Preparation Program for Perpetual Profession of Vows 2019

LOMERI, FIJI—We are now at the end of our 8-week long preparation for perpetual profession here in Marist Brothers Novitiate where we arrived last May 24. We, the 15 participants from six different countries, are the following

District of Melanesia
1. Dominic Nekebatu (Solomon Islands)
2. Jeremy Wabi (Bougainville)

Compostela Province
1. Fabio Oliveira (Portugal)

Marist District of Asia
1. Cong Nguyen (Vietnam)
2. Quy Nguyen (Vietnam)

East Asia Province
A. Philippine Sector
1. John Emil Alada (Philippines)
2. Rechie Dean Bagsican (Philippines)
3. Raymund Gallardo (Philippines)
4. Lloyd Gamboa (Philippines)
5. Deo Dudz Hizo (Philippines)
6. Philip Caesar Renacia (Philippines)
7. Cian Marco Tabuada (Philippines)
8. John Allen Timola (Philippines)
9. Aljon Yonder (Philippines)

B. Korea-Japan Sector
1. Moses Cho (South Korea)

Along with the Novitiate community, we were welcomed by the Preparation Team headed by Br. Bryan Davis (Australia), Br. Jacobo Song (South Korea), and Br. Ted Fernandez (Philippines).

Br. Bryan Davis led the first week with “Vocational Quest”, where we shared about our vocation stories, our questions on religious life, discernment, meaning of life for us, and our hopes and expectations.

Br. Graham Neist presented the topic on Listening and Responding Contemplatively, where contemplative practice and “turning up” (presence) appealed to us.

Br. Michael Green presented us Marcellin’s Spirituality according to the vows, wherein the “bon enfant” style of being a brother, a down-to-earth way of being a brother, struck us the most.

Br. Sean Sammon presented An Undivided Heart, a topic on celibate chaste living, and even gave out copies of his book.

Br. Barry Burns presented Living Simply, a connection of our vow of poverty with our pope’s call to care for our common home.

Br. Tony Leon presented Brothers Today as an epic love story, and he even prompted us to make our own artworks.

Br. Angel Medina presented New Expressions of Marist Life, particularly the La Valla 200 Program.

In the midst of the program, the brothers enjoyed going to the nearby beach in Loloma to swim and play volleyball. But what excited them most was drinking kava, a must-try local drink here. Each brother even bought Bula shirts and some even wore Fijian sulu.

Our final week of the program is dedicated to what we call as the Synthesis, wherein each brother will make a creative presentation of all their experiences of the program with songs, dance, music, artworks, poetry, crafts, video presentation, and even told their own life stories.

And now, our hope for the future is that we would bring all of these learning into our respective communities and our ministries.

Please pray for us. 🙏

A joyful Christmas to everyone!

  1. A joyful Christmas to everyone!
  2. I arrived here in Marikina since December 24. I did not ride a taxi to save money. Instead, I took the bus/train/van/tricycle route which costed me only 99 pesos in total compared to the 500-800 price of a taxi ride. So imagine how have I been thriftty these past two days including Christmas time.
  3. Every time I go home on Decembers since I entered the Marist Brothers last 2011, I play NBA 2K. This year, I stopped because I don’t feel like playing it. Besides, I have to graduate from NBA 2K13 that I played since December 2013. I already won two championships there with the Oklahoma Thunders (sixth man) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (starting Small Forward).
  4. Instead of playing video games, I played Spotify. Currently listening to the Tides by The Ransom Collective. I am hooked with Spotify that I even curated some playlists. Maybe you can search one of my playlist, New Pinoy Alt Rock and Indie.
  5. I am now sleeping here at the extension house adjacent to our original house. I drank two Heineken beers and a Crabbie’s (a ginger beer). Beer is alright for me. I passed on the Jack Daniels though since it’s really strong. I always follow what the television ads tell us to do: drink moderately.
  6. Actually, I am going through a lot of pondering these days even before coming here at home. During this vacation, I am reflecting on my vocation (rhyme intended). I’ll re-evaluate myself in terms of prayer life, apostolate, and community living. I’ll write that and try to put some of my reflections in my application letter.
  7. It’s been almost seven years already with the Marist Brothers and I plan to stay a little longer maybe until perpetual profession.
  8. My goodness, I think I have been so self-centered. Am I still answering to the call of leaving everything behind and following our Brother?
  9. I plan to visit chapels and churches here in Manila later alone. During this feast day of St. Stephen, I have yet to attend a Mass since I was not able to get up early.
  10. I remember the vision of Saint Jerome with the infant Jesus during Christmas.
  11. The venerable scholar was asked by the Child, “What present do you have for me?”

