From Fraternity to fraternities: The Road to Local Fraternities of Dominican Diocesan Priests in the Province of the Philippines
For the past years, efforts have been continuously taken to reorder the Dominican diocesan priests in the Philippines. The aim was to reach a more localized level of organization in order to facilitate among the members of the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic a more faithful following of their Rule. Central to this project was the identification of clusters based on the territorial distribution of the members in particular churches all over the country.
In the recent months, a series of inaugural meetings was carried out in these clusters in order to constitute local chapters of the secular priests in the Province. While also providing an occasion for renewed fellowship among the members, the meetings conducted had two primary objectives: (1) election of the respective priors (presidents) and council members of each chapter, thus, ensuring the capacity of each group for self-governance; and, (2) formulation of the local directory, which would be observed for all local chapters of secular priests in the Dominican Province of the Philippines. After careful study of the Regula Fraternitatum Sacerdotalium Sancti Dominici, and in close coordination with and under the guidance of the Provincial Promoter, fr. Florentino Bolo Jr., OP, the members successfully completed the proposed draft of the directory, which was subsequently approved on 4 September 2017 by the Prior Provincial and his council.
On the occasion of the canonical visit of the Master of the Order, fr. Bruno Cadoré, OP, the road to local fraternities of Dominican diocesan priests in the Dominican Province of the Philippines reached its completion. With nine organized chapters-in-formation, each with its own prior and council, and with an officially approved national Directory, the canonical erection of the local chapters was carried out by the authority of the Prior Provincial, fr. Napoleon Sipalay Jr., OP, in a ceremony held on 23 September 2017, Saturday, 8:00 am, at the San Pio V Building, Santo Domingo Church compound, 537 Quezon Avenue, 1114 Quezon City. Also present during the creation of the local fraternities were fr. Michael Mascari, OP, Socius for the Intellectual Life, and fr. Vivian Boland, OP, Socius for Fraternal Life and Formation.
With the creation of the local chapters, the new designation “Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic in the Philippines” replaces the previous title “Dominican Clerical Fraternity of the Philippines”, following also the recommendation of the General Curia to observe consistency in the reference to priests rather than to clerics. The newly constituted chapters are as follows:
- Chapter of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga) headed by Fr. Mario Sol Gabriel
- Chapter of the Most Holy Rosary (Western Visayan Region) headed by Fr. Andrew Paul Sayon of the Diocese of Kalibo
- Chapter of Our Lady of the Rosary (Ilocandia Region) headed by Msgr. Gary Noel S. Formoso of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia
- Chapter of San Jacinto (Cagayan Valley Region) headed by Fr. Ernest Raymund Simeon of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao
- Chapter of Santo Domingo (National Capital Region and nearby Provinces) headed by Fr. Anthony Arvin Madla of the Diocese of Boac
- Chapter of St. Antoninus (Mindanao Region) headed by Fr. Charles Allan Nemenzo of the Diocese of Kidapawan
- Chapter of St. Raymond of Peñafort (Bicolandia Region) headed by Fr. Xavier Amoroso of the Archdiocese of Caceres
- Chapter of St. Thomas Aquinas (Metro Manila and nearby Provinces) headed by Fr. Carlo del Rosario of the Archdiocese of Manila
- Chapter of St. Vincent Ferrer (Eastern and Central Visayan Region) headed by Fr. Simplicio Pugasan Jr. of the Archdiocese of Cebu
On the same occasion, Brother Bruno engaged the priests in a fraternal reflection on varied topics relating to the participation of the secular priests in the mission and spirit of the Order. As the priests shared about their experiences in the particular contexts of their respective dioceses, the Master responded accordingly, touching on subjects of diversity and the universality of mission, on discovering one’s identity, and on engagement in socio-political issues, among others. Underscoring the relevance of one’s membership in the fraternities to the life and ministry of the secular priest, Brother Bruno asserted, “Preaching is our way of sanctification; proclaiming the Gospel leads us to discover who we are.”
Shortly after the ceremonies, six diocesan priests were received into the fraternities by the Master of the Order himself in a Rite of Admission held within the celebration of the Morning Prayer at the nearby Santo Domingo Church. The priests who were vested with the habit of the Dominican friars were formally admitted for different fraternities: for the Chapter of the Most Holy Rosary–Fr. Brethen Rye Gamala (Diocese of Bacolod); for the Chapter of St. Vincent Ferrer–Fr. Joseph Morallon (Diocese of Marbel); for the Chapter of St. Thomas Aquinas–Fr. David Reyes (Diocese of San Pablo), Fr. Glenn Relucio (Diocese of Antipolo), and Fr. Herbert Camacho and Msgr. Gerry Santos (Archdiocese of Manila).
Presiding over the Morning Prayers was the Prior Provincial, with the seminarians of the UST Central Seminary Chapter as servers of the liturgy. The rite was attended by the diocesan priests and seminarians of St. Dominic, members of the Dominican Family, and the parishioners of the church of Santo Domingo. The celebratory mood culminated in a gathering of the entire Dominican Family with the Master of the Order at the UST-Angelicum Gym, during which Brother Bruno addressed the members of the family of St. Dominic in the Philippines.
As the diocesan priests of St. Dominic proceed with grateful appreciation for the fraternal support that is generously showed to them by the different communities of the friars, the Province looks forward with much hope for the growth of the chapters, and for the promising opportunities for apostolic collaboration with the Dominican Family.
Br. Florentino A. Bolo Jr.,OP
Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic in the Philippines
(26 September 2017)