Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Come and Sing!

Music is the language of the Soul. St. Augustine once said, “he who sings prays twice.” In the liturgy, music is a form of prayer. As such, it is an essential part of the liturgy; it is the most excellent mode of expression in the liturgy; it expresses the festivity of God’s people who celebrate His wonderful deeds. As a medium of expression, music helps to build community and to create unity in the assembly.

Building such unity, the Redemptorist community in Davao responded for such a vibrant participation in every liturgical celebration. Thus, involvement of its members in music ministry is part of the Redemptorist Formation Program. Since June this year, the students hold a regular music practice every Friday night with the giftedness of Mr. Roman Casayas, the choir master of The Choristers of the Sacred Heart. An essential preparatory element for every song practice is the vocalization which is done in every session. He teaches the group with much enthusiasm and patience for both secular and liturgical songs.

By personal choice and as per personal capacity, the students were grouped according to voice. The groupings, thus, are Tenor I, Tenor II, Bass I and Base II. In addition, another grouping – also in four groups – is organized to take charge in the singing sponsorship for the weekly students’ mass in the community and in the parish church. Each has an organist, a guitarist and song leaders. They select the appropriate songs; and thus, that the songs be familiarized, a community music practice with the group in-charge is expected a week before. So, for instance, the group assigned for next week will spearhead in the community music practice this week.

Being a part of the music ministry is one of service – service to the Word and service to the People of God. The Redemptorist Community in Davao will continue to lead the Christian community to prayer with the liturgical music. Thus, each is encouraged to participate actively in creating an atmosphere of a prayerful community. Indeed, music has brought us together! And when we sing in harmony, music will make us one! Come and sing along!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Keep Rolling

I was a bit excited when I heard that this month’s recreation is bowling for it would be my first time and I found out most of us were. I wondered what it would be like. Its eemed easy to roll the ball but to hit the target is another thing. Anyway, thanks to the initiative of the BEC of the month – St. John Neumann’s group, for organizing the activity which was held in NCCC mall last Monday, August 23 2010. The fun started at around 2:00 in the afternoon and lasted for an hour. Together with the students, the senior community joined. Fr. Cruz, Fr. Caloy, Fr. Bebot were present and a confrere from Singapore, one of the students’ spiritual directors, Fr. Vincent was around. Looking back to what had happened, I realized that bowling is not just a game as the recreation was not just for fun but a lesson to be appreciated and learned.

It was good to see everybody enjoying, playing with enthusiasm and passion. Moreover, it is even better to notice the way the community behaved. I tried to be observant not for the sake of making an essay for the blog, of course I didn’t know I was going to (ha-ha,) but rather to be more appreciative of the community where I belong. After the game, I realized how vital it is to feel at home in the community for only then when you can express and develop yourself. Isn’t it good to be who you are and everybody accepts you no matter what. Besides you can only mature when you are yourself, free and vulnerable.

Remembering the ball on my hand, feeling its heaviness and trying to manipulate it to hit the pins on the end side, I was drawn into a reflection. I asked myself, “What or who keeps me going like the ball which was driven by a force?” I went farther in asking, “Who holds me in the first place like the ball?” Taking figuratively the image of bowling, it seemed that the one who holds the ball has his/her purpose at the beginning of the game– to make a strike or if not a spare. No one would have wanted a canal unless he/she desired I guess. The truth is the holder would aim for a good strike always.

Moreover, the more accurate and harder the ball hit the pins the greater the possibility of a strike. Glancing around,it was noticeable when anybody had a strike there were yells and cheers. Indeed, you are happy when you did a strike. Isn’t it what life is about? - Being happy. And isn’t happiness is like when you had a strike as you intended. What keeps us going, anyway? - A desire to be happy? But, before knowing where to go, would it be best to know who holds it and what’s his/her intention is?I guesshappiness lies in understanding who we are and where we come from. It is a rather difficult to unravel but the journey would provideanswers. It is as if asking, “What keeps us to love?” And only when you love that the answer is found. One face of life is about the experience of meanings.

