The Asia Formators Meeting was held at MAPAC (Marist Asia Pacific Centre) from the 12th to 17th of January. In attendance were sixteen brothers coming from different countries who are working in formation houses from the Candidacy to the Post-Novitiate. The vision of the meeting was to make the itineraries for all stages of formation in Asia Region. The Message of the XXII General Chapter was introduced and reflected on in the meeting.
For the first few days, the participants had a chance to study the Message of the XXII General Chapter as well as the words of Br Ernesto in explaining what the term “A new La Valla” means for us. The term “Global Family” made a strong impression in the discussion as the invitation for each one to be available for mission in all parts of the world. The image of a balanced table with four legs was used by Br Ernesto to describe the “New Beginning”. The meeting also reviewed the seven points of the 2015 Colloquium on Formation.
After some days of reflecting and sharing on different messages and documents, the meeting started producing the itineraries for formation. Br Paco, who is the formator of the postulancy in Davao, introduced the draft of the itineraries prepared by the formation commission. There were different groups working on different stages of formation from Aspirancy to Post-Novitiate; they tried to build the complete and achievable itineraries for the formation program in Asia Region. The new draft of the itineraries were done with the thorough reflection and serious thought of all the members of the group.
The meeting ended with the thanksgiving message to MAPAC community and the brothers who were involved in preparing for the meeting. The work will be continued by the different groups in order to come up with a complete program and it will be implemented in the formation houses. (Br. Anton Cong Nguyen, FMS)
SHARING AND CELEBRATING THE SPIRIT OF THE NEW BEGINNING
On January 02, 2018, the Institute of the Marist Brothers celebrated its 201th Foundation Anniversary. In the Philippine sector, around Thirty (30) lay people gathered at the East Asia Province Center to join the Marist Brothers in the celebration of this significant event. The program started at 1:30 PM with Bro. Ador Santiago FMS, welcoming participants coming from Marbel, Kidapawan, Cotabato and General Santos City.
The event was made meaningful by the sharing of the participants of the 22nd General Chapter: Br. Nelson Beltran presented an overview of the Chapter Calls, and the personal impact on him as participant of the Chapter. Ms. Elma Rafil talked about the spirit of new communion and on matters about the vocation of the Marist Laity. Br. Lindley gave an informative sharing on the new calls for mission, noting the challenge of taking contemplative stance as we embarked on doing our missionary tasks. It was an enriching opportunity for both the laity and the brothers to know more about the direction of the “New Beginning”. It will, indeed, guide the development of Marist life and mission in the succeeding years.
The Thanksgiving Mass was officiated by Fr. Jempoy Caspis, MCCJ, an NDDU alumnus and a Comboni Missionary, with co-presider Fr. Roy Laudenorio, an NDMU alumnus and a visiting Military Chaplain from Canada.
The event concluded with a fellowship dinner which offered an opportunity of rekindling the warmth of family spirit shared among those present to grace the event.
THE DAWNING OF LAY MARIST LIFE HAS BEGUN
Around Ten (10) Lay people joined the brothers' community in Petaling Jaya, for an evening of orientation and sharing on Marist Life last November 30, 2017. The process began with each participant raising questions and expressing feelings about their experience of Marist life. Some shared the need for more opportunities to get to know more the brothers and their mission and how to live Marist life in the day-to-day teaching ministry. Others asked: How can I further participate in the Marist Mission? What other fields other than education are the Marist Brothers engaged in? One participant articulated the desire "to seek how the group present in the gathering can enrich one another in the Marist Mission.”
What followed was the sharing on Vocational Itinerary embodied in the document Being Lay Marists with a presentation of the Marist Life and Mission of the Institute. Agnes Reyes facilitated the input and reflection process. Br. John Chin, Br. Joachim Heng, Br. Anthony Cheng and Br. Paul Saw gave encouraging support through their presence in the gathering.
Prior to the meeting with the laity, the PJ community with the added presence of Br. John Heng from Sibu, Sarawak, met on November 29, 2017, for the sharing of updates from the Secretariat of the Laity particularly on the document Being Lay Marists and on the Champagnat Movement of the Marist Family. It is within the thrust of the East Asia Province to establish the CMMF in places where it has not yet existed. The newly-released statement from the General Chapter was also taken up during the meeting.
With the vitality felt among the participants of this gathering of lay and brothers, practical steps forward are now being thought of to ensure that Marist life and mission grow roots among the laity in communion with the brothers in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
In God’s own time …and one step at a time!
(1) Brothers community in Petaling Jaya
(2) Gathering with Laity
PEER-CARE: DETECTING AND RESPONDING TO MANIFESTATIONS OF BEING ABUSED
The Philippine Sector Child Rights and Protection Program Committee conducted a seminar-workshop on PEER-CARE: DETECTING AND RESPONDING TO MANIFESTATONS OF ABUSE on November 20-21, 2017 at Mother Francisca Spirituality Center, General Santos City. The said training was participated in by the Guidance Counselors and student leaders from nine (9) Notre Dame Schools of Marbel Diocese and five (5) Marist Schools.
The two-day seminar workshop was aimed at: (1) providing student leaders information on Child Rights and Protection Policies of their respective schools; (2) knowing cases of abuse prevalent in the experiences of their peers.; (3) learning skills of detection and knowing appropriate steps of responding to cases of abuse; and (4) working in close supervision with their respective school guidance counsellors in providing assistance to fellow students experiencing abuse.
