The Feast of the Transfiguration expresses the charism of our Institute of the Incarnate Word. In that event on Mt. Tabor, Our Lord was transfigured before His Apostles, Peter, James and John, showing thereby how the Deity assumed what was good in Man and elevated it to sublime heights. It is our charism to evangelize culture, and in our evangelization, we seek to assume all that is good and authentically human in a particular culture and allowing the Gospel to permeate it in all its spheres. This charism is also shared with the Female Branch of our Institute, the SSVM.

And so, the Fathers and Brothers of the IVE gathered with the SSVM sisters and the members of the Third Order in the Seminary Chapel of Our Lady of Sheshan to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. At this Holy Mass, one brother made his first profession of vows while 3 others renewed their profession of temporal vows.

The Feast was preceded by Cultural week, days of activities leading up to the Feast of the Transfiguration where various elements and aspects of culture and highlighted and promoted.

Culture week began with a presentation by Dr. Ligaya Acosta, the Director for Asia and Oceania of Human Life International, the largest pro-life organization. Dr. Acosta delivered talks to the assembled memebers of our religious family on 2 very important topics. The first was on the encyclical Humanae Vitae of Blessed Pope Paul VI, on this the 50th anniversary of its promulgation in 1968. This was followed by a second talk on the Dictatorship of Relativism, spoken of by Pope Benedict XVI as being the major error of our time.

On the second day,  Deacon Jasper Santos who spoke about the History of the Evangelization of the Philippines, detailing the the Spanish mission in the Philippines and the role played by the various religious orders in the evangelization.

This was followed the next day by Polyglosis, which, as its name implies refers to the presentation of various works of literature in their original languages. Language, as the primary bearer of culture, is an important element that we as future missionaries aiming for the evangelization of culture, need to be exposed to. This begins in our seminary formation with events such as Polyglosis.

Another important aspect of culture is music. And for this end, we also had the Melodium, where an important piece of our musical cultural heritage is presented and explained. Fr. Federico Jaramillo and Deacon Victor Galvez presented Handel’s Messiah and explained the various aspects of its movements and composition.

Culture week closed with the presentation by our Rector, Fr. Diego Ibarra on the Four Books and Five Classics which comprise the Confucian canon. Fr. Diego explained the importance of these books and their role in the Chinese Imperial Examinations, which selected the members of the civil service, and how they were adulterated, as Matteo Ricci noted, during the Neo-Confucian period, with a mingling of Buddhist elements absent from the originals in what is known as the Old Text/New Text Controversy resulting from the Qin Burning of Books. In their pure form, the ethical framework of Confucianism provides a common platform for dialogue between the Faith and Chinese culture.

May all these efforts make our charism clearer and all our members integrate and manifest it in all the aspects of their lives.