Life is not about the destination, but the journey. The journey might lead us to various paths which may not be a straight line and a smooth floor like of the bowling court and many canals may be around yet still we are hopeful that amidst those adversities we will get a strike. We are even luckier, for we journey within a network of relationship – a community that loves us, unlike the ball rolling alone. Canals and low scores cannot hinder us to stop trying again and again for each second or later attempt is another phase of opportunity and gained strength. Our greatest defeat is to deny ourselves of another opportunity and quit. So, keep rolling!


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Indonesian Night

Freedom is something of great value. Without freedom people could not actualize and express themselves including their capacities and talents freely. Without it people could not do any creative thing that makes their live better and better.

The urgency and the necessity of freedom have made it a long struggle for Indonesian people, especially the Indonesian national heroes in the past years. They struggled to be free from colonization that had been burdening, monopolizing and limiting the freedom of people since hundreds years ago before we declared our independence day on August 17, 1945. They sacrificed everything they had and even their life in order to reach the freedom that is deserved for everyone.

In memory of the wonderful struggle and the great sacrifices of Indonesia people in the past and in thanking God for the independence which the Indonesia peoples have been enjoying for 65 years, Davao Redemptorist Community made August 15, 2010 night as a special moment for Indonesian Redemptorist brother and priests. This night was called “Indonesian Night.” It was held during dinner among confreres of Davao Redemptorist Community.

In this special occasion, some programs were presented by Indonesian Redemptorist brother and priests (Bro. Redempt, Fr. Efrem and Fr. Robby). Prior to the opening, some videos of indonesian traditional dances were shown such as Balinese, Javanese and Sumatran dances. For the opening, the Indonesian anthem, “INDONESIA RAYA” was song by all brothers, sister and priests from different countries. There was a brief presentation about the history, the cultures and the wonders of Indonesian. “Indonesia night” was closed with a little game that involved everyone with a little prize. There was also a little decoration and a display of some pictures about Indonesia, traditional clothes and Indonesian currency.

The freedom has been owned by Indonesian people and many countries. Now, it is the time to fill it with many good efforts, endeavors and activities in order to make the world a better place for every creature. This is the spirit was echoed during the “Indonesia Night” that there are a lot of good things to do with the freedom we have claimed as one of our fundamental rights. 


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Culture and Mission (and some glam shots!)


The evening of August 8, marked another significant and record-breaking event in the whole SATMI history. The institute held the first ever Open House Cultural Exhibit showcasing the different cultures of Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Samoa and Philippines. The event formally opened by the ribbon cutting ceremony with Sr. Miriam Alejandrino, OSB – the Dean of St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute and Fr. Senen Javier, C.Ss.R. The whole activity was graced with the presence of different visitors from the Church groups and parishioners, students from other congregations and orders with their respective formators and superiors, staffs of the SATMI and some friends of our dear students.

The Cultural Exhibit showcased both the diversity and uniqueness of different cultures in Asia. Each boothwere prepared, arranged and manned by our brothers according to their respective nationalities with some basic information regarding their cultures. It was also the time for the 4th year students to exhibit the details (including some glam shots) of their experiences during their immersion year in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

After few minutes of chit chats and some cocktails, the rest proceed to the second half of the Cultural Night which is the program proper. Showcase of talents followed next. The first years (count me in!) wowed the crowd (I hope!) with their opening salvo. One also of the highlights is the presentation of different entries of the students in different categories such as visual arts, essay writing, poem writing and song writing. The audiences were also had the chance to listen and be informed ( and be entertained!) by the extemporaneous speeches given by each representatives from different year levels focusing on the theme, ‘Mission through Culture’.

It is interesting to see and learn how the students envision their role in this widening mission and how they recognized the importance of culture in realizing the mission of Christ. The rich experience of every student shared during this event served as inspiration to others upon realizing the giftedness of this pluralistic and diverse community where we belong. The message of the whole activity focuses on how each culture though has their distinct character and substance, see and appreciate its semblance with others. It is this connectedness that makes us appreciate more the mission that God has entrusted to us.

