and prepared some Christmas gifts for the poorest. Here is her short sharing of the experiences she had:

As usual before Christmas, the inhabitants from the Mother of Divine Mercy Village were attending a nine day Novena called Simbang Gabi. Since the 15 th of December the Priests form 3 Congregations (Columban, Marian and Sacred Heart Fathers) were celebrating the Mass at 7 p.m. each day. During the Novena, on the 17 th of December the villagers were commemorating the 5 th anniversary of the typhoon Sendong. After the Mass they watched a short movie showing the tragedy which touched them a few years ago. At the end of common prayers every single day, people from different blocks were performing some Christmas songs or dances. This time helped them to prepare for the birth of our Savior….

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Just before Christmas thanks to financial support from the Polish benefactors we were able to give some food packages to the inhabitants from the Mother of Divine Mercy Village. 21 of them received some rice, spaghetti, sauce, salt, sugar, coffee, milk, sardines and some sweets for the kids along with the Pope’s calendar for the coming year. None of them were asking for any help that is why they were surprised and at the same time really grateful for the received gifts. Some of them we knew from the previous visits. Their histories were really touching and after listening to them you realize that only thanks to Heaven’s help they were able to start a new life. I remember two women’s stories. One of them has lost her husband and 8 kids in the typhoon. Now she got married again but she can not have more children. There is also another one who lost her husband and her little boys. After a few years she has a new family: a husband and one little girl. Now she’s expecting the second one. No wonder that this place where they live is called the village of Divine Mercy. God really helps them and rise them up.