Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yearly Routinary Medical Examination

In the Redemptorist Formation program, we do not only touch on the spiritual, psychological, and intellectual aspects of the formands. The physical health of the formands is also given much important. The basic principle is on holistic formation and personal development, where a holistic person is spiritually, psychologically, intellectually, and physically healthy. This is the reason why the students, as part of their yearly program, have routinary medical examination/ check-up.

Since the number of students this year significantly increases, we were divided into two groups for the medical check-up. The first group had their check-up at the Alexian Brothers Health and Wellness Center (a laboratory and hospital managed by the Alexian Brothers) on July 12, 2010 and the second group had theirs on July 26, 2010 at the same place. Both groups departed at 6:00 am and did a short fasting (no food and water after 10:00 pm) the night before the check-up.

As you have noticed the dates for the examination falls on Mondays- usually a “holy day” for the students! Mondays usually are rest days. On rest days, the students usually wake up late spending more time in Demos Oneiroi, in the hands of Morpheus. Well, sorry guys, for the sake of knowing your physical health condition you have to leave the land of dreams and the company of Morpheus earlier this time!

Perhaps I will leave you with some quotes to ponder on, these quotes talks about the relationship between mental and physical health.

“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.”~B.K.S. Iyengar

Here is, however, a reminder for those who are extremely conscious about their physical health:

“The trouble with always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind.” ~G.K. Chesterton


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

“To be the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World”

We as baptised members are called to the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World. Yet as religious we go a step forward to this call. Part of the formation program is to do immersion to another culture or tradition. Also part of the formation is the Sending–off Ceremony for these missioners who will do mission.

Last July 14 at the 5:30PM Novena Mass, the whole St Alphosus Theologate community gathered together to Send-off four of our brothers to their mission. Fr Brendan, our rector, celebrated the Eucharist with the rest of the priest of the community and other conferers from other units. Fr. Brendan also was the one who gave the homily. He focus on our journey as missioners and the call to be ready to be sent to wherever the Spirit leads us.

At this celebration, Nathaniel “Natz” Arendain, Joseph Phung, Dominic Tra Tran and Alphonsus Chainarin “Joe” Lamprom receive their mission crosses as they embarked another step in their formation journey. They are assigned to different communities and countries. Natz is goin with the RIMT here in the Philippines. Joseph and Dominic will join the Mission Team in the North of Thailand. Joe on the other hand will join the Mission Team in Sumba, Indonesia. To grace the occasion there was Fr. Joe Apisit of Thailand, Fr Vincent Lw of Ipoh, Fr Manoling of Cebu and Fr Caloy of Manila. Presenting the missioners was Fr. Cruz, our Prefect of Students.

It was a simple celebration yet very meaningful especially to those who are being sent and an inspiration for those who would follow them the next time around. After that we had Gaudiamus at the Common Room. It was a simple token of appreciation from the community to our four students. The four will eventually go to Manila for some time and from there go to their destined places of mission. We also remember the three other students who will be also in immersion year but have a different arrangement. Terence, Eugene and John are all going to Dalat.

May God make their journey fruitful for this school year. May they learn more in the missions. We pray for the success of their endeavors.


Friday, July 16, 2010

A Spirituality Team

Spirituality is, without a question, one of the most important dimensions in life that cannot be neglected especially for us, religious. Therefore, spirituality has always been considered part and parcel of our formation program. We put Spiritual direction in one of the means wherein each student is expected to meet with his spiritual director regularly in order to see where he is in his journey towards spiritual growth.

This school year we are so blessed to have with us a team of spiritual directors who will accompany us in our spiritual journey. The team includes Fr. Allen and Fr. Manuling, who have been helping us for the past few years already, and another 2 newly imported specialists on spirituality from Singapore, Fr. Vincent and Fr. Abhisit from Thailand. We are very appreciative of your presence with us here in Davao community.

So while we engross ourselves to all the theological studies we have here in SATMI, we make sure we never forget to grow also in our relationship with God.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Under the Sun ……we had joy, we had fun

The Redemptorist Davao community with the whole staff and their family members went to Gulf View Resort at Bago in Toril on 28th of June. It was our common rest and recreation as a tradition. Like a family we had our own role to play in this pleasure time. We were divided in to three committees. They were the program committee, the food committee and the physical committee. We departed from Bajada at 8.30am and arrived at Gulf View around 9.30am. As we arrived there the different committees started their own task.

The program committee set up their activity with some colorful games. We all were divided in to four groups including the seniors. There was no age barriers, no color differences, no nationality or even male or female. It was a really a blessed day, because the sun was so kind to us where it allowed the clouds to cover it most of the time of the day. With the beat of the music all were filled with joy and happiness every where we experienced the peace and the bond of unity as God’s children. The most attractive event was the volleyball game. The brothers divided themselves as Philippians vs foreigners. It was really an interesting game. So sad! Pinoy lost the game. It was a white wash game. The foreigners struck the pinoys in to three nil (3-0). The pinoy lost in their own soil. By that time some of them already enjoyed the swimming. Then the staff also played the volleyball.

