As promised, here is a short video taken on the day of our first profession…
NOTE: If you have problems watching this video, please make sure the latest Adobe Flash Player is installed, then restart your browser.
On March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, six new members were received into the Society of Mary. Niño Memorial and Roque Rebito from the Philippines, John GuoWang from China, Daniel Fernández from Spain, Thilo Saft from Germany, and Philip Bennenbroek from New Zealand made first profession into the Society of Mary at the San Nicolas Chapel in Dumalag, Davao, Philippines. It was a beautiful liturgy presided by Fr. Larry Sabud, district superior of the Philippines, and assisted by Fr. Joaquín Fernández (representing the province of Europe), Fr. Brian Cummings (Provincial of New Zealand), Fr. Tim Duckworth from New Zealand, and many more Marist priests from the district. Also present were members of the Marist Sisters, Marist Missionary Sisters, Marist Brothers, Lay Marists, Marianist Fathers and Brothers, DHM Sisters, and many other people associated with us in the novitiate community who have supported us over the past year so generously, including the local Dumalag community. There would have been close to 200 people attending, many who travelled long distances to be with us.
Although it was a hot morning, the liturgy went very smoothly. Fr. Joaquín gave a down-to-earth homily about the reality of everyday Marist life, both the joys and the struggles. The prayers of intercession were said by the six newly professed in six different languages, showing just how international the community is. Also of note was the music which was uplifting and created a wonderful atmosphere for the celebration.
After the liturgy was another kind of celebration at the novitiate house in Dumalag where there was fine food, speeches, singing and laughter. I’m sure the terraces at the house have never held so many people before and it was a good thing we had just had them renovated!
The six new Marists have now gone back to their respective countries or communities and will resume their studies after a short break.
Thankyou to everyone who was involved in and helped to prepare for the profession; thankyou to everyone who came to celebrate with us, and thankyou to those who supported us with their prayers and their messages of support and best wishes. Thankyou also to everyone who made this past year so special for us – far too many to mention here. Most important of all, thanks be to God and Mother Mary for their call to serve them in this way.
On March 25, 2010, Niño Memorial, Roque Rebito, Daniel Fernández, Thilo Saft, John GuoWang and Philip Bennenbroek will be professed into the Society of Mary. All six novices, after prayer and reflection, applied in early January to their respective Provincial or District superiors for Temporary Profession into the Society of Mary. By the first week of February, all had received the news that they had been called by the Society.
To prepare for the Profession, the novices will spend the week from March 5 to March 12 on retreat at the Carmelite Monastery in the tugbok district, which will also complete the fourth week of the Ignatian Spiritual exercises for them.
After the retreat will be a few “re-integration” type classes and organisation of the Profession celebration. The Profession day will be the last day of the International Marist Novitiate in the Philippines for 2009/2010. In the days following, the novices will head back to where they came from for a short break, then continue their studies; Thilo to Germany, Daniel to Spain, Philip to New Zealand, with Niño, Roque and John remaining in the Philippines. It will be hard to say goodbye to the many people who have made this year so special for us all, but one thing is sure – this year will never be forgotten…
Last Tuesday, Feb 2, Sisters Stephanie Smith and Titilia Tupou, both from Fiji, were professed into the congregation of Mary (Marist Sisters) at their novitiate house in Mintal, Davao, Philippines. It was a fantastic celebration with the chapel overflowing outside – well attended by the Marist Sisters, Marist Missionary Sisters, Marist Fathers (including us of course), the Lay Marists, and some family members.
In the profession Mass, celebrated by Fr. Aliki Langi sm, Fr. Larry Sabud sm sang the chosen Gospel passage (the Annunciation) to a very rousing tune composed by himself and played on guitar. In fact, the whole ceremony was very moving and at one point there was hardly a dry eye in the chapel.
After the Mass, several thousand photos were taken(!) and a beautiful lunch provided, during which postulants from the Marist Sisters in Fiji performed traditional Fijian dances, starting the ball rolling for others to get up and srut their stuff. One older Marist Father confrere even left behind his walking stick to show his moves on the dance floor! Lots of laughter was the order of the day, which seems to be normal whenever we get together with the Sisters.
Also on this day many other Marist Sisters and Marist Missionary Sisters celebrated their anniversary of profession, adding to the festivities. Thanks to all who made this a special occasion, especially to Steph and Titi. All the best for the future girls – we hope to see you again somewhere sometime in the near future. God Bless.
Short Video of Profession Mass
Today (Sunday 10 January), the novices are off on Pastoral Placement for two weeks (until 23 January) in different parts of Mindanao. Thilo and Daniel will work with street children at Balay Pasilungan in Davao, Niño and Roque will join the Marists in the mountains at Timanan, and John and Phil will take part in the different ministries that the SMSM sisters are involved with in General Santos City (Gensan). This promises to be an exciting and enriching experience for all of us and we hope to write about our experiences after we return… God Bless…
Wow, Christmas is upon us already! It is always known as a busy time and this year at the novitiate is no exception. It’s a great time of year though, and the events that we have had already have been great celebrations, and the events to come promise to be so too.
Last week kicked off the major celebrations with the start of Misa de Gallo on Wednesday. This is a novena of Masses that take place before dawn every morning until Christmas day and is a great Filipino custom (although a difficult one!) that helps to prepare for the coming of our Lord.
Then Friday, 18th Dec, was the FIR (Formation Institute for Religious) Christmas party held at Gap Farm in Davao. This was a lot of fun and was very well organised with games, prizes, gifts, food, drama’s and other presentations from the different religious groups present, who have been studying together since the beginning of the year. Thanks to everyone who was involved in this day and really made it an enjoyable occasion.
From then on, I think we have had or will have some kind of celebration every day until Christmas. Saturday was the party organised by the Samahang Marista (Lay Marists) and hosted by the Marist Sisters in Matina. When the Marist family get together it is always a special occasion and this proved to be no different on Saturday. More games, more presentations, more gifts to be exchanged, and more food made this another great event to the credit of the organisers. Thanks again to you all for a very good night and for all you have done throughout the year.
Sunday (today) sees the arrival of Fr. Tim Costello, SM to the Philippines and his welcome gathering here at Dumalag tonight. He will be giving some classes for us here on priestly and religious formation over the next few days before Christmas. Monday is the Christmas lunch we will host for the workers here at the novitiate house who have done such a wonderful job at looking after us throughout the year. On Tuesday the Marist postulants, scholastics and priests from the Sta. Ana community will come for supper and will perform Christmas Carols for us (yay). Wednesday we will have a kind of kids party in the afternoon for all the children in the neighbourhood which I think may be safer to watch than to take part in! Thursday, Christmas Eve, we need to prepare food etc. for the following day, then we will attend the vigil Mass at the Maa City Jail, which has been part of our ministry this year and is sure to be a great celebration. On Christmas day itself we will have our community Mass and midday meal together, and in the evening join the district house for, yes, a party!
Saturday the 26th Dec is a free day, and although some are planning to travel out of Davao to visit friends, I might just reacquaint myself with my bed in a happy state of tiredness…
I have posted some photos here and will continue to post photos of the above events as they happen, so be sure to return over the next week to see what we are doing.
On November 20, we had an opportunity to invite Dindo Calvo (SM Postulant) to our community before he left for Fiji the following day (Nov. 21). It was a good moment for all of us as his novice confreres here in Dumalag to show our support for his upcoming Novitiate in Tutu, Fiji, which will start in January next year.
Dindo entered the Society of Mary here in the Philippines last 2006 as an aspirant. He has been assigned to several different Marist mission stations to experience the life of being a Marist.
His journey with Marist Fathers continues. He is the only Filipino who joins the International Novitiate in Fiji.
I am pretty sure that his journey in the Novitiate will be a grace filled experience for him. This is the best time for him to taste God and reflect more about his Marist vocation.
God bless and all the best Dindo. Your confreres here in the International English Language Novitiate will be praying for you and your companions in Tutu.
This is just a note to communicate that all the novices and formators are on retreat from 19th October until 5th November; so I’m very sorry to all our faithful visitors but our website will not be updated until November.
