Quis nos separabit a caritate Christi? An gladius?

Saint Paul Scholasticate Newsletter
No. 1 Christmas 2006

by Giovanni Scalese, CRSP
What is this? A new component of the recently released software suite iLife (along with iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb)? After the unexpected success of the iPod (the widespread portable media player), now words starting with i are becoming more and more fashionable, as some years ago it happened with words starting with e-: e-mail, e-book, e-commerce, etc. But, unlike the latter, where the meaning of that e- was quite clear (“electronic mail”, “electronic book”, etc.), the same cannot be said about the initial i of iPod and all its derivatives. It seems that, at the origin, that i stood for “interactive”; but now one has the feeling that it has lost its first meaning. So, nowadays nobody dares to give a precise explanation of that i (try to do a quick search in the internet, especially through the ever-well-informed free digital encyclopedia Wikipedia), preferring to interpret it from time to time as a synonym of “information”, “informatics”, “internet” and the like. Coming to the point, what does the i before Paul stand for? It’s up to you! Somebody has suggested “info”; somebody else, “identity”. We could also see in that i the initial of “ideal,” “imitation,” “inspired/ inspiring”. If you find some other meaning, you are free to add a further explanation. In this case, unlike Canon and Civil Law,
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Our Community with Bishop Tagle on July 12, 2006, on occasion of the institution of the new Lectors and Acolytes

May your hearts be filled with joy May your lives be blessed with peace, By the Infant Jesus, our newborn King.


No. 1

by Giovanni Scalese, CRSP


there is no authentic interpretation. So, why on earth have we chosen that odd title? Because we liked it, and that’s it. And we have wanted to combine a so modern and intriguing name with the classical and reassuring emblem of our religious house, the probably a bit old-fashioned Collegium Sancti Pauli. Do they match? Up to you to decide. As far as we are concerned, we want to see in that combination the continuity of a tradition: from Latin to hi-tech. Beyond the title—which in any case reminds us of our identity as Barnabites and members of Saint Paul Scholasticate—what mattered to us was to have a means to communicate with others—confreres, relatives, benefactors, friends and schoolmates. To tell the truth, as far back as last year, when Father Kosek arrived at Tagaytay, he launched the idea (he was bursting with ideas!) of a newsletter. But unfortunately only one issue was published, with the title Kapit Buhay (= “Behold Life”). How come? Because of the high cost of printing. This year we have wanted to take again that idea, trying to avoid any kind of cost. What better than to eliminate printing at all, and to send our newsletter by email? So Ladies and Gentlemen, lo and behold the first issue of iPaul. Through it we would like to inform you about ourselves and our Scholasticate; to tell you who we are and what we do. But, first of all, through iPaul we want to tell you: HERE WE ARE! We live in a “global village”, an “information society”, where media have assumed a predominant role. Perception has become the ultimate criterion of the true: it is real only what you can perceive. Should Descartes live today, most likely he would not say Cogito, ergo sum, but Appareo, ergo sum. Maybe it is not right, but it is so. John Paul II had realized that very well, and had exploited this method for the spreading of the Gospel; the present Pope, though by nature totally averse to this kind of mentality, has been forced to adapt. After all, God Himself adopted the same method: what is the mystery of incarnation, but a manifestation (“epiphany”) of Him? “Manifestation” is explained by dictionaries as follows: “the act of appearing as a sign that something exists or is happening.” Oh, God certainly existed before His incarnation; but nobody knew Him: only revealing Himself God made Himself known. The Apostle Paul, referring to this mystery, uses the following phrases: “The grace of God appeared … The kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared” (Ti 2:11; 3:4). God was generous and kind from eternity, but people knew this only when that kindness and generosity was revealed to them. So if God appeared, we also want to do the same. We want to tell you: Remember, we are here! This newsletter will keep you informed every now and then about the events of our Scholasticate. Please, do accompany us with your affection and your prayers.


Above our newsletter’s heading a Latin motto appears: Quis nos separabit a caritate Christi? An gladius? It is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (8:35 NRSV). It is one of the most beautiful texts of Paul, maybe the one in which all his spirituality is summed up. Our first Fathers chose the last words of that verse as the motto of our Congregation placing it in our ancient emblem. It depicted the Apostle Paul kneeling next to a truncated column, with hands tied behind his back, his head cut off laying on the ground and blood gushing out from his neck like a fountain. On the scroll An gladius stood out. There was no need of anything else: that succinct phrase evoked the rest of the verse. What would have separated the Apostle from the love of that Christ, for whom he had spent all his life? Neither hardship, nor distress, nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril had been able to separate him from that love; could now the martyrdom (the “sword”) separate him from it? The scene certainly represented Paul, but it was like a program of life for the Barnabites. The Apostle says: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” The awareness of being challenged by that Pauline question flourished little by little among the confreres and reached its peak during the 19th century with the spread of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. It was then that in our Congregation it became common to use (in churches, houses, on headed paper, etc.) a new emblem: two shields placed side by side, one representing the Sacred Heart and the other with the new coat of arms of the Congregation (the cross on three mountains combined with the letters P and A, which stand for Paulus Apostolus). Under the two shields, a scroll with the question: Quis nos separabit? Who will separate our Congregation from the love of Christ? So we have wanted to join together the two parts of the Pauline verse and make of it the motto of our Scholasticate, which has been named after Paul. And for this reason it stands out at the beginning of our newsletter, so that it can remind us of our vocation: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? The sword?”

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Saint Paul Scholasticate: a handiwork of Divine Providence
by Roan Cipriano J. Aborque & Ferdinand S. Dagcota, CRSP
The birth and growth of Saint Paul Scholasticate is a handiwork of Divine Providence. It is a grace endowed to the Congregation in order to respond to God’s call. It all began with a decision of the General Council in 2003. The fathers agreed to close down the decades-old Seminario Teologico Internazionale Sant’Antonio Maria Zaccaria in Rome. They mandated the provinces (the Order is divided into nine provinces, one pro-province and two delegations) to establish a formation house for the professed students. The Philippine Delegation, responding to this decision, acted promptly to materialize the said decision. It was on June 3, 2003 when eight scholastics together with Fr. Giovanni Scalese, then Assistant General, came to Tagaytay City, Cavite. Those pioneers were: Joselito A. Santos, Jimmy George C. Anastacio, Ferdinand S. Dagcota, Romulo S. Bahag, Aro H. Ocon, Orland B. Quejada, Rey R. Ligtas and Roan Cipriano J. Aborque. They established the first Scholasticate community with Fr. Scalese as father master. And since plans for the construction of a seminary were still on its way, the students were temporarily housed at the “Bishop William Finnemann Hall” situated within the compound of the Divine Word Seminary. The community rented the said building from the SVD fathers (Missionaries of the Divine Word). The Finnemann Hall is located next to the Divine Word School of Theology (DWST) where the scholastics study Theology. The scholastics also took part in the apostolic activities organized by the SVD fathers. On November 4, 2003 Jecker R. Luego, renewing his religious profession, became a member of the

The impromptu chapel inside Finnemann Hall. The same room, divided into four parts, served as chapel, refectory, kitchen and recreation room.

The “pioneers” of SPS: the first batch of students just arrived at Tagaytay on June 3, 2003. In the background, William Finnemann Hall.

Scholasticate community. On May 30, 2004 four newly professed religious joined the community: Jose Nazareno S. Gabato, Zenas C. Jumila, Russel O. Dulay and Ronnie E. Salvaña, together with them was Rudyson D. Nulo, who had just made his solemn profession. The fathers were able to purchase a tract of land (formerly a coffee mill) located in Purok 163, Barangay San Jose, Tagaytay. On this terrain the seminary for the Theology students was built, thanks to the kind support of the North American and FrenchBelgian Provinces. On March 31, 2005 the Scholasticate community moved to the new building. The property is approximately 400 meters away from DWST. On May 2005, Crisendo A. Dela Rosa and Cirilo B. Coniendo became members of the community after almost four years of seminary formation in Rome. Likewise, Arvin A. Dagalea, who made his first profession in the same month, also became a part of the community. On November 10, 2005 the Saint Paul Scholasticate was officially inaugurated and blessed by the Bishop of Imus, His Excellency Most Reverend Luis Antonio G. Tagle. Fr. Gaerard Daeren, CRSP, the Vicar General of the Order, represented the Superior General. Also present were the fathers of the Philippine Delegation, friends, benefactors, the clergy and religious of the Diocese. On that same period Fr. Robert Kosek (a member of the Polish Delegation) was appointed superior and father master of the scholastics replacing Fr. Giovanni Scalese, who was called back to Rome for
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How the new property appeared at its purchase

How Saint Paul Scholasticate is today

the General Chapter preparations. Fr. Robert founded in December 2005 the Tahanang Mapag-aruga ni Padre Semeria, a charitable centre aimed at helping the poor families of Tagaytay. On May 2006 other nine students joined our Scholasticate: the newly professed Marlon B. Ramirez, Yohanes Besi Koten, Clyd S. Autentico, Robertus A. Tasman, Pat M. Golis, Jonathan G. Ramoso, Thomas Federick S. Tabada, Isfridus Syukur, along with Michael R. Sandalo, back from his four-year studies in Rome. Last November 2006, after exactly one year, Fr. Robert was assigned to the North American Province and Fr. Giovanni Scalese, having just finished his term as Assistant General, was reappointed superior of the scholastics. Fr. Robert left the country on November 4, 2006. He is now a member of the Bethlehem community in Pennsylvania. Of course, not all the students who arrived at Saint Paul Scholasticate (26) are still here. Some of them (5) have been ordained; others (8) have chosen a different lifestyle. Now, the community has sixteen members: three fathers, two deacons and eleven

scholastics in temporary vows. Fr. Giovanni Scalese, CRSP is the superior and father master of the scholastics; Fr. Joselito A. Santos, CRSP, the treasurer and vicar; and Fr. Cirilo B. Coniendo, CRSP serves as vice master and formator. The scholastics attend the Divine Word School of Theology and are doing well in their studies. They are also engaged in various apostolic activities; they serve actively in the chapels of St. Joseph in Barangay San Jose, San Isidro Labrador in Barangay Buho, Amadeo, and Our Lady of Candelaria in Rodeo Hills, Buck Estate, Alfonso. The humble beginnings of Saint Paul Scholasticate will always serve as an inspiration to the Barnabites in the Philippines to strengthen their commitment in serving the people of God. It is a living reminder that God wills the Order of the Clerics Regular of Saint Paul to grow and extend its braches not only in the Philippines but most of all, in the whole of Asia. The community of Saint Paul Scholasticate will always be grateful for all the persons who supported and prayed for its growth. Indeed, it is a handiwork of Divine Providence, a gift of God to the Order and to the People of God.

The Sagrado Corazon Chapel: as it was...

… and as it is

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may we introduce ourselves?
by Isfridus Syukur, CRSP
What people knew in Tagaytay Purok 163 was a coffee mill for the entire province of Cavite. But the place has been transformed into a place of formation for those who aspire to become priests. The place does not produce coffee anymore but it now produces priests, servants of God who call themselves as the Barnabite Scholastics. Who are they? Within the walls of Saint Paul Scholasticate or the Studentato Filippino (the Filipino version of the defunct Studentato Romano in Rome, Italy), there are energetic young men who have consecrated themselves by their profession of the three evangelical counsels namely Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience. These young men, the Barnabite Scholastics, come from different provinces of the Philippines. They have accomplished their philosophy, postulancy and novitiate in our seminary in Marikina City (St. Anthony Ma. Zaccaria Seminary and St. Alexander Sauli Novitiate). Now they are studying Theology at the Divine Word School of Theology (DWST), Tagaytay City, in the Diocese of Imus, Cavite. There are sixteen members of our religious community: three fathers, two deacons and eleven simple professed religious. Fr. Giovanni Scalese, or “Father John” as we fondly call him, is our superior and father master. Born in Rome, Italy, he is considered as the founder and the first superior of our community. He was an Assistant General of our Order when he was first assigned as our formator. However, the pressing needs of the Congregation urged him to go back to Rome and to relinquish the post to Fr. Robert Kosek. And after his sixyear term as an Assistant, he was reassigned as our father master succeeding Fr. Kosek, who was asked to serve in the North American Province. We have two very young Filipino fathers: first, Fr. Joselito Santos, our treasurer, who hails from Marikina City. He is pursuing his master’s degree (M.A.) and licentiate in Philosophy at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Then we have Fr. Cirilo Coniendo, our vice master, from the island of Bohol, Central Philippines. Ordained to the priesthood nine months ago, he is also taking M.A. in Business Administration at De La Salle University, Dasmariñas, Cavite. To date, he is the youngest priest of the Philippine Delegation. We have two Deacons, who were ordained three months ago and they are: Rev. Jecker Luego, from Southern Leyte, Central Philippines and Rev. Michael Sandalo, from San Mateo, Rizal. Rev. Jeck first studied Theology at the Angelicum in Rome but he opted to continue his theological studies at the Divine Word School of Theology. At present, while taking some ecclesiastical courses in DWST, he is also pursuing his masteral studies (M.A.) in Mathematics at De La Salle University, Dasmariñas, Cavite. Rev. Mike earned his Bachelor in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) from the Angelicum in Rome. He came back to the Philippines last May after almost four years of seminary formation at the Studentato Romano. He is also taking up some ecclesiastical courses in DWST. Our community is composed of eleven simple professed religious: nine Filipinos and two Indonesians. We have three confreres in third year Theology: Ferdinand Dagcota from Misamis Oriental, Southern Philippines; Roan Cipriano Aborque from Leyte, Central Philippines; and Jose Nazareno Gabato from Bohol Island also in Central Philippines. Arvin Dagalea, the lone second year Theology student, hails from Zamboanga City, Southern Philippines. The first year students comprise the majority of our community and they are: Marlon Ramirez from Zamboanga del Norte, Pat Golis and Jonathan Ramoso, both from Misamis Oriental, Southern Philippines; Thomas Federick Tabada is from Cebu and finally Clyd Autentico from Bohol, Central Philippines. We are very honored to have in our community the first Indonesian members in the history of our religious family: Yohannes Besi Koten and Isfridus Syukur who are both from Flores Island. They came to the Philippines four years ago. We cannot do all things by ourselves. We need people to help us in keeping our surroundings clean and ever green. We have in our seminary hard working and dedicated men and women who work with us. They heartily dedicate themselves to help us in carrying out our ministries. We have kuya Rey and Gilbert, our maintenance men, nanay Mentang who is in-charge of our kitchen and ate Len who takes care of our laundry. We are truly very grateful for their service and hard work. Finally, as we thank the Lord for his endless blessings upon us and upon our community, we also thank those who heartily support us in all our needs especially our benefactors, parents, and friends and all those, who in many ways support us both spiritually and materially. May God reward your kindness and generosity. And may this new religious community continue to blossom and become a source of hope and strength for all people. God bless Saint Paul Scholasticate! Mabuhay Barnabites!

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Goodbyes are not the End
by Arvin A. Dagalea, CRSP

Many people think that all goodbyes are the end of everything. We react in many ways when a person leaves us. Some cry, some feel that everything is over, some find it hard to recover easily, while some will change the way they used to live in order to forget the person whom they loved for a long time. But others just continue their usual work while keeping alive the memories of the person in their hearts. For these people goodbyes are just the beginning of a new chapter in life. It is still fresh in my memory the day when a very important person bade farewell to me. He is none other than Fr. Robert Kosek, a Polish by birth and a Barnabite by heart. He was our superior and father master for one year. He was so dear to me and even to those people with whom he spent time to share God’s love. Fr. Robert Kosek has left behind great memories. His example as a good priest, father and friend enabled me to understand why am I here in the seminary. In his brief stay in our midst, he lived his priesthood in service of others especially the less fortunate. He is a man who has a big heart for the poor and who does the work of Christ for the poor. I was truly impressed by his charity and priestly zeal. Moreover, his prayer life is exemplary. He taught us how to pray well. The way he spends his time with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is for me a model to follow. God inspired Fr. Robert to establish in our seminary a charitable centre which will offer services to the indigent families of Tagaytay. He saw the need of helping and sending poor children to school. There are quite a lot of unschooled children and out-of-school youth in Tagaytay. I still remember the words he once told me: “To feed them is very good but not to feed their brains will not do good; they will always be poor and will never have the chance to uplift their lives.” I was touched by these words. And so, I enthusiastically supported his project. Fr. Robert put his heart in his work

which gave birth to the “Tahanang Mapag-aruga ni Padre Semeria”. He dedicated much of his time and talents to develop the Tahanan. With courage, he asked help from Filipino communities abroad and even from his friends in Poland. And so the centre grew. The Tahanan offers health services, scholarship grants for poor children and livelihood programs for the parents of Tahanan’s scholars. With the kind assistance of some friends from Unilab, a Filipino pharmaceutical company, more programs had been organized by Fr. Robert. And even if Fr. Robert is now assigned to the North American Province, the projects he started are still in very good shape. Indeed, he made sure that everything in the Tahanan will be well-provided. I’ve got many good memories of Fr. Robert—his example, the things he taught me to name a few. But most of all, his priestly life is what I treasure most. Working with him made me realize that he is one of the best priests I have ever encountered in my life. And knowing him is for me a great privilege. He taught me to be always pure in my intentions as a young religious. Truly, words do not suffice to describe this person who had done great things for me and one who had touched other people’s lives. Even though Fr. Robert is miles away from the Philippines, the people of Tagaytay, particularly in our barangay San Jose, will always remember him in their hearts. They will reminisce his kindness, his affection and his “contagious” sense of humor. And for me personally, I shall keep alive his memory on those people to whom he had brought hope and strength. I am happy to see him in the smiles and laughter of those children and parents who learn and progress each day. Fr. Robert’s departure is not the end of everything. It is rather the beginning of what he had started. THANK YOU FR. ROBERT! YOU’LL ALWAYS BE IN OUR HEARTS!

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Tahanang Mapag-aruga ni Padre Semeria a Home that Cares
by Thomas Federick S. Tabada, CRSP
The Tahanang Mapag-aruga ni Padre Semeria (= “Home of Care Fr. Semeria”) is a charitable centre of the Barnabite Fathers in the Philippines. It has been started by Fr. Robert Kosek this year. It is named after an Italian Barnabite priest, Fr. Giovanni Semeria, who, after the First World War took care of the orphaned children. These were the children of the Italian soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War. The aforementioned centre is located within the compound of Saint Paul Scholasticate. Its goals are: 1) to provide tutorial lessons to preschoolers; 2) offer assistance to poor families of Tagaytay through livelihood programs; and 3) grant financial assistance for the education of poor but deserving students. Most of the kids who attend the tutorial lessons are “slow-learners”. Fr. Robert once said, “The slow learner children need our help. They deserve our love and concern not humiliation and mockery because of their intellectual incapacity. Let them have the chance to be educated persons. Let us help them through tutorial.” And so it is by doing tutorial lessons that we assist these children in their intellectual development. Moreover, it is love for children which moved Fr. Robert to start this project. He has truly lived what Fr. Semeria, the servant of orphans, exhorted in his death-bed: “I exhort you to charity. Live in charity.” How things started? It all started when Arvin and Fr. Kosek interviewed some poor families during a Christmas gift-giving day. While moving around the vicinity of Barangay San Jose, Tagaytay Fr. Kosek was moved with compassion to see the drop-out school

children. This urged him to come up with an idea to help them in their education. It was December 27, 2005 when Fr. Kosek, with Arvin’s help, began to search for possible “scholars.” With meticulous scrutiny, they got seven grade school pupils, three high school students and two college drop-outs. Fr. Robert tapped the newly-professed, first year scholastics to teach the children basic English, Catechism, and Mathematics. John Koten and Jonathan Ramoso both teach English; Clyd Autentico and Thomas Tabada, Catechism; and Pat Golis teaches Mathematics. Recreation is supervised by Isfridus Syukur and Marlon Ramirez. The tutorial lessons are held every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon in our modest but elegantly decorated classroom. We currently have ten pupils attending the tutorials and eleven mothers doing the chores (e.g. cleaning, cooking, etc.). Sr. Mercy Perla, a religious from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Infant Jesus (FMIJ), takes care of the spiritual formation of the parents of our pupils, while Fr. Cirilo Coniendo, CRSP is their confessor and Marlon Ramirez is responsible for the livelihood programs (gardening and swine raising). It is noteworthy to mention the over-all in-charge of this project, our confrere Br. Arvin Dagalea, under the supervision of Fr. Scalese, our superior and father master. Working at the Tahanan has become an apostolic activity for us. Indeed, we, young Barnabite scholastics enjoy so much teaching and playing with children! We hope and pray that this project will continue to grow with the grace of God.

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Looking Ahead: INDONESIA
by Yohanes Besi Koten, CRSP
The Clerics Regular of Saint Paul, also known as Barnabites, is a new religious Order in Indonesia. It was only at the beginning of the 21st century that the Barnabites set foot on Indonesian soil. Divine Providence led the Barnabites to invite the young people of Indonesia to experience and live the charism, spirituality and tradition of the Order. So is it our task to introduce ourselves to the people of God in Indonesia. But how did the Barnabites arrive in Indonesia, Raja Timur, the “King from the East”? How did the hand of God lead us from the “King from the East” to the “Pearl of the Orient”, the Philippines? It is a nice story to tell! We were so happy when the Barnabites accepted us in their religious family. So happy we were that we entrusted ourselves to the care of the fathers. Being away from home is not easy. But God provided us the strength to persevere. And He continues to do so! The Barnabites came to Indonesia on May 2002. Fr. Frank Papa, CRSP, the superior of the community in Marikina, went to the island of Flores to search for some possible candidates. At that time, we were still in Senior High School. Full of enthusiasm, six of us joined the Barnabites. We flew to the Philippines on August 7, 2002 together with Fr. Papa—full of hope and energy to answer God’s call! We studied Philosophy for two years at St. Camillus College Seminary in Marikina City. Sadly, within two years two of us decided to leave. At the end of our studies, the fathers admitted us to the novitiate. But as gold is tested in fire, only three of us professed the vows on May 14, 2006 together with five Filipino confreres. Then we were sent to Saint Paul Scholasticate in Tagaytay City for our four-year theological studies. And indeed as an adage says, “God’s ways are not our ways”, six months after our first profession one of our Indonesian confreres decided to leave religious life. It was another setback for our community. But God strengthened us and assured me and my Indonesian confrere that He won’t let us down this time. Who will remain until the end? It’s up to God! Now only my friend since our Senior High School, Isfridus Syukur, and I are left. We hope that we could pursue this kind of life and in the future become full members of the Barnabite Order and priests—holy priests of God. And hopefully, with the help of God and of our beloved Mother of Divine Providence, we can sow the seeds of our Congregation in Indonesia. Jesus said, “Go ... make disciples of all nations ...” (Mt 28:19). Consequently, we, as sons of Saint Paul, say to each of us, “Go ... make sons of Saint Paul to all nations ...” Therefore, you cannot pass over and disregard Indonesia. It is because it is also a place where the seeds of our Order can grow. Then, why do you hesitate to go to Indonesia? God bless Indonesia!

Yohanes (on the left) and Isfridus (on the right)

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When a Deacon is about to be Ordained to the Priesthood …
by Clyd S. Autentico, CRSP
Here is an interview with our two deacons, Rev. Jecker R. Luego and Rev. Michael R. Sandalo. They were ordained to the diaconate last September 5 at the Imus Cathedral. They are scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood next February. Let us ask them how they are preparing themselves for that special day of their lives… What is/are your feeling/s as your priestly ordination is fast approaching? Rev. Jecker: “As of now I am not excited. I do not feel yet the thrill of my ordination for this moment because it is still far. Maybe, I will feel this excitement on the eve of my ordination.” Rev. Mike: “I have mixed feelings of excitement, worries, anxiety and happiness because the thing (priestly ordination) that I’ve been waiting for many years now is almost near.” Are you now ready to embrace priestly life? Rev. Jecker: “I am ready and willing to embrace priestly life despite of the difficulties alongside with it.” Rev. Mike: “Of course embracing this kind of life is not easy because it is a lifetime commitment. But I am trying to make myself ready to embrace priestly life with the help of God. I won’t be able to embrace such commitment without the help of God. I am ready … Bahala na ang Diyos basta ako … here I am. Do you have some doubts or fears that you may not be ordained? Rev. Jecker: “I still have a doubt and fear that I might not be ordained or… I won’t be able to do my ministry in the future knowing my weaknesses and limitations. But I am trying my best to overcome them all with the help of God. It is with the help of God that I can do my ministry in spite of the uncertainties. My fear of not getting ordained has somehow subsided because the fathers here in the community of Tagaytay have accepted and admitted me already to be ordained as a priest.” Rev. Mike: “I have still a doubt if it is really my call. I think it is normal for a person, for an ordinand to doubt. Who has no doubt/s with one’s vocation? And I am not afraid if I might not be ordained. I trust the Lord. My business is to do what God wants me to do. It is the Lord who will provide.” Please remember our two deacons in your prayers. We hope to see you on the day of their ordination! The appointment is for Saturday, February 17 at 9 a.m., in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church, Tagaytay.

Mike and Jecker on the day of their diaconal ordination, on September 5, 2006 in Imus Cathedral

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The Poets’ Corner


by Jonathan G. Ramoso, CRSP

by Yohanes Besi Koten, CRSP

In the silence of my heart, In the dark place of my sinfulness, In the desert of my longing, In the market of my business, Am I thinking of Jesus? Am I asking pardon from him? Am I looking only for him? Am I quiet just a minute with him? BE A LOVER OF JESUS . . . St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria is probably the imitator par excellence of St. Paul the Apostle. Among the many saints, nothing compares to the Pauline spirit assimilated by St. Anthony throughout his life. The Pauline style is very evident in all his writings. In all his sermons, there are seventy-two spiritual quotations from the Letters of St. Paul. Either in spoken or written communication, St. Anthony’s words and ideas are filled with Paulinism. As a great reformer, he zealously carried out the mission of St. Paul, i.e., to build the Church of God and spread it to the whole world. “Both energetic and vibrant souls, they have the same love for God and man … both are open to the same sensitivity towards others; both receive the same constancy in pain and the same humility in their successes.” The whole life of St. Anthony is an imitation of St. Paul. That’s why, he is a great saint and a “renovator” of Christian fervor. And he invites all his sons and daughters and all Christians as well to do the same! I need silence, I need to purify myself, I must long to see him alone, I must have business only with him, BE A LOVER OF JESUS . . . Always thinking of him, Always asking pardon from him, Always looking for him, Always in the presence of him, BE A LOVER OF JESUS . . . I shall imitate him, I shall be his ambassador, I shall become his follower, I shall be a businessman of him, BE A LOVER OF JESUS . . .

No. 1

by Pat M. Golis, CRSP


Vocation Story of a Young Religious
It was the feast of St. Joseph the worker, May 1, 1982, when I was born in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental. My parents, Encarnacion Mandin and Absalon Golis, are hard-working, God-fearing and honest persons. My father works as a driver while my mother is a grade school teacher. My parents were my first “formators.” My mother taught me how to read and write. My father formed me to be hard-working and responsible. Indeed, my parents formed me to be a good person. But most of all, they were the ones who taught me how to pray. Every Sunday, we used to go to church to hear Mass. We used to sit at the first pew so that we could hear the homily of the priest. My mother would listen attentively to the priest’s homily. She used to quote the priest’s words whenever she reprimanded us! Since childhood, I already had the intention of helping poor people. I am easily moved whenever I see people in dire need. And before entering the seminary, I wanted to become a lawyer to defend and serve the poor. But God had another plan for me. I was 17 years old when I entered the seminary. It all started when two seminarians from the Barnabite Fathers came to our school for their vocation campaign. I was then a fourth year high school student. They talked about their Congregation, about seminary life, and shared with us some of their experiences—even their adventures in Manila! As a “barrio boy” I was so eager to take the seminary admission test with a sole desire to see the beauty of Manila. God’s will or not—I passed the admission test! And so my seminary journey and my wholesome adventures in Manila began. I entered St. Anthony Ma. Zaccaria Seminary, the minor seminary of the Barnabites situated in Marikina City, Metro Manila. My first days were not easy as I found it hard to adjust with the routine of the seminary. Also, it was not easy for me to mingle with my co-seminarians; some of them were friendly and some were too serious. As time passed by, I got used to the atmosphere of seminary life. After many weeks of adjusting and trying to get along with others, I came to realize that I had to get out from my “comfort zone”, that is, I had to take risks in knowing others. Finally, I was able to build friendships with my co-seminarians and experience the real joy of seminary life. I was a third year Philosophy student when I experienced difficulties in my studies. I was badly affected and even my vocation suffered severely. I experienced what St. John of the Cross calls “the dark night of the soul.’’ I spent many sleepless nights thinking whether I should pursue this vocation or leave the seminary and start anew. In spite of this, God did not allow me to get lost. He spoke to me in the words of Jesus in the Gospel of St. John, “You did not choose me, I chose you’’ (Jn 15:16). After spending moments of reflection, I realized that God will never abandon me if He really calls me in this kind of life—religious and priestly life. It was in the novitiate where I first encountered the real presence of Jesus. That was the place where I experienced total detachment from the things that hinder my relationship to Him. The silence of the novitiate helped me to concentrate on my spiritual development. Everyday we had to spend time in prayer, writing our journals, reading the life of the saints, and doing reflection on biblical passages. We also had the time to go to our spiritual director. All these things strengthened my desire to continue answering God’s call. It was in the novitiate where I have found Jesus. On May 14, 2005 I made my first religious profession at the presence of our fathers, some of my family members, friends and guests from other religious congregation. There were eight of us who made the first profession. Through God’s grace and mercy, I am now in my first year Theology at the Divine Word School of Theology. I am a member of the religious community of Saint Paul Scholasticate. Together with my confreres, I still continue searching the will of God for me. I am so thankful to God for guiding me in this journey. He was at my side amidst the many trials and difficulties. In spite of my limitations and shortcomings He continues to invite me to follow Him in His footsteps. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “GOD DOESN’T CALL THOSE WHO ARE QUALIFIED BUT HE QUALIFIES THOSE WHOM HE CALLS.’’

No. 1



by Marlon B. Ramirez & C.

Supertyphoon “Milenyo”
Being situated on the eastern part of Asia, facing the Pacific Ocean, our country has been always prone to storms and typhoons. Filipinos have been used to experiencing at least 20 typhoons a year. Last September 28, a very strong typhoon hit the central region of the Philippines. Many lives were lost, properties were badly damaged or completely destroyed. Hundreds of families became homeless and without any source of living. Fortunately, only a few trees and plants were damaged in our Scholasticate. Two beautiful fruit trees in front of our Fatima Chapel were struck down. We suffered blackout for almost a week and we had to do a general clean up. Our experiences in that day were very terrifying. But it was a reminder to us Filipinos that in times of natural disasters, God is the only One who can help us. It was indeed a very memorable day, not only because of the typhoon, but it was the feast of our first Filipino saint, Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila.

Delegation Meeting
On November 3 our Scholasticate sponsored a meeting of all the confreres of the Philippine Delegation. Everyone knows that the Barnabite Communities of the Philippines do not constitute yet a Province, but they still depend directly on the Superior General. Last July the General Chapter was held in Rome. According to the Constitutions, after a General Chapter each Province convenes its own Provincial Chapter to apply the General Chapter’s deliberations and plan the future sexennium. Similarly, Filipino Barnabites had their intercommunity meeting, to reflect on the decisions of the General Chapter and to plan the future of their Delegation. All the solemnly professed members of the Delegation at the moment residing in the Philippines were present, fifteen religious in total, nine from Marikina and six from Tagaytay.

Repairs for Fatima Chapel
Some (fortunately not serious) damages were caused by “Milenyo” even to our Fatima Shrine, the little outdoor chapel in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary standing in the compound of Saint Paul Scholasticate. But “it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good”: we have taken advantage of this calamity to repaint the chapel, to prepare a new wooden showcase for the statue of the Virgin, to renew the floor of the sanctuary and to build a big stone wall to embank the ground on the right side of the chapel. Now everything looks very nice. It is our wish to promote the devotion for Our Lady of Fatima, starting, as soon as possible, to use the chapel for the celebration of the Rosary and of the Mass with the faithful.

Here is how “Fatima Shrine” and its surroundings appear after the recent rearrangement works

No. 1 Changing of the guard

Search-in Seminars


The return of Fr. Giovanni Scalese as the reappointed Superior and Master of Scholastics of Tagaytay was accompanied with euphoria. Joy and excitement were felt because Fr. John is part of the history of our Scholasticate. However, sadness was also observed for Fr. Robert had to leave. Fr. Giovanni arrived last October 5 while Fr. Robert left the country last November 4. To Fr. Robert, GOOD LUCK to your future ministry and to Fr. John, WELCOME BACK!!!

Father General’s Health
We have been very anxious for the state of health of our Superior General, Fr. Giovanni Villa. We have kept up with the news coming from Italy, at times quite worrying, and have prayed very much for him. Then everything was settled, and now is back in Rome, in good shape. Thanks be to God!

A two-day search-in seminar was held last December 16-17 at Saint Paul Scholasticate. The activity aimed 1) to help young people understand the meaning of Christian vocation; 2) to introduce to young people our Order; and 3) to help young men understand the meaning of religious/priestly life. Three high school graduating students took part in the said event. Two of them came from Marikina City and one from Kaytitingga, Alfonso, Cavite. Three conferences were organized by Frs. John and Joselito together with Deacon Mike. At the end of the activity, the boys took the seminary admission test. It is hoped and prayed for that these young men will answer God’s call and in the future, will become members of our Order.

Advent & Christmas
From December 12 to 14, as it is customary in our country, we also went around for carol singing in the houses of our friends in Tagaytay and surrounding areas. On December 14 we had our Advent recollection. Fr. Aldo Rizzi, the novice master from Marikina, came to Tagaytay to deliver some inspiring meditations on prayer and community life. We are grateful to the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa in Munting Bukal for their kind hospitality. On December 16 another deeply-rooted Philippine tradition started, the so called Simbang gabi or Misa de Gallo or Misa de Aguinaldo, a novena in preparation for Christmas, during which Mass is celebrated very early in the morning or in the evening of the previous day. Even though we kept on serving in various chapels, this year we decided to start Simbang gabi even in our chapel. Every morning at 5 we celebrated Missa de Gallo for our community, our next-door Sisters (the Merciful and the Hospitalers) and many a neighbor. On December 24, for the first time, we celebrated in our Sagrado Corazon chapel Christmas Night Mass at 11 p.m. To our amazement (and— why to deny it?—with great satisfaction) the chapel was insufficient to hold all those present. Next year we will have to look for a more spacious place to celebrate our Christmas Mass!

Vocation Promotions
Number 130 of our Constitutions exhorts all the members of our Congregation to actively take part in promoting vocations. Urged by this call, the community of Saint Paul Scholasticate organized a two-day vocation promotion in various high schools in Metro Manila and Southern Luzon. Last October 26, Fr. Joselito and Deacon Mike, together with scholastics Arvin, Isfridus, Clyd, Pat, John, Jonathan and Thomas went to the following schools: Roosevelt College-Cainta Campus, Roosevelt College-San Mateo Campus, and Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu Parochial School, all in Metro Manila and San Mateo areas. Last November, Fr. Cirilo and Deacon Jecker, together with scholastics Roan and Ferdinand went to Tolentino Memorial High School and Tagaytay City Science High School, both in Tagaytay, Cavite. The said vocation promotion was a success as quite a lot of high school students expressed their interest to know more about our Order and about the priesthood.