By 12.30 noon we had our delicious lunch blessed by Fr. Brenden. Each and every one found their own companion or the group to eat and enjoy the meal.  All consumed to the full according to his or her own capability. Then here came the busy time to the physical arraignment committee to wash all the dishes. But the volleyball match was still continuing as they are never going to play. By this time some went to sing songs others were in small groups telling stories. Oh I forgot, as usual some of our brothers were playing beach soccer. But so sad to let you know that there were very few spectators watching them. All the eyes were on the volleyball match.  Most of us were fully tired playing whole day. But the bliss and the unity among all never got tired instead of that it became stronger. We left the place at around 4pm saying bye to Gulf View with the intention of going back again one day.     


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Betty's birthday

Last July 08, 2010 at 6 p.m., the CSsR junior professed and senior community members flocked their way to Felis Beach Resort, Punta Dumalag, Matina Aplaya, Davao City, to attend the 78th birthday celebration of Tita Betty Domingo, one of our Oblates and a member of the Centennial group of our parish, and the founding anniversary of their family-owned resort. True to its name- “Felis” which means happy, the venue was infused with felicitation and jubilation for these remarkable events in the Domingo Family. Glancing around, everyone’s countenance was painted with smiles and greetings were audibly heard in all corners as Tita Betty moved around and welcomed all her well-wishers.

The celebration started with a simple but heart-warming prayer for the gathering and prayer for the food respectively. Overflowing and delectable cuisines were served on the corners of the hall. And while everybody was busy cuing for food choices and feasting on the abundant food, an all male band- the “highlight band” entertained and enlivened the celebrator’s family members, friends and guests with their version of the famous songs of the 70’s.

Nonetheless, Tita Betty’s grandchildren donned on their best suits surprised their granny with their fashion showcase of the 70’s. On one hand, her daughter graced her way on stage with her dance sport presentation. The CSsR students, on the other hand, rendered a ballad performance of the song “You” as our way of sharing her joy; even if the rendition was not that impressive, however that was the best put forward the students could do that night. Program fillers followed after us which also added to the vibrancy of the bash. Surely everybody left that place with a cheer in their hearts and a good gastronomic fill.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fr Bebot's Birthday Party powered by the Centennial Group

The ever supportive and generous Centennial Group of the parish did not pass up the chance to once again show their appreciation for the Redemptorist community here in Davao and in particular today that of their much loved parish priest, Fr. Nestor "Bebot" Gaspe, CSsR.

Days before Fr Bebot's birthday, news was already circulating in the community that once again the Centennial Group was up to some serious party planning. This was confirmed when no less than formal invitations were handed out inviting the whole community to a Birthday Bash for Fr Bebot hosted by the group.

On the big day itself, there was bated anticipation among everyone about the evening’s event. Already the youth of the parish had announced their undying love for Fr Bebot with a very spirited Mananita at 4a.m. in the morning outside his room, hence would the Centennial Group be able to up the game to the day’s celebrations?

And so it was that after Vespers, the community gathered at the basketball court which was already very nicely and definitely well prepared and setup to satisfy the way to every priest n seminarians' heart, that is of course through his stomach! Fr Bebot was guided to his place of honour and soon the celebrations began.

First up was a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to the birthday celebrant. In addition, in a touch of class, fresh roses were also presented to him by various members of the Centennial Group as well as by some students and fellow priests.

Then it was time of the main event! With stomachs already antipating the great meal that was to come, Fr Allen, CSsR led us all in a very grateful thanksgiving for the food, for the generous people who prepared n provided it as well as for the person for whom it was all prepared for. After that very spiritual trifecta, the attention shifted from Fr Bebot to the buffet table.

For a Singaporean foodie like myself, there as a very pleasant surprise. The spread included Khong Bak Pau and Char Siew. It was almost as though I was back home again! All feelings of homesickness, if any, magically evaporated in an instant.

During dinner, Fr Brendan Kelly, CSsR came up to pay tribute to Fr Bebot for his hardwork n dedication as both Parish Priest as well as Vicar of the Cebu Province and later Fr Bebot himself, together with Fr Cruz came up to entertain everyone with his own rendition of “It’s a Wonderful World”. The Centennial Group then closed up the evening’s entertainment with a rousing country and western dance item.

Thanks again to the Centennial Group for a great evening of food and entertainment but even more so fellowship because that is what being community and church is all about. To gather to show our appreciation and love for one another, that we are all God’s gift to each other in our own way, in our own vocation.

Until next time, this is Mark signing off.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas .