Monday, September 12, 2005

By Violy Veneracion , TOCarm
Regional Coordinator - Central Luzon

August 27, 2005 was a red letter day for the Cabanatuan TOC Community. It was the annual fraternal visit of the National Council officers led by Fr. Toto Jaranilla, O Carm, National Spiritual Director together with the National Prioress and NFC Director.

Fr. Toto Jaranilla, using the mid-morning Liturgy of the Hour, led the opening prayer. He opened his talk by stating that the objective of the fraternal visit was to lovingly correct any indiscretions and failings in the governance and formation aspects of the community.

Violy Veneracion, TOCarm, local Prioress, reported on the program of activities that the community had undertaken the past year. It was also noted that two other communities were started during the year – the TOC Community of St. Bartholomew Parish, San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija with 17 aspirants and St. Nepomucene Parish, Cabiao, Nueva Ecija with 18 aspirants – governance and formation of which are being presently being undertaken by Sis. Violy herself and Lulu Aquino, TOCarm as formator.

Cely Baldedara, TOCarm, local Formation Directress also gave a report on the status of the members’ formation studies.

The community’s attitude was noticeably quiet, more friendly, and receptive to the presence of the National Officers, unlike previous fraternal visits when various unresolved issues were causing tensions and negativity in the air. Difficult members have since resigned from the community hence, the prevalence of a peaceful atmosphere this time.

Fr. Toto opened his talk by expounding on the four TOC ministries which every TOC member is expected to uphold since Carmel Philippines is now on its own and independent from the Dutch Province.

In answer to the question "What is the identity of a TOC", Fr. Toto gave qualifications lifted from the Rule of Carmel and Canon Law and discussed point by point the Criteria for Discernment of Vocation that the National Council sent out earlier to all Priors/Prioresses for discussion in their respective communities.

A mild reaction came from some aspirants of the newly established community in Cabiao when the issue on the age limit was brought up since at least four of them are already in the late 70s and early 80s. Since what attracted them was the TOC formation program Fr. Toto assured them that even if they will be integrated in the Confraternity, they may continue to attend formation studies for as long as they are able to though the RDS will not be required of them.
Meanwhile, Bro. Joe suggested a better way for them to hold their formation meeting and gave the following format with the corresponding time allotment.

I Opening Prayer – 15 minutes
II Life of Saints – 15 minutes
III Rules and Statutes – 15 minutes
IV Introductory Exercise – 15 minutes
V Main Theme RDS – 2 hours

For her part, the National Prioress explained that in the area of governance, authority is vested in the National Council. Our promise of obedience compels us to say "yes" when assigned by our Superiors to do certain tasks for the good of the Order and community. First and foremost, we are Final Professed TOC, hence, we are at the disposal of the Order.

Sis. Nimfa gave us the following gems for reflection:

1. Journeying in the dark nights is journeying in faith and walking in faith is like walking like a blind man with God as his only guide.

2. The LORD always manifests HIS will for us through our leaders and superiors in the Order.

3. A real contemplative does not refuse assigned task because he/she attributes the assignment as coming from God.

4. Final Profession in the TOC means total commitment for life. Hindi pwede ang isang paa ay in at ang isang paa ay out.

5. Many of us are being asked to choose. We need to put our trust in the LORD. GOD is the Master of all Creations. Our time, talent, treasures all come from Him. Why can’t we entrust our life and everything to Him?

6. The LORD does not call the qualified but HE qualifies whom HE calls.

7. Do not use and say the word "Busy" because busy with other things beside the things of God means "Being Under Satan’s Yoke"

8. Just offer your goodwill to the LORD and the LORD who sees your heart will arrange things for you. We are only an instrument. What we do is not by our own strength. As Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say: "I am only the pencil; it is the LORD who does the writing." So, let us allow God to use us as His instrument.

9. The LORD promised that HE will provide for all the needs of HIS disciples but there is a condition: first, you must truly become his disciple.

Finally, Fr. Toto administered the Rite of Admission to aspirants who were present – 9 (Cabiao), 2 (San Leonardo), and 1 (Cabanatuan). The meeting ended about 4 pm. Everybody had been truly enlightened and recharged in knowing their roles and responsibilities as TOC. It is greatly hoped that with this fraternal visit members would be inspired to become better Lay Carmelites.

Delivered by the National Prioress
At the 9th TOC National Convention
APRIL 19-22, 2005

Health in the Lord and blessings of the Holy Spirit!

In compliance with my function and responsibility as National Prioress, please allow me now to make a full report about the National Council’s activities and significant developments since the 8th National Convention in year 2002.


If you still remember, our national convention’s theme last April, 2002 was “Towards A Deeper Commitment”. This was the main reason why all our efforts in the national office have been geared towards that objective since May, 2002. We decided that the only way to achieve that was through a continual or on-going process of renewal and transformation via formation studies and Formators’ training seminars for how can one develop his/her commitment to the Third Order if one lacks sufficient knowledge about the TOC, or one cannot fully identify oneself with it?



· Initially we experienced resistance when we launched the ‘Back to Basic Study Module’ or better referred to as Study Module 1 for Postulants and introduced the RDS Method of Formation. The resistance initially came from some communities especially the old ones, which have been used to the old ‘lecture-type’ of formation. Much resistance was especially felt from the old Monastery-based communities (Cabanatuan, Sibulan and Roxas) whose members had been so dependent on the Nuns giving them formation with the exception of Guiguinto Community who, from the start of the NFC initiatives, has made it known that they (Guiguinto Nuns) have never taken an active role in the formation of the TOC. They only handled the formation of the Seminarians.

· Today however, after more than three years of ceaseless and painstaking struggle trying to consistently and patiently initiate the reforms that we started, we are most happy to report that all the local communities, probably with the exception of Roxas Community, are doing the new approach to formation that we have introduced and feedback coming from them have been very positive.

· There is now a renewed interest and enthusiasm with regards to formation among the great majority of TOC members in these communities. This renewed interest has given way to a better understanding and appreciation of their Carmelite vocation as a TOC and it is our hope that this better understanding and appreciation of their vocation would give way or result to a deeper commitment to the charism of the Order and a deeper involvement in Carmelite Ministries.

· In January, 2003, we introduced the Study Module 2 for Novices and as a “Back to Basic” course for all Professed members. We directed that only those communities who have finished with the Study Module 1 would be allowed to proceed to Study Module 2 and that attendance records should be maintained to make sure this was strictly implemented.

We are not yet however finished with Study Module 2 reference materials. We continue to undertake research in order to complete it. Please understand that we do not have a staff at the National Secretariat or the NFC to help us gather reading materials and type them. [I am actually doing it personally.]

· In Feb. 2004, we came up with the Aspirancy Module for Aspirants. This Aspirancy Module was prepared courtesy of Bro. Ruel Santos, Regional Formation Commission Coordinator of Bulacan.

· With the introduction of these Study Modules, formation studies have become more structured and more streamlined making it easier for formators assigned in a particular formation level to guide and mentor candidates undergoing formation.


· In February, 2004 we conceptualized the annual Thematic Retreats in collaboration with the National Spiritual Director and some Carmelite Friars.

· The Thematic Retreat scheme is “truly another step towards a deeper commitment to the charism and spirit of the Order. It is one process that runs parallel with the Council’s “back to basic” battle cry to steer the TOC members towards genuine transformation in Carmel.”[1]

· The National Council created a Technical Support Group for Retreats and Seminars (TSGRS) headed by Sally Castro, TOCarm tasked to organize these retreats in NCR/Luzon. I hope that the Regional Council in the Visayas/Mindanao Region would create the same body to coordinate the thematic retreats in those areas.

· The principle of the Thematic Retreat is properly working in NCR/Luzon. We still need to hear reports from the Visayas and Mindanao however as to its feasibility.


· Prior to Year 2002, fraternal visits to local communities were done on a “Per Need” basis.

· Starting Year, 2002 we decided to pre-schedule the annual visits to local communities andset a common agenda for such activity.

· Fraternal visits were undertaken by the National Spiritual Director, National Prioress and National Formation Director plus the Regional Coordinator of the particular TOC Community.

· Agenda include comprehensive reports from the Local Heads and Formators. National and Local concerns are discussed. Open Forum is encouraged where areas of difficulties are openly discussed and settled for the good of all. Members are encouraged to openly air their gripes, complaints, doubts, problems and various community concerns and the National Officers try to resolve them to the best of their abilities with God’s help.


· In 2001 and prior years members are received and professed only on the basis of the number of years that they have spent in the TOC Community. Decision whether to be received or professed primarily depended on the candidate’s willingness to undergo the rites. There was no proper evaluation being done.

· Starting year 2002, however, candidates for Reception/Profession are evaluated based on two criteria: a) Completion of the “academics” and b) completion of the minimum time requirement for each level of formation during which time each member is supposed to attend not only the business meetings but also other required activities of the community.

