The Academic Year of the Houses of Formation in the Philippines began with a Lectio Brevis presented by Fr. Marcelo Lattanzio, IVE, a formator at our House of Formation in Italy. Having obtained a Doctorate in Theology and having been a professor for many years in our Houses of Formation in Argentina, the United States and Italy, Fr. Lattanzio displayed his erudition in an informational lecture on the topic of the Elements to Discern the Deviations of the New Modernism, on the pervasive influence of Progressivism in the Church today and how we are to identify such an amorphous entity by the toxic fruits it has produced and what our attitude should be towards such a clear and present danger, so often condemned by the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church.
Presenting the devastating effects of this offspring of the Modernism condemned by Pope St. Pius X in a vivid and understandable way, he traced the personalities and the destructive influence of Progressivism in such aspects of Ecclesial life as in the reliability of the transmission of Divine Revelation, the Sacred Liturgy and the meaning of 3 of the Sacraments of the Church.
The Mass for the Opening of the Academic Year was said by Fr. Gustavo Nieto, IVE, the Superior General of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, who came from Rome for the occasion. He was assisted by the priests in the Province such as Fr. Miguel Soler, IVE, the Provincial, Fr. Diego Ibarra, IVE, Rector, Fr. Federico Jaramillo, IVE, the Master of Novices, and the other formators present. Also in attendance were Religious of the SSVM, youth volunteers from Spain and Hong Kong.
At the Mass for the Beginning of the Academic Year at which he presided, Fr. Nieto gave the homily and spoke eloquently of Our Lord as both priest and victim and how in our desire to imitate Him, we cannot escape the fact that as priests, we must be at the same time, victims. Fr. Nieto stressed the need, in our imitation, for total commitment, perseverance, study and faithfulness. He was also present at the Blessing of the Houses.
His presence here enabled the members of the Institute in formation to encounter and speak with our Superior General and to discover more about the activities of our Institute throughout the world and to hear the plans for the future. It was a great opportunity also to get to know Fr. Nieto personally.
The day ended with the Blessing of the Houses, invoking the Protection and Blessing of God and His angels and saints on these Houses of Formation.
Farewell of Fr. Santiago Vidal, IVE
Fr. Santiago Vidal, IVE, handed over his duties to the new Master of Novices, Fr. Federico Jaramillo, IVE and returned to Argentina on the 2nd of July 2017. Fr. Santiago was Master of Novices in the Philippines for 4 years and was responsible for the construction of the current Novitiate building which is now almost fully completed and furnished. Aside from the physical edifice, Fr. Santiago also built up spiritual edifices in the souls of many seminarians and SSVM sisters and a multitude of others to whom he had preached homilies, retreats and spiritual exercises.
Having been the first Master of Novices of the Institute in the United States, Fr. Santiago has amassed a wealth of experience which included being a missionary in Asia for almost ten years. He was parish priest in Taiwan prior to being appointed as Master of Novices in the Philippines.
During his time here, Fr. Santiago served in various roles, including directing the combined choir of our Religious Family and serving as Spiritual Director to numerous seminarians and sisters of the SSVM as well as de facto chaplain to the people of San Celestino, saying the weekly Masses in the chapel and even learning to say the Mass and preach in the local Tagalog language. For his efforts and solicitude, the people manifested their deep appreciation and sadness at his departure during an emotional farewell Mass and dinner.
On his last day at the Houses of Formation, Fr. Santiago preached the homily of the Sunday Mass, during which he shared 3 essential charateristics of our Founder, Fr. Buela, which manifested some core values of our Institute which he wished us all, as religious of the Incarnate Word to preserve as part of our patrimony. Fr. Santiago’s homily focused on the supernatural vision and confidence that Fr. Buela had in the goodness, omnipotence and providence of God which was revealed in his life by his cheerfulness, trust and charity. It was very inspiring but the mood was sombre at the same time as we realized that we would be missing these motivational sermons which have so often uplifted our spirits.
The farewell lunch was a joyous affair, coinciding with the welcoming celebration of Fr. Gustavo Nieto, IVE, Superior General of the Institute. The atmosphere was enlived by various performances by the seminarians and Fr. Santiago himself. The lunch ended with Fr. Nieto presenting a token of appreciation to Fr. Santiago in thanks for all his years of service in this Province.