To mark the 150th Anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX in 1870, Pope Francis through his apostolic letter Patris corde (With a Father’s Heart) has declared a Year of Saint Joseph from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021. The Holy Father encouraged the faithful to imitate the virtues of Saint Joseph who faithfully and courageously fulfilled his important role in the history of salvation as the guardian of the Redeemer and chaste husband of the Virgin Mary. Towards the end of his apostolic letter, Pope Francis penned the following prayer to Saint Joseph:
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To you God entrusted his only Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life. Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage, and defend us from every evil. Amen.
As a contribution to this important jubilee, the Province’s Mass Media Team composed a prayer to Saint Joseph for the Augustinian Family which was inspired by Pope Leo XIII’s Prayer to Saint Joseph in his 1889 encyclical, Quamquam pluries:
Glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph, most chaste Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Guardian of the Redeemer and Patron of the Church, you are also the Protector of our Augustinian Family. Sustain us in our religious ideal of living together in one mind and one heart on the way to God. Help us to follow Christ and to live according to his will.
As once you rescued the Child Jesus from sure peril, so now safeguard us from all evils, temptations and dangers. Shield, too, each one of us by your powerful protection, so that, supported by your constant help, we may be able to live harmoniously in our communities and come to perfection in the eternal life prepared for us. Amen. Saint Joseph, pray for us!
To mark this important year, the Province’s Mass Media Office also commissioned a painting from the workshop of young Cebuano artist Avelino S. Paden depicting Saint Joseph carrying the Child Jesus in his arms while holding the Order’s logo in his left hand.
Blessing of Mohon Parish’s New Façade, Belfry, and Choir Loft
05 December 2020 -- Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma led the rite of blessing of the new façade, belfry and choir loft of Santo Niño de Cebu Parish Church in Barangay Mohon, Talisay City, Cebu. The Prior Provincial, Fr. Andres D. Rivera, Jr., OSA, Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Antonio R. Rañola along with the friars from the Cebu Communities of the Province, some Cebu diocesan clergy members, religious sisters, government officials and Mohon parishioners graced the said joyous occasion on the afternoon of December 5, 2020. After the rite of blessing, Archbishop Palma presided the Holy Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent.
The completion of the said parts of the church comprised the first of three phases in the renovation of Mohon Parish Church. Phase 2 will focus on the widening and construction of the church nave while Phase 3 will focus on the sanctuary area. A beautiful set of stained glass windows depicting Saints Augustine, Monica and Nicholas of Tolentino, the parish titular-- Señor Santo Niño de Cebu and the secondary Patroness of the Parish-- Our Lady of Consolation were installed at the façade area. In his thanksgiving speech before the final blessing, Mohon Parish Priest, Fr. Jonas M. Mejares, OSA expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all the parishioners, all the benefactors and sponsors, the Augustinian Community of Mohon and to the Province for their support on the construction process of the parish church.
OSA turns over Water System Facility to Barangay Greenhills, San Fernando, Cebu
San Fernando, CEBU –On Saint Augustine’s birthday and the Feast of All Augustinian Saints, November 13, 2020, the Province through the Colegio del Santo Niño (CSN) in San Fernando, Cebu has turned over a water system facility to Barangay Greenhills for the use of its residents. This symbolic activity was formally done with the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between CSN and Barangay Greenhills and witnessed officially by the municipal Vice Mayor and the friars from the Provincialate Community headed by the Prior Provincial, Fr. Andres D. Rivera, Jr., OSA.
“The new water system relieves the plight of our constituents as they will no longer fetch water in other barangays,” Barangay Captain Rovin G. Borinaga said.
San Fernando, Cebu Vice Mayor Ricci Regen G. Reluya also expressed his gratitude to the Augustinian friars, saying that this water source facility is a great help to their people who lacks good source of water for household needs.
Tree planting activity followed right after the signing of MOA as a symbolic legacy of all community members and the Augustinian friars in enhancing the water quality around the area.
“OSA’s turnover of water system facility is geared towards contributing to the common good and the flourishing of human life on earth as one of the thrusts of the Order”, Fr. Rivera said.
The event was done back to back with the re-launching of Aqua del Santo Niño water refilling station operated and managed by the Augustinian friars since 2017 (Marivic Y. Codinera, PADO Technical Development Support Officer).
MOA Signing between the Philippine Augustinians and Barangay Greenhills on November 13, 2020. From left to right: Fr. Jose Rene C. Delariarte, OSA; Fr. Andres D. Rivera, Jr., OSA; Fr. Vicente F. Amplayo, OSA; Barangay Captain Rovin G. Borinaga
and San Fernando Vice Mayor Ricci Regen G. Reluya.
Symbolic Turnover of the Water System Facility to Barangay Greenhills. From left to right: Fr. Rivera, Fr. Amplayo, Brgy. Capt. Borinaga and Vice Mayor Reluya.
The Father Provincial during the tree planting activity at San Fernando, Cebu on November 13, 2020.
Fr. Delariarte during the tree planting activity.
LAUNCHING OF RISING UP TOGETHER PROJECT: “Souvenir Shop Niño”
15 December 2020, CEBU CITY-- The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected the source of income of the candle vendors, photographers and candle workers in the Basilica del Santo Niño in Cebu City. With the prolonged lockdown imposed by the government, many of the vendors and workers lost their meager source of income from daily sales and wages.
To respond to this need, the Philippine Augustinians Development Office (PADO) conceptualized an alternative livelihood for the candle vendors and photographers who are members of the Basilica United Candle Vendors and Photographers Association (BUVPA) and production workers of the Candle House affected by the recent crisis.
