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“Love is the best teacher for all
that is good.”

Fr. Francisco Butinya

 

            With these words dominating the main altar of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish (Claret) in U.P. Village, Quezon City, reminding those present that this is not an ordinary day for the Siervas de San Jose of the Province of the Holy Family, for it is the 114the anniversary of the death of their Founder, Francisco Javier Butinya y Hospital. And more special still, because the five novices of the Province will make their first profession of the vows promising “to live according to the Constitutions and the spirit of the Congregation” … and “to dedicate their lives to the mission …”

            Days before, the sisters had been in hectic preparations. The festive ambience could be felt, the parents and families of the novices were coming in from Vietnam and Silay, Negros Occidental. Some workers from the Talleres de Nazareth, Quezon City  and from Mandaluyong have been practicing the songs for the  Liturgy of Profession supported by the pre-novices and some professed sisters. The Luzon Cluster Communities have been busy welcoming guests  and accommodating them in spite of the language barrier between English, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Ilongo. Sign language served its purpose.

            Today is the great day! As the choir solemnly sang “The Spirit of God rests upon me…” the 5 novices, accompanied by their, parents made their entrance all dressed in their native attire: 4 Vietnamese: Nguyen Thi Bich Huyen, Bui Thi Thien, Luu Thi Tuong Vy, Nguyen Thi Kim Thi and the only Filipina: Rochelle Repaso. They were followed by Milagros Maravilla, the Provincial Coordinator and Marcelina Sta. Cruz, the Formator of Novices. The main celebrant, Fr. Joseph Nguyen, sdb,  and elder brother of Kim Thi, one of the novices, came in finally accompanied by concelebrants: Fr. Andy Lim, parish priest of San Roque Parish in Mandaluyong and Fr. Lito, CMF, parish priest of Claret. Preceding them all was a small Ven, a Vietnamese boy carrying the insignias for the newly professed.

            The readings taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians 3: 1-4,12-17 was read in English by a Vietnamese guest while Vu Thi Yen, a Vietnamese pre-novice, sang the Responsorial  Psalm. Fr. Lito read the Gospel from John 15:12-17. Fr. Joseph gave a most touching homily wherein he expressed his appreciation for the SSJ Founders and the legacy they bequeathed to the Siervas de San Jose. Upon knowing the Congregation and the special Charism it has for the workers and the working world, and sisters themselves as religious workers, he did not hesitate giving his approval and supporting the vocation of his sister Kim Thi. He admired the fact that the sisters’ wearing the workers’ clothes has its deeply rooted reason: to be one among the other workers as envisioned by Fr. Butinya. He also reminded the young to-be professed that there are only two things they have to hold on and to be faithful to: on one hand; the Word of God and on the other; the Constitutions of the Congregation.

He also directed a part of his homily to the Vietnamese parents and guests by speaking to them in their language.

            Everything was solemn specially during the rite of profession when the young novices, kneeling before the altar, each  pronounced her promises in clear, determined voice. After the acceptance through the Provincial Coordinator, a very warm round of applause broke the solemnity accompanied by the singing of Mary’s thanksgiving song “The Magnificat”

            At the exchange  of PEACE, they were warmly greeted by their families and those present in the mass.

            After the end of the celebration, Rochelle Repaso, in behalf of her companions, expressed her gratitude to all those who have been instrumentals in making this event possible and meaningful.

            Milagros Maravilla, as Provincial Coordinator, reiterated her gratitude to all for their presence and as a climax announced the assignment of the newly professed:

  • Rochelle Repaso is being assigned to Community-Taller, Iloilo
  • Nguyen Thi Bich Huyen to the Community-Taller, Cebu
  • Bui Thi Thien to the Community-Taller, Silay
  • Luu Thi Tuong Vy to the Community-Taller, Butinