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.

Celebration of First Profession of Vows and Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

Today, on June 28, 2019, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, three (3) SCJ Novices from the Philippines, Agustin M. Indangan Jr., Aldrin R. Ayaton, and Carl Ryan N. Opeña, made their commitment to God in the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. By the profession of three vows: Chastity, Poverty and Obedience, they declared their readiness  and will to follow Jesus more closely. They were preparing for this moment for almost fourteen (14) months under the guidance of the Novice Master Fr. Indra Pamungkas, SCJ and Fr. Yohanes Sono Pribadi, SCJ, the “Socius.” Together, with eight (8) Vietnamese Novices, who made their First Profession of vows in Vietnam last May 31, 2019, they have had been learning about the Congregation, the Founder, vows and religious life.

The ceremony that was held on the 141 anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, took place at the Novitiate Fr. Dehon in Lower Lucoban, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur, and was attended by the SCJ confreres from the area of Pagadian, Cagayan de Oro, and Manila, family members and friends of the newly professed religious. The vows were accepted by the Regional Superior, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ.

The newly professed will move to the Manila Community at the Dehon House, where they will study Theology and prepare themselves further for the ordination to the priesthood.

On the same day, in the afternoon, the SCJ area of Cagayan de Oro celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, the patronal feast of the Congregation. The concelebrated Mass was presided by Fr. Ruel C. Paalisbo, SCJ, who offered this Holy Eucharist as a Thanksgiving Mass for the gift of his vocation and ordination. After the homily all SCJs renewed their act of oblation made 141 years ago by their founder Venerable Fr. Leo John Dehon.

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).

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

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.

30 Years Anniversary of SCJ Presence in the Philippines

Thirty years ago, on May 17, 1989, the first group of SCJ missionaries arrived in the Philippines. The group was composed of eight (8) priests representing five (5) SCJ provinces and seven (7) nationalities.

After six months in the language school in Davao City, they were entrusted with three parishes: Kumalarang and Margosatubig (Prelature of Ipil) and Dimataling (Diocese of Pagadian). As they say “the beginnings were very simple and challenging.”

Today, the SCJ Philippines Region has 44 members: 34 priests (22 Filipino priests), 1 religious brother, 7 scholastics on temporary vows, and 2 scholastics on final vows. In addition to this 3 novices will profess their first vows on June 28, 2019. At the moment they run 3 formation houses and 8 parishes.

The celebration of this special anniversary started in the morning with the meeting of the families of the Filipino SCJs. The visitors were introduced to the activities  of the Philippine Region and the Founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Venerable Fr. Leo Dehon.

In the afternoon, the activities resumed at 4:00 PM with the Eucharist presided by Mons. Perseus Cabunoc, VG, SSJV, at the Immaculate Conception Parish church in Aluba.

The Holy Mass was followed by the Special Program held on the grounds of the Sacred Heart Formation House and was composed of the cultural presentation, message of the regional superior, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, and two testimonies given by Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, member of the first group, and Fr. John Karl Cabaluna, SCJ, the first SCJ Filipino priest.

The celebration was attended by the family members of the Filipino SCJs, representatives from different SCJ parishes and local benefactors, visitors from Germany, Poland, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, different religious congregations and Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro, Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, D.D., who joined the second part of the program.

The participants were given special tokens: t-shirt and a mug with the logo of the celebration. The elements of the logo include: a boat which signifies the Philippine Region. The boat sails on blue waves shaped like an open book, which is the Gospel that guides the journey of the region. On the boat there are three passengers, who represent the members of the region and different communities who raise their hands in jubilation and thanksgiving. There is also so called “Dehonian Cross”, the symbol of an SCJ identity and the theme of the celebration: “Sharing Dehonian charism, serving the Gospel and living in the community.”

The Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Philippines are thankful to God for all His blessings and protection and all the people of goodwill, who became a part of their success and helped to prepare this beautiful celebration.

20th Foundation Anniversary of Kasanag Daughters Foundation, Inc.

Second activity on May 16, 2019, as a part of bigger celebration of 30th anniversary of SCJ missionary presence in the Philippines, was the 20th Foundation Anniversary of Kasanag Daughters Foundation, Inc. (KDFI).

It started at 4:30 PM with the opening of the “Art Works Exhibit” of the “daughters”, followed by the Holy Eucharist, short program and supper. Fr. Horst Steppkes, SCJ, the Mission Procurator from Germany, cut the ribbon at the entrance to the exhibit room. Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, the superior of the SCJ Philippines Region was the main celebrant of the Holy Mass.

The program started at 6:00 PM with the introduction of the visitors by Fr. Lukas and Ms. Vivian Yecyec, the KDFI Operations Manager and was followed by short messages from Fr. Horst Steppkes from Germany and Fr. Zbigniew Chwaja, the Mission Procurator from Poland. Both entities are helping to run the foundation through  financial assistance.

The main part of the program was an inspirational talk by Judge Evelyn G. Nery, who underlined the need of not being silent in the face of the sexual abuses, especially on the minors.

As usual, the celebration ended with a dinner during which the guests and visitors could watch the video presentation “KDFI through the Years.”

Up to the present more than 200 girls received help from the institution.