This project is something that will not take them far from the basilica, something novel that maximizes their selling experience while at the same time imbibing them with newly acquired skills. The venture that emerged is a souvenir shop within the basilica compound that offers customized souvenir items related to the historical significance of the place. The project’s name is RISING UP TOGETHER with the shop aptly named, “Souvenir Shop Niño”.
PADO’s resource generation programs-- Santa Monica Credit Cooperative (SMCC) and Santo Niño Publishing House (SNPH) spearheaded the conceptualization, development, trainings and initial operations of the project. This project is a joint effort of both SMCC and SNPH with SMCC promoting cooperative membership to beneficiaries and management systems, while SNPH provides skills trainings and technical support to printing needs. Thus, the shop is a collaboration of the different Augustinian institutions converged by PADO, i.e. Colegio del Santo Niño (CSN), Basilica del Santo Niño (BSN) and Santo Niño Candle House (SNCH).
Last December 15, 2020 the Souvenir Shop Niño was officially launched at the CSN campus waiting area (temporary store space) while the store’s identified location beside the candle area of the basilica is still being prepared for the construction of the shop scheduled early next year.
The launch was graced by Fr. Jose Rene C. Delariarte, OSA, Fr. John Paul S. Mabanta, OSA together with staff members; PADO staff, Fr. Leonard B. Realiza, OSA and staff; CSN Director, Fr. Vicente F. Amplayo, OSA; Fr. Raul A. Cabugao, OSA; Justice and Peace Commission Head and SNAF Director, Fr. Aladdin P. Luzon, OSA and staff; Basilica Rector, Fr. Pacifico C. Nohara, OSA; and, BUVPA President, Mr. Dante R. Tapdasan and member-beneficiaries including workers from SNCH dubbed as Sales Agents of the “Souvenir Shop Niño”.
Messages of welcome and inspiration were delivered and ribbon-cutting was done led by Fr. Jose Rene C. Delariarte, OSA on behalf of the Prior Provincial, Fr. Andres D. Rivera, Jr., OSA. He was joined by guest friars: Fr. Leonard B. Realiza, OSA, Fr. Aladdin P. Luzon, OSA, Fr. Vicente F. Amplayo, OSA and Fr. Raul A. Cabugao, OSA. In their inspirational messages, the friars congratulated immensely the BUVPA members who successfully finished the pre-deployment skills trainings and exhorted them in getting involved to this enterprise that seeks to alleviate the effects of the pandemic in their livelihood. The program ended with a “Sinulog” dance number by the BUVPA sales agents who grooved gracefully to the very familiar beat. (Carmelita M. Egot, PADO Asst. Executive Director).
Augustinian Humanitarian Response
In response to the different calamities (floods and typhoons Rolly and Ulysses) that struck parts of the country last November and out of solidarity for all those affected by the current Covid-19 pandemic, the Prior Provincial has instructed all the Communities and Residences of the Province to give donations and support the initiatives of the Augustinian Relief Services (ARS), the humanitarian arm of the Santo Niño de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation or SNAF led by Fr. Aladdin P. Luzon, OSA. The donations received were used to procure relief goods and other needed supplies for affected individuals, families and communities in Quirino and Isabela provinces in northern Luzon. ARS and SNAF has partnered with Saint Augustine of Hippo Parish in Saguday, Quirino in the delivery and distribution of the relief goods to more than 500 families in the municipality of Tumauini, Isabela province and another 50-plus families in Nagtipunan town in Quirino province.
Other Communities of the Province also initiated their own relief operations-- Saint Augustine Parish Community for those affected in the Bicol region and a call for donations from the Colegio San Agustin – Biñan and the MGCP Youth Ministry. In addition, the friars from Monasterio de Guadalupe in Makati City have partnered with UHelp (a local charitable organization), the Cofradia del Santo Niño chapters in Mayao and at the Univeristy of San Agustin with Fr. Harold Ll. Rentoria, OSA in bringing those relief goods to Oas in Albay province. The biggest benefactor for all these relief efforts is, of course, from the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu City. Recently, Colegio San Agustin – Bacolod through its Community Extension Program Office has also called for donations for flood-stricken families in Negros Occidental. Northern Negros island suffered great floods last January 1 and 8, 2021 affecting and even submerging many houses and buildings. Cash and in-kind donations were accepted.
The Province appreciates the collective effort of all the friars, the institutions attached to the Communities and the undying support of all collaborators in these humanitarian efforts. Indeed, through all these works of love, the friars and their lay counterparts were able to share the true spirit of Christmas to all our needy brothers and sisters.
Launching of the 100-days Countdown to the 5th Centennial Arrival of Christianity in the Philippines at the Magellan’s Cross in Cebu City. The activity was led by Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma and attended by the Prior Provincial, Fr. Andres D. Rivera, Jr., OSA, Fr. Pacifico C. Nohara, OSA, Basilica Rector, Frs. Aladdin P. Luzon, OSA and Ric Anthony A. Reyes, OSA together with some Cebu diocesan clergy and government officials (photos courtesy of BMSN Mass Media).
Upcoming Event in the Province: Solemn Profession of Vows of the following friars (left to right): 1) Fray Rey Cyril C. Lagrosa, OSA; 2) Fray Roner M. Anildes, OSA; 3) Fray Jebie U. Jugarap, OSA; 4) Fray John Louis S. Ricamora, OSA and 5) Fray Elmer E. Ebol, OSA. The Prior Provincial will preside at the Rite of Solemn Profession on January 23, 2021 at San Agustin Center of Studies (SACS) in Quezon City.
ACCORDING TO ST. AUGUSTINE
“In order to promote deep communion of mind and heart among the friars in community, we should be mindful that our personal relationships require the same qualities that are needed in all genuine human relationships.”