This past August, I returned to the Philippines for my second visit and this time I traveled with our newly professed religious, Brother Jun Abog. The purpose of this trip, among other things, was to introduce our Order to new areas within the Philippines and to speak with several young people interested in joining us. After several weeks there, I began to see that this visit was enriching not only for those whom we visited but even more for ourselves. It was personally a joy for me to talk about Saint Francis Caracciolo, Venerable Augustine Adorno, our charism and life, and so many other aspects of the Adorno Fathers. I was edified to see so many good Filipino Catholic people who took an active interest in us and in our work. I pray that the seeds that were sown will bear good fruit.
During this visit, the simplicity of the people especially struck me. Their sense of family and profound religious faith was truly admirable. I was uplifted by their devotion to the Eucharist and their veneration of Our Lady. A special event that took place was the celebration of the Holy Mass for Brother Jun's family. We gathered and gave thanks to God for so many different things, including the gift of the religious life. Another noteworthy event was our visit to De La Salle University in Manila where we spoke about the Adorno Fathers before a group of professors from the Religious Studies department and the University Library staff.
One thing that I learned from this trip is that, as Adorno Fathers and Brothers, we have become religious not only for a given area but also for the worldwide Church. The vocation work that we have begun in the Philippines and elsewhere is in keeping with the spirit of the Gospel and our constitutions. The invitation for young people to join us is therefore valid wherever we may go. Therefore, pray that more young people will answer the call to follow Our Lord in becoming priests and brothers. (Rev. Michael Marotta,CRM)
At their convent, we met the other members of the MIC community -- Japanese and Canadian sisters who made us feel at home during our brief stay in their house. They administer a school and a dormitory for college students in Setagaya-ku. The following day, Fr. Michael said Mass in English at the convent chapel after which we had breakfast before we left for Kiryu City. In that city, we stayed at the St. Francis Retreat House (OFM) where we met Japanese and American friars. We also met the pastor of Kiryu City church, Fr. Bede, OFM. What really struck me was the fact that the foreign missionaries we met have been in Japan for at least 40 years! They speak Japanese like native speakers. It was indeed a very inspiring experience for us to meet these people.
Fr. Michael celebrated Mass for the Japanese and Filipino community in Kiryu City church. We were also blessed to meet Japanese and Filipinos who are very active in their parish church. We have met new friends from Kiryu City who showed us around the area. Fr. Michael and I had both experienced the hospitality and generosity of these people.
When we returned to Tokyo, we stayed at the Maryknoll Fathers' Tokyo House near the Jesuit University -- Sophia. We were delighted to know some Maryknoll Fathers and a seminarian.
In Tokyo, Sr. Lorna introduced us to Bro. Vincent Ito, a young Japanese Franciscan conventual who accompanied us during our last days in the city. The really great thing was that he could speak English and my native tongue -- Filipino!
If there is something that I could say about our trip to Japan, it is the fact that Fr. Michael and I were the first CRMs to set foot in that country. We were also blessed to meet new friends: both lay and religious who made us experience a bit of Japanese life. May God bless them always! (Bro. Jun M. Abog, CRM)
Jeffrey Almario is my name and I was born on July 13, 1975. I am the fourth son among seven children of Efren M.Almario and Ernestina M. Espeleta. My childhood years were spent in Socorro, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. I graduated with degrees in Philosophy and Mass Communication at St. Paul Seminary, Cavite, Philippines. As part of my academic formation , I am attending courses leading to a Master of Divinity at Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey. I came to Ramsey on July 28, 1998.
But from reliable sources we know that our missionaries are safe. They have been able to move in and out of the area with little inconvenience. During the month of July the newly ordained priest Father Felix Sarumende was able to fly to Rome and on August 28th, he and Father Paul Di Nardo returned to Goma by way of Uganda. At the beginning of September, nine clerics, who recently made their religious profession, will be moving to Rome and continue their philosophical and theological studies there. About 20 other seminarians remain in Goma and a number of younger candidates continue their studies in Nyamilima.
We have also been informed that Guilbert Gato (a Congolese cleric) together with Carmine Pellegrino (a Roman lay brother) will take the Solemn vows of our Order on October 11, 1998 in our parish of Guardian Angels in Rome. Through this newsletter we send our warm congratulations and best wishes to them.