CEBU—After a week-long presentation of the status of the Province, meetings of different commissions, discussions, and plenary assemblies, the capitulars spent days of rest in preparation for another phase of the Provincial Chapter, the Decision Phase.
February 17, 2018—Celebrating the Holy Mass in memory of Our Lady of Consolation, Fray Edgar Tubio, OAR, president of the Secretariat of Ministerial and Mission Apostolate, shared his homily as a reecho of the reflection of Archbishop Socrates Villegas, DD, during their recollection with a gist of the season of Lent. Fray Tubio said, “The season of Lent is a season of encounter with the Lord, a season of accompaniment, and a season of discernment.”
After the Mass, some of the capitulars went to town, some chose to stay at the retreat house, while others headed toward Tabuelan, northwest of Cebu, to breathe in fresh air. The group who went to Tabuelan left Talavera House of Prayer-Recoletos at 5:45 AM for a three-hour journey. They had their lunch at La Familia Beach Resort with a sumptuous seafood meal. After bathing in the cool beach water of La Familia amidst a light downpour, they went back passing by the EcoPark-Recoletos at Danao City for an ecological exercise.
After disembarking from their bus service, the participants trekked to where the image of Nuestra Señora de la Salud is enshrined. The cool breeze of the mountain side greeted them as they arrived at the shrine. To memorialize their presence in the place, the capitulars who went to EcoPark planted langka (jackfruit) and santol (cottonfruit) trees and took some time to commune with nature. Back to Talavera, the delegates who went to Tabuelan had their dinner with the rest of the capitulars.
February 18, 2018–The First Sunday of Lent was spent by the capitulars as a day of rest. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was presided by Fray Jerik Troy Siozon, OAR, one of the members of the Chapter Secretarial Committee, who at the same time celebrated his 31st birthday.
In his homily, Fray Siozon shared with the capitulars his realization about self-denial which he himself exercised in his service for the Province, the Order, and the Church as member of the secretarial committee. This self-denial was done also by Christ who chose to deny himself and took our human condition, undergo temptation, suffer, and die for us. And this Jesus is the one who continuously invites us to deny oneself, carry one’s cross, and follow him.
Relating his reflection on the Gospel of the day, Fray Jerik encouraged those who attended the Mass to not be afraid of confronting temptations, sufferings, and the difficulty of denying oneself. He then gave three reasons why. First, it is because Christ experienced all these also. Second, because God, will always give us the necessary graces to fight the temptations and move forward in our spiritual journey. And third and the most important reason is, Jesus, who participated in man’s temptations, sufferings and pains transformed them into something redemptive that now they are spring boards towards sanctity. Fray Jerik also quoted St. Augustine: “Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No one knows himself except through trial, or receives a crown except after victory, or strives except against an enemy or temptations (Commentary on the Psalms).”
Fray Siozon concluded his homily with a story which he experienced during his missionary assignment in Panamá. The story was about a native Panamanian who took a piece of wood from a tree which the natives considered as the cross of Christ and used it as a walking stick. In relation to our daily life as Christians, the cross, which is usually equated to burden, was perceived in another perspective—as a walking stick that is used to help us in our journey towards sanctity.
Lunch was served at Talavera House of Prayer-Recoletos with the community of University of San Jose-Recoletos. After the birthday celebration, the capitulars took a day-off from the usual routine of the Provincial Chapter.