August 13, 2022, Rogationist Novitiate House, Silang Cavite - The Novitiate of the Rogationist of the Heart of Jesus, St Matthew Province celebrated the feast of St. John Berchmans, its patron saint with a recollection and Holy Eucharist during the first part of the day.
The recollection proved to be a community one, as it was attended not just by the Postulants, but the religious brothers from Father Di Francia Center of Studies. Nov. Robert Caraan facilitated a talk on the life and virtues of St. John Berchmans while Novices Rodel Coriño, Peter Mai, Venantius Antus and Krisantus Juram shared their reflections. A group sharing followed after a simple snack and moment of personal reflection. The community synthesized their recollection by saying that “it is essential to have the upright intention, fullness of faith and the determination to persevere in one’s vocation and one needs to acquire the virtues of St. John Berchmans (holiness, cheerfulness, obedience, piety to name a few) in order to have these. Above all, it is good to silence our hearts, for where there is silence, God speaks.”
The recollection culminated by a solemn Eucharistic Mass presided by Rev Fr Orville Cajigal, RCJ Provincial Superior and concelebrated by the Rogationist Fathers coming from the various communities. In his homily, Fr Orville made an exhortation on the four pillars of religious life - public profession of the vows, charism, community life and rule of life. He made a strong admonition to the community to be mindful of these pillars as they make up the entirety of being a religious. These pillars aid the religious in carrying out one’s witnessing in the world and so it is necessary that one has to be open, transparent and sincere.
A simple lunch followed which everyone enjoyed.
The second half of the day on the feast of St. John Berchmans proceeded with a beautiful portrayal of the life of the Patron Saint of Innocence. The Novices presented a short play with Nov. Francis Xavier Nguyen Hoang as John Berchmans. Nov Robert Caraan and Nov Rodel Coriño wrote the script and directed the play, respectively. After the presentation, Rev. Fr Vincent Dumdum, RCJ congratulated the novices and admonished them to remain faithful to the ideals of St. John Berchmans and use them in their vocational journey, as they continue learning and understanding the Congregation, the charism and the Father Founder. A friendly game between the brothers, novices and postulants followed using the facilities of the St. Anthony’s Boys Village.
Since the feast falls on a Saturday, a Marian Liturgy in honor of the Blessed Mother was attended by everyone. Rev. Fr. Ariel Tecson, RCJ made a short exhortation citing the three important things for St John Berchmans - Rule of Life, Rosary and Crucifix and translated them into what it meant for a Rogationist religious. The Rule of Life represented our observance of the Congregation’s Constitution and Norms and how we are faithful in them. The Rosary calls for our quality of prayer life and norms of piety, while the Crucifix represents our thrust to follow Christ of the Rogate. In all these, Fr Ariel said that “we should be true to our Constitutions and Norms for they shape and define our being religious. We should be prayerful for we are Rogationist and praying is our life and lastly, we should always look upon Christ of the Rogate and draw our strength in Him, to be holy in perseverance and joyful in being faithful.”
The religious brothers and the postulants stayed for a simple dinner. It was truly a day where one witnessed community life at its finest.
May St. John Berchmans accompany not just the Novices but the whole community in our witnessing to the Gospel and the Rogate and with the aid of Mary, Queen and Mother of the Rogate, may our works as Rogationist be always pleasing to the eyes of the Almighty.
St. John Berchmans, pray for us.
Send, O Lord, Holy Apostles into Your Church!