As noted previously, Fr. Bernie Rosinski is in the Philippines teaching English until the end of May. He has been a dedicated blogger during his time there, this time writing about the recent final vows and diaconate ordination ceremonies. “As I sit writing this, I hear neighborhood children on the seminary grounds laughing and enjoying themselves as they play games with balls and tag,” he put in an email with the following blog attached. “When the seminarians are recreating the neighborhood kids seem to sense it immediately and they gather quickly.”
With the sound of children and seminarians playing in the background Fr. Bernie writes:
Four members of the Philippines Region took major steps toward their ultimate goal of being ordained priests for service to the Church in Immaculate Conception Parish church in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro city, which was committed to the charge of the Priests of the Sacred Heart less than two years ago.
On May 6, Bros. Elpidio, Niño, Joseph, and Marlon pronounced their final vows before Fr. Francis Pupkowski scj, regional superior, and their fellow religious, family, friends, parishioners and seminarians. This step was a necessary one as a prelude to what took place next day since no one can receive sacred orders unless he has first been incardinated into a diocese or has become a permanent member of a religious order. The profession of final vows is that permanent commitment to the Priests of the Sacred Heart
The vow ceremony took place during Mass and was followed by a banquet on the nearby seminary grounds of the Priests of the Sacred. Under outdoor tents, the banquet for about 200 was catered by ‘Ma’am Tess’, formerly a hostess with Cathay Pacific Airlines, and her staff. One dessert treat was good ol’ popcorn but, for the rest, the meal menu was entirely Filipino, abundant, and delicious. It was a treat that would be repeated for an even larger number of guests the next day.
May 7, in the same venue, Archbishop Antonio, Ledesma, S.J. ordained these same four men to service of the church as deacons. In his homily, the archbishop of Cagayan de Oro city stressed three qualities he urged these men to strive for in their lives: humility, obedience, and service to the poor. He proceeded to ordain them deacons right after his homily.
As an eager and interested visiting spectator from the United States, I saw a small army of well-disciplined, cassocked and surpliced boys and girls carry out the various duties of altar servers: incense and thurible bearers, candle and cross bearers, portable microphone carriers, procession escorts, sacred vessel bearers, wine and water presenters, and for Holy Communion Eucharistic paten bearers. The parish also had a small complement of male and female voices which sang the responses and sacred hymns with great distinction and beauty to the accompaniment of a guitar and a small electronic organ. These services were repeated on both days. And since the drills and hymns required by the two liturgies differed in some respects, this meant much practice time.
Did this parochial paradise have any serpents in it? Yes, there was an occasional feedback squeal from a loudspeaker. But this blogger observed how swiftly these technologically sophisticate people remedied the situation. If I were a pastor, I’d like to have them on my team.