Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Time to Say Goodbye

December had been pretty much a big blurr for all of us, what with all the parties, carolling, Misa de Galleo, eating and feasting, the memory was just mashed into a big image of indulgence and almost-sinful fun.

After celebrating christmas with the community on 25th, many students started to leave, either to head home or go somewehre for our break. Some of us also took time to head to Cebu to bid our final farewell to Fr Abdon.

New year eve was really quiet here in Davao. With only a few foreign students left. Our rector graciously allowed us to have a little party, but of course, without the numbers, the party was very tame and mild.

Still, we had a nice little ritual as the clock ticks towards the new year. 5 minutes before 12am, we played the song "Time to Say Goodbye", a little prayer was said by our rector to bid farewell to a wonderful and eventful year. We bid farewell to the joys, to the sorrows, to the laughters and tears, and most of all, we also big farewell to Fr Abdon. And as the clock striked 12, we toasted with our wine glasses, and then we sang "Auld Lang Syne" to a very cute action which reminded me of scene of kindergarten kids learning to dance.

Anyway, we thank God for a truly wonderful year that had been, and we pray for great blessings for the coming year.

AND NOW.... as i have said, december was just a big blurr... so i'll just show some photos of what had happened...

Christmas Eve Church Carolling

Christmas Carols and Parties

Christmas Party with Staff

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Moment of Grace

In the morning of December 15 at exactly 10 AM, another historical event happened here in SATMI. And with that 6 lives are changed forever in that moment of grace. An anticipated event in the year with a grace filled result. Six of our brothers (David, Robbie, Vinsen, Efrem, Raymond and Shaun) are ordained to the diaconate. At the same time it was also the profession of final vows of Shaun as a member of the CSsR Cebu Province. It was a time of joy and thanksgiving not only for the community but also for the whole Redemptorist congregation. Each one had its share in this momentous event.

Before the day itself most of the students take their parts in the preparations of the rites and the programs of the day even to the small details. We have formed committees to take charge of the details of the reception. Those who did not join the trip to Iligan were the ones who prepared the stage, set up the tables and chairs, entertain guests and decorated the Church. Even weeks before some students really practiced hard their craft in singing and playing music for the program during the reception. And the six brothers themselves really prepared mentally, spiritually and physically for this day.

Even on the day itself, most are still busy doing the last minute preparations. Still there are to set-up the sounds and music, the arrangement of the tables and chairs, the vestments and other liturgical matters. As the guests from different houses are coming, the students and the community tried to do their best to accompany them. Then when 9:30 came one by one we assemble to the Church to prepare for the rites.

We had lest crowd from the lay faithful than expected. Yet Shaun’s family covers almost a whole barangay. There were also some conferrers from different units and houses. All the houses of the Cebu Province were represented. Fr. Alex Bercasio represented VP Mla, Bro Dan Shufford for Australia, Fr Robby Aldajar and Fr Marianus for Indonesia, Fr Paul for Vietnam. Still there are the Parish Priest and assistant Parish Priest in Maco, the whole RIMC, the TORs, Marists and some other religious to grace the event.

When the clock strike 10 AM, a short opening was read by Bong then as the people kneel while singing the Veni Sanctus the whole entourage had started it walk from the small chapel to the Main Church. A solemn walk and after wards the Eucharist had started. After the gospel the Rite of Final Profession of Shaun took place. During the rite Fr. Ben Ma facilitated it as the provincial of Cebu Province. Afterwards the rite to the Diaconate took place. Bp Ireneo Amantillio was the one who celebrated the rite. He was the one who ordain the six to the diaconate. After the rites the mass proceed as usual. Before the closing rites, Efrem, Shaun and Fr. Cruzito gave their words of thanks and gratitude to the people present.

After the almost two hour’s celebration, of the Eucharist and some moments of picture taking, we all go directly to the court for the table rites. During the lunch which was blessed by Fr Brendan, the house Rector, we were entertained by some students with their musical talents. There are also some special words from some people like Fr Ben Ma and Fr Robby. The talents of the students are really limitless. Boy made his way in playing the guitar. Arnel went with his rendition of “If You Can Only Image.” Terence with his rendition of “Thank You” and some supported for the music. Yet a crowd starter was Fr Picx with his one man band. It was a head turner and a charity event since people are giving out money to him. Well the new deacons also made their special number. Shaun sing a song with the alumni of the SAFHS. The five Indonesian made their rendition of Efrem’s composition which is translated in English “You will never walk alone.” Then they called Fr Robby and Fr Marianus to sing more Indonesian songs.

While the guests are leaving the Jamming session started. Still most students enjoy the event. It never ended in the court. At dinner it resumed again at the inner garden. It ended almost by 1 AM the following morning. It really was a moment to remember and to be thankful to God for bountiful harvest. There are moments of grace to be cherish and celebrated.