Sometimes the most important factor in a community's situation is not IQ but EQ. Being high performance persons come not from out Intelligence Quotient but rather from our Emotional Quotient. IQ gets you the job done, but EQ gets you to enjoy the job. Wouldn't be a tragedy if we let technology and function completely overrun our human communities functioning replaces growing in friendship and camaraderie?

After the Holy Week parish celebrations, the Conventional friars spent Easter Week at the plush Sea Wind Resort in Boracay Island, Aklan. From 6-10 April we enjoyed the warm welcome and gracious hospitality of MAMA RUTH and TITO BOY JARANTILLA who left no stone unturned to make us feel at home. The indefatigable MANANG MILAY, the resort manager, together with MOMON and PALOY LACHICA made sure we enjoyed our daily buffet breakfasts and dinners. JAYJAY NGHIA, our incoming Vietnamese postulant, particularly enjoyed his summer break. He wholeheartedly recommend Boracay to his sister in Vietnam that she plans to come to the island for her next summer vacation! While enjoying sun and sea, we met FR. VICENTE CAJILIG, OP who had just returned from his mission post in Sri Lanka and was in Boracay for some rest and recreation. He entertained us with his stories and reflections. A true Dominican, he introduced us to his reflections for a new set of five Mysteries for the Rosary (to add to the present twenty mysteries) which he called the "Mysteries of the Way".

It was back to work after that week in paradise! The renovation and repair work in Monastery went in full swing immediately after our return. The re-tiling of the corridors, laundry room and toilets; the renovation of the receiving room and laundry, rewiring, repainting and termite treatment were all on full throttle when our young Korean Definitor-General FR. PETER CHUNG and Philippine Commissar FR. CHITO REYES arrived for fraternal visitation from 18-21 April. Providentially their visit coincided with two celebrations: the joint birthday celebration of our well loved BROS. HERMAN GAYLAN and ARNEL PANIQUE on 20 April; and the golden wedding anniversary of old friends SIM and LINA GRINO. Much as I wanted to see our two guests off, I had to fly ahead to Manila to give summer spirituality inputs at the O. Carm.-run INSTITUTE OF SPIRITUALITY FOR ASIA in Quezon City.

Before leaving the country for Australia, FR. PETER CHUNG met the Commissariat Council and the House Superiors in the House of Studies to share his impressions and recommendations after his first visit to the country as the new Difinitor-General. He not only updated as for fr. General's plans plans for the sexennium, he also left us several points to ponder on and "homework" to do in the face of the many challenges facing the Order.

The most important event the merry month of May ushered in was the parish fiesta of ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER on 01 May. ARCHBISHOP ANGEL LAGDAMEO presided at the evening Mass on fiesta day. After the con celebrated Mass a simple ctared dinner and program were prepared for the guests and invited parishioners. Soon after, on 03 and 04 May, five Pinoy postulants arrived in Jaro to join JAYJAY NGHIA: Negrense JAROM CELESTIAL (25 years old who holds a BS in Education from the Carlos Hilado Memorial College); Capampangan PAUL MICHAEL LACSON (28 yeras old who holds a BS in Commerce-Computer Science from the Centro Escolar University); plus three from the "Land of Promise"-ROY MONTESCLAROS (a 23 year old former Davao del Norte barangay kagawad who finished BS in Commerce-Marketing from the Bukidnon State University); RUEL SEMEON (a 27 years old from Compostela Valley gradutae of Education in Mathematics from Bukidnon State University); and RYAN TALATALA (a 29 year old BS Commerce-Marketing from General Santos). Six men in all! Pray with us that all six benefit from the ten month program that will be handled by FR. RAMIL ORAIZ, the new Postulant Director. So far, the men have finished their Orientation Classes, an Introduction to the use of the Breviary, an introduction to Prayer, some Conversational Ilonggo Classes and an Introduction to the Sacraments.

The second week of May found me with the OCDS Communities of Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales in Angeles Carmel. These communities had requested me months before for a weekend recollection and a Mass with a Ceremonial. We agreed on mutually convenient date: the weekend before the Elections. Facilitating the activities was newly elected OCDS national President CELIA F. TIMBOL. That was indeed one weekend of excellenct food, wonderful company and stimulating conversation capped by an evening one act comedy presentation by the very talented JOHN SANTOS: "FOR VOTER OR FOR WORSE" at the Holy Angel University.

