OLM General Assembly Uruguay
Fr Mariano Zapico, co-ordinator in India and Ms Karen Chia from the UK, on behalf of our Delegation, attended the Orionine Lay Movement General Assembly in Montevideo, Uruguay, together with representatives from all over the Orionine world from 7th to 11th October 2013. There were elections of the officers of the “movement” and the General Co-ordinator, Javier Rodriguez, from Spain was re-elected. They also wrote the practical rules of the movement which have yet to be translated into English.
General Assembly Brazil
The General Assembly of Verification of the Sons of Divine Providence was help at Aparecida, Brazil, from 14th to 19th October. Fr Malcolm Dyer and Fr Mariano Zapico represented the Delegation. The aim was to see how the congregation is putting into practice the lines of action and decisions of the 13th General Chapter of 2010. The representatives looked at some of the principal lines of action and decisions and one the one hand judged what was being implemented and on the other hand made suggestions for better implementation. There is a document with all the findings which has not yet been translated into English.
Launching of Orionine Missionary Year Brazil
On 20th October during the annual gathering of the Orionine Family in Brazil (FDP, Sisters, Secular Institute, Lay People), the Orionine Missionary Year was officially launched, beginning with Mass in the enormous shrine of Our Lady Aparecida (who appeared) concelebrated by four Orionine bishops and scores of Orionine priests and thousands of others (brothers, sisters, seminarians, , lay people). After the Mass we all gathered in a very large hall under the shrine and celebrated the coming of all from all parts of Brazil and the rest of Latin America, and the other continents. Fr Flavio Peloso, our superior general, Sr Maria Mabel Spagnuolo, the superior general of the sisters, the representative of the Orionine secular institute in Brazil and Javier Rodriguez, the general co-ordinator for the Orionine Lay Movement and the representative of the Orionine youth movement together proclaimed the opening of the Orionine Missionary Year with a symbolic and beautiful reliquary containing some blood of St Luigi Orione. After that we all returned to our different residences in the world and I to Rome.
Course of formation in the Charism, Montebello
From 4th to 15th November, at Montebello, near Tortona, Italy, a course on formation in the charism of Don Orione was held. It was attended by some provincials and formators from all over the congregation. Representing our Delegation were Fr Fausto Franceschi, rector of the house of philosophy in Bangalore, India and Fr Paul Mboche Mwangi, superior of the seminary in Nairobi, Kenya and myself. Each day had a theme which was explained and then we discussed it in groups and came up with very practical guidelines for our houses of formation. These have yet to be approved by the superior general and his council, which should be soon. Some of the themes were how the charism of Don Orione should be lived in community life, love for the Church, working with the poorest, regular meetings of the formators with those in formation, the use of computers, cell phones/mobile phones and the internet and entering into the heart and spirit of St Luigi Orione.
Vigil of All Saints Rome
In Rome the Orionine parish of Ognissanti (All Saints) celebrated the vigil of the solemnity of All Saints (1st November) with a vigil of music and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the “Teatro Orione” to try to bring Christ back into the vigil of “Halloween” which has become very distorted celebration of death and witchcraft, completely at odds with the real meaning of “Halloween” which is an old English word for the “Vigil of All Saints”.
Delegation Confreres in Italy
Br Rey Jones Guanzon is now doing his tirocinium at Camaldoli, Genoa, where Br Jeremiah was before him. We met in Genoa at the Paverano when the formation course visited some houses in Genoa and went to the original shrine of Our Lady of Safe-keeping (Madonna della Guardia) on Mount Figogna. Brs Ian Kiprotich, Gideon Ombwori, Jeremiah Muchembe and Sunil Raja have joined Brs Marcio Calais, Raju Sowraj, Anthony Njenga and Deacon Sidon Chandran at the Theological House in Rome and Fr Antonio Ursillo is studying for a license in Islamic and Arabic Studies and Fr Praveen Addagatla is studying for a license in theology of health care. Let us pray for them all.
Visit to the Philippines
Soon after that I was off to the Philippines and the Delegation council meeting due to be held there. I first stayed in the community of Payatas, with Fr Eucinei Antonio De Souza, superior, parish priest and co-ordinator of the Philippines, Fr Julio Cuesta, the vicar and bursar, Fr Diego Lorenzo and Br Mark Mangulabnan. I then went to stay at Montalban, about 15 km away just outside of Metro-Manila at the foot of the “white hills”. I stayed in the novitiate house with Fr Anderson Monteiro De Rezende, the superior and novice-master and the eight novices from the Philippines (3) and Kenya (5). I also celebrated Mass and had meals with Fr John Socorro Castillo, the rector of the seminary and bursar of the community and Br Ramon Padilla Rosin who is doing his “tirocinium” or “regency” as it is called in India, with the seminarians. In addition I visited the “Filipino Cottolengo” where Fr Stefan Bulai, the vicar of the community, is responsible for the forty or more young men with varying degrees of disability.
The seminary and novitiate have ever-increasing numbers and so it is necessary to enlarge the buildings for accommodation, study facilities and sanitary needs. The chapel is already in place and helping the seminarians to celebrate the liturgy with great dignity and there is a new enlarged dining room. The important work of accompaniment of the 53 seminarians who are in three year groups is done by Fr John, Fr Anderson and Br Ramon Padilla Rosin.
Delegation Council meeting
Soon Fr Mariano Zapico from India and Fr Philip Kehoe from the UK arrived to join Fr Eucinei, the vicar of the Delegation, and me for the Council meeting. We had a lot of matters to discuss from all over the Delegation and it took three long days (26th-28th November) to conclude all our work.
Super typhoon “Haiyan (or Yolanda)” Philippines.
I brought some donations from Italy for the victims of the typhoon “Haiyan” or “Yolanda” as they call it in the Philippines. Fr Philip brought some from England and some will arrive from Ireland. All donations were given to the “Caritas” office of the diocese of Novaliches where Payatas is situated. Lorries were taking relief supplies to the affected areas in the centre of the Philippines, the so-called “Visayas” (the major islands of the Visayas are: Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, and Samar).and above all the destroyed city of Tacloban. Money also arrived from the Province of Italy and this was put into our account to enable help to be sent for medical missions, feeding programmes and reconstruction of houses and livelihoods over the next few weeks and months. Fr Martin Mroz, superior in Lucena, and in charge of the PAOFI organisation for Orionine social programmes, sent a medical mission there on 1st December.
Meeting of all religious Philippines
On Friday 29th November all the Orionine religious in the Philippines met at Payatas for a brief meeting and evening meal. Only Br Ramon was not able to be present as he was with some seminarians doing a “search” for vocations a long distance away. But Fr Martin, Fr Joseph Van Cu and Br Anthony Gachau Mbuthia from Lucena were able to be with us. Everyone shared their experience of community life and apostolate briefly and Fr Mariano and I gave a summary of the OLM Assembly, the General Assembly and the formation course and Fr Eucinei and Fr Marin shared about what was being done to help the victims of the super typhoon. I concluded with a few words of encouragement to persevere joyfully in our community life and work because that is our martyrdom. Not all of us are called to die like the newly beatified martyrs, Ricardo Gil and Antonio Arrué, in Spain. Most of us are called to a daily martyrdom in relationships with each other and our work for our poor brothers and sisters. Mary is an example and constant help in this slow martyrdom which will bring us all together to the resurrection with Jesus.
Prayers for the sick
Please pray for the mother of Fr John Castillo in the Philippines as she seems to be very ill.