Bro. Alvin C. Laserna Jr.
Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary (CaReS) hosted the three-day long OAR Formands’ Encounter that was held last January 10-12, 2023.
The host community welcomed the rest of the formands coming from Recoletos de Antipolo and Recoletos de Mira-Nila on the evening of January 9, 2023, by an opening salvo wherein they danced the Tatak Rekoleto. This made the welcome fete different from the customary dancing of The Greatest Dream.
First Day: On Formation
Formation is highlighted on the first day. Rev. Fr. Kenneth Joseph Onda, OAR, the Vicar Provincial of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno, reminded the formands to return to the Spirit of the Charism of the Augustinian Recollects.
He said that the main goal of the formation is to become like Christ.
In the same manner, Rev. Fr. Lauro V. Larlar, OAR, the Prior of Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary, emphasized the centralization of the whole Encounter to the Crucified Christ.
Second Day: On Synodality
On the second day, Rev. Fr. Jessriel Marcha, OAR, the Master of the Aspirants, elaborated on the theme of the 13th Formands Encounter.
Fr. Marcha, first, explained the meaning of synodality that happens in the Church at present. He, then, expounded on the relation of the three words composing the theme of Synod on Synodality—communion, participation, and mission.
“We must always be reminded that our mission is to proclaim Christ; clarifying this mission, we, all, gather as a community, form a communion, and we are always called to participate in this communion in view of the mentioned mission,” Fr. Marcha said.
Rev. Fr. Rommel Rubia, OAR, the Novice Master and the presider of the votive mass in honor of St. Augustine held on the second day, shared as well that one of the aims of the First Formands’ Convention (as it was then called) was to improve the relationships of the OAR Formands in the different stages of formation.
Fr. Rubia also reminded the formands to take care of their vocation because not everyone which is given such a vocation is worthy of it.
By evening of the same day, a Lucernarium was held reminding the formands that Christ is their Light in times of darkness.
Third Day: Formation and Synodality in OAR Community
In his talk on the third day, Rev. Fr. Rommel Rubia, OAR, echoed the importance of synodality as emphasized in the previous days in the activities.
Quoting St. Irenaeus who said, “Unus Christianus, nullus Christianus,” Fr. Rubia emphasized the importance of Synodality in every Christian.
He also discussed the thirteen concrete acts to do to show communion among the particular community of brothers using the OAR Constitutions.
Before the completion of the event, Rev. Fr. Kenneth Onda, OAR, thanked the organizers of the event led by Fray Mc Ariel Capinpin, OAR. He also praised the accommodation of the host community—Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary.
Rev. Fr. Rommel Rubia, in his case, considers the event a success because he is assured that there are really formands who, in a way or another, developed the fire of vocation within them.
Such an assurance is confirmed by Bro. Christian Manalo, a sophomore.
“I had a wider vision about formation and, indeed, I was inspired to persevere in this vocation,” said Bro. Manalo. It was in the year 1996 that the 1st Formands’ Convention was held at CaReS, Baguio City.