On August 23-24, 2019, the Provincial Custody of the Immaculate Conception and Bl. Bonaventure of Potenza in the Philippines marked the 40th Anniversary of the Order’s presence in the Philippines with a two-day celebration, held at the Friary of St. Anthony of Padua Friary in Dolores, Eastern Samar. The activities chosen for this event were in line with the Custodial Vision/Mission Statement and decisions made at the last Custodial Chapter.

On August 23, a seminar-workshop on climate change and the Pope’s Encyclical on care for our common home, Laudato Si’, was led by Mrs. Mylene SALUTA from the Fellowship on Care of Creation Association Incorporated (FCCAI). FCCAI partners with the Custody in the goal of building an “earth community” which puts into practice a spirituality that respects nature and helps the fishermen and farmers in the area. After the workshop, a group of twenty laypersons and friars put what they learned into practice by participating in a coastal clean-up.
The first day ended with a Thanksgiving Mass presided over by the newly-ordained priest, Friar Lorenzo AVELINO. Those concelebrating included other friars and the associate pastor from the parish of St. Joachim. The Mass was followed by the traditional kissing of the newly ordained priest’s hands and an agape meal.
On August 24, the entire day was dedicated to a medical and dental mission led by “Mission of Love,” a group of volunteer doctors, dentists, nurses and lay persons who are friends and collaborators with the Custody. During the course of the day, they traveled some 898 kilometers or 484 nautical miles. They helped 825 beneficiaries. Some of them were local residents and others came from neighboring towns.
The day culminated with Mass presided over by the Most Reverend Crispin VARQUEZ, DD., Bishop of Borongan, the Philippines. Ten friar-priests concelebrated. In his homily, the Provincial Custos, Friar Francis Victor MATEO, emphasized the role of Saints Bartholomew, Francis, and Anthony in showing the way to Christ through their words and works.
This two-day celebration was made possible through the active participation of the local fraternity (Friars Josel MARTINEZ, Joachim PAZ, Timothy NAVARRO and Paulo DIMZON). They were assisted by members of the Militia of the Immaculate (headquartered in Dolores and led by Mrs. Rebecca T. ENRIQUEZ), by the town’s former mayor and by the cooperation of many unnamed friars and lay collaborators.

Custodial Communications Office
Photos: Friars Eduardus Yohanes PADIYANA and Elijah PANTORILLA