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.