· In September, 2004 the National Council came up with the new criteria for preliminary evaluation giving more importance and emphasis on the attendance rating in Community, Formation and Thematic Retreats.


· After the 2002 National Convention we continued in our efforts to systematize the Central File via a Database Membership list. In the absence of a National Secretary, I endeavored to undertake the responsibility of maintaining this file personally. I should find it not much of a hassle if all Regional Coordinators are doing their jobs and local Priors/Prioresses are regular in submitting reports that the National Secretariat needs. But what actually is happening is that it is becoming so difficult getting records, documents and reports that are needed at the national office. I cannot seem to understand why it takes so long to submit reports. If the local communities have a good records system, I don’t see any reason why they cannot send these same records to the National Office ASAP.

· To facilitate recording of data, different TOC Forms were designed courtesy of Bro. Joe Generoso III. [He decided it is his duty to design FORMS being the National FORMation Director. :-)]

· Not all communities however have been truly complying with the guidelines regarding reporting of new movements in the local community using these forms. There are still few communities that need to be followed up before submission of these forms can be submitted. Hopefully after this convention all Regional Coordinators and Priors/Prioresses will find it in their hearts to be more cognizant of their responsibilities relative to the submission of documents and necessary forms to facilitate systematization of our Central File.


· After the 2002 National Convention we started emphasizing the need for a deeper commitment to the Order. It was understood that a “deeper commitment” naturally meant regular attendance in community and formation meetings and a more serious following of the Rule of Life and the Statutes.

· In March 2003 we sent out a directive or guidelines on what to do with members who do not want to comply with community and formation requirements. Despite this directive, there are still communities, which continue to have absentee members until now because the Priors/Prioresses concerned have not tried to implement the guidelines set up by the National Council either because they continue to tolerate absenteeism or refuse to act on the failure of their members to follow the rules on attendance.

· Our early move to strictly implement the rules on attendance was fully supported later by a new provision in our New Rule of Life, promulgated last July 16, 2003 which states in part: “Third Order Carmelites should meet periodically, according to the frequency and way laid down by the statutes so that they may form community in the midst of which Christ dwells.” (Item 91). As we all know our Statutes require TOC communities to meet once a month for Community and Formation meetings.

· We also emphasized the need to re-discern our Carmelite Vocation and directed all Priors/Prioresses to help their members undergo this process of discernment. We emphasized that being a TOC is a vocation and that not everyone is called to be a TOC. We need to always remember that when one joins the Third Order, one has to adapt to the way of life, culture and tradition of the Order. It is not the Order that will have to adapt to the members’ way of life.

· There was a decrease in the total membership of the Third Order from year 2000 to the present time by approximately 40% due to resignations, dismissals or simply dropping from formation of members based on the following reasons:

· Inability to comply with formation and community requirements
· Inability to cope up with formation studies
· Refusal to recognize the authority of the National Council and the Local Council
· No genuine vocation to the TOC
· Purpose for joining was purely for the devotional aspect of the Brown Scapular and not for the Rule of Life of a TOC.

· Contrary to what some of our honorable critics consisting of former TOC members are saying, we do welcome and expect the membership purging because it is our genuine desire to maintain quality members who have real vocation to be TOCs and are willing to abide with the Rules of the Order. We do not need uncommitted members in the TOC because how can we expect them to be truly committed to the works or ministries of the Order if they cannot be expected to be committed to their primary obligation of attending community and formation meetings? And how can we expect them to be committed to the Order if they continue to defy the authority or refuse to recognize the authority of the National Council, which is the governing body of the TOC Philippines?

As of todate we have about 836 official members including aspirants and those on Hermitage and sick members who are Final Professed. Hopefully all these members have a renewed commitment to the Order at this point in their lives.


a. In December, 2002, we came up with the guidelines regarding the Rite of Hermitage.

b. In the words of Fr. Toto Jaranilla, Hermitage is “a way of life for Philippine TOC members who are incapable of exercising their normal functions in the Order due to old age and sickness. A member who takes on hermitage should develop also a prayerful attitude. He/she should also do his/her basic duties and obligations to the Order though her/she will do this in the confines of his/her home.”


· A strategy has been undertaken to split the Guiguinto Community into three (3) separate TOC Communities, namely: a) St. John the Baptist TOCC in Calumpit, b) Immaculate Conception TOCC in Malolos and c) Holy Family TOCC in Guiguinto (Mother Community).

· Request for the Canonical Approval of the two new parish-based TOC Communities is now being prepared.


· Previous to the National Council’s move to re-orient the TOC members of parish-based communities regarding their role in parishes, majority of TOC members of these parish-based local communities were of the belief that the TOC community is under the Parish Pastoral Council and that it is one of the Parish mandated organizations.

· We really took time to explain to them that the TOC community is a separate entity from the PPC but that we are called to be a willing collaborator of the Parish Priest in the mission of the Church. Members may join parish ministries in their individual capacity as TOCs but local communities are enjoined and encouraged to undertake a ministry as a TOC Community in the parish that will identify them as Carmelites.

· Suggested TOC Ministries are: Carmelite Vocation Promotion, YCPF, Confraternity of the Brown Scapular and JPIC.

· At present some parish-based TOC Communities are now known in their respective parishes as the Prayer Warrior group of the parish. One TOC community has been given the task to take care of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel in their parish. Some have organized the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular. Again, some communities have been responsible for the increase in Carmelite vocations to the 1st Order by looking and introducing prospective applicants to the Order. All TOC Communities have a YCPF Coordinator who handles solicitation of pledges to the YCPF fund but unfortunately it has not been organized as a ministry yet. The JPIC Ministry however has still to be organized in all TOC Communities.


· Sometime in February of this year I presented to the Carmelite Friars thru Fr. Tony de la Cruz, Fr. Aris Escobal and Fr. Toto Jaranilla a position paper relative to the YCPF Ministry which received positive approval rating from the Commissariat.

· The objectives presented were as follows:

1. To provide for a practical and systematic approach in promoting the YCPF ministry among the TOC Local Communities.

2. To make the YCPF Ministry as a means of creating a sound-economic base for Carmel
Philippines and the National Council of the Lay Carmelites of the Philippines.

3. To provide an incentive and motivational factor to all local TOC communities in order for them to give the YCPF Ministry priority and 100% focus over and above other income generating projects in the TOC.

· Background data:

1. As of April 9, 2005, there are 836 members (Aspirants to Final Professed) in the TOC. This figure includes those on Hermitage and sick members.

2. Excluding those on hermitage and sick, there are 699 ACTIVE members including Aspirants as of todate. The figure does not include new aspirants from Pulong Buhangin, Bulacan.

3. There are members, though on Hermitage who could still be actively involved in the YCPF Ministry.

4. When I was YCPF Coordinator in 1996 up to 1998, I was personally maintaining 119 pledgors in my records consisting of TOCs from Proj 4 and mostly homeowners from my village who were not even TOCs. These pledgors generated a total amount of P131,815 yearly pledges.

5. Thus, if each TOC member could do what I had done (which is not impossible) – generate at least a P100,000 yearly pledges it would mean a yearly P60M Cash inflow for YCPF from the TOC communities alone (600 members x P100K)

6. Or if only 10% of the 600 TOC would be able to generate 100,000 yearly pledges it would still mean a P6 M yearly income for YCPF and that is not so bad.

· My Proposal:

1. The TOC National Council shall set up a YCPF Commission in the Council under the National Prioress and appoint a TOC to head this commission.

2. The YCPF Commission shall help organize all the YCPF Ministry in the TOC local Communities.

3. The TOC National Council gets a 10% commission on all pledges generated from the local communities. This 10% commission will form part of the National Fund. By ensuring a regular source of income for the National Fund, the National Council does not have to bother looking for ways and means on how to raise funds thus we could give focus and priority to the YCPF.

4. From the 10% commission the National Council shall give 25% to the Regional Fund and another 25% to the local community fund of the different communities to be distributed in proportion to the pledges they are able to generate. Out of the total 10% commission, the National Council only gets to keep 50%.

5. This scheme will motivate the local communities to seek more pledges inasmuch as they
would not have to bother about their own sourcing for their local funds. They would not have to bother looking for ways and means to raise funds for their local community. And if there are fund raising projects in their parish, the community can get from their local funds to support them while the members continue to give priority to YCPF.

6. This scheme would be like hitting four (4) birds with one stone. Why? By soliciting pledges for the YCPF, a TOC member would be complying with his/her obligation to give financial support (1) to the Carmelite Order (2) to the Third Order thru the National Council (3) to the Regional Council and (4) to the Local Community to which he/she belongs.

7. The National Council has come up with the Mechanics on the proper control and recording of remittances to the YCPF for presentation later during the convention.


a. Tarlac (Monastery-based): There are at present 10 Novices. Though we have appointed an acting local Prioress the local council is under the direct supervision of the National Prioress.

b. Tanay (Monastery-based): There used to be 14 Novices in this community. Five dropped out from formation, six joined the group that the Nuns in Tanay formed while one passed away soon after reception. The two members remaining: Rosmel Chavez and Rosanna Garcia (Prioress and FD respectively) have temporarily joined as Staff volunteers of the National Council while waiting for the right moment to start TOC Communities in the Diocese of Antipolo.

c. Makati (Parish-based): There are 12 members at present where four are professed. The community have been under the direct supervision of the National Council since its foundation.

d. Caloocan (Parish-based): There were initially 5 Aspirants who were undergoing formation under the direction of the Sikatuna TOC Community but said undertaking did not prosper and the group simply disintigrated.

e. Bacoor (Parish-based): There are 6 members at present under the supervision of the Pilar,
Las Piñas Community. Five Novices were received last November, 2004 and one passed away in January of this year. They have two postulants waiting to be received.

f. Cabiao, Nueva Ecija (Parish-based) – there are 17 aspirants under the supervision of the Cabanatuan TOC Community. Sis. Remigia Duque, a Final Professed member from Cabanatuan heads this community at present.

g. San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija (Parish-based) –There are 16 Aspirants undergoing formation
under the direct supervision of Sis. Violy Veneracion, local Prioress of Cabanatuan.

h. Pulong Buhangin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan (parish-based) – There is already an existing Confraternity of the Brown Scapular since the parish is in the name of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. This is the newest addition to the growing communities in Bulacan. The rite of Admission to the new ten (10) TOC aspirants was held on March 19, 2005.

i. Malilipot, Albay (Parish-based) – Three weeks ago, Sis. Paring Palacio, Prioress of Guinobatan, Albay informed me that an orientation will be given to around 40 interested TOC Aspirants at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish of this town on May 7. They hoped to be imposed of the Brown Scapular on July 16, in time for the town fiesta.

We shall be applying for the Canonical Approval of these communities as soon as the members have undergone their Profession.


[Confidential - Exclusively for TOC Philippines Consumption]


Since 2003 and recent months there has been talk of real estate donation to the Lay Carmelites of the Philippines. As soon as a Deed of Donation in favor of the TOC Philippines has been issued, the National Council shall undertake fund raising activities for the construction of a Prayer House or Tertiary House or a Retreat House. I believe that if it is God’s will that we build our own Retreat House, we will have one in God’s own time.


In 2003 in anticipation with the possibility of building our own Tertiary House, I decided to come up with the policy on the use of the national fund to be able to properly regulate its use and protect the interest of the national treasury. In my mind I began to reflect how God will give us the Millions to build the Retreat House if we cannot be good stewards of the few hundred thousands that He sends us now. I wish to assure you that the National Fund is in good hands and I am very hopeful that the Lord will grant us the grace to be able to build our own Tertiary House someday.

The Retreat House will become an income-generating project of the Lay Carmelites Philippines. We plan to establish in the future a TOC Foundation, apart from the National Council, if that is possible, which will be tasked to run and manage it. For those members who disapprove of and do not agree with my business-like manner in performing my function as National Prioress, I beg them to reflect on what a good administrator or good steward should be. I will not be your National Prioress forever. I need to establish a system that will ensure that the structures and foundation we have laid out will not be put to waste when the next set of officers start coming and we, the present set of officers, are not around anymore. The TOC is a lifetime commitment for me and it should be a lifetime commitment for you, as well. I pray that you ponder that all in your hearts.


We have recently transferred to a new and larger office to accommodate the additional filing cabinets and shelves needed to file accumulated documents and records but we still do not have a regular staff to man the office on a day-to-day basis.

We still cannot afford to employ a regular staff to work 8-hours daily so we really rely on volunteers to do the filing and help in the operations of the National Secretariat Office. Since the last Convention in 2002 I have been asking for TOC volunteers who would be willing to render work at the Office at least one day a month but I guess there has been a lack of enthusiasm in that area among our members.

