October 2: ARRIVAL AT THE VENUE
All the 40 participants to the LV General Chapter were reportedly present on this day at the venue: Casa Nostra Signora Madre della Misericordia at the Via di Monte Cucco in Rome.
The delegates from the Philippines arrived earlier in Rome, in pairs (Frays Selma and Buhay on September 30, and Frays Larlar and Marcos on October 1). They still had time to bond with oour student-priests at Collegio Sant’Ildefonso in Via Sistina.
October 3: MASS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. ELECTION OF CHAPTER OFFICERS. INPUT ON REVITALIZATION AND RESTRUCTURING
The votive Mass of the Holy Spirit was presided by Archbp. José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
After the mass, all the members of the General Chapter posed for a photo-op. At midmorning, they assembled at the chapel for the holy hour led by Fray Miguel Angel Hernandez.
Towards the end of the morning, the Capitulars consolidated at the Chapter hall for the first morning session with the solemn singing of the Veni Creator. The initial exhortation of the Prior General and President of the Chapter, Fray Miguel Miró, followed; then, the election of key Chapter officers. Through election, the following Capitulars were to carry out their respective tasks: Frays Rafael Mediavilla and Miguel Angel Hernandez as moderators, Fray Javier Tello as Chapter Secretary, Fray Simón Puertas as Councilor, and Frays Angel Martínez, Alfredo Sánchez and Wesley Silva as tellers.
Part of the day’s program was the first input given by Fr. Pedro Aguado, Superior General of the Piarists or Scolopi (Order of Poor Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools) who talked about his experiences of revitalization and restructuring.
October 4: SECOND DAY OF THE CHAPTER
The day began with the Eucharistic celebration in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Fray Miguel Miró, Chapter President, presided the mass. Together with him were the two elected moderators, Frays Rafael Mediavilla (San Nicolas Province) and Miguel Angel Hernandez (Santo Tomas Province), as altar co-celebrants.
At the Chapter hall, the Capitulars continued to work on the tasks assigned to them.
ROME—Fray Dionisio Selma, Prior Provincial of the St. Ezekiel Moreno Province, leads the group of Filipino Recollects who are participating in the sexennial General Chapter to be held at Casa di Esercizi Spirituali Nostra Signora Madre della Misericordia in Via di Monte Cucco, Rome, starting October 2, 2016.
The other Filipinos in the list are Fray Lauro Larlar, former prior provincial and elected delegate of the province during the 6th Provincial Chapter on February 2015; Fray Julius Marcos, vicar of the province and president of the Recoletos Educational Apostolate in the Province (REAP); Fray Raul Buhay, parish priest of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Brgy. Inagawan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan; and Fray Samson Silloriquez, Fourth General Councilor, General Procurator, and General Postulator for the Causes of Saints.
Frays Marcos and Buhay were elected by the voting religious of the St. Ezekiel Moreno Province to represent this eighth youngest province of the Order.
In the light of the OAR Constitutions 335, Frays Selma and Silloriquez are “a iure” members of the said chapter while the other three are “elected” members, or properly called “delegates”.
The sixth Filipino in the roster is Fray Marlon Beof, an elected representative of the Province of St. Augustine where he is the first provincial councilor.
“The General Chapter is the Order’s highest authority and must be a sign of unity in charity,” says the OAR Constitutions 331.
For the incumbent Prior General, Miguel Miró, in his on-line blog: “The Chapter is a time of grace and discernment, not only for those taking part, but also for all the religious of the Order.” And he adds, “It is a call to communion, and disposing ourselves to have a plan for life and mission which stirs up hope and permits us to go forward together on the same path.”
Considering the wind of revitalization and restructuring that has swept the entire OAR during the previous sexennium since 2010, the catchy slogan for the 55th General Chapter “springs from the heart of Augustine and touches our life and mission today,” according to Father Miró. The Spanish text reads: ‘Toda nuestra esperanza está en tu gran misericordia. Da lo que manda and manda lo que quieras.’ (‘All our hope is in your great mercy. Give us Lord what you command, and command what you will’).
The quotation is taken from St. Augustine’s Confessions 10.29.40.
The carefully chosen motto is accompanied by an ideographic representation of four religious with colors blue, orange, red and green, and whose bodies are heart-shaped. The entire figure portrays diversity united in and by charity.
Here are the other members of the historic chapter of this millennium: The General Council members—Fray Miguel Miró, Prior General; Fray José Ramón Pérez, Vicar General and President of the General Secretariat of Formation; Fray José Ma. Sánchez, Second General Councilor and President of the General Secretariat of Educational Apostolate and Youth Ministry; Fray Pablo Pandeas, Third General Councilor and President of the General Secretariat of Spirituality; Fray Jairo Alberto Gordillo, Fifth General Councilor and President of the General Secretariat of Ministerial and Mission Apostolate; and Fray Francisco Javier Tello, Sixth General Councilor and General Secretary. (Please note that Fray Silloriquez was already counted earlier.)
Pursuant to the OAR Constitutions 336, the former Prior General, Fray Desiderio Guerra, is also an “a iure” member of the chapter.
The other 7 Priors Provincial belong to the same category: Fray Sergio Sánchez (St. Nicholas), Fray Carlos Ma. Dominguez (St. Thomas de Villanueva), Fray Albeiro de Jesus Arenas (Candelaria), Fray José Ma. Aguerri (Consolation), Fray Michael Rafferty (St. Augustine), Fray Nicolás Pérez-Aradros Rubio (St. Rita), and Fray Daniel Ayala (St. Joseph).
Furthermore, the delegates elected by their respective province are: from the Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentino—Fray Rafael Mediavilla, Fray Francisco Javier Acero, Fray Angel Martinez Cuesta, and Fray Alfonso Ma. de Ligorio.
One delegate each from the following provinces: Province of Our Lady of Candelaria—Fray Jose David Niño; Province of St. Joseph—Fray Pedro Merino; Province of St. Rita of Cascia—Fray Ademir João Garcia; Province of Our Lady of Consolation—Fray Gabriel Antonio Robles; and St. Augustine Province—Fray Beof who was mentioned earlier.
Two delegates representing the Province of St. Thomas of Villanueva: Frays Miguel Angel Hernández and Julio Amezua.
Three religious brothers elected to join the assembly are Frays Enrique Gómez, Sebastián Ibañez, and Wesley Silva.
Plus, the remaining 7 more—one each from the other 7 provinces—who were elected by their respective provincial chapters, in accordance with OAR Constitutions 337. However, we are yet to get their names to complete the list.
All in all, there are 40 religious taking part in this life-changing event of the Recoletos.
Role of the Spirit
In the language of Scholastic philosophy, the abovementioned Capitulars possess “the proximate ground of possibility” for change to take place in the Order. But “the ultimate ground” lies in God’s hands.
As Father General rightly puts it: “Change is possible, given that the Spirit drives us towards a conversion that is personal, community-based, and pastoral. Only in this way will we be able to act hand-in-hand with a Church reaching out to the poor of our days: those who are poor through lacking the necessities of life, and those who are poor through having their hearts empty of love and distant from God.”
May the triune God, through the intercession of our saints and blesseds, continue to bless and guide the Order of Augustinian Recollects and the 55th General Chapter. Amen.