Before we leave, we have updated several things in weekly reflections (the three vows), several stories in Prayer Corner and photos from John’s birthday for you.
Please do not forget us and keep visiting our website. We will update many things when we come back renewed from our retreat. Thank you very much for your fidelity and pray for us during this retreat that we may be open to God’s will.
See you in a couple of weeks and thank you for making this ministry so useful.
Holy Name of Mary Tightens Marist Relationships
On September 12, 2009, Saturday, the whole members of the Marist Family, Philippine District benefactors, friends, and invited guests gathered and celebrated the annual big fiesta of the Holy Name of Mary with the theme “Many gifts, many services”. The groups present were Marist Sisters, Marist Fathers, Samahang Marista (lay Marist), Kabataang Marista (youth Marist), Chavoin Club, Bridge (association of former Marist Fathers Seminarians), Shela Lekha (Hebrew Scripture study group). A number of three hundred people graced the celebration.
It was started by a registration around 5:30 in the afternoon and followed by a Eucharist in thanking God for the many gifts and honouring Mary for allowing each member of the family to bear her august name. Fr. Lauro Arcede sm, a newly-ordained Filipino Marist priest celebrated the Mass and Fr. Joe Rooney sm, from Marist International Novitiate shed the light in the Gospel. To have a real fiesta mood, a plenteous banquet is never missed. The most awaited part was the presentation of talents of each member of the Family. Everybody enjoyed watching the dance performances of the Marist Sisters and the lay groups and hearing the good voices of the singing priests and seminarians. The most striking part was when everybody paused for a moment of silence and singing the Salve Regina as a way of thanking Mary for the wonderful relationships that were shared that night and even more for thanking Mary for that “gracious choice” which she continues to make.
View photos of this event
Short Video Clip…
Together! Marianists and Marists celebrate Mary’s Assumption.
For Marian Congregations August 15 -The feast of Assumption of Mary is a good occasion to celebrate and reflect on Mary as the Mother of God and our Mother. Here in Davao we were able to do so in a rather unique way: Novitiates from three congregations under the name of Society of Mary (SM) met in order to spend this special day together. Our Novitiate was very happy to host the novices of the Marianists and the Marist-Sisters together with their formators at our beautiful place in Dumalag.
The day began with a meet-and-greet gathering on our veranda, followed by a nicely prepared liturgy of welcome, which led us also into the sharings and talks. Brother Hugh, from the Marianists gave us a eloquent talk about Marianist Spirituality. Mary shares in a unique way the mysteries of Christ, which Marianists meditate on everyday to be able to listen attentively to God. All congregations see Mary as a model for their life as Christians and religious.
After a break with merienda (soft drinks, cake and cookies) Fr Pat presented reflections on “Mary in the Church”. His explanations were illustrated in colourful drawings: Images of Mary under the Cross, Mary at the Annunciation, Mary at Pentecost and the Death of Mary. During the talk all of us were invited to share in small groups about our favourite image of Mary, how Mary is part of our personal prayer life and in what way Mary is a model for us preparing for religious life.
After Lunch and some time for relaxing and a walk around Dumalag, Sr Torika, Novice mistress of the Marist Sisters, gave us a very reflective and tender talk about “Relating to Mary as a Mother”. The relationship with Mary as Mother is rooted in Christ, Sr Torika explained. She referred to the Gospel of John where Jesus himself hanging on the cross said to John: “Woman, behold your son” and to John: “Behold your mother” (John: 19: 25-27). Sr Torika showed us how late Pope John Paul II reflected on this Gospel passage: “Jesus expresses here his care for his mother, and at the same time gives her as mother to every single individual and all humankind. The second Vatican Council does not hesitate to call her ‘the Mother of Christ and mother of humankind’” (Redemptoris Mater #23). The talk concluded with reflections on “Mary on pilgrimage with us as a companion and guide”. Finally we took some quite time individually and had a look at our personal relationship with Mary. Each of us wrote a personal prayer to Mary, which we brought to the solemn Mass in the late afternoon.
All our sharings, talks and encounters highlighted in a great and joyful celebration of the Mass of the Assumption of Mary.