As the Philippine government eases lockdown measures in many cities of the country, the friars are also slowly inching back to their normal activities. Here are some recent events in the Provincial Custody of the Immaculate Conception and Bl. Bonaventure of Potenza in the Philippines.

Spirituality of Stewardship Seminar-Workshop
On November 29-30, 2020, the St. Anthony of Padua Friary in Samar, designated as a Custodial Marian Ecological Center, sponsored a seminar-workshop on the spirituality of stewardship, led by the Most Reverend Crispin Barrete VARQUEZ, Bishop of Borongan, the Philippines. He was joined by two religious sisters from the Living the Gospel Community (LGC).
Around twenty participants attended the workshop. Among them were the three friars living de familia, three Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts, members of two local Militia of the Immaculata groups (M.I.), a number of farmers from the Custodial Project and few non-governmental organization members. At the end of the two-day workshop, the attendees learned how to harvest virgin oil from coconuts and produce other coconut by-products ranging from organic vinegar to raw material for perfume-making.

Religious Brothers’ Formation Conference
On December 1-3, 2020, eight religious brothers from the Custody gathered at the St. Joseph Spirituality Center in Tagaytay City for a series of formation lectures and discussions. This was the second gathering of this kind this year.
On the first day, they listened to a lecture on “The Identity of Religious Brothers: Mission within the Community and in the Church.” The speaker, Rey GATDULA was himself a religious brother in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (CSsr). He is also the current Director of the Postulancy Program for that Congregation.
The second day was devoted to silent reflection and discussion. In the morning, Friar Miguel SUMAGAYSAY posed five questions for the friars to reflect upon. The questions served as talking points for group discussion later in the afternoon.
The last day was spent evaluating and revising the goals and objectives which that had been set out on October 6-8, 2020. Among the decisions made was to organize an annual gathering for the religious brothers of the Custody.

Annual Custodial Gathering
On Dec. 12, 2020, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (the secondary patroness of the Philippines), the friars held their annual gathering at the St. Augustine Church in Paranaque City. The event began with a Mass presided over by the Provincial Custos, Friar Francis Victor MATEO. It was followed by a lecture on “Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults” given by Friars Daniel SUGATAN, Linus BACAYAN Jr. and Gerardo LOFRANCO. This conference was meant to provide an update and give feedback concerning the five-day seminar that the abovementioned friars attended. The seminar was organized by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, Vos estis lux mundi. Some friars from the Philippines who are assigned to other Jurisdictions in the Order were able to participate virtually through livestreaming.

Custodial Office of Communications