Friday, November 21, 2008

Establishment of Saints Elijah and Elisha TOC Community

On October 25, the opening mass for the establishment of the Sts. Elijah and Elisha TOC community was held at the Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Sabang, Baliuag, Bulacan. The liturgy was officiated by the Provincial Delegate to the TOC, Rev. Fr. Noel Rosas, O.Carm. together with Rev. Fr. Ibarra Mercado, parish priest. Seventeen (17) aspirants were received on that day. This is the 7th foundation in the TOC Province of St. Joseph (Bulacan) making it the largest TOC province in the Philippines consisting of four (4) canonical communities and three (3) communities-in-formation.

The TOC Calumpit (Mother Community) together with Fr. Noel and Fr. Barry

Fr. Noel reading Rites of Admission to Formation

Fr. Noel giving the homily

The TOCs of Bulacan in attendance
The Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Sabang

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Nature and Purpose of the Third Order

This definition of our Third Order is based on the Church's official definition of a Third Order in her Code of Canon Law. A Third Order is not to be confused with a Confraternity (such as the Rosary or Brown Scapular Confraternity) which has its chief purpose the promotion of some public worship. Nor should it be confused with a Sodality or a Pious Association which has for its purpose the exercise of some particular works of piety and charity. Such societies are good in themselves and have been approved by the Church. A tertiary may belong to any or to all of them; but they are not Third Orders. The Third Order entails embracing of a way of life, not the mere practice of some particular work of piety or charity. The lay person embracing this way of life remains a lay person; he does not become a religious, although he does attach himself to one of the great Religious Orders of the Church, in this case the Order of Carmelites. In order to attain and to assure the permanency of this way of life, the Carmelite tertiary has been given, for his guidance, a Papally-approved Rule of Life designed to aid him in obtaining that Christian perfection which is the end and purpose of the Third Order life.

This Rule is the touchstone of the tertiary's life of perfection. It is this that he promises to obey at profession. He stands or falls as a tertiary according to whether or not he has followed its precepts. Just as the Carmelite Friars or Sisters can be judged by their adherence to their particular Constitutions, so can the tertiary by his adherence to this Rule of Life. It should be woven into the very fabric of the tertiary's life. It is the Church's gift to her devout laity, the measuring rod of their tertiary vocation. For seven hundred fifty years it has been helping to produce saints. Faithfully followed, it is the guarantee of a life of perfection in the world.

Update from the Holy Family – Seminary TOC Chapter

Continuing formation on Carmelite spirituality is being given to the ICS seminarians who joined the TOC. In order to regularize the status of the TOC seminary community, an election was held on August 16 after the formation given by Bro. Ruel Santos who presided the election. The officers for the next triennium are: Sem. Simon Ramos, TOCarm – Prior; Sem. Jerome Robles, TOCarm – 1st Councilor; Sem. Howard John Tarrayo, TOCarm – 2nd Councilor; and Sem. Rhandy Canchino, TOCarm – 3rd Councilor . Also, on the same date, aspirant seminarians were given a welcome talk by the nuns regarding the Third Order.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Annual Retreat of TOCs from Bulacan

The TOC Communities of the Region of Saint Joseph (Bulacan) held its annual retreat last May 5 - 7, 2008 at the Carmelite Missionaries Center of Spirituality in Tagaytay. The theme of their retreat was "Growth in Prayer: Introduction to the Interior Castle". Their retreat master is Rev. Fr. Domingo Salonga.

The Way of the Cross

The Night Vigil

Painting of Our Lady in one of the Hall

Image of our Lady in the upper chapel

Fr. Memeng in one of the conferences

The Main Chapel

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Message of the Prior General to the National Convention of the Third Order in the Philippines

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I write to greet all of you gathered for the TOC National Convention in the Philippines this April. I pray that your meeting will be a time of blessing for you all as you discuss the issues relating to formation, stewardship, leadership and your statutes.

Having just returned from a visit to Carmel in the Philippines, together with Fr. Albertus Herwanta, it was wonderful to get to know your part of our Carmelite world. Not alone did we have the opportunity to meet the members of the Province, but we were able to join in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the presence of Carmel in the Philippines. It was inspiring to see the result of years of hard work, dedication and examples of the growth that have taken place during these past fifty years. We must be grateful to many people during these past decades and all those associated with us in the Order, members of the Third Order, Nuns, Associates, Carmelite Youth and laity for the special place that has become the Carmelite Order in the Philippines.

Apart from the business of your TOC National Convention from 21st – 25th April, this gathering will a moment to give thanks to God for the many blessings received down through the years. I too, on behalf of the Order, wish to send you my best wishes for all your deliberations and I pray that you will continue to work together “to build the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 126)

Our General Chapter reminded us of our prophetic and contemplative role in this changing world of ours. The following of the Lord requires that we have courage and not be afraid. What we are called is to be ready listeners in the silence of our hearts, prompt to respond with zeal to the presence of the Almighty.

May these days be fruitful, may you find in each other’s company the courage to build anew, to face the future with hope, happiness and love. May the Lord bless you and keep you and may Our Lady of Mount Carmel be ever near with her gentle protection.

Yours in Carmel,

Fr. Fernando Millan Romeral, OCarm
Prior General

10th National Convention of Lay Carmelites of the Philippines

From the 21st to the 25th of April, Lay Carmelites from all over the Philippines converged to the "Bukal ng Buhay" (Springs of Life) Retreat House, in Bustos, Bulacan, Philippines for the 10th TOC National Convention. The event was attended by 86 TOCs composed of priors, prioresses, formation directors, and regional coordinators of the different local communities and of the different regions. The theme of the convention was "Buhay Karmelita: Bokasyon, Pagpapatotoo, Pag-aalay Buhay" (Carmelite Life: Vocation, Witnessing, and Oblation).

The convention was opened with a Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Pete Manilag, OCarm., provincial delegate. On the succeeding days, different speakers were invited to give a recollection and talks to the convention delegates and observers. Fr. Ver Rhoniel Cristobal, TOCarm gave a recollection based on Chapter 21 and 22 of the Rule of St. Albert; Fr. Domingo Salonga (NDV) gave a talk on Formation and Stewardship; and Fr. Bernard Roosendahl, OCarm gave a talk on Carmelite Community Leadership. It was also during this convention that the Local Statutes of the Philippine TOC was aligned to the 2003 TOC Rule and a new set of officers were elected at the TOC National Council. These new set of officers are Rosalie Castro (National Coordinator); Cynthia Penalosa (1st Councilor); Ruel Santos (2nd Councilor); Flor A' Jose (3rd Councilor); and Mila Exconde (4th Councilor).

The delegates made a pilgrimage to the old churches in the province of Bulacan en route to the site of the closing rites of the convention. A Eucharistic concelebration at the Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pulong Buhangin was presided by Bishop Jose F. Oliveros (Diocese of Malolos) together with Fr. Artemio Jusayan, OCarm (Commissary General), Fr. Pete Manilag, OCarm (Provincial Delegate), Fr. Aris Escobal, OCarm., Fr. Elmer Ignacio (Parish Priest), and Fr. John Paul Avila, TOCarm.

The Prior General, Fr. Fernando Millan Romeral, sent a letter to the Convention delegates. Copies of this letter were given to the participants of the convention. Pictures taken at the convention can be accessed at the Friendster website.