7th Provincial Chapter now on its First Phase

CEBU CITY—The delegates woke up at 5:45AM after a windy night sleep because of typhoon Basyang and headed to the chapel at 6:15 AM for the Lauds, meditations and the Holy Mass.

Fray Dionisio Selma presided the Eucharistic celebration for the second day of the Chapter and the Mass for Ash Wednesday. He was assisted by Fray Corvin Maturan and Fray Cristopher Maspara. In his homily, Fray Selma emphasized on the meaning of Ash Wednesday as a day of penance. “The Ash Wednesday,” according to him, “reminds us of our call for renewal and mortality.” He added that this is “to be expressed through prayer, fasting and almsgiving.” The ashes were imposed on the foreheads of the delegates after the homily. After the mass, the delegates proceeded to the refectory for the simple breakfast.

Information Phase Continued

The sessions started at 8:30AM with an opening prayer. Messages and prayers sent by the different bishops, congregations and individuals were read. Fray Gideon Antolin Lagrimas took the first period to deliver his report on the Commission on Youth and Vocation Ministry. He presented the different stages of the Recollect Augustinian Youth (RAY) and its programs as well as the updates on the Vocation Promotion and Applications turn-out for the incoming seminary year 2018-2019. Interventions ensued which were focused on the nature, membership, formation and integration of programs and itinerary for the youth apostolate both in the present and in the future.

Fray Edgar Tubio was the second reporter of the day. He provided an account on the compliance of the Secretariat on Ministerial and Mission Apostolate during the triennium. He began with the updates on the Memorandum of Agreement that the Province signed with the bishops of the different dioceses both in the country and abroad. He cited that some of them were formalized while others were about to expire this year (2018). He advised the Commission who would be assigned to look into this section during the Chapter to consider the following matters: fulfilment of the LAMP of the Province and the Order, sustainability of the local and foreign missions, and the possibility of expansion both in the country and abroad. He likewise reported on the progress of his visit in Indonesia and Vietnam as the first step of the Province to comply with the ordinance of the LAMP of the Order A.23: “Erect at least two houses in a new country in Asia, in order to strengthen the Province and contribute to its expansion.”

The session was interrupted with a short break at 10:00AM and resumed at 10:25AM. Again, the second group of messages were read before the assembly. Before recommencing the sessions, Fr. Miro reminded the delegates about the mechanics of the Chapter, emphasizing that it had to begin first with the information phase before proceeding to the discussion and recommendation phase.

The parish priests who were present in the Chapter were given the chance to share their experience on the parish ministry in solidum. After exhausting all the necessary concerns in the parish ministry, Fray Julius Marcos presented his report as the president of the Secretariat of the Educational Apostolate of the Province. He focused on the extent of the implementation of the ordinances of the previous triennium related to the uniform textbook for all OAR schools, religious observances of the religious assigned in the schools and universities, integration of the Educational Plan of the Order and the Recollect Religious Graduates in all programs, the implementation of the Common OAR Religious Education Curriculum and Campus Ministry Programs and Services, the Evangelization Master Plan in the OAR schools, the Revisit of the REAP by-laws of administration to ensure continuity and sustainability, and the updates on the curricular improvement, structural development, acquisition of resources, performance of graduates, qualification of religious administrators, accreditation status of the schools and the academic recognitions earned by the OAR schools, colleges and universities of the Province in the Philippines as measured according to Philippine government educational standards. Having completed all the discussions, the morning session ended at 11:45PM. The midday prayer was prayed and followed by Lunch and Siesta.

Continuation of the Sessions

The afternoon sessions started with the Rosary and the Office of Readings at 2:15PM. Messages and prayers were read and the Review of the February 13, 2018 Minutes of the Meeting was made. Immediately after the suggestions were considered, the reporting resumed. Fray Jaazeal Estelou Jakosalem dealt with the updates, plans, programs and accomplishments of the Commission on Social and Ecological Concerns-Recoletos or the Commission on Social Apostolate of the Province. He began with the presentation of the ordinances of the last provincial chapter which were implemented. He integrated in his report the nature and the contents of the ARCORES (Augustinian Recollect Solidarity network – Philippines), also known in the Province as HeartAnonymous, together with the actual activities that the Commission was undertaking, namely, Revisiting the Administrative and Operational Manual of the Commission, the Programs in line with the Year of the Poor, the Standardization of Wages of the Personnel in our communities, Housing for Personnel in our communities, Support of the Victims of Natural Calamities, Promotion of the Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Education Program, Monitoring of the Status of the Contractual Workers, Enrolment of the Parish Personnel in the OAR Retirement Plan, Implementation of the Solidarity Targets of the HeartAnonymous programs, Adaptation of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation framework in the Province’s social action program, and Continuous Presence of RESOURCE-Handumanan, the social arm of the Province in Bacolod City. Fray Jakosalem indicated some proposals for the consideration of the Chapter delegates during their deliberations on the succeeding days of the 7th Provincial Chapter.

After Fray Jakosalem completed his report, Fray Miro explained to the delegates the nature of the social action apostolate of the Order, which is named ARCORES, and punctuated that this unit is the response of the Order to Pope Francis’ challenge to become builders of communion through the social commitment of the Order towards the poor, the environment and the society. A 30-minute break was called. The sessions recommenced at 4:00PM with the discussions, questions and clarifications on the concerns of the Province’s Commission on Social and Ecological Concerns-Recoletos.

Fray Henry Santiago delivered his report on the financial status, concerns and programs of the Province. He presented the areas where the funds of the Province were sourced as well as the annual expenditures that the Province and its subsidized communities accrued during the previous triennium. Fray Santiago proposed that the next administration maintain the strategy of the cash flow that the Provincial Procuration office had initiated as well as to improve the fund generation of the Province in the coming years. He expounded on the plan for the enrolment of all the religious of the Province in the Social Security System especially in securing their health needs in the future. Interpolations, clarifications, and suggestions were done immediately after the report.

The information phase wrapped up at 5:32PM. The one-hour-and-a-half freetime succeeded thereafter. The vespers and complines were prayed at 6:45PM. Dinner was served at 7:30PM. The delegates were favored with an early rest after dinner time.

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