“I have left everything and given them up for you. What more can I offer?”, replied Jerome.

“You still have something more to give me”

“What is it?”

“Give me your sins.”

Renewal of vows

I shouldn’t be posting here. After celebrating the 200 years of the Marist Brothers foundation as a congregation yesterday, I am now in an Oblates of Notre Dame retreat house for a recollection, writing my self-evaluation and my letter of application for the renewal of vows. 

Please do pray for me as I spend time for reflection and prayer with my fellow temporarily professed young Marist Brothers in active ministry, teaching or doing mission work.

Day by day

July 23, 1816, 200 years ago, twelve young priests made a pledge to the Our Lady of Fourviere in France. That was the beginning of the Society of Mary. One of these young men, Marcellin Champagnat had a vision of starting an institute of Brothers dedicated to Christian education particularly to the least priviledged children. As a newly assigned assistant parish priest, his encounter with children who have no knowledge about God fast-tracked the fruition of his dream as he got two young men to join him and become Brothers which happened in La Valla on January 2, 1817. He was just 27 years old that time (which is my age now). Taken yesterday, you’ll see two old men in the seating middle of the photo who celebrated their Jubilee or 60 years as religious Brothers in a very important day to all Marists. For me, 60 years is already a lifetime. 

One of them, Br. Gabe, told his secret on how is he able to stay as a religious for sixty years. 

Just live today, that’s what he said. 

As he was speaking, his words echo the words of our fellow Brother who said “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” (Mt. 6:34)

O, dear Lord, three things I pray: to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly, day by day.

Saint Richard of Chichester

Renewal of vows for 2016

Today, during this Easter vigil, I renewed my vows for one year. Though my vows are not yet expired (until May 3, 2016), I reapplied for renewal since there was a renewal here in our Annual Retreat at the Jesuit Retreat House here in Malaybalay City, Mindanao. I left my batchmates in the scholasticate (my companions in my first profession of vows last May 2014) and joined the young Brothers in active ministry, which now makes me a member of the Temporary Professed Brothers in Active Ministry (TPBIAM).

Please pray for me and my 10 companions who renewed their vows too, two of which are about to profess perpetually next year.

I don’t know why math really loves Allen

Last March, I saw Sir Eric, my former math teacher, and told him I’m taking the LET. He hinted the possibility of me teaching mathematics in my former school. I just shrugged, thinking it’s very likely. Yes, I love math when I was in high school but it’s just wayward from my career path knowing my college degree and vocation taken (religious life). It doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I just, maybe unconsciously, had avoided math related courses. I scrapped Engineering and Computer Science and went to Psychology maybe for the love of math. You know, absence makes the heart grow fonder so I yonder. Yucky, right? Now that I’m in Education, which I don’t really like but I don’t hate it also, it seems that I’m in a profession where I never imagined to be until I entered Marist Brothers.

Fast forward. After four months, here I am now in the same faculty with my math teacher teaching geometry. While talking to Sir Eric and Sir Honesto, my former trigonometry teacher, I said “Well, I taught in one of our classes about statistics in college.”

“Now look… you really did go to teaching math as expected”, as he puts it. From my engineering graduate father and older brother, a sister and brother who teaches math, and a mother who is an accountant, I think you know where I’m going now.

No matter what I do, I really belong to math.

How to snap out of a slump?

Basketball tournament game last Friday.

Against a team with players almost twice my age.

My contribution: Second quarter, just ten seconds in the game and contributed a turnover. 

Result: Lost, we’re on a losing streak.

I’m on a slump; we’re on a slump.

My reply to someone saying: “don’t think about it”?

Relish the defeat; it will fuel our desire to bounce back.

Like Gilas Pilipinas, puso!