FIS provincial assembly 2019 in Mambucal (Negros)
Mambucal, Murcia, Negros Occidental, The Philippines, 9 November 2019 -- Salesians from all over the Philippines South Province gathered together at the Diocesan Shrine of St John Bosco in Mambucal, Murcia, Negros Occidental from November 4 to 6, 2019 for this year’s Provincial Assembly Days (November 5-7). The Provincial Assembly Days is a yearly gathering for Salesians in celebration of the Provincial Community centered on its head, Fr. Godofredo Atienza, SDB, Provincial Superior.
This years gathering focuses on the theme: “Be who you are and be that well”, one of the many spiritual testament of St. Francis de Sales, titular patron of the congregation. Centered on a positive humanism and the faith that God creates each person uniquely and for Himself, the theme invites Salesians to return to the very roots of their Salesian and Christian vocation.
Fr. Medelino “Bong” Borgueta, SDB, rector and parish priest, aided by the members of Don Bosco Mambucal Educative Pastoral Community (EPC) warmly welcomed their guests in the afternoon of November 4. The afternoon was filled with catching up with one another over food and the overcast weather of Mambucal.
Everyone said vespers at the shrine. Fr Andy Satura gave the traditional good night talk, as one of the jubilarians this year. He thanked God for all the graces that he has received as a Salesian. He even gave new meaning to the initials PADS: Paradiang-Andy-Djurao – the three Salesians who are celebrating their silver jubilee (with an intended misspelling of Fr. Joel’s last name to force the thing).
Afterwards, the Salesians headed by Fr Provincial blessed the new Salesian rectory after vespers at the shrine. The new rectory has been a collaboration between the provincial community, the local house and the many generous benefactors. Noting the tiled image of our Lady at the top of the front door, Fr. Godo declared, “she has accomplished all these.” Remembering St. John Bosco’s very words at the sunset of the saint’s life, he quipped that all Salesian works have always been the work of our Blessed Mother. At the evening program of the third day, Fr. Provincial honored the three jubilarians who celebrate their 25th anniversary of presbyteral ordination this year: Fr. Lamberto "Jhun" Paradiang, Jr., Fr. Joel Jurao, and Fr. Adriano "Andy" Satura.
The second day started with lauds led by the novices, then followed the recollection period for the participants. Fr. Adrian Mendoza, SDB gave an input on the theme in the aspect of Salesian Spirituality. He focused on five subtopics: (1) devotion according to St. Francis of Sales; (2) the practice of the ‘Little Virtues’; (3) doing the Will of God; (4) Salesian Mysticism; (5) Humility and Gentleness; and, (6) on Sadness. Salesian Spirituality, according to Fr. Andy, begins in the interior, in the very experience of God, and naturally flows outward in charitable works.
The Salesians then broke into communities for their sharing and community bonding. Fr. Andy asked everyone to do the holiness charade, where Salesians guess who among their community members would fit the descriptions of holiness given by another. This is a challenge to recognize in each confrere the traits of holiness which the Rector Major has insisted upon: “Holiness for you too!” in this year’s strenna.
Lunch was served through the service and generosity of the parishioners who labored to prepare Filipino dishes. Salesians ate their meal at the garden fronting the shrine, eating their fill and surrounded by friends.
The practical trainees led the group games in the afternoon. The province community was divided into groups that competed in parlor games and followed by “blind volleyball” – a volleyball game where a curtain takes the place of the net. What ensued was friendly competition, rambunctious laughter, and enjoyment among brothers. “O how good and wonderful it is, when brothers live as one.” (Psalm 133:1)
The evening started with a thanksgiving mass for the 25th presbyteral anniversary of Fathers Lamberto “Jhun” Paradiang, Jr., Adriano “Andy” Satura, and Joel Jurao, SDB. Fr. Provincial, who presided at mass, thanked the jubilarians for their service of life and years. Fr. Jhun, who gave the homily, reminisced the fruitful 25 years of his priestly life and inseparable value of being formed and living with brother Salesians. At the heart of Salesian perseverance, he said, is the faithfulness of God and the camaraderie of the Salesian community. > The final part of the night was the dinner and evening program. Gathered at the parish gym, the Salesians took their meals and were treated to a cultural program. Communities prepared items for entertainment. Clerics Reynaldo “Biboy” Durango and Jhon Robert Andales were masters of ceremonies.
The show began with a duet of “You Raise Me Up” by vocal powerhouses of DBTC Cebu, Fr Keith Amodia and Cl. Gerondio Trujello. The DBTI community of Victorias rendered the song “Just the way you are” in consonance with the theme. Bro. George Celis and the SLS-DB Community surprised everyone with their gift for the “lucky community”. The big flat screen they brought fell by lot to the Don Bosco Boys Home of Liloan.
The formands and formators of Don Bosco Formation Center gave a beautiful choral acapella rendition of “When the night”. Salesians from Mindanao serenaded everyone with Italian songs featuring the harmonica play of Bro. Tena. The highlight item of the night belonged to the cha-cha dance of the Provincial House community headed by smooth moves of Fr Andy.
Fr. Provincial then took the stage to give the plaque of appreciation to the jubilarians. He also announced that the beneficiary of the province gift is Don Bosco Mati, who received PHP 250,000.00 for their vocation promotion activities. It is noted that DB Mati, through the efforts of Bro. Tena, has consistently sent vocations to the seminary for the past years, with a strong inclination to the Salesian Brother vocation at that.
To cap the night, the parishioners treated the Salesians to song interpretation of “Pasayawa ko, ‘day” and a choral rendition of “A million dreams”. They challenged the Salesians to continue the good work that has already begun in their communities, and reminded them of the dream of St. John Bosco that is realized even today in our houses.
Closing the assembly, Fr. Godo gave the good night talk. To the Salesians he gave a “pabaon” – that in gatherings of confreres remember the three S’s: (1) start your news with a good news; (2) share an edifying experience; and, (3) success story of a confrere in one’s community.
In all these, the Provincial Assembly Days was filled with brotherhood, shared faith and mission, and the distinctive Salesian Family Spirit. The assembly was short, the travel was long, but its significance and challenge to each Salesian remains deep and significant.