The Arrupe community’s monthly recollection on 25 August was graced by the presence of Dr. Onofre R. Pagsanghan, a teacher of the Ateneo de Manila High School since 1951. Mr. Pagsi, as he is popularly known to his friends and students, is one of the most revered pillars in Philippine education. Aside from teaching, he spends much of his time going around the country to give talks to teachers, principals and school superintendents. His achievements in the fields of education and theater and music, are numerous and they include the Metrobank Award for Outstanding Teachers in 1985, the ABS-CBN Bayaning Gurong Pilipino Award in 2003, and The Outstanding Filipino Award in 1996.
Mr. Pagsi began his association with the Jesuits during his high school years when he became a student of the late Fr John P. Delaney, who, according to him, influenced him a lot. Talking about “Jesuit and Lay Partnership,” Mr. Pagsi once remembered hearing Fr Delaney say, “The greatest teacher is John the Baptist. Because the people listened to him, but they followed Christ.” And this is true only because John the Baptist was at the same time a witness for Christ. Mr. Pagsi shared with us many wonderful stories about his life ‘with’ and ‘as friend of’ the Jesuits that can be summed up in those words spoken by Fr Delaney, which is a declaration and a challenge to every Jesuit even at this present age. Like John the Baptist, every Jesuit is called to be a teacher in his own way, that is, a teacher who is also a witness because the ‘youth today listen only to witnesses’. May the people listen to us (Jesuits) because we have proven ourselves witnesses of Christ, in order for them to follow Christ more. This is possible only, added Mr. Pagsi, if our Jesuit life remains to be centered in the Holy Eucharist, because the good life is the life of Christ.
September 09 was a big day for Arrupe House community. It was the deaconate ordination of four of our brothers: Sch Andrew Pham Hoa Lac (VIE); Sch Dominic Pham Minh Thang (VIE); Sch Thurairasa Sahayanathan (SRI); and Sch Kuranage Anton Rohan Christian Perera (SRI). The ordaining prelate was the Most Rev. Luis Antonio Tagle, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Imus, Cavite. Bishop Tagle was accompanied by Fr Thomas Vu Quang Trung (VIE), Regional Superior of the Independent Region of Vietnam, and Fr Bill Currie (JPN), who stood on behalf of Fr Martin Suhartono (IDO), Rector of Arrupe International Residence who was ill during the time of the ordination. The ordination was also graced by the presence of Jesuit and guest priests, scholastics and brothers, religious sisters, and our lay friends.
In his homily, Bishop Tagle reminded our newly ordained deacons about the nature of their vocation as servants of God and his people. Bishop Tagle pointed out two major points about the gospel that was read. The first point was that the initiative of the vocation came from Christ. Using the metaphor of a boat, Bishop Tagle talked about how Christ took over Peter’s boat without even asking his permission. Sharing about his own vocation story, Bishop Tagle said that the same thing happened to him many years ago when he was already set to studying medicine and then suddenly, God came and took over his boat without asking his permission. He, therefore, ended up becoming a priest instead. Moreover, added Bishop Tagle, Christ’ taking over of his life followed by many more taking over, eventually led to his becoming the Pastor of the Diocese of Imus. The second point, according to Bishop Tagle, was that before Christ took over Peter’s boat, it was empty after a night’s catch and that it had a bountiful catch only when Christ took over the boat. Bishop Tagle, therefore, exhorted our newly ordained deacons to continually surrender their boats totally to Christ, to allow Christ to lead them. So that, like Peter, the previous night’s empty catch, would become plentiful when Christ takes over their life.
Spearheading the deaconate ordination preparations was the overall coordinator Sch Chester Yacub (PHI). With him were the following coordinators: Sch Andy Abing (PHI), in-charge of liturgy; Sch Sebastian Ko Siong Yong (MAS), finance; Sch Joel Liwanag (PHI), logistics; Sch Jaime Rivera (TAI), food and invitation; and, Sch Christian Perera (SRI), ordinands’ coordinator. The Arrupe community also extends its gratitude to the Loyola House of Studies community (Fathers, Scholastics and Brothers) headed by Fr Jose Cecilio Magadia (PHI), for their generosity and patience.
Likewise, we thank our all of our lay friends, especially the choir, which includes the Coro de Sta. Cecilia, Canto Cinco, and the instrumentalists, led by the baton of Jay Gomez.
On September 12, Fr Adolfo Nicolás (JPN), delivered his memoriale to the Arrupe House community as he concluded the first part of his visitation. After talking to some of the members of the Arrupe House community, Fr Nicolás expressed a sense of hope and optimism about the members as well as the community as a whole. He said, “[Y]ou are growing and growing as Jesuits.” This dynamic forward thrust gives him a sense of joy because he believes that the community is in “a dynamic movement to what Ignatius wanted from us.” As such, we become instruments of hope for the Church that is faced with many difficulties in this present age as we continue to walk, with humility and truth as friends in the Lord, the path that our Father Ignatius had begun.
From Faber House community: Fr Pham Minh-Uoc (ASL), arrived on the evening of September 22 from Hiroshima, Japan where he had the second part of his Tertianship since July 2006. Fr Minh-Uoc, once again, takes his office as the Vice-Superior of the Faber House community. We thank Fr Peter Momose Fumiaki (JPN), for his availability and dedication in accompanying our Faber House community during the absence of Fr Minh-Uoc.