My life as a Brother: Second Year Post-Novitiate Apostolic Community Experience

I am now in the middle of a Young Marist Brothers Gathering we call as the TPBIAM (Temporary Professed Brothers in Active Ministry). We are composed of fifteen brothers and even one of us will have his perpetual profession of vows on September 2.

I am now in my second year of apostolate and it’s good to look back how I have adjusted last year, my first year of full-time teaching, and how I have progressed so far in terms of handling students inside the classroom and all the added responsibilities this year.

As teachers would tell us aspiring teachers, the first year of teaching would be learning proper classroom management. My experience would tell me that it is indeed true.

Until now, I still can’t believe that I am actually teaching. It was never part of my dream to be a teacher. But because I aspired to become a Marist Brother, which I am now, teaching became part of my life.

This year, I am proud that I am waking up early in the morning that I can finally receive the Eucharistic daily before I begin my day. I used to do it last year in my first two months but I eventually stay up late in the evening or even past midnight just preparing for my lessons unless I get preoccupied with something that’s not essential in front of the computer like watching movies or television series. I still stay up late at times but I find it hard to do it these past few weeks because of busyness that I have no more energy to spend. If I do an evening run, that would make my bedtime earlier. In terms of my devotion to the Holy Eucharist, I think I am fine this year. I admit sometimes it is hard to wake up in the morning but still I try my best to walk to the Cathedral. I think it’s for the love of Jesus in the breaking of the bread—his body, blood, soul, and divinity.

Because I love numbers, let me count: 250 students, three different subjects, three year levels, one advisory class, one coaching/moderator, and one coordinator responsibility. Thinking all about this, I am overwhelmed how I still manage toget my free time. I let go of Facebook just because of these. Of course my free time should be spent on reading additional resources, praying, or just spending time for rest and/or exercise. This year, my free time is not an issue; how to fulfill all the responsibilities is the main concern of my apostolate.

They say charity begins at home. I am proud to say that my present community is a source of life and inspiration for me. We are four brothers in the community and if I count the novice and aspirant we have in our house, that makes us six all in all. All of us come from four different generations, birthplaces, hobbies, and personalities. I think the only thing we have in common is our love for Jesus and Mary, His Mother.

I know I am cutting my story short but I hope you’ll understand that I am already sleepy and I havr to rest because it’s Sunday tomorrow and we still have a session tomorrow. Cheers!

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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

A busy month

Hey! It’s been months since I last posted about MSEAL. We lost the basketball tournament (MSEAL) but we still got another tournament in another events like table tennis, chess, and badminton. I’m not here to discuss about sports but about my hectic schedule just to remove some stress. Next month, I’ll be flying to Sri Lanka for a Marist meeting. That would create a  bit of a problem since I’m teaching Math and I’m cross-enrolled in the Institute of Consecrated Life In Asia. Anyway, I got a volunteer substitute (a fellow Marist Brother) and an idea from my sister (a Math teacher) for my students to create a Geometric Dance. Right now, I inserted a journal writing activity for the students since I like journalling as evident here with my post. And that’s also the reason why I’m posting an entry coming from a long hiatus. I got to walk the talk. I’m not in the mood to write but free write is here to save. Also, this is my first time to use the WP app with my new Lenovo A7000 Plus. Anyway, here’s a sketch of an eye from a doodle session during my class in Theology of Religious Life. This post is such a blur and I won’t be surprised if you hate this.

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Just doodling during a class

Do it for love: an anecdote

Yesterday, I was asked to write a vignette on my memories as a Marist student for the 50th anniversary of Marist School, Marikina. I sent this anecdote hoping to be part of the future coffee table book. It doesn’t matter to me if they reject this. This is an expression of my love towards the “little ones”. Here it is:


One of my most memorable moments was when I received a CSEP award in my senior year. To be honest, I was not even expecting it. As a teen who almost gave up studying, I wondered what reason was it behind the inclusion of my name among the awardees.

It was 2005 when we taught Math in a Grade 5 class of Kapitan Moy Marikina Heights Elementary School. At first, I went there because we were told to. But after borrowing a book from my classmate, my perspective on teaching changed. Reading Improve Your Grades by Veltisezar Bautista inspired me. As a result, I helped me reflect and feel compassion towards the little ones.

One afternoon, dissatisfied with our manner of teaching, I took over, animated the class, and spoke as if I’m just discussing with my barkada. I was stirred by that moment.

I believe I was given the award not because I was a good speaker nor I was knowledgeable of the subject but because one afternoon, I taught with passion.

To paraphrase Mother Theresa of Calcutta, teach math not because you were told to; teach it because you love the students who will learn it.


What will I miss if I did not blog

It seems that I haven’t been posting lately in this blog when I’m always online, huh? Slow internet? Yes. So what I’m gonna do next is not to load up WordPress but just use my e-mail and post by e-mail.

I said to my accompaniteur that I am writing frequently in my journal in a form of a blog. Honestly? No. It should have been visible here. This is a “sigh” post, a guilt or a compulsion to post something just to develop the habit of blogging (or writing?).

It’s not anxiety about being offline. I almost (not totally) lived without internet for more than two years.

Blogging here is a way of looking back at my life journey. That’s why I miss blogging because I’m gonna miss a lot of uncaptured moments not posted here. Anyone are welcome to read my thoughts. Anyway, it’s just English thoughts and I’m not a native speaker anyway. Yeah, that’s right. My actual “inner voice” is not just English. I’m Tagalog.

Bottom line here is that I just want to get back the blogging habit starting with this post.

Sample scenario that I could have miss: I could have met the Pope personally (who is in South Korea right now) this Feast of Assumption (a big feast for us Marist).

Slow internet? No problem. Post-by-email. End of story.

Have a blessed weekend everyone.

Three ways on how to share our faith

I’m thinking about the Year of Faith’s challenge of New Evangelization, which means reaching out to the baptized Catholics who have become distant from practicing their faith. I admit that I have to be evangelized again since I’ve been away from the Church for years, just to go back to it with the help of my formation under the Marist Brothers. To promote New Evangelization, here are my three little ways of witnessing:

1. To be an example of an ongoing conversion

As a one who strayed from our faith, I hope that my life right now can be a living testimony for someone who got lost also. I’m still in the process of re-discovering my faith and I want to be in my journey with someone undergoing the same experience I’m going through. I start doing this with my friends, especially those in Manila.

2. To bring back at least one person who strayed away from Catholicism

It hurts to know that one of my closest friend, a former Catholic, is very vocal about his atheistic views. It’s ironic that he even graduated from University of Santo Tomas, a 400-year old local Pontifical University. I don’t know if it’s because of having weak roots from his family since I know that his family is not practicing their Catholic faith. I hope that I could spend time with him once I go home for vacation. I’ve been looking forward to meet him and just talk about his views and how he became an atheist.

3. To strengthen the roots of a Catholic child’s faith

The good memories of teaching catechism with the kids near the novitiate house during the Flores de Mayo last May still inspires me until now. As much as I want to do that again, I hope that I can nurture a child’s faith by my presence as a brother in the school, where I’m currently having my exposure. That’s right! The simplest and guaranteed way of witnessing for me is to be a brother. I hope to keep in touch with the kids of Flores de Mayo during Sunday masses once I get back there.

Question: Have you thought about how you can promote our faith?