While in Angeles City, I was informed of the death of TERESA GUADARRAMA, matriarch of prestigious family that owns BISCOCHO HAUS and CARLITO's. The carmelite Friars of Jaro will always be deeply grateful to this wonderful family. Way back in the 1950s, the Guadarramas (CARLOS and TERESA) donated the lot on which our Monastery now stands. Throughout the years,, their children have been faithful their parent's wonderful legacy by being very supportive of the Parish and the Carmelite Community. To show our solidarity, FR. DAN and the postulants offered Mass at the wake; I also made time to offer Mass on the last night before the burial.

The middle of May found the Community (except FR. DAN who had to "mind the store") in DAVAO CITY and GENERAL SANTOS for the Ordination and Thanksgiving Mass of newly minted FR. RAMIL ORAIZ. With a dozen priests concelebrating, the solemn ceremonies for Ordination were presided by ARCHBISHOP FERNANDO CAPALLA at Davao Carmel. An excellent catered lunch (with lots of "tuna sashimi'' and roasted calf!) was ready for the hundreds of guests at the nearby OCDS House in Bajada. The following day, the Community motored to General Santos for the early morning Thanksgiving Mass at FR. RAMIL's parish church in Barangay Bula. Thanks to FR. BING's sister SUSAN who lent us their SUV, we traveled the 175 kms. to General Santos in comfort! Present at FR. RAMIL's First Mass were the new priest's family, relatives, classmates and friends as well as a coaster load of Student Friars doing rtheir 2nd Novitiate in Tugbok. Immediately after the sung Mass in the full packed church, catered lunch was served at the parish gym for FR. RAMIL's guests.

Towards the end of the month, the Community was delighted to welcome the House of Studies Community for lunch on 25 May. Not only were they treated to a first class home cooked meal, they were given first class entertainment by our dancing brother ARNEL and our parish workers after several song numbers from the Student friars. The Student friars were in Bacolod-Iloilo area during the third weekend of May of their Annual Retreat at OUR LADY'S HILL and outing in RAYMEN'S RESORT in Alubihod, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras Island. Even though I was still out facilitating the Annual Retreat of the Cebu OCDS Santo Niño Community at the time of their visit, the Community did an excellent job in welcoming our brothers from the House of Studies.

Finally on the last week of May our brand new 1oo KVA Generator arrived from Manila, it has already been installed in the renovated generator house beside the parish ministries building and is ready to service all our power needs and more. Our new 100 KVA generator can easily carry all the power needs of the church, community center and monastery at the same tiome. Local servicing and maintenance is readily available for this particularly model because the likes of Jaro Petron, Ted's Batchoy, SMART Telecom and PRC use the same type of generator. While the rotating brownouts continue to affect us in Panay, we are more confident that with our new genset, all bases are covered!

There is still a lot to do as regards the maintenance and repair of our Monastery. One work begets another. In the meantime, we hope to begin looking at the ST. JOSEPH COMMUNITY CENTER this June. Funds permitting, we might even do some repainting and refurbishing of the multipurpose rooms and banquets halls. With BROTHER ARNEL at the helm, we want to give priority to finalizing the policies for the use of our mortuary and banquet hall facilities to find more and more people using our Community Center, it is important that efficient service is rendered to all who come to us.

Last Monday, 07 June, FR. EKING FUENTES left Iloilo for a much needed Sabbatical. He will be gone for the rest of his triennial. We said our "goodbyes" over dinner on Saturday. We pray that the Lord guide him always. In the meantime, FR. RAMIL returned to Iloilo on 11 June and plans a private Rite of Initiation for the Postulatns come Saturday, 19 June. The following day, he will offer his Thanksgiving Mass in the parish at 9:30 am on Sunday, 20June. We will serve heavy merienda for his guests immediately after the Mass.

In all this, we strive to keep the healthy tension between person and function, friendship and work. Easier said than done but not impossible to attain. Through all this, we count our blessings. It's not all a bed of roses! But everything is Grace, even the unpleasant and the painful. May Jesus teach us to be more grateful.
It's December once again and Christmas is just around the corner. And to make sure we are prepared (spiritually, that is) to welcome the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, St. Joseph the Worker Parish has held an Advent Recollection on December 12 at 7pm. Our guest speaker, Rev. Fr. Julius Revesencio of the St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary in jaro, spoke on the theme, "God-with-Us: Here and Now."

The talk is aim to provide our parishioners with the better understanding of the mystery of the Incarnation, as well as a deeper awareness of God's presence in everything and everyone, especially in the challenges of our day-to-day life. The Advent Recollection is the first major activity to be mounted by the newly re-organized Education Ministry of St. Joseph the Worker Parish.

Now practically all of us in the parish ae excited and busy preparing for our annual Christmas Party with this year's theme, Paskwa sa Parokya 2008: Pagsaulog sang Paghigugma kag Pagpasalamat on December 27 at the St. Joseph Community Center. Highlight of the celebration is a Daigon (Caroling) competition participated in by seven groups representing the varioud BEC areas, Mandated Organizations and Ministries in the parish. First prize is P7,000, second prize is P5,000, and third prize is P3,000, with the consolation prize of P1,000 each for the four non-winning entries. This time we are tapping the various business establishments in the BEC areas covered by our parish, as well the Mandated Organizations, and some of our reliable benefactors to help us raise funds for the cash prizes. Aside from a catered dinner, numerous door prizes (courtesy of generous donors) also await the lucky participants of the evening.

Then of course there is the traditional Aguinaldo Mass every 4:30am from December 16-24 held simultaneously in three locations: the St. Joseph the Worker Church, Ungka Jaro Chapel, and Ungka Pavia Chapel. In a addition, a one-time Aguinaldo Mass is held in each of the following: Sta. Rosa (Dec. 19) ,Bungon B (Dec. 20), and Dungon A (Dec. 21). As usual, the Aguinaldo Mass is followed by "taho fellowship". But it's not what you think. Taho is the Ilonggo word for salabat, which BEC volunteers served with fresh puto manapla, courtesy of our Mandated Organization.

By the way, on my sixth month as parish priest of St. Joseph the Worker, the Parish Council has finally been re-organized and now includes the following set of officers: Mr. Felix Ojario (Parish pastoral Council), Mrs. Mila Bagaan (Parish Apostolate Council), Mrs. Emma Suerte (Parish Finance Council), Ms. Tani Nedic (Worship Ministry), Mrs. Delia Amistoso (Education Ministry), Mrs. Zenaida Talledo (BEC Coordinator), Mrs. Daisy Versola (Social Services Ministry), the husband-and-wife team of Herman and Fe Magbanua (Family and Life Ministry), Mr. Akil Buenaflor (Youth Ministry), and Ms. Ruth Perucho (Secretary). In January, we shall whole ourselves up at the Carmelite Missionaries' Retreat House in Dueñas, Iloilo for a three-day Planning and Teambuilding Worshop. Hopefully, this business-cum-bonding session will enable as to become more familiar with one another both on the personal and professional levels, and help us become a unified team. From there, we should be able to complete our re-organization, with each 'head' completing his/her own group, as well as spell out our long-term plans for the parish.

Right after the Carmelite friars returned from our OCD General Assembly in Manila last November 22, we took the opportunity to bless the new renovated men's and ladies' comfort rooms of the church building. The total number of cubicles in the ladie's room, for instance, has been increased to five (from original one!) and are now fully operational to better serve the needs of our parishioners especially during "heavy-traffic" hours when there are weddings of funeral masses in the church.

Over at the monastery, all seems to be quite on the home front as the postulants emmerse themselves in their classes and apostolate work, Fr. Eking Fuentes and his chaplaincy od the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS), Bro. Herman Gaylan in his ministyr, and Bro. Arnel Panique in his job as Procurator. Meanwhile, Fr. Oscar Boongaling has taken a short leave of absence to attend to some urgent personal matters.

