Left to right: Dennis Jones (DJ) Garcia, Kson Lee Piedad, Fr. Ron, Christian Joseph (CJ) Vales, Joseph Macalanggan.
An Historic Event
This entrance to probation was an historic event in our short history in the Philippines for at least three reasons:
- It is the largest number of seminarians we have had enter probation at the same time.
- It is the first time we have celebrated the entrance to probation in our new St. John Eudes House of Formation.
- It the first time that we have accepted candidates from the Diocese of Imus, Cavite (Kson and CJ). This is the diocese to which then-bishop (now Cardinal) Luis Antionio Tagle first invited the Eudists.
A licensed chemical engineer, DJ hails from San Pedro, Laguna, and has worked in a multinational pharmaceutical company for almost eight years before entering the seminary. He took his philosophy at St. Paul Seminary and La Salette, both in Silang, Cavite. Prior to joining the Eudists, he also finished AB Theology at Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay and was a missionary to the interiors of Guyana, South America for twenty-one months where he did pastoral work with the Amerindians. In the Philippines, DJ has engaged himself in the Office Prayer Communities of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Manila and BECs, giving catechetical and formational talks. His experience includes giving recollections. He says: “Working in the missions is a bittersweet experience--- difficult yet fulfilling. Immersing myself in different cultures has enriched me and widened my horizons in life. I came as a conqueror with my all my ideas and presumptions but I left humbled, being the one conquered. Joining the Eudists, I believe, is God’s way of continuously forming me to become a “good worker for the gospel” for the Philippine church. Indeed, I am where God wants me to be.” Currently, DJ is pursuing his ecclesiastical degree at Maryhill School of Theology. He is in his third year of theology. He is 43 years old.
Joseph was born in Iloilo City to Saiffudeen Macausor D. Macalanggan, a native Muslim of Marantaw, Lanao del Sur, and the late Corazon V. Macalanggan, a Roman Catholic, born in Silay, Negros Occidental. Their family is a good study on Islam-Christian dialogue. Joseph pursued his studies in music major in voice and minor in piano. He also took his degree in BS Psychology in the University of San Augustin Iloilo. After graduation, he served as a guidance counselor in Pius XII Institute – High School Department in 2002-2003. Afterwards he taught music in Assumption Iloilo, both in grade school and high school for three academic years ending in 2006. He then studied philosophy in Christ the King Mission Seminary and also went to study spirituality in the Institute of Consecrated Life in Asia (ICLA). As part of his pastoral exposure, Joseph worked with the Religious of the Good Shepherd in Euphrasian residence in Quezon City. It is a residential house for teenage girls having behavioral problems, some of whom were abused sexually, physically or verbally either by their parents or guardians. He taught them catechism and music. He did counseling sessions and facilitated recollection for them once a month.
Presently, Joseph is pursuing his Bachelor of Sacred Theology (ecclesiastical degree), with special concentration on Spiritual Direction and Retreat Giving at the Loyola School of Theology (LST), Ateneo de Manila University. At the same time, he is also working on his master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry. He is in 3rd year theology and is 34 years old.
CJ, as the community prefers to call him, was an altar server from Our Lady of Solitude Parish and affiliated server of St. Mary Magdalene Parish, both in Kawit, Cavite. Like any young boy eager to don the cassock and the surplice to serve at the altar, he already felt the desire to become a man of the cloth. After four years as altar server, he was tasked to train younger boys aspiring to do the same. In the process, he also became in-volved in planning the liturgy and developed a liking for it. He spent his growing up years in both minis-tries. When he went to assist Fr. Bernie I. Gacelo, a diocesan priest of the Diocese of Imus whom he consid-ers to be his mentor, CJ also became the formator and adviser for altar servers in St. John Nepomucene Parish in Alfonso, Cavite and, later on, in St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in Trece Martires City, Cavite. It was in Alfonso that CJ met Fr. Amadeo Pedroza, CJM. CJ earned his college degree in Psychology. However, his church involvement, gaining for him knowledge and experiences about the doctrines of the Church, led him to be-come a religion teacher in one of the parochial schools of the diocese. When Fr. Serg was assigned in St. Jude Thaddeus Parish as a Deacon from August 2011 to March 2012, CJ’s desire to become a priest was rekindled. During that time, the CJM charisma and mission were introduced to him. He felt attracted to become a Eudist. He is currently enrolled at the Divine Word Mission Seminary in Quezon City, in his first year of a two-year program in Philosophy. He is 25 years old.
Kson (pronounced kay-son) was born in Marikina. His family situation forced him to live with one relative after another. He learned to eke out a living for himself at a very young age. He engaged in odd jobs to make ends meet, like selling newspapers and umbrellas in the streets, and working half-day in the printing office of Miriam College in Quezon City. In this way, he was able to send himself to school. After high school, he was blessed with a scholarship through one of his co-members at the Our Lady of the Assumption Male Choir. He was living on his own for a time until some generous and kind-hearted families welcomed him into their homes and loved him like one of their own children. Meanwhile, he continued to find ways to support his daily needs by accepting tutorial jobs for young kids. At last Kson earned his baccalaureate degree in Secondary Education at Cavite West Point College in April 2012. Actively immersed in the Our Lady of Assumption Parish Music Ministry in Maragondon, Cavite, he served as a choir member for more than 7 years there. During this time, he taught himself how to play the piano and keyboard, and gained enough skills to form and train choirs. It is through this love for music that he got affiliated with the Couples for Christ in the same town, not as a member but as a pianist and conductor of its choir until he entered the Eudist formation.
Kson is currently enrolled at the Divine Word Mission Seminary in Quezon City, in his first year of a two-year program in Philosophy. He is 24 years old.
First row: DJ, Kson, CJ, Joseph. Second row: Frs. Edem, Ron, Jose Angel, SergThe Rest of the Bunch
Our other seminarians are all doing well. The 1st semester ended in mid October. It seems everyone did well in their courses. During the semester break we had a very successful community retreat on the theme of “Celibacy.” The second semester began on November 5 and everyone is hard at work again. On December 12, Mike Dupo and Robert Leus will be installed as Lectors. Fr. Serg is busy preparing our next batch of candidates. It seems we could have as many as 5 new candidates joining us in June 2013.
Our other seminarian Dennis Mercurio has been in France since the end of June. He has been using this time to learn to speak French so that he can participate in the International Special Time of Eudist Formation that will begin in December. He joins seminarians from other provinces for a truly international experience. They will experience first hand what it means to be an International Society of Apostolic Life.
Dennis is from Legazpi (Bicol region) and is 41 years old. He entered Probation last January. He will resume his theological studies next June 2013 at Maryhill School of Theology in New Manila.