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 3823(IV-1)_Better in Gold, better than Gold

Fr. Pepe Reinoso, 50 Years as a Salesian Priest

By Fr. Eli Cruz, SDB

In 1965, when the historic three-year Second Vatican Council was closed, Fr. Jose ‘Pepe’ Reinoso was ordained a priest on the 17th of December.

In this era that ushered the Cold War between capitalist and communist countries, student protests and labor unrests, political assassinations and dictatorships, feminism and the gay rights movement, upheavals also happened in the code, the conduct, and the clergy of the Church.

The 60’s saw the dissent of a throng of clergy from the priesthood. In this context, the resoluteness of Fr. Pepe to be uncompromising in his priestly vocation for the past fifty years is truly worth celebrating. He has met the demands of ‘forever’, of ‘totally, of ‘not taking back what one has given’ with amazing grace.

But, yes, who is Fr. Pepe to me? To answer this question, I looked back into my prayer journals. And in one of these, I quoted Dag Hammarskjold on the first page: “Only what is unique in a person’s experience is worth writing down as a guide and a warning to others.” In these prayer journals, I realized I did write about Fr. Pepe in significant times, “as a guide and a warning” to my own journey of faith.

    1. AS WITNESS TO THE CROSS: “We have heard of the kidnapping and death of the brother of Fr. Pepe Reinoso, an expat in Caracas, Venezuela. We do not pretend to know the depths of sorrow he and the whole family are experiencing. But as we condole with them, we also learn from the good example of our confrere.

    In one way or the other, the world has lost that sense of the Cross as the center of our personal stories and human history. But the suffering of a confrere puts the crucial issue on the table, where no one could ignore or wish away: we embrace Christ crucified. This is the heart of our discipleship.”

    2. AS FORMATOR AND LEADER: “He is revered as a father, admired as a priest, and sought as a spiritual guide. His physical weakness is for his brothers a powerful witness to the presence of God in their midst. His keen sense on the “comings-and-goings” of his confreres, physically and spiritually, has been a determining factor in the fidelity of his confreres to their duties. His consistency and firmness in exacting religious discipline and his credible witnessing to what he demands make obedience to rules more compelling.”

    “His persistent question, challenge, and warning to me have been this: Is your life a prayer and your prayer from life? Mature in your perception of reality and in your faith in the unseen.”

    3. AS ANIMATOR OF THE SALESIAN FAMILY: “Our preacher for the retreat with the Salesian Family is an authentic Salesian. His witness as a religious man is unquestionable. He is a deeply spiritual priest. His attachment to Christ is conspicuous.”

Who is Fr. Pepe? Writing about him on the 50th anniversary of his priesthood is humbling. So many people have seen the facets of Fr. Pepe’s life from so many angles, in so many lights, with so many expressions.

Ask not only the Salesians, but the Salesian Family. Fr. Pepe has so much appreciation for the dignity and role especially of the lay members of the Salesian Family. He spent all these years the best of his energy and enthusiasm for their formation. He loved them, and they in turn would not fail to give their felicitations especially on his birthdays. They can say more about him.

In 1965, the tuneful musical film ‘The Sound of Music’ premiered and became one of the top-grossing films of the era. A song from the original Broadway which was included in the film only as a soundtrack questions: ‘How Can Love Survive?’

As I look at Fr. Jose ‘Pepe’ Reinoso, celebrating his 50th year of priesthood (and 60th year as a professed Salesian of Don Bosco), I see a Salesian priest of remarkable proportion, better in gold and better than gold, answering: “A dream that will need / ALL THE LOVE YOU CAN GIVE / Every day of your life / For as long as you live.”


 3823(IV-2)_Grateful Salesians, golden hearts

Salesians celebrate their Golden Jubilee of religious life

By Cl. Juvelan Paul N. Samia, SDB

As GOLD becomes all the more precious when purified in the furnace, so do people turn into “something as precious as gold” when they are tested in fire through the passing of many years. The Salesian Philippine-North Province glorifies the Almighty God for the gift of three confreres—Fr. Danny, Fr. Larry, and Fr. Vic—who celebrate their Golden Jubilee of religious profession. Here are their stories and some personal insights into Salesian religious life.

Fr. Danilo Torres, SDB says that it was “by accident” that he entered the Salesian seminary. As a young boy, he wanted to become a priest and enter the diocesan minor seminary in Guadalupe, Makati. His parents, Leon Torres and Purificacion Vite Torres, approved and supported his desire, but because the cost of seminary formation was too expensive, “entering” was rather difficult for him to do. God had a beautiful plan for him, instead. His father contacted his boss at work, Don Alfonso Zobel de Ayala, to ask for help in this regard. Don Zobel, who happened to be a personal friend of the Servant of God Fr. Charles Braga, SDB, then rector of Don Bosco Technical Institute, Makati, agreed to sponsor the expenses of his seminary formation on the condition that he would stay with the Salesians. He was thus brought to the Salesians through the mysterious workings of Divine Providence!

He entered Don Bosco Victorias as a first year high school student in 1960, transferred to Don Bosco, Bacolor, Pampanga in 1963, and graduated high school in 1964. Immediately after, he entered the novitiate under the direction of Fr. Jose Luis Carreño, SDB, and made his first profession to the Salesian life on July 16, 1965 together with Fathers Hilario Tamonan, Vicente Cervania, Jaime Carmona, Emil Santos, and others who left the Congregation afterward.

As Fr. Danny began to know the Salesians, their way of life appeared very attractive to him. He admired the closeness that the Salesians showed to the youth, especially the poor. He also saw how the Salesians gave attention to the youth, and was fascinated at how the youth return this gesture with their own token of attentiveness and affection.

As a Salesian priest, he tried to cultivate in himself the trait of “fatherliness”—kind, welcoming, and quietly working hard. He says that now, after 50 years of Salesian life, he is coming to a fuller and more mature appreciation of the beauty of the Holy Eucharist.

Fr. Hilario Tamonan, SDB IN 1960, needed to choose the school for his high school education. Very much impressed by the work of their volunteer school catechist in Iloilo Laboratory School, he thought to himself, “why not help in the spreading of the Catholic faith.” His first cousin Freddie, a student in Don Bosco Victorias, gave him an impressive prospectus of the school and suggested him to try the aspirantate. Even though, at that time, he had no clear idea of who Don Bosco was, he says that “he made the decision to come and stay, and be a Salesian until the end.”

Fr. Larry is a Salesian known for his commitment to his duties, whatever they may be. He fulfills them to the best of his abilities and without creating fanfare and attracting attention to himself. He says, “I like to walk the path that God showed me and be to open to it for the rest of my life.”

As Fr. Larry celebrates his Golden Jubilee, he becomes more convinced that indeed “God has a special plan in mind for each one of us.”

Fr. Vicente Cervania, SDB started to feel the desire to become a priest when he was six years old, as a kinder student at Sto. Niño Parochial School, Pandacan, Manila. He entered Don Bosco Mandaluyong in 1960 as a first year high school student. When he was in 4th year, the rector, Fr. Pier Angelo Quaranta, SDB, gave a vocation talk to all the students. After which, Fr. Quaranta invited those who are interested to become Salesians to come for regular follow up meetings. In the beginning, their group numbered to about twenty but became less and less with the passage of time. Finally, only three of them entered the juniorate: Raul Salcedo, Edgardo Arellano, and himself. Fr. Vic shares that the turning point in his discernment process happened during the retreat of the graduating batch preached by Fr. George Schwarz, SDB who told them and challenged them, “If you love father and mother more than me, you are not worthy of me,” quoting the Holy Gospel. Reflecting on his Salesian vocation, Fr. Vic realized, “I am not celebrating my fidelity to the Lord. I am celebrating the Lord’s fidelity to me all these years!”

Fr. Vic had his share of struggles in his religious life, and perhaps the recent and life changing one was his bout with his heart condition. Here’s his account of what had happened: “On October 30, 2007, at age 59, I underwent quadruple heart by-pass surgery. The operation was a very delicate one; and, a few days before, I experienced a tremendous fear that this procedure might end in failure. I called for the hospital chaplain to help allay my fears. My whole body was trembling. The chaplain, Father Jesus, came to my room; he listened to me. Then he held my hands with the assurance, “When you became a religious and priest, you entrusted your whole self to the best of hands, didn’t you? Renew now your entrustment to the Lord; place everything into his hands.” I was inspired to compose a little prayer which I repeated often during those trying moments: “Abba, Father, your will be done! Jesus, Son of the living God, heal me! Holy Spirit, strengthen me! Mama Mary, stay by my side!”


3823(IV-3)_Shine like silver

Salesian Priests celebrate their Silver Jubilee of priesthood and of religious Profession

By Fr. Drans Nolasco, SDB

The Salesians of the FIN Province are grateful to the Lord as they join their confreres in thanking the Lord for allowing them to be His shepherds to the youth as Salesian priests for the past twenty five years. The are: Fr. Greg Bicomong, Fr. Eli Cruz, Fr. Rey Dela Cruz, Fr. Falvie Faldas, Fr. Ditto Gueco, Fr. Marty Macasaet, Fr. Charles Manlangit, Fr. Ting Miciano, Fr. Arnold Sanico, Fr. Junjie Zarate.

They also include in their celebration of thanksgiving their other companions who belong to other Provinces. They are: Fr. Raffy Galve and Fr. Ambrose Pereira (both from PNG-SI), Fr. Luis Badilla, Fr. Lan Guiao, Fr. Cesar Manlosa, Fr. Ronel Vilbar (all belonging to FIS),and Fr. Mon Zarate (SUO).

While these seventeen confreres celebrate this year their twenty five years of priesthood, there are also four confreres who are celebrating their Silver Jubilee of Religious Profession. They are: Fr. Redentor Coloma, Fr. Kit Hernandez, Fr. Noel Sumagui (all from FIN) and Fr. Peter Baquero (PNG-SI).

We accompany them with our prayers that they may continue to be faithful to the Lord in serving Him just like St. John Bosco.























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