St. Michael’s House of Studies In Retrospect…
In the three years I have been Superior of our religious community in Ramsey, a lot has happened in the life of each member and in the life of the community as a whole.
It has been less than two years since Fr. Hector’s bypass surgery took place and through therapy sessions and numerous doctor visitations, he is back to his normal self. The first two months of recovery was a little difficult for him due to the fact that he had to make certain adjustments regarding his daily routine but with the assistance of the brothers, he was able to get back into the grind of things. At the age of 84, he would always express his gratefulness to God for the presence of the simple professed brothers in the seminary.
For the younger brothers, it is always an honor and a pleasure to have an elderly priest around especially when that priest is as lovable and affectionate as Father Hector. His wisdom and years of experience as a priest and as a religious has been a gift to our community. So many times have we enjoyed dinner together not only with good food but also by the numerous stories we hear first hand from the person who have experienced and lived it himself.
Father Hector would seldom tell me, that not only do the brothers make him young at heart but without them, the seminary is lifeless. Aside from his wisdom and life experience, our community thrive on the brothers’ youthful exuberance. Their energy and their cheerfulness breaks the monotony of a quiet day. Conversations at table ranges from funny to serious, from meaningless chatter to deep theological conversations.
Brothers Rufino, John Bert and Kevin have come a long way in their seminary formation. Now in their third year of theological studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Seton Hall, they have been doing very well academically. During the weekends, they involve themselves with parish ministry at St. Joseph Church in Lodi. Their involvement in the parish will gain more meaning once they get accepted to the minor orders of Lector and Acolyte. As a lector, they are called to be servants of the Living Word by meditating on it assiduously and proclaiming it in a distinct manner. As an acolyte, they are called to be of assistance at the altar of the Lord by assisting the deacons and the priest during mass. It is also in this particular stage of their formation towards the priesthood that they will have the privilege of distributing the body and blood of Christ to the faithful, a way for them to have a deeper love for the Mystical Body of Christ.
God has indeed blessed the Adorno Fathers community in Ramsey with these promising young men and an elderly priest who has been a great father figure to all of us. As their superior for the last three years, I could not ask for anything more. As I prepare myself for my next mission assignment in Lipa City, Batangas, Philippines, my prayer for our community here in Ramsey is that, our simple professed brothers may remain steadfast in their commitment to God, to the Adorno Fathers, to their vocation and to the people of God. As for my fellow brother priest, Father Hector, may your wisdom and life long experience as a religious and as a priest be a moral compass for the younger brothers and a guide for the next superior.
I would also like to ask all of our relatives, friends, benefactors and benefactresses to continuously pray for all the Adorno Fathers and Brothers around the world that we may faithfully live our religious and priestly life for the Greater Glory of the Risen Christ!
Fr. Liam Panganiban, CRM