Fr. Jose Maria Lopez Suffers Stroke
Life in Tugbok has had its ups and downs since the last publication of CNN.
On March 8, Fr. Jose Maria Lopez, who had celebrated his eightieth birthday on September 30, 2009, suffered a stroke.
We knew something serious had happened when he dropped his breviary just before we began Compline. Fortunately Bro. Peter our in-house nurse was able to contact the Davao 911 squad, who arrived and took Fr. Jose Ma. to Doctor's Hospitals almost immediately.
The stroke affected his right side and his heart beat, and his pulse remained erratic for most of the following week. However, both of these gradually stabilized and on March 22, Fr. Jose Ma. was released from the hospital and was able to return to Tugbok where a hospital room was prepared for him on the first floor of the St. Joseph Dormitory building with a wheelchair and other hospital amenities.
As Fr. Jose gradually gained controlled over his right side to the extent that he could walk by himself he consented to be flown to Manila on May 7, where it was decided he could flown to Manila on May 7, where it was decided he could receive more and better medical facilities than would be available in Davao.
This was done and Fr. Jose Maria is presently housed in the St. Joseph building adjacent to the Parish Community where he can receive visitors, Religious and Lay, and regale them with his never failing smile.
As some of us are approaching retirement age it is comforting to know that there is new blood forthcoming to take our place.
Five Make Their Profession of Simple Vows
On April 17 the two Filipino and three Vietnamese Novices who had previously been approved for first vows made their Profession in the hands of V. Rev. Narciso Reyes, OCD , the Commissariary of the Philippines. They were bros. John Eric Alim, Gregory Baguio, Paul Nguyen Cong Vinh, John Bosco Nguyen Tu Chuong, and Joseph Le Van Dong.
Present for the Profession Ceremony was the mother of Bro. John Eric from Lucena and the mother and some other family members of Bro. Greg who arrived from Cagayan de Oro City.
The newly Professed took the religious names respectively of John Mary of the Holy Face, Gregorio Therese of the Merciful Heart of Jesus, Paul of the Passion and Resurrection, John Bosco of the Cross, and Joseph Mary of the Holy Eucharist.
The five newly professed then departed for their respective homes whether in the Philippines or Vietnam, for some carefree days before continuing in their respective formation programs.
Happily, the First Profession ceremony coincided with the fraternal visit of Very Rev. Peter Chung, OCD, General Counselor of the OCD for East Asia and Oceania, who had arrived in the Philippines from Korea only two days previously.
Very Rev. Peter Chung, OCD
arrives in DavaoFr. Peter, meanwhile, used his time in Tugbok to interview the Solemnly Professed members of the Tugbok Community, the first of the Communities of Friars of the Philippines to be thus visited. But I am getting ahead of myself.
New blood arrived in Tugbok, albeit temporarily, in the persons of the eight Scholastics who arrived in order to make their Second Novitiate of three months and enjoy the quiet and relaxed pace of Tugbok life in preparation for their final commitment as Teresian Carmelite Friars after having successfully completed their courses of studies.
The first batch to arrive comprised by Brothers Vito Competente Jr., Francis Nguyen Quach Tien, Joseph Nguyen Binh and Jonald Pagnganiban.
They began their routines almost immediately, including the daily times for prayer, housework and plenty of time for reading in the morning and manualia and basketball in the afternoon.
Soon these four were joined by four more Scholastics on April 30, namely Brothers Benedick Pianco, Ransom Rapirap, Andie Quiza, and Richard Escoto.
The first batch of Scholastics and the second batch as well added to the decreased numbers of the community, namely Bro. Peter Ganon and myself, since Fr. Ronaldo Ruanto, the house superior, has been away lately most the time fulfilling national and international commitments.
But the eight Scholastics added much more to the community than mere numbers or to the orderliness of the place. Their presence added to the prayerful atmosphere of the place as well as to the enlivening our recreation periods. And on occasion they relieved Bro. Peter and my beleaguered selves, taking assignments to the apostolate we found difficult or impossible to fulfill.
Two New Hermitages on the Property
These two hermitages, I might add, have already been finished, constructed mostly with lumber from the "mahogany forest" as well as with gifts in kind and in cash from generous benefactors. These two hermitages standing near the fence adjacent to the house of Tranquilino Buizon and near the Los Martyres gazebo, are to be christened on July 11 after the regular Sunday Mass with the names St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.
Two More Young Vietnamese in Tugbok
But the bloom of the youth will not have departed entirely from the Tugbok Community with departure of the eight Scholastics. April saw the arrival of two younger Vietnamese, Anthony Nguyen Duc Thang and Joseph Nguyen Duc Hau to the Tugbok Community. Anthony had already been approved for the novitiate program, but since there is no batch of Novices this year, the Formation Committee and the Commissariat Council decided to hold of Anthony's novitiate until next year.
Joseph on the other hand arrived in the Philippines only several months ago. Both of them are presently enrolled in language school here in Davao in order to perfect their English skills.
A Vacation in Davao Oriental
The usual community routine was dispensed for three days from June 21 to June 23 when the whole community went on vacation to Davao Oriental. After staying overnight at the Monastery of the Carmelite Nuns in Mati the group went to Masaio, Davao Oriental where we boarded a banka for Juaneban Island on the east coast of Davao oriental. After spending the day on this islet the group stayed overnight at the lovely beach home cum hotel of Attorney Leo Sabala, a friend of the Nuns at still another location facing the gentle swells of the Pacific Ocean.
The Ordination of Rev. Ramil Oraiz, OCD
Another sign of the nascent viatality of the Commissariat was an event which was participated in by hundreds of Davaoenos as well as by many from outside Davao. I am referring to the Ordination to the Priesthood of Rev. Ramil Oraiz. This took place in the chapel of the Teresian Carmelite Nuns’ chapek in Bajada, Davao City last April 16.
Fr. Ramil, a native of General Santos City, chose to be ordained by Archbishop Fernando Capalla in Davao City, and his Ordination was witnessed not only by family members from Gen San but by number of Teresian Friars coming from the different Philippine Communities, as well by a large number of religious and lay people. Most of these stayed to enjoy a sumptuous dinner which was prepared for the guests at the OCDS Prayer House along JP Laurel Avenue, Bajada, Davao City.
Meanwhile Fr. Tom Martin very fortunately arrived on different occasions to kindly extend some needed help with the daily Masses as well as other apostolic commitments in favour of the community. So while we witness comings and goings in Tugbok, we can only thank the Lord for this continued presence, and hope that Tugbok might do its part for the Commissariat, which, despite the gradual graying of a number of us, portends such a marvelous future.