30 November 2021, via Zoom — The Salesians of Don Bosco-Philippine North Province (FIN) held its annual Province Day with the theme “Moved by Hope,” taken from the Rector Major’s Strenna 2021.
The Province Day was marked as a day of celebration “as a sign of its fraternal communion and an expression of its gratitude” to God for the gift of the Salesian vocation (cf. R 42).
The CoViD-19 restrictions prevented all the confreres from gathering all together in one place, but this did not prevent the province from celebrating as one community. There were some communities who opted to gather as districts, while still others chose to stay in their respective places.
There was a schedule followed simultaneously by all the Salesian communities, beginning with the Holy Mass at 9:30 am.
An online program was animatedly hosted by students of theology Cl. Jojo Villanueva, and Cl. Nathan Petate, with the other confreres from Seminaryo ng Don Bosco working behind the scenes and doing all the technical work to make sure that the program flowed smoothly.
The program began with the roll call of communities, and a set of quick-fire questions were raised to Fr. Gerry Martin, the Provincial Superior, to break the ice.
One of the highlights of the Province Day celebration is the tribute for the jubilarians. Three videos were presented to pay tribute to confreres who are celebrating their Silver and Golden Jubilees this year.
The first video-tribute was presented for the first set of jubilarians, namely, Fr. Eduardo Villanueva and Fr. Clarence Panganiban, who together celebrate the Silver Anniversary of their First Religious Profession. The second set of jubilarians were Fr Nestor Pidazo, Fr. Paul Ines, and Fr. Eduardo Hila as they commemorate the Silver Anniversary of their Priestly Ordination. Last, but definitely not the least, Fr. Rolo Alcasid and Fr. Danilo Locquiao celebrate this year the Golden Anniversary of their First Religious Profession.
In between these tributes were exciting raffles and online games that the Seminaryo ng Don Bosco creatively devised to everyone’s delight. The raffles and games being online, the prizes were also online and were sent instantaneously through their mobile phones.
To cap things off, Fr. Gerry Martin took the stage and shared his thoughts about the current pandemic situation, gently yet firmly reminding all confreres that “The virtue of HOPE matures in suffering.”
Indeed, it was a day of celebration of the Salesian vocation, and the witness of the lives of all confreres are a sign of sure hope that God, Who is Himself the giver of Hope, will sustain all who strive to be faithful to their vocation.