Elvie de Dios from Project 4 has volunteered to come to the office once a month to do the filing and some clerical work. Rosanna Garcia and Rosmel Chavez formerly from the dissolved Tanay Community have been attending the National Council meetings and have volunteered to do anything the National Office has asked them to do. Onnie Guevarra continues to do errands at the office and help Fe Buenaventura in the handling of finances by serving as Asst. Treasurer in charge of the Petty Cash fund. Tess Culili another TOC from Project 4 has offered to help in the bookkeeping requirements while Pat Holandez from Sikatuna Community very recently served as auditor and was responsible for the preparation of our Audited Financial Reports. I also wish to acknowledge the help of Ruel Santos who is the incumbent Regional Formation Coordinator of Bulacan in the preparation of the Aspirancy Module and very recently the Community Manual. Bro. Ruel also maintains the TOC web site in the internet. If you have email addresses you can join the Carmelite Reflection yahoo group in which he serves as the Moderator.

Again I would also like to acknowledge the help and support of Joe Generoso, Fe Buenaventura and Sally Castro. They have contributed so much to my job as National Prioress and have made it so much easier for me to tackle my responsibilities in the National Council.

Finally I wish to convey my gratitude to the outgoing Commissary Provincial Fr. Tony de la Cruz for having had the vision to grant the TOC complete autonomy during his term of office thus allowing me to discover my own potentials as a TOC leader.

Of course to Fr. Toto Jaranilla, O Carm., my sparring partner for better or for worse. Please accept my sincerest thanks in helping me govern the Third Order. I can say that God has always manifested His will for me thru you every time.

To all the Carmelite Friars who have all been very supportive of the TOC, thank you very much

To the Agusan Carmelites and TOCs for their generosity and hospitality in hosting this 9th TOC Convention, thank you.

And to all of you who have fully supported me through thick and thin and fully cooperated with the National Council, you have truly inspired me to be faithful to my calling and I wish to share the joys and fruits of Carmel with you .
May God bless each and every one of us today and the years to come. Thank you.

Nimfa C. Tangcuangco, TOCarm
April, 2005

[1] TOC News, Jan-Feb, 2004, page 1
HISTORY of PHIL. LAY CARMEL: 2001 and Beyond
Significant Development – Towards Autonomy

On January 9, 2001, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Certificate of Incorporation to the Lay Carmelite Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Inc. This legalized the status of the Lay Carmelites of the Philippines as a Non Stock, Non-Profit Religious Corporation.

On March 13, 2001, the TOC National Council officers and the Philippine Commissariat represented by Fr. Tony de la Cruz, O Carm met to discuss the role of the Philippine Commissariat in the TOC and vice versa and the relationship between the 1st Order and the 3rd Order in the context of the Philippine setting. The following positions were agreed upon:

a. The 1st Order and the 3rd Order shall assume the role of co-workers in the life and fusion of Carmel and the Church through prophetic action and contemplation.
b. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Orders shall compose the Carmelite Family, inspired and nurtured by the Carmel life and mission.
c. Since the three orders have different yet complementing dynamics, they shall endeavor to work independently and interdependently of each other.
d. The 1st Order shall provide spiritual guidance and mentoring services to the TOC through the National Spiritual Director serving as the National Delegate while the TOC shall provide fraternal support to Formation thru the YCPF (Young Carmel Phil Foundation) and undertake search for vocation among young men within their family and community.

Part of the agreement was the complete autonomy given by the 1st Order to the Philippine TOC in the governance of its affairs. Fr. Tony de la Cruz emphasized that the National Spiritual director who will be assigned to the TOC will only give spiritual direction and not get involved in the administration of the TOC. Thus it was agreed by both parties that the TOC National Council under the headship of the National Prior/ess should handle the governance of the 3rd Order.

Meanwhile, the TOC National Secretariat presently maintains a business office at Room 9, No. 22 Kamias Road, Quezon City and has a Savings/Checking Account with Metrobank. It also has an email address – and therefore has contact with other TOC Communities in other parts of the world.

On May 1-5, 2001, the National Council in the persons of Fr. Toto Jaranilla, O Carm and Nimfa C. Tangcuangco, TOCarm, represented the Philippines at the International Congress in Rome.

Reform initiatives in the Order

Right after the International Congress, the National Council realized the urgency to introduce and initiate reforms in the Formation Program/Policies of the Order or in the methodology or methods of giving formation. It was the belief of the National leadership that the Philippine TOC needed to undergo a re-orientation to erase or rectify so many misconceptions about the TOC as the lay branch of the Carmelite Order. At the time, many Lay Carmelites professed in the 1980’s and prior years had a different orientation and concept about their Carmelite vocation. Majority thought of the brown dress as their habit instead of the Brown Scapular, thus the attachment and focus being given so much on the brown dress and the externals. At that time too many TOC’s idea of a Carmelite vocation was being anchored on the wearing of the brown uniform and very few truly grasp the real essence of Carmelite Spirituality. In the previous years people joined the Third Order only for the devotional aspect on the wearing of the Brown Scapular.