The night ended with pure joy and appreciation both for the message and importance of our persons: distinct and unique and of course…the prizes that we received.
Thanks folks! ’Till next time... xoxo!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Missiological Presentation

Last July 30 and 31, the 4th year Redemptorist SAT-MI students and 2 students from Manila presented a lecture about their experience in their immersion year. Gary Alvarado, CSsR, Jean Paul Tabasa, CSsR, Leo Mar Arenillo, CSsR and Raymond Urriza, CSsR shared their experiences and reflections of the people in the island of Sumba, Indonesia. Richie Cuaton, CSsR, Julius Martin Malacas, CSsR, also shared their experiences and reflections about the Pgaz K’nyau people in the province of Chiang Mai, Thailand and Neil Bryan Lesaca, CSsR about the Melanau people in Dalat, Malaysia. Their Missiological presentation dealt with the culture and how it relates to mission of the church in Asia.

It was a moment of intense feeling and excitement since some of them were first-timers in this kind of lecture. Nevertheless they took the challenge of presenting a lecture in contextualizing their learning in missiology. They were given 20 minutes to give their topic based from the Missiological paper that they wrote. After the lecture, each panelist gave their comments and questions. The student-presentors responded to their questions and considered the panelist’s suggestions in improving the paper. In the end it was a fruitful and meaningful experience for the 4th year students because aside from the academic learning of this lecture, it also gave them an experience on how to give academic lecture to fellow students. Moreover, it provided them reflection on how to improve their skills in writing and delivering a missiological paper.

We can learn from this lecture that in doing theology it does not only happen in the classroom or in the library. Theology can also be done in actual life of the people by interacting and observing them in their daily life. Likewise in going to another culture, we have to understand that the Spirit of God is already in their midst and thus, in some way, guided them in their life. Thus our task is to utilize it and bring it into the full light in Christ. Following this famous phrase in relation to missiology:

"Our first task in approaching another culture, another religion, is to take off our shoes, for the place we are approaching is holy. Else we may find ourselves treading on men's dreams. More seriously still, we may forget that God was here before our arrival." (M.A.C. Warren) 


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Feast of Saint Alphonsus

“Choosing God, they possessed every necessary thing,
anticipating eternity from the earthly life."

Last August 1, 2010 we celebrated the feast of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. It was our founder’s 223rd death anniversary.

On the same date, Pope Benedict XVI also gave a message to the pilgrims of the world in Vatican City and said of St. Alphonsus and equally of St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Eusebius of Piedmont and St. John Vianney of Ars:

“These men acquired ‘a wise heart,’ accumulating that which is not corrupted and discarding all that is irremediably changeable in time: power, wealth and ephemeral pleasures. Choosing God, they possessed every necessary thing, anticipating eternity from the earthly life."

Indeed, the desirable qualities of St. Alphonsus in following Christ, the Most Holy Redeemer continues to be relevant and worth emulating for us, people of today’s world. They are timeless examples of what human beings can do when they totally choose God over themselves and other things.

We, the Redemptorist students in Davao affirmed this and one of the ways we continued to promote his desirable qualities was through a novena in his honor. The novena started last July 23, 2010. Each day of the novena, a theme highlighting one of St. Alphonsus’ virtues was included in the prayers. Different student–volunteers took care in leading the people to prayer each day.

However, the schedule of the celebration of the Holy Mass in honor of the feast of St. Alphonsus was anticipated. It was held on July 31, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. Fr. Brendan was the main presider and Fr. Caloy was the homilist. There were other Redemptorist priests also present during the mass.

After the homily, our two brothers from Sri Lanka renewed their temporary vows. They were Br. Suresh Kelum Fernando, C.Ss.R., a 5th year theology student and Br. Morris Gerard Xavier, C.Ss.R., a 2nd year theology student. Fr. Cruz, the Prefect of Students, representing the Redemptorist Congregation, received their renewal of temporary vows.

At around 7:30 in the evening, a dinner was held at the fourth floor of SAT-MI building. Members of the house, church and office staff, and non-Redemptorist students of SAT-MI dined with us. Our two brothers from the VP of Manila, Br. Leo Mar and Br. Mon who were in SAT-MI the past days for the presentation of their missiological papers were also present to celebrate our founder’s feast day. The faculty of SAT-MI was also invited for that dinner, the eve of our founder’s feast day.