I guess that's it for this issue. Please remember to pray for us also as we do for all of you. Madamo gid nga salamat and may God bless us all! - by Fr. Dan Lim, OCD

Giving Kindness A Chance

I found a wonderful book entitled Letters to Sam (NY: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2006) during my last visit to Manila. It captures a remarkable collection of thirty two intimate and compassionate letters that Dan (“Pop”) Gottleib wrote to Sam, his grandson. Frank, honest and devoid of self-pity, they address our questions on love, loss, and the gifts of life. What makes the whole work unique is its context. Dan Gottleib has been paralyzed from the neck down since a nearly fatal automobile accident twenty-five years ago, and his grandson Sam was diagnosed at fourteen months with pervasive developmental disability, a form of autism. The letters are written with the hope that Sam would one day be able to read them, and through them, get to know his grandfather.

In Part III of the book, Dan writes to Sam about how important it is to give kindness a chance: “In the animal kingdom, vulnerability can bring out aggression in other animals. This sometimes happens with humans also. But I have found out, instead, that my vulnerability brings out the kindness in people… Sometimes situations call for us to act strong and brave even when we don’t feel that way. But those are few and far between. More often, the payoff is better if you don’t pretend you feel strong when you feel weak or pretend you are brave when you’re scared. I really believe the world might be a better place if everyone who felt vulnerable would say, ‘I have a problem and I’m doing the best I can.’

No doubt, the one event that brought our people’s vulnerability to the fore during the past three months was typhoon Frank. The killer typhoon brought untold misery and unquantifiable damage to Panay Island during the last days of June. The storm brought flash floods which destroyed property, bruised the psyche, and caused much misery to our already long-suffering people. We felt so helpless to respond to many initial requests from parishioners for immediate help and emergency assistance as floodwaters rose to dangerous levels in some areas, and reached waist-deep inside the Monastery in record time. The library books, computers, appliances and supplies on the ground floor had to be moved immediately. For a week electricity was cut. Water supply was cut and potable water rationed. We relied on canned food and preserved rations. Roads were impassable due to mud and silt. Hospitals were bursting at the seams with the sick and injured. Hardest hit in our Parish was Barangay Sambag with several dead. We had hit the wall!

Almost immediately we texted friends near and far for help. They did not disappoint us! It was touching to see how our friends in Iloilo, although victims themselves, rose to the occasion. Our dear Tita Elena Malaga sent us cooked food, potable water, shovels and wheelbarrows. She also helped in facilitating the restoration and reconnection of our deep well. A kind friend, Irene, owner of a quaint Japanese restaurant in Pavia, lent us her heavy equipment gratis. Even more local friends, too many to mention, came to our aid in many wonderful ways! Our parishioners at Mt Carmel Shrine, facilitated by Fr. Alex Collera, were not to be outdone. A “Bulig Iloilo” Drive was spearheaded on one Sunday in the Shrine Parish with our own Carmelite Student-Friars manning the donation booths. It was no surprise that generous donations in cash and in kind for the flood victims poured in. Philippine Airlines airlifted at least a hundred sacks of clothes from Manila to Iloilo free of charge! Friends from all over the country sent us their love offerings bank-to-bank. Several chapters of our OCDS from Luzon and the Visayas sent financial help. Mother May Catherine of Bacolod Carmel sent us cooked food for a week! Our dear friend, BongBong Garcia, big boss of Romac Services-Iloilo, sent us his workers to help put order to the Monastery. Finally, Edgar Tubola, a former postulant, facilitated a clean up operation of our property by 170 Russian, Indian, Vietnamese, and Filipino cadets from a merchant marine academy based in Singapore!

I have watched this process with people over and over again. When tragedy hits us in the face and traumatizes our hearts, we rage and cry. But I always remember that we literally run into so much kindness when we hit the wall!

July and August have been quieter and serener months, thank God. It was a rainy feast of Our Lady on the 16th of July. Celebrations were kept at a low key. With the usual introductory classes on theology and spirituality, the postulants finished their Psycho-Spiritual Integration Sessions with Cynthia Baga at the Dominican Retreat House in Molo, and their inputs on Human Sexuality at St. Clement’s Retreat House in La Paz. Through it all, Fr. Oscarito Boongaling has been an affirming and guiding presence for our five postulants, who all passed the first deliberation with flying colors. Our newly minted parish priest, Fr. Dan Lim had his “baptism of fire” with typhoon Frank! Together with Bro. Arnel Panique, he has tirelessly facilitated the distribution of relief goods, and made personal visitations to affected areas. Aside from his duties as procurator, Bro. Arnel supervises the endless repairs that need to be done after the events of last June. During the visit of Fr. Mike Fitzgerald to our community, Bro. Arnel demonstrated his prowess in the kitchen. He prepared dinner with salad and Japanese maki, much to our delight. Last but not least, the community’s venerable patriach and resident prayer warrior, Bro. Herman Gaylan, never fails to astound us. He continues to edify and inspire us by his simple presence and simple demeanor.

At present, we are initiating some improvements in our mortuaries and renovating our parish comfort rooms to give better service to our steadily expanding clientele. The community has purchased a brand new white and silver Isuzu Crosswind XUV at excellent installment terms to service our needs as well. Finally, we hope to continue to keep up the maintenance of our facilities to the best of our abilities in the face of an increasing number of regular Mass-goers and a very encouraging jump in the Mass collections and donations.

The events of the past months are an enduring testatment to the connection between people regardless of our abilities and limitations, no matter how difficult the obstacles and situations may seem. With the Apostle Paul, we too can say: Indeed, everything is Grace!

From Jaro, madamo guid nga salamat sa tanan!

Carriers of Communal Life

Rev. Fr. Mariano Agruda III, OCD

Local Superior

Edith Stein, in a profound reflection on the nature of community, speaks for those rare members who are the community's "core, from which its character is shaped and which guarantees its enduring being." They are the "carriers of the communal life . . . insofar as their personal being is devoted to the community." They are the community's "lifepower" source of its "mighty impulses" and its vision. They are entirely absorbed' in carrying the communal spirit forward.

Edith's words aptly describe the humanity, self-gift and dedication to which our new Community at St. Joseph the worker calls itself this triennium, and of which th House's 55 year history bears striking example and witness. As the first foundation of the Anglo-Irish Province in the Philippines, the present group of friars look forward to be generative in and for our life solidly rooted in Carmelite tradition yet not afraid of creativity, allowing for a diversity of expressions of our one ideal.

This communal commitment was initially tested just last April and May. Yours truly was left to administer the Parish for three weeks in April while Fr. Dan was in the Unite States and newly ordained Fr. Oskie was celebrating Thanksgiving masses at the Carmels of our Nuns in Luzon. Despite laryngitis, yours truly managed well with the help of guest priests, the office staff and the able support of Bros. Arnel and Herman. April was also made more special with the birthday celebrations for Bros. Arnel and Bosco and Herman (who turned 70!).

The task of preparing for the Parish Fiesta and Installation of the new Parish Priest fell on my shoulders as well. Happily, our dynamic brother Arnel able managed the many fiesta preparations that had to be attended to Bro. Arnel was also chosen "church custodian" for the triennium. As CC, he will be assisted by truly and Bro. Herman in overseeing the maintenance of church and house facilities. It was a privilege to have my predecessor, Fr. Alex ("Fr. A") back for this year's fiesta and installation as well. We cannot be grateful enough for his six years of dedication and hard work.

Two wonderful occasions marked May 1: the annual Parish Fiesta and the Installation of the new Parish Priest. Both memorable occasions were graced by twelve concelebratinig priests and presided over by Archbishop Angel Lagdameo. A sumptuous sit down dinner and program for at least 50 people followed the liturgical rites. Ur unassuming Fr. Dan, our "PP" has since then taken on his duties as pastor with music dedication.

May 7 marked the beginning of the Postulancy Program. This year we are blessed to have John Eric Alim (lucena City), Gregorio Baguio, Jr. (Cagayan de Oro City), Le Van Dong ("Josh", Dong Nai, Vietnam), The postulants have had several formation sessions and visits to the various apostolate areas in the Parish. It is wonderful to experience the new energy and dynamism these young men bring to community life! The indefatigable Fr. Oskie has since then assumed his many responsibilities as postulant director (PD for short) with gusto. With the postulants, the present group of conventuals: Yours truly (Prior), Fr. Dan Lim (PP and 1st Councilor), Fr. Oskie Boongaling (PD & 2nd Councilor), Bros. Arnel Panique (Procurator and CC) and Herman Gaylan (our Prayer Warrior, PW for short) hope to be Edith's words, "carriers of communal life", "entirely absorbed" in carrying this communal spirit froward for the sake of the Church.

From Jaro, we all send our warmest regards and best wishes!