In Carmel for life


Last November 30, 2019, at 3pm, I, together with three of my brothers (Vinson, Leo, and Joeizl), professed our lifetime commitment to Carmel and to religious life, to follow the footsteps of Jesus.

Allow me to share the message of gratitude I delivered in behalf of the brothers:

The late Fr. Bernard Roosendaal, O.Carm. used to remind us, "It is not the destination that matters, but the journey." Our journey has been veeeery long, tedious and hard… its not an easy trek to Carmel, I tell you… and though we may have experienced our share of pain and sorrow in this journey, quite a few number of stumbling blocks, we might feel that we've been wounded several times, but it is exactly these experiences that would allow us to grow to be better persons, be better Catholics, be better servants, be better Carmelites. How can we know joy and happiness, love and comfort if we do not recognize pain and sorrow? Life would be plain, ordinary. But our life in Carmel has been very colorful, each minute a reason for celebration.

You are at the bridge, Fr. Bernard would tell us. Be the bridge that would allow people to transcend from a mentality of me, I, we, them… to that of us, you… for our world to not just be about me, but of others… of the other….

Our journey of formation to embrace the Carmelite life of prayer, service and brotherhood and the evangelical counsels of obedience, chastity, and poverty, for us to discover our gifts and to allow us to be generous and to share it with others for free, this journey has been very challenging, but together, by helping each other, pushing each other up (instead of pulling them down or kicking them down) we were able to make some progress, yey!

God's blessing is truly abundant and he gives it to us in the form of gifts, gifts which we should recognize in the person of the people around us… everyone, truly is a gift… even those who are not really fond of us, but we should remember that God never gives us gifts that would not help us in our journey… Those gifts we thought were sad… well, years from now, you might just realize that they were actually diamonds, so treasure them, transcend and allow God to teach you through them… and so, in this celebration of thanksgiving for God's grace, love, and blessing, allow us to express our gratitude to our many companions in this journey…

First, allow me to say that we are honored with the presence of SJ Tañong Chorale, who offered their talent for this milestone in our religious life. The songs they sung during mass are in their new album of liturgical music, Mass of Unity, which is very apt and useful as this year the Philippine Church will be celebrating unity, diversity, acceptance, and respect in the year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue, and Indigenous People. Our focus is Dialogue Towards Harmony. Dialogue. SJ Tañong brought some copies of their album, and as a gesture of support and appreciation, please take time to check their album out and buy some for yourself and for your parish's choir.

We express our gratitude to our servers, our brothers in Carmel who are not only with us in prayer, but also who willingly and lovingly sacrificed and shared their time and gifts with us... thank you…

Our lectors and commentators - allow me to mention our associate and a member of St. John of the Cross Community, Br. Joemar Labastera, a.O.Carm.; ate Normie Lacanilao, our ever reliable secretary in the provincial curia's office and who was also a member, mind you, of the International Commission for Lay Carmelites based in Rome, and the Crinson Luayon, brother of Br. Vinson.

The Mother Butler's Guild of Our Father Parish in Novaliches and of Cubao Cathedral.

For all those who shared their blessings to help make this moment of our religious life very memorable - First, the Young Carmel Philippines Foundation, headed by Fr. Aristarco Escobal, O.Carm., who has been making so much effort in making sure that our young Carmelites always have food on our table and for all our basic needs to be satisfied; Third Order of Carmelites of Cubao, the mother of all TOCs in the Philippines; the Third Order of Carmelites of Project 6; the Carmelite Sisters of Our Lady, our ever ever ever dependable sisters who we could easily run to as a big sister and mother; the Institute of Spirituality in Asia, special mention to ate Joy Kialkial; to our dear brother, Fr. Sheldon Tabile, O.Carm., who is so excited for us but unfortunately is now in the Netherlands for his doctorate studies, but always asking for updates, every minute, he not only shared his talent but also his contacts, resources, everything that he could give; to Kadena Press in Kalayaan Avenue; to our brothers in ICTC, especially to the very generous Servants of the Risen Christ brothers - particularly, Fra JM Silfavan, Fra Marlon Hegina, Fra Eric Gallo; to our Franciscan brothers, especially bro. Ronald Factor; my dear friends, the Cebuano artist couple, the legendary sir Celso and ma'am Fe Pepito, whose art they use to evangelize and spread the Good News of Christ; ate Bebe Atamosa and ate Christiane da Silva of Cebu, Linda and Ading Roura of Ormoc, through Br. Dave; the parish priest of Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral, Fr. Dennis Soriano.

To our beloved deacon, Rev. Mannie Barlis, O.Carm., who together with five other Carmelite brothers, recently received the sacrament of the holy order of the diaconate, to God be the glory.

To all the priests who concelebrated in the celebration today, our brother Carmelite priests and especially to my uncle priest from the Archdiocese of Manila, Fr. Raul Salgado, and my confessor and spiritual director who came all the way from Bataan, Fr. Antonio Bernaldo.

To all of you, our beloved family, friends, sisters and brothers, who took time to be with us on this unforgettable day.

To the members of the Initial Formation Commission, especially to our past and present companion-formators: Fr. Jess Alesna, O.Carm., Fr. Marlon Beredo, O.Carm., Fr. Ken Ombrog, O.Carm., Fr. Billy Bong Manguiat, O.Carm., Fr. Toto Jaranilla, O.Carm., and Fr. Alain Balasabas, O.Carm.

To the members of the provincial council - Kuya Atty. Carlito Ranoco , a.O.Carm., Fr. Arnel Glodobe, O.Carm., Fr. Gilbert Billena, O.Carm., Fr. Jun Adeva, O.Carm., and Fr. Marlon Lacal, O.Carm., who mentored us when he was our director in the Inter-Congregational Theological Center and even though he is very busy and is assigned in Agusan now, continues to guide us when we need him.

To the many families and communities who opened their doors, their life, their family, to welcome us into their homes for a short time, and made us part of their families for life... some of them are here today.

To our dear prior provincial, Fr. Tim Jusayan, O.Carm.

To our brother patron who continues to teach and inspire us… Bld. Titus Brandsma…

To our dear mother, sister, inspiration, the star of the sea, Our Lady of Mount Carmel…

And most especially to our dear Lord - the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - who called us first to be embraced by his love… and to discover and experience his presence in our lives, in the lives of the people we serve and in the emptiness, anxiety, pain, sorrow, grief, victories, joy, and hope of our pained and wounded society.

Our heartfelt gratitude for blessing us with your presence in this journey.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


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