In between the retreat of two groups of perpetually professed members, the Province held its 24th Provincial Assembly on September 8-9, 2023. The gathering of members from different communities for the retreat made possible the attendance of almost everyone, Perpetually Professed and Juniors. The assembly was held at the Alberione Hall in SSP Makati.
The reports and updates on the state of the Province began with the sharing of the Provincial Superior Fr. Mario Sobrejuanite. He said that the “dream” of the members is contained in the IX Provincial Chapter Programmatic Document which he echoed and explained more deeply. He then invited the members to regularly refer to the copy of the document and make it the guide for their life and mission.
There followed the report of the Provincial Bursar, Tacdoro, Jr. While it is good to dream of the future, it is necessary that we have our feet on the ground, aware of the economic situation of the Province.
The afternoon session was dedicated to the updates on the Apostolate by the Director General of the Apostolate (DGA) Fr. John Klein Malificiar, on Finance by its Director Fr. Brian Tayag, and on the Aggregated Institutes by the new Provincial Delegate Fr. Celso Godilano. Fr. Ramil Tapang reported on the Association of Pauline Cooperators which he heads.
Fr. Tacdoro and Fr. Tapang shared the two recent developments concerning the economy: the Province has two accounts: the Society of St. Paul, Inc. (SSPI) to cover all apostolic activities, and the Saint Paul Seminary Foundation, Inc. (SPSFI) to cover the communities and the formation program. Receipts of payment have to carry either one, with its corresponding TIN number.
Mass and Vespers followed in the evening in the Sanctuary of St. Paul. The Mass on the Nativity of the Virgin Mary was presided by Fr. Leopoldo Botavara III of Silang community. Fr. Gil Alinsangan gave the homily.
Supper in the refectory was followed by Fellowship at the Alberione Hall, where members had their drinks, games, and singing accompanied by a band.
The morning session began with the talk of the invited speaker Msgr. Jerome Reyes, a Canon Law expert, on the canonical protocols, especially concerning members of the clergy who have cases of molesting minors (those below 18 years). He also answered questions regarding possible disciplinary actions on erring members of the community.
This was followed by updates on Formation by the Coordinator General of Formation Fr. Leopoldo Botavara III. Then the Local Superiors of the different communities gave a short report on their respective communities.
In the afternoon, the assembly listened to Architect William Coscolluela and his group as they presented their proposal on how to realign the structures in the Makati community and how to finance big projects, including the need to have an appropriate place for the sick and elderly members.
Fr. Manalo’s 53rd Sacerdotal Anniversary
Highlight of the Provincial Assembly was the Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Ramon John Manalo who celebrated his 53rd Sacerdotal Anniversary. He could only celebrate his Golden Jubilee of priesthood (50 years) at this time because of health protocols due to the pandemic COVID-19 and because he is based in his mission in Macau, China, where he has practically spent most of his priestly years. In his homily and word of thanks, Fr. Manalo showed his appreciation to his SSP confreres and also to the female Pauline congregations who sent some representatives. He also recalled with affection the three “evangelists” who were his companions and who have gone to the Father’s house: Fr. Fruto Matthew Rosales, Fr. Andres Mark Arboleda Jr., and Fr. Felino Luke Quitalig.