Dr. Shake Guevarra-Hocson, President of Philippine Guidance Association of the Philippines shared her expertise on the theme and taught the participants basic skills in administering psychological first-aid to abuse victims.
Fr. Teodulo P. Gonzales, S.J., Program Coordinator of the Center for Family Ministries of Ateneo de Manila University, spoke about categories of child abuse and its warning signs, hazards and risks and themes on child abuse recovery and resiliency. He engaged the participants in a workshop that guided them to come up with a Child Safe Plan for their respective schools.
One participant capped his experience in saying: “I have learned that there are still lots of people who still care about child abuse and it’s nice to see my fellow youth who share the same interest about the topic. I learned about the signs if a child is abused and suicidal and what to do about it appropriately.”
Participants (photo top)
Working Team with the Resource Persons (Photo bottom)
KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE: A SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY LEADERS’ COLLABORATIVE ADVOCACY
Thirty Five (35) participants coming from Nine (9) Notre Dame Schools in the Diocese of Marbel and Five Marist Schools (Marbel, Kidapawan, Cotabato, Espina and Lagao) together with their respective local community-barangay level leaders attended a Seminar Workshop on Keeping Children Safe: A School and Community Leaders’ Collaborative Advocacy on November 16-17, 2017 held at OND Mission Center, General Santos City. The workshop was aimed at strengthening the partnership of the schools and the community leaders in the protection of children. Specifically, the seminar modules tackled the key role and functions of the Barangay Child Protection Council (BCPC) of which the school is a member. It also clarified the collaborative efforts of the school and community leaders in working for the best interest of children.
Mrs. Naira Aratuc from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), shared about Understanding Children and the Risk-Factors in the Philippine Context. Mrs. Lourdes Gambala, a Barangay Councilor and Mrs. Ma. Lucita Romaquin, a volunteer street educator, shared testimonies of their active involvement in the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC). Br. Crispin Betita, FMS, tackled the topics Case Management and Guidelines for a Community Based Diversion and Prevention Programs for Children at Risk.
Br. Ted Fernandez, FMS, the Chair of the East Asia Province Child Rights and Protection Committee expressed his hopes to the participants that they would gain more knowledge and broaden their perspective in school and community in handling cases that would lead to the proper care and guidance of children and youth.
As the training ended, a number of participants expressed the realization that, indeed, “…the welfare of our students and the children does not only lie in the hands of the teachers alone. It calls for a collaborative effort with the barangay officials and the authorities in the community.”
This Seminar Workshop is the third wave of the series of seminars funded by Misean Cara and partly by Maristen Solidarity International, Germany, through FMSI.
Brother Kevin Luke O’Neil, known as “Bro. Kevin”, 82 years of age, was born in Brooklyn, New York City on October 19, 1935.
Br. Kevin O’Neil joined the Marist Brothers of the Schools as Postulant in 1952 at St. Joseph’s Novitiate in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, U.S.A. He started his Novitiate on July 26, 1953 and made his first temporary profession on July 26, 1954 in Tyngsboro. He took his scholasticate at Marian College 1954 to 1957 in Poughkeepsie, New York, U.S.A. After five years, he made his perpetual profession on August 15, 1959. He joined the Second Novitiate in 1966 in Fribourg, Switzerland, and took his personal renewal on January 1, 1985 to June 30, 1986.
Br. Kevin graduated his B.A. Major in Mathematics in 1957 at Marist College, and finished his Master in Mathematics at Boston University in 1973.
Br. Kevin spent most of his apostolic work in different Marist schools in New York as a teacher. He was assigned in the Philippines in 1962 to 1965 as a teacher and college dean at Notre Dame of Kidapawan College, in 1965-1966 at Marist School, Marikina as a teacher, in 1989-1991 at Notre Dame of Dadiangas College and in 1992-1993 at Notre Dame of Marbel College as a Project Coordinator. From then, his assignment was transferred at Saint Joseph Academy in Brownsville, Texas. He left the Philippines in 1994. Bro. Kevin was a good friend and a great Brother.
The Lord called Br. Kevin Luke “Kevin” O’Neil, FMS to His side on the 27th day of October 2017 at his favorite chair at his residence at 153 Avenue C, Bayonne (New Jersey), U.S.A. Suspected cause of his death is a massive heart attack. No medical examination was performed.
The Brothers in East Asia Province are in deep sorrow for Br.Kevin’s death. May he rest in peace in heaven.
MARIST CONTACT MEMBERS ATTEND RECOLLECTION AND UPDATING
The Marist Contact members’ recollection and updating happened on October 20-22, 2017 at the Marist Province Center in Lagao. Br. Albert Munoz, Br. Romy Porras and Ms Ivy Yecyec of NDKC were the facilitators of the gathering of the eight young men who were participants of the “Marist Living Experience” (Come and See) of last April 28-May 1, 2017 vocation activities.
The NDMU participants were: Zyryll Fellores and Tristan Alan Sibla, both BSCE students and Shan Carl Pama, BSE, all third year university students. From NDKC, we have Joseph Riovey Jusay and Richard Pedrabuena both AB MassCom and Ace Bryan Nino Lleso, BSCE, are all third year college students. We have one from NDDU, Dan Ian Casicas, BS Entrepreneurship, also in third year. And the last member is Andrew Dabatian, an NDMU graduate who is now employed by East West Bank in Tacurong City.
The NDMU group accompanied by Br. Allan de Castro and one from NDDU arrived in the evening of Friday. They attended the birthday party for Br. Roxan Paje at the Sacred Heart Formation Center here in Lagao. The NDKC group arrived on the following day with Ms. Ivy Yecyec.
The whole morning was spent in recollection facilitated by Br. Albert Munoz. In the afternoon, Br. Romy presented updates on the Congregation and on the Sector, challenged participants through the “Hundredfold “ (Mark 10) talk on video by Bo Sanchez and responded to some FAQ on the vocation of the Marist Brothers.
At 4:30 p.m., a volleyball match was held with the special participation of Br. Ernie Sentina to complete two teams of 6 members each. After dinner the group continued sharing of experiences over a cup of coffee at a nearby coffee shop in downtown General Santos.
STEPPING-UP FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF CHILDREN
(Keeping Children Safe, Philippine Sector)
Br. Ted Fernandez, FMS, the Chairperson of the Child Protection Commission of East Asia Province, convened the Steering Committee for the implementation of the Misean Cara Funded Project last September 22-23, 2017 at Marian Beach, Tulan, Sarangani. The purpose of the gathering was to review the extent of accomplishing the goals and objectives of the seminar-workshops conducted on Keeping Children Safe: Building the Capacity of Teachers and Student Leaders in Child Rights and Child Protection. The project has trained 60 personnel and 60 student leaders, equipping them with knowledge on child rights and skills in protecting children, and preparing them for their active role in setting up a functional child protection desk in their respective schools. Six (6) Marist Schools in the Philippines and Nine (9) Notre Dame Schools in the Diocese of Marbel participated in this capacity-building initiatives.
To further improve the quality of child protection mechanism inside, and around the schools, the Steering Committee, composed of Br. Ted Fernandez, FMS, Br. Crispin Betita, FMS, Br. Albert Bolibol, FMS, Ma Fe Lucia L. Palma, Agnes S. Reyes and Jubert Mendoza, discussed the importance of up-scaling the actions to be taken to stop abuses and violence against children at home, in school, and community environment.
For this reason, the Committee plans to organize a capacity building workshop in November 2017 for the Barangay Child Protection Council (BCPC), an organization in the community where the school representative will work in close collaboration with. Thirty Student Leaders and Fifteen school guidance counselors will be met separately for a seminar on Peer-Care: Detecting Manifestations of Abuses Among Children and What To Do About It. With Marist schools and Diocesan schools forging a strong alliance with community leaders, it is hoped that a more strengthened system for the protection of children will be established.
Br. Crispin Betita, FMS, the Executive Director of Marcellin Foundation, raised his hopes: “May this capacity-building initiatives we will do for the schools and community bring about a responsive and functional BCPC and a more involved schools in support of the initiatives of the local community. All for the best interest of the children we care for.”
MARIST MISSION IN COMMUNION WITH THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
(Malutok Palawan, Philippines)
The Marist Brothers in Malutok, Palawan, together with the representative-leaders of the Indigenous Palaw-anon collaborators of the Marist Mission, convened on September 12-14, 2017 for a workshop on strategic planning. Joining the team was Mr. Willie Tingor, community organizer and chairperson of the Indigenous Peoples (IP) Apostolate of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa. For Rosalyn, a para-teacher and Vice President of the Education committee, the experience of sharing the indigenous people’s concerns and the opportunity of being accompanied by the Marist Brothers in charting new directions for the future of the community was significant. “Before the brothers came to our community, we simply received and followed what was given to us. With my experience in this workshop, I feel a sense of owning this program and am challenged to do something more for my community.”
In addressing the call for a “new beginning”, Br. Frank Salcedo, Br. Fred Salubre and Br. Dean Bagsican of Malutok community engaged in dialogue with Mrs. Rosalyn Mahali, Mr. Erino Tarnong, and Mr. Enrito Sumo, the leaders of the indigenous community and with Mr. Willie Tingor, representative of the Vicariate. The workshop process was done prayerfully. Invoking the guidance of “Ampu”, the God of all creation, participants discerned mission priorities for the next three years. The output of the planning workshop identified the guiding visions to pursue from January 2018 to December 2020:
1. Education that Integrates formation of indigenous learners with cultural knowledge, skills, and values.
2. Children and youth imbued with and appreciative of their own cultural heritage.
3. A protected and developed environment.
4. Indigenous spirituality respected and IP’s desire to belong to Catholic religion addressed.
5. Identified IP leaders well trained for the exercise of their leadership responsibilities.
6. Sustainable social enterprise program.
7. Strengthened networking to generate continuing support for mission.
A challenge was raised on how participants collaborate and work together in the formulation and implementation of the Ancestral Domain and Sustainable Development Plan. This plan serves as the blueprint of any indigenous community; for it guides the developmental initiatives to undertake for the best interest of the IPs.
In the Philippines, the Indigenous peoples are considered among the poorest and the most disadvantaged group. They comprise about 15% of the 104 million population of the country. Illiteracy, lack of health benefits, unemployment and the lack of access to basic services are the issues confronting the indigenous peoples particularly in the community where our brothers are present. With the formulation of the strategic mission plan, the Marist brothers and the IP leaders will work in communion to bring about a better life and future for the indigenous community, particularly the future of their children and their children’s children.
Interview with the superior general, Brother Emili Turú
Brother Emili Turú ends his service as superior general of the Marist Brothers during the General Chapter that will begin on September 8 in Rionegro (near Medellin). A few days before the beginning of the Chapter, Brother Emili answers our questions.
A General Chapter is always an important moment for the life of a religious Institute. Does the fact that it is taking place in Colombia have a meaning?
This year 2017 we are celebrating the bicentenary of our foundation. The slogan for both this year’s celebration and the previous two years of preparation has been: “A new beginning”. When speaking of a new beginning ... we wanted to visualize it also geographically, with the novelty of a Chapter outside the headquarters of the General Administration, which is where the previous 21 Chapters have been celebrated.
We wanted to take the Chapter to one of the world’s “peripheries” and Colombia is one of them, since it is living the consequences of an armed conflict since 1960; one of these consequences is, for example, the large number of internally displaced persons (more than 6 million).
On the other hand, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the convocation of the Second General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, which took place in Medellin. We know that the conclusions of this Conference profoundly marked not only the Church of the continent but the universal Church.
Also, in Colombia we have an important Marist presence, which has helped and will help in the thousand logistical aspects that need to be addressed for a good development of the Chapter.
These are the main reasons that have led us to choose Colombia as the site of our Chapter!
What, concretely, do you expect from this General Chapter?
May we, the participants, in the Chapter be able to hear the voice of the Spirit of God, who speaks to us through the “signs of the times” and urges us to give creative answers to the urgent needs of today's children and youth.
The Pope reminds us in Evangelii Gaudium that we must overcome this kind of “ecclesial introversion” that seeks above all self-preservation. In fact, one must remain in a permanent state of mission. This is what gives us life and opens us to the future.
I think we have to ask ourselves honestly, as Champagnat did 200 years ago: where does the Church need us the most at the beginning of the 21st century? ... and act accordingly!
What do you mean by “signs of the times?”
The participants in the Chapter will decide what “signs” speak to us today with particular force, but to me it seems that there are some situations that are authentic outcries and that will certainly be part of our discernment.
For example, I think of the 65.6 million people around the world forced to move from their places of origin; we cannot be indifferent to the fact that half of those people are under the age of 18. I think of the urgent and essential “global ecological conversion,” because the future of the planet is at stake.
Another important “sign of the times” is the emergence of a mature and committed laity, which must have its own leading role ...
Finally, some facts about the Chapter?
The capitulars will be 79, representing the entire Marist Institute. In addition, as a guest, a group of 8 lay people (for 3 weeks), as well as a group of 6 young Brothers will participate.
The Chapter opens on September 8, and will last six weeks. As the Pope will be in Medellin on the 9th to meet with religious, we will also participate in that meeting: it has been a happy coincidence! A day has also been planned to meet with young people from Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, to listen to them and share experiences.
May the Chapter truly be a moment of grace for all Marists!
Thank you very much, we count on the prayers of all the readers!
ORIGINAL POST, CLICK HERE.
Message of the 4th East Asia Provincial Chapter
Dear Marists of Champagnat,
We, the delegates of the 4th Provincial Chapter of the Province of East Asia, begin by thanking you for entrusting us with the serious responsibility of participating in the governing of our Province (c.f., C 151). After having reflected deeply on the realities we are facing today, we discerned the following priorities for next 3 years:
1. Community Life
Making our communities places of quality fraternal living
o where the spiritual life of each member is nourished by an atmosphere that encourages profound experiences of God through prayer;
o where young people feel welcome and their interest in our way of life is evoked;
o where the needs of the ageing brothers are attended to; and,
o where Brothers are given sufficient pastoral and health care.
2. Mission and Ministry
Ensuring that our engagement in the mission is relevant and responsive to the needs of the poor
o by providing brothers with the appropriate preparation for mission;
o by developing and strengthening non-school ministries;
o by supporting and periodically evaluating all our ministries to ensure their effectiveness; and,
o by designing a plan of effective leadership succession.
3. Lay Partnership
Acknowledging Marist Lay vocation as a gift and recognizing the significant role of the laity in the life of the Institute and the Church.
o in giving priority to the integral Marist formation of the lay;
o in increasing participation in the Marist Lay Volunteers’ Program; and,
o in encouraging more involvement in the mission of the Province and the Institute.
We commit to support and help the Provincial and his Council in taking up these priorities. Let us then embark on a journey towards a new beginning as mystics and prophets in communion.
With the guidance of Mary our Good Mother, we are confident that we shall be able to realize our plans.
In JMJ Ch,
4th Provincial Chapter
August 4-7, 2016
Marikina City, Philippines
NOTRE DAME COTABATO (NDC) ADDRESSES NEED OF MARIST FORMATION FOR PERSONNEL
Through the years, Brothers and Lay Marists across the institute, expressed the need of formation processes to address the yearning to grow more deeply in the knowledge of St. Marcellin, his spirituality and his mission. In the school context, the personnel play a key role in keeping alive the transmission of these Marist stories and values to generations of students and colleagues. Hence the need to provide formative opportunities for school personnel is important to ensure growth of Marist life.