In November 2001, the National Formation Commission launched the “Back to Basics” Leadership Training/Formation Seminar. The Seminar Objectives were: (a) To enhance the leadership skills of Lay Carmelites for effective formation and (b) To understand and appreciate the call of the Laity, more particularly, the call of the Lay Carmelites to holiness.

On January 26, 2002 the National Formation Commission introduced and presented a new and more effective approach to formation – the RDS (Reflection, Discussion and Sharing) Method. Two major points were highlighted which distinguish this program vis-à-vis the previous formation practice and they are:
1. All the reference materials are locally available. As a matter of fact, most members already have 1 or 2 of the 4 reference materials.
2. The subjects, after being individually reflected on, will be discussed and shared in groups and will not be taught.

The program is corollary to the Leadership Training and Formation Seminar held last Nov., 2001, adapting the same theme: “Back To Basics”. It consists of a series of Study Modules starting with Study Module I, the formation program for Postulants but was required as a “Back to Basics” study program for Novices and Professed members.

The National Council required everyone (no exception) to undertake the “Back-to-Basics” formation study – from Final Professed to Novices. Receptions and Professions were held in abeyance until such time candidates had finished with the “Back to Basics” Module. Completion of the Study Module 1 was required before one could be received and professed in the Order.

The National Council also started requiring Local Councils to undertake preliminary evaluation on Candidates for Reception and Profession and when necessary did interviews with these candidates to ensure that they are ready to be received into the Order and professed as TOCs.

In 2004, the Study Module 2, a program for Novices, was introduced and was required as a “Back to Basics” study module for all Professed members.

Simultaneous with the introductions of these Study Modules and requiring them as “Back to Basics” formation studies for professed members, the National Council also began strictly implementing the rule on attendance and absences. Members who could not cope up with formation studies and regular attendance in community meetings were advised to re-undergo proper discernment of their vocation. Most of the time these members eventually resigned or were dismissed.

As a result of these reform initiatives, TOC members who have decided to remain with the Order at this point have a much different perspective of what a TOC should be; have a much greater knowledge of Carmelite Spirituality and its implications in their lives; have a greater understanding of what a true contemplative means in the context of a Carmelite; are now more prepared to undertake Carmelite Ministries and other challenges brought about by the recent granting of independence to the Philippine Carmel as a separate Province.

Also, the TOC Philippines is growing and continues to grow. As of January 2005, there are six (6) new TOC Communities (Tarlac, Calumpit, Malolos, Makati, Bacoor and Tanay) still without Canonical Approval. Five (5) more new communities (Sta. Maria, Bulacan, Cabiao in Nueva Ecija, San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, Malilipot, Albay and Five Wounds Parish in Las Piñas City) are in the process of initial foundation.

Through the reforms introduced, the National Council and its leadership, hope to see a more vibrant and dynamic Philippine Third Order Carmelites fully committed to the values of Carmel in the years to come.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Fr. Toto enjoying a boxful of freshly harvested "Rambutans".

A Souvenir Pose - a thousand feet above sea level....

Serious faces may very well signify serious commitment to the TOC
By: Rose T. Molina, TOCarm
Regional coordinator - NCR-SM

On August 06, 2005 amidst an impending storm and intermittent rains, Fr. Toto, Sis. Nimfa and Bro. Joe, National Council Officers came for the annual fraternal visit with the Immaculate Conception TOC Community in Laguna.

The meeting was held at the Adelina Peak Resort, located in San Antonio, Pagsanjan, Laguna courtesy of Mrs. Adelina Fernando who graciously offered the use of her lovely and quiet home overlooking beautiful Panoramic view of Laguna de Bay.

After some snacks of freshly harvested ‘rambutans’ Fr. Toto Jaranilla opened the meeting with a prayer at 10:30 in the morning. Rose Molina, Prioress and Regional Coordinator, welcomed the National officers. Afterwards she gave a status report on their on-going community life and their on going involvement with the four ministries of the TOC namely: YCPF, JPIC, Confraternity of the Brown Scapular and the Vocation Promotion. Mercy Rana, Formation Directress followed by reporting about the status of their formation.