No. 1



A Christmas Reflection based on Luke 2:7
by Jose Nazareno S. Gabato, CRSP

What is your preferred place to stay—in an inn or in a manger? Only a person who is out of his mind would choose to stay in a manger. For who would like to stay in a manger where animals live? Basically, no ONE! We would rather prefer to stay in a well-adorned and airconditioned room, with a bathroom, complete with amenities and most of all, well-secured. What about the manger, a dwelling place for animals with its open spaces? Who would like to stay there? Jesus Christ, however, was born in a dark and cold manger. Ideally, Jesus should be born in an inn but since there was “no room” for Him there, He was born in an “open room” manger. Our lives could be compared to a “closed room” inn or an “open room” manger. On one hand, our lives can be likened to a welladorned inn but beautiful as it may appear, it is rather occupied and closed. We are totally preoccupied in preparing for Christmas: we beautify our houses with Christmas decors; we are obsessed of what type or brand of clothes and shoes to buy for ourselves and for our families and friends; we are anxious of what kind of foods to prepare. Hence, our concern in preparing for the birth of our Savior is very external. We can truly say we are prepared but only externally! What about internally? Sad to say, we are so preoccupied with other things that we forget about the place of Jesus in our lives. Perhaps it may happen that Jesus has no place to dwell because our rooms, that is, our hearts are

already occupied, locked or closed. Therefore, the decorations of our houses and the preoccupation in our hearts become worthless because Jesus has no place to stay. On the other hand, our lives can be likened to a manger. We do not have much Christmas decorations but in our inmost self we have a beautiful place prepared for Christ. Our heart is open to receive Him. We may have few things this Christmas but we are extremely happy because we have Christ. He is the best gift one can receive. He is more than all the treasures in the world. He is the visible sign of the Love of God gratuitously given to us. Anyone who accepts Jesus in their hearts receives the best Christmas gift. Once we accept him in our hearts, we will be the happiest people this Christmas and in the years to come. The essence of Christmas is allowing Jesus to dwell in our hearts. Nothing can be ever joyful than being with Christ. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem the manger where He was born was filled with joy. The angels sang: “Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth,” for Jesus Christ is born! We will also experience the same if we allow Jesus to dwell in our hearts. Our hearts will be filled with joy in thanksgiving. Let us celebrate Christmas not as a “closed” inn where there is no place for Jesus to stay, but like a manger with an open room prepared for Him to dwell. Always prepare a room for Him to stay! Maligayan Pasko! Merry Christmas! Buon Natale! Feliz Navidad!

No. 1



A Meditation on Heb 10:5-10
by Giovanni Scalese, CRSP One day the Father decided to convene the family council and said to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: “I pity humanity that I have created—better, that we have created (since we always decide everything together and do everything together). We created them in our image and likeness so that they could live in communion with us; but they preferred to go away from us and live on their own. But I cannot live without my creatures, without my children. So who volunteers to go to the earth, to search them and bring them back home? I want them safe, here with me. This is my will. I have already tried to call them back home but it was all in vain. I have sent to them my servants, the prophets, but they have not listened to them. But, nonetheless, I do not resign myself. Now I have an idea: one of us could become one of them, so that, seeing him similar to them, they feel homesick. If you agree, I have already prepared a body.” The Son answered: “Father, I am your Son like them; they are my brothers. When you created them, you were looking at me; so they should recognize me. It is up to me to go there and save them. I am ready for anything; if need be, I am willing even to give my life for them. Behold, I come to do your will.” Then the Holy Spirit intervened: “Don’t worry, I won’t just look on; I shall do my share. I shall overshadow the woman you have chosen to become his mother, so that she can conceive and bear him. After his birth, I shall never leave him alone; I shall be always with him, so that he can accomplish his mission. Finally, once humanity has been found, I am willing to stay always with them. As far as I am concerned, it’s OK; we can start.” And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

Saint Paul Scholasticate Newsletter

Saint Paul Scholasticate
Purok 163, San Jose Tagaytay City, Cavite, the Philippines Mailing Address: P. O. Box 032, 4120 Tagaytay City, Philippines Tel. & Fax: +63 46 413-2837 Email: stpaul@catholic.org Director: Rev. Giovanni Scalese, CRSP Editor: Rev. Michael R. Sandalo, CRSP Editorial Staff: Ferdinand S. Dagcota, Roan Cipriano J. Aborque, Jose Nazareno S. Gabato, Arvin A. Dagalea, Marlon B. Ramirez, Yohanes Besi Koten, Clyd S. Autentico, Pat M. Golis, Jonathan G. Ramoso, Thomas Federick S. Tabada, Isfridus Syukur. Typeset in the Philippines by Saint Paul Scholasticate, December 2006

Quis nos separabit a caritate Christi? An gladius?