With full support from Br. Ador Santiago, FMS, Director, and Mrs. Agnes Gandulfo, Principal, the personnel of Notre Dame of Cotabato (NDC) gathered for an orientation-workshop on the Marist Formation Program last July 18, 2017. It was an initial step towards integrating in the school’s main programs the thrust of providing formative Marist experiences to its personnel.
Following the gathering of all personnel, twenty-seven (27) newly-hired teaching and non-teaching employees were met for the 1st Phase of their formation process last July 22-23, 2017. During this week-end encounter, the participants were introduced to the life, charism and spirituality of St. Marcellin Champagnat, particularly the heart of his spiritual exercise: the practice of God’s presence. In this gathering, Br. Dionesio Acosta, FMS, Mrs. Angela Undar and Ms. Elma Rafil shared meaningful testimonies of their Marist life. Ms. Agnes Reyes facilitated the program activities.
At the conclusion of the program, teachers Christian Paul Londres and Janney Christeen Lagsub expressed appreciation of their experience; thus:
“As new teachers, we look forward to more spiritual formation to deepen our understanding of the Marist so that we grow in faith as Marist Educators at Notre Dame of Cotabato.”
BROTHERS CONVENE FOR CONSULTATION ON MATTERS ABOUT THE LAITY
Last July 23, 2017, thirteen brothers met to share reflections on the key documents that pertain to the Marist Laity. It was an opportunity for Ms. Elma B. Rafil, the East Asia participant to the 22nd General Chapter in Colombia, to be in dialogue with the brothers on key themes, specifically, on The Vocation of the Marist Laity, and the Notes on the Recommendations to the General Council.
Ideas shared were enriching as openness permeate the course of the discussions. In exploring the identity and the process of the development of the vocation of the Lay Marists and their role, there still exist areas which are not clear from the standpoint of the brothers. On the part of the laity, the tension, among others, lies in the area of dependency on the brothers and the challenge for autonomy within the context of communion. Details of the discussion points in the consultation forum were consolidated for they provided valuable reference to understanding perspectives of both brothers and lay.
Selamat Datang to the City of Kuching!
Have you ever wondered what Kuching means? There have been many stories and legends about where this place got its name. One tells that it comes from an animal; one says it is an adaptation of the name of a foreign place; another claims it is from a river; still another relates that it is from a fruit and the last suggests it is from an old wishing well. So which one would you like to hear about?
The story that intrigues me the most is the one which tells of two lights that one can see from the harbor of the city. One was said to be coming from a light house on top of a mountain and the other from a nearby tower. These two were horizontally aligned and when viewed from the harbor at night, they appeared to be like a cat’s eyes. Thus the place came to be called “Kuching”, which literally means "cat" in the local dialect. This city became famous then for its cat statues spread all over which became landmarks and also for its Cat Museum.
It is in this city of Kuching, state of Sarawak, Malaysia that a new mission of the Marist Brothers of East Asia Province was recently established. The project came to be when Br. Robert Teoh, the current Provincial was invited by Archbishop John Ha. As the overheard story goes, it was a Franciscan nun who was requested to administer and inaugurate a school which would be named St. Joseph’s International School. This school would become one of the branches of the St. Joseph Family of Schools in Kuching. The said Franciscan nun accepted the offer but she was eventually elected as a Major Superior of their congregation; hence, the project was left open for the taking.
Br. Robert learned about this and took the opportunity to meet with the Archbishop and told him that the Marist Brothers were willing to take over the task of opening a school. Br. Robert then called Br. Paul Hough from the Province of Australia who was so courageous in taking up the challenge of starting this school. Br. Niño Mark John Suarez from the Philippines was also asked to be assigned to this new area.
Beginning January 2016, Br. Paul together with Br. Robert paid a series of visits to the city to meet up with some important personalities. In June 2016, Br. Mark made his official ocular visit to experience and acquire a feel of the place. The site where the school would be established was also visited by the Brothers together with Mr. Gerald Lee, the out-going Director, and Mr. Chris Chua, he newly-appointed Director. Upon seeing the place, the Brothers concluded that the area was quite small but promising nonetheless. It was an old abandoned school that needed a lot of renovation and construction.
By November 2016, the school had a fresh look - newly renovated, painted, and partially furnished. Classrooms were filled with chairs and tables for the students and looked ready for action, so to speak. Two laboratories were in place; the canteen was prepared for some serving; and the office and faculty room were set up well for working. Moreover, Brothers Paul and Mark started the work of administering and preparing the school together with Ms. Sheryl Lee, the office administrator, and two maintenance personnel. Br. Paul arrived in early November 2016 and assumed his post as the headmaster. Br. Mark, on the other hand, reported to his work in the faculty office upon his arrival in late November.
On December 28, 2016, St. Joseph’s International School held the first meeting with all the members of the school community led by Br. Paul. The school community then is composed of twelve individuals, just like the Twelve Apostles. Twelve means complete; and this a good sign that the Spirit is working within.
The eight teachers are Ms. Ann, Ms. Lina, Ms. Ina, Ms. Molly, Mr. Kenneth, Mr. Chang, Mr. David and Br. Mark. The two maintenance personnel are Japni and Samsu. The office administrator is Ms. Sheryl and the headmaster is Br. Paul. With that, the school was confidently ready for the opening of classes which took place on January 03, 2017. We have a total of one hundred students at the moment since that the only number we can accommodate with the facilities that we have. It is a secondary school where seventy five students are in grade 7 and twenty five are in year 8.
There were different activities that took place during the first day of classes. These included the welcoming, assembly, tour of the school campus and the Parish Church, singing practice, distribution of books and orientation of each classes. It was also an honor that the Archbishop presided the first Eucharistic Celebration on January 06, 2017, followed by the blessing of the school. The St. Joseph’s International School is so far running smoothly under its staff and administrators.
The coming months are expected to be busy and noisy because two four-level buildings will be constructed. On the other hand, students are becoming more confident and are increasing their participation in the different classes and activities of the school. We are now about to finish the first month of classes and things are going very well.
Initially, the Brothers did not have a community house. They were then accommodated at the St. Peter’s Seminary. The priests were very hospitable in providing for the Brothers and we are so grateful for that. After the long process of house shopping and paper processing, the Brothers finally got a house in late December 2016. The Province bought a two level house in a residential area called Stapok Utara in Kuching.
As the house needed some repairs, it was first occupied by Br. Mark on January 7, 2017 and he did some preparations. Br. Paul moved in on January 18 and it was celebrated with a dinner of Australian steak and vegetables prepared by the brothers themselves. From the community house to the school, it would take 20 to 30 minutes travel by car. During the day, the Brothers are all working in school and they would come home late in the afternoon. The community house has a homey atmosphere and Brothers from around the world are most welcome to pay us a visit. Just make sure you book ahead of time as we only have one very large guest room that can accommodate three to four people. Our living room is spacious as well; you may sleep on the sofa. Rest assured that we will tour you around the different beautiful spots of the city.
I hope to see you here in the City of Cats! Terimah kasih!
Br. Niño Mark John S. Suarez, FMS
CMMF NOTRE DAME OF COTABATO
The work of renewing the life-plan of the Champagnat Movement of the Marist Family (CMMF) across the Institute has taken forward steps. To date, advocacy has been promoted on the revitalization of the Movement through consultations and presentation of the revised CMMF Life Plan to the members of the family.
The CMMF Notre Dame Cotabato took part in this process when they convened on July 15, 2017 to pray together, to know the revised Life Plan, and to share reflections on the blessings they received and the desires they had towards invigorating lay Marist life. Members expressed that, among others, they felt a strong sense of a family within the group and membership to the CMMF provided them with rich formative opportunities and outreach activities for the poor. Many of them expressed their desires for on-going formation, expansion of membership, and strengthening more their relationship within the CMMF community. One member expressed: “I wish that through CMMF every member become more zealous in fulfilling one’s mission…”
The brothers in Cotabato community were present and they expressed encouraging support to the initiatives undertaken by the Marist laity. Through CMMF, members affirmed that the relationship of communion with brothers was deepened and nourished.
GO BACK TO HOME
CHILD PROTECTION DUTY BEARERS CONVENED FOR SEMINAR ON POSITIVE DISCIPLE
The Committee on Child Rights of the Philippine Sector, East Asia Province, organized a seminar on Positive Discipline in Everyday Teaching, Building the Capacity of Duty Bearers in Keeping Children Safe on June 28 and June 29, 2017 at the Province Center, Lagao, General Santos City. The Chairperson of the Child Rights Committee, Br. Ted Fernandez, FMS, led the organization of the said activity. He networked with Mr. Peter Mallonga, Save the Children Volunteer and Country Trainor for an enriching input on Positive Discipline. Mr. Mallonga provided manuals and shared his competence as a Resource Person on the theme.
Working with Br. Ted in this seminar were Br. Crispin P. Betita, FMS, Br. Albert Bolibol, FMS and Ms. Agnes S. Reyes. A total of Fifty Six (56) participants coming from the Marist Schools and the Notre Dame Schools of the Diocese of Marbel attended the said workshop.
In the evaluation of the program content and method, the participants value the feedback given by Br. Crispin on the existing Child Protection Policies (CPP) of their respective schools.
One participant expressed that “the comments given to our CPP help a lot in the process of our revising our school’s CPP manual to make it more relevant and protective of the children we work with.” Noting the relevance of the topic content, most participants requested for the conduct of similar seminars to a wider participation of other duty bearers. Mrs. Leonarda Caldea from Notre Dame of Glan, Sarangani expressed: “I learned more deeply on the essence of Positive Discipline which for me means how reactive, reflective and pro-active we are in addressing the violence against children…. The lecture-discussion and the way the resource person discussed the topics are both clear, relevant, experiential and striking….”
Last month, June 2017, a national paper in the Philippines published Department of Education’s (DepEd) mandate for schools to strictly comply with their respective Child Protection Policies. Indeed, this initiative of the East Asia Province Child Protection Committee is a timely collaboration with the DepEd’s landmark policy for the protection and welfare of vulnerable children.
LAUNCHING OF MARIST BICENTENARY
Marist East-Asia Province
Photo Credit: Carmela Amor Nariz Andoloy
“Coming Together for a New Beginning,” the theme of the East Asia Province Launching of Marist Bicentenary held at Notre Dame of Kidapawan College in Kidapawan City, Philippines last June 23-24, 2017. This was well participated by the delegates from school and non-school ministries of East Asia Province spearheaded by the NDKC President, Br. Manuel V. de Leon, FMS in coordination with the Marist Provincial Council and the Marist Bicentenary Committee. In fact, the East Asia Marists of Champagnat, Brothers, Affiliates, Sisters, Lay Mission Partners, Champagnat Movement of the Marist Family, youths and alumni gathered meaningfully with the Eucharistic Celebration presided by Fr. Hipolito Paracha, DCK and co-celebrated by Fr. Arnel Cabrera, DCK, NDKC chaplain and Fr. Christopher Ganzon, SM in the morning of the Feast of Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Thereafter a break and a motorcade supervened; the lunch fiesta celebration was entertained by the Marist Band. Moreover, relevant exhibits signifying Marist Presence in making Jesus and Mary known and loved were displayed by the Marist Brothers and the different school ministries suchlike Marist School Marikina, Notre Dame of Dadiangas University, Notre Dame of Marbel University, Notre Dame of Cotabato and Notre Dame of Kidapawan College as well as the non-school ministry of Malutok, Palawan community.
The afternoon program proper started at the NDKC Br. Norman Roy gymnasium with an invocation of Alleluia and introductory songs led by the cited band. The host school president gracefully welcomed and inspired the delegates in his opening remarks after a Manobo cultural welcome presentation. Furthermore, Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph A. Evangelista, a Marist NDKC alumnus, proudly recognized the important contributions of Marist Brothers during his formation years and gratefully expressed his hospitality of the presence of Marists in the community. The Marist East Asia Provicial, Br. Robert Teoh, FMS, gave also his wonderful message about the theme of the celebration, rejoicing and celebrating together for the Lord has been good to us for the last 200 years, asking forgiveness, being Champagnat of today as witness of Gospel joy, building a Church with Marian face, being on fire for a mission, education as the work of the heart, and looking forward with hope for all to Jesus through Mary, all to Mary for Jesus.
After in between interludes by NDKC Sinagtala and Marist Band’s Power of Dream performance, the participants, viewed and listened to the recent message of Br. Emili Turu, the Marist Superior General, who as well highlighted asking forgiveness, gratitude, and renewed commitment. Afterwhich, colorful cultural creative presentations were marvelously showcased by the performers of ND Cotabato, ND Marbel University, ND Dadiangas University, NDKC and the Marist Brothers of Fourvier and Sacred Heart Formation Communities. Then, an audiovisual presentation about Marist Presence and Missions in East Asia was showed, which was preceded with a message of thanks by the East Asia Chair on Mission Commission, Br. Dominador A. Santiago, FMS, and the singing of Marist Hymn and Marist Bicentenary Song. After a community dinner, the present Marists of Champagnat solemnly gathered and prayed in the bonfire ceremony with meaningful songs of peace, interfaith prayers, readings and messages of peace shared by school and non-school ministries’ representatives, Ms. Cheryl Biare (NDC Faculty), Gerald Pusgo (Malutok, Palawan Youth), and Zyryll Fellores (NDMU Marist Youth). And then, a substantive taize prayer completed the night’s event.
On the next day of the said solemnization, the delegates attended the mass at the Our Lady of Mediatrix of All Grace Cathedral with Fr. Desiderio Balatero Jr., DCK as the priest presider on the Feast of St. John the Baptist. It was indeed a blessed rainy morning when they had their breakfast. A ritualized tree planting activity concluded and actively participated by Br. Robert Teoh, FMS, the Marist Provincial from Malaysia, Br. Domingo Lee, FMS, Provincial Councilor from Korea-Japan Sector, Br. John Chin, FMS, Provincial Councilor from China Sector and the delegation heads and representatives of various ministries of Philippine Sector.
Such a significant communion of Marists of Champagnat today breakthrough a new La Valla!
Ivy Bulawan Yecyec
CMMF Lead Animator
MARIST PROVINCE NORMS 2016
A document for the East Asia Marist Province Norms revised August 2016.
BOOK OF CUSTOMS 2016
In this document is the Marist East Asia Book of Customs 2016 Edition. A reference document for the guidance of all Marist Brothers in East Asia Province.
COMMUNITY PRAYER BOOKLET
Inside is the suggested community prayer booklet that each community can use during Recollections, Prayer Gatherings, Community Prayers and Personal Prayers.
"First cultivate your interior life and then cultivate the hearts of the young people who come to you"
Br. Paul Won professed his final vows as a Marist Brother on April 22, 2017 at the Korea-Japan Sector House in Seoul, Korea. The Liturgy, which started at 3:00 in the afternoon, was presided over by Fr. Noel Shin, with 2 other priests con celebrating.
This very important day in the life of Br. Paul was made more memorable by the presence of his parents, as well as the Korean brothers from the different communities (Sector House, Marist Education Center, Formation House, Chungju, Jecheon and Kobe), friends, benefactors and family members.
Incidentally, the Provincial Council of East Asia had the meeting in Seoul on April 20-21; so all the members of the Council, led by the Provincial Br. Robert Teoh, were also present to witness Br. Paul's perpetual consecration. The occasion became an opportunity for the people in attendance to realize the international nature of the Institute as 6 teachers and 1 student from the Philippines, brothers from Hong Kong (Br. Anthony Tan), from the Philippines (Br. Edgar Ceriales), and from Japan (Br. Yohan Oh), were also around.
Fr. Noel gave a very inspiring homily. He challenged Br. Paul to be a candlelight wherever he goes and whatever he does, and bring the light of Christ to the the world. On the other hand, Br. Robert, in his message just before the final blessing, reminded Br. Paul by quoting the advice of Pope Francis, “First cultivate your interior life and then cultivate the hearts of the young people who come to you.”
As a remembrance, Br. Paul presented the attendants an apron and invited them to live like Mary. He said Mary's way is the way of renewal especially as we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of our foundation. The apron is a very appropriate symbol of the Marian face of the Church, he said, and those who receive it would join us to build the Marian face of the Church as MARISTS. After the Mass, the congregation gathered at Marist Education Center next door for a simple fellowship meal.
Before joining the Marist Brothers in 2007, Br. Paul worked at a construction company in line with his professional training. He made his first profession in 2010. At present he is working at the Marist Eco-Spirituality Center in Jecheon.
Br. Fernando Armendez, FMS
I first met Bro. Pop in 1968 when I entered the Marist Juniorate in Lagao. Then in my two years (1970-72) in our novitiate, he was among the staff. I thank the good Lord for his presence in my years of formation.
A man of few words and I greatly appreciated him of being our driver when we did catechesis in Broce Elementary School, in Tenorio Elementary School and in marketing; Bro. Pop was our referee when we played basketball, umpire when we played softball.
He was a model for me when it comes to love of work. But his greatness comes from who he was. I always enjoyed listening to his Ilongo ballad. Bro. Pop and Bro. Leonard used to play chess together and what came out from their mouth were Ilonggo words...those were days. May God bless them till we meet them again in the next life.
Br. Rosendo J. Yee, FMS
To Brother Emili Turú Rofes,
Superior General of the Marist Brothers
It is a pleasure for me to greet you and, through you, the entire Marist family on the occasion of the Bicentenary of the foundation of your
Gratitude is the primary emotion flowing from the heart. This attitude of thanksgiving is necessary in order to appreciate the great things that God has done through you. At the same time, giving thanks does us good; it helps us see ourselves as little ones in the eyes of the Lord and as indebted to a tradition freely given to us. You belong to a large family rich in witnesses who knew how to give their lives out of love for God and neighbour with that spirit of fraternity so characteristic of the Congregation which sees in the other “a dear brother, especially dear to me” (Philemon 16). These two centuries of existence have been transformed in their turn into a great story of devotedness to the children and young people you have welcomed from over the five continents and have formed into good citizens and, in particular, into good Christians. These works of charity are expressions of the goodness and mercy of God, who, in spite of our limitations and blunders, never forgets his children. However, it is not enough simply to reflect on the past; it is also necessary to discern the present. It is right for you to examine yourselves and it is good to do this in the light of the Spirit. Discernment is objectively and charitably acknowledging your present state and facing up to it in the spirit of your founding. For his time, Saint Marcellin Champagnat was an innovator in the fields of education and formation. He experienced for himself the need for love to highlight the potential that each child has hidden within. Your holy Founder used to say, “Education is for the child what cultivation is for the field.
However fertile the field may be, if it is not worked, it will produce only brambles and weeds”. An educator’s work is one of constant devotedness demanding sacrifice; but, education is a work of the heart and that is what makes it both different and sublime. Being called to cultivate demands, before all else, self-cultivation. The Religious-educator must take care of his own interior field, his human and spiritual reserves, in order to be able to go out to sow and cultivate the ground entrusted to him. You need to be aware that the ground you are working and shaping is “holy”, seeing on it the love and footprint of God. By your devotedness and effort, faithful to the mission you received, you will contribute to the work of God, who is calling you to be simple instruments in his hands.
Finally, I encourage you to be open to the future with hope, journeying with a renewed spirit. This is not a different road you are taking, but one brought alive in the Spirit. Society today needs people who are solid in their convictions, who can give witness to what they believe in, and, in this way, build a better world for all. On this journey, you will be guided by the motto of your Religious Institute, “All to Jesus through Mary; all to Mary for Jesus”. Have confidence in Mary and allow yourselves to be guided by her in her humility and service, her readiness and silent commitment. These are the attitudes that a good Religious and educator must transmit through his example.
The young people will recognise something extraordinary in your way of being and acting and they will understand that it is worthwhile, not only to learn these values, but more importantly to make them their own. Mary will accompany them in this project and, at her side, they will be confirmed in their vocation, contributing to the creation of a constantly evolving humanity, in which the weak and the marginalized are valued and loved. This future that they desire so much and dream of, is not an illusion: it is being built today, saying “yes” to the will of God, with the certainty that, as a good Father, he will not deceive our hope.
I thank the Lord and Mary, our Good Mother, as Saint Marcellin liked to call her, for the presence in the Church of your vocation and service, and I ask for you the gift of the Holy Spirit so that, led by God’s Spirit, you will bring to children and young people, as well as to all those in need, the nearness and tenderness of God.
Vatican City, 10th April 2017