Fr. Toto expounded on the importance of Fraternal Correction as found in the Albertine Rule. He stressed that as members of the Order, we are weak human beings who are prone to commit mistakes; but what is important is that we are willing to learn from those mistakes and be open to fraternal corrections by our brothers and sisters in a loving way.

Sis. Nimfa, touched on the issue of inactive members, Absenteeism and what to do about them. She also explained and clarified the previous guidelines she gave relative to those members leaving for abroad.

The TOC Ministries, Criteria for Discernment of Vocation, TOC forms were also tackled and other areas of concerns were discussed. The open forum encouraged everyone to clarify their doubts and be enlightened.

The visit ended at around 3:30 pm. after a hearty lunch prepared by all TOC members accompanied with lots of fresh and sweet rambutan courtesy of Mrs. Adelina Fernando.

By Sally Castro, TOCarm
Co-Chairperson, Carmelite Family Core Group

Last July 24, 2005, Third Order Carmelites from the Regions of Luzon made a beeline for the United Laboratories, Inc. gymnasium in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, to join the various Carmelite Congregations in celebrating the 13th Carmelite Family Day. All roads led to Unilab that day as we were graciously granted the use of their spacious gym for free. Registration was fast and easy owing to the fact that many Carmelites pre-registered to avail of discounted fees and also because the CM Sisters were already practiced in the art of registration, this being the nth time that they manned the tables. In so doing, the general schedule of the day was followed almost to the letter and made the half-day celebration flow smoothly.
Because the theme was “Pyesta ng Pamilyang Karmelita,” everyone was enjoined to have fun and make merry in native attire. It was heartwarming to note that most of the attendees tried their best to conform to the dress code of the day, even by just putting on a salakot or a kimona or a handkerchief around the throat or a scarf thrown over a brown-clad shoulder to copy a Muslim dress. The effect was a play of variety and color that contributed to the native ambience that we wished to attain.

As always, we began the day with a Eucharistic celebration. Fr. Tim Jusayan, O. Carm., Commissary General, presided over the Holy Mass concelebrated with Fr. Toto Jaranilla, O.Carm, Fr. Peter Kramer, O.Carm and Fr. Ernie Montuerto, OCD. Fr. Joel Borreo, OCD, delivered the Homily. Fr. Joel stressed that “the Kingdom is precious because the human person is a precious treasure in God’s eyes.” Sr. Gertita Tacuyan, CM, threw in her inspirational message in the same vein: “Our great contribution to our confused society is our deep spirituality. Any member of the Carmelite family takes every situation, be it good or not so good, as a deepening of this treasure.”

Speaking of treasures, the highlight of the day was the search for the “Perlas ng Karmelo.” Mariecor Maglaya, OCDS, co-chairperson of the Carmelite Family Core Group (CFCG), hid a brooch on the underside of one of the chairs in the gym and the rule was that the one sitting on that chair during the time the search was called, would be the winner. Fittingly, Ruby Villarin, an 81-year old TOC from Cubao and a treasure no doubt according to her family, won the title. Fr. Toots Buenafe, O.Carm, adviser of CFCG, pinned her sash and Sally Castro, TOCarm, co-chairperson of CFCG, crowned the first-ever Perlas ng Karmelo.

The Fiesta would not have been complete without the Sayawit, a contest featuring a medley of Filipino songs and dances, participated in by eight Carmelite groups including the TOC, gamely represented by the Bulacan Region care of Ruel Santos, TOCarm, Regional Coordinator, who bravely accepted the responsibility. In my book the contestants were all winners considering the awesome performances of everyone. The judges’ consensus, however, adjudged the O.Carm Friars in third place, the O.Carm Youth in second place and the CM Sisters in first place. Congratulations are in order. Not to forget the Hawaiian dance intermission number gracefully rendered by Cherry Adriano, TOCarm of the Cabanatuan TOC community.

Undeniably, the most awaited part of the day was the salusalo. In fact, food was going around from the first hour with free chocolate drinks courtesy of Unilab. Those who were unable to take breakfast at home brought sandwiches. After the Mass, out came the midmorning snacks. Everyone brought packed lunch and a little extra for the buffet table. The TOC share, lechon, was consumed under ten minutes of its arrival so that some did not even get a glimpse of it anymore. Had there been a food popularity contest on that day, the lechon would have won hands down and the “dirty ice cream” doled out cone after cone by a sorbetero would have been a close second.

All in all, the day really lived up to its happy theme. The Pyesta ng Pamilyang Karmelita was full of fun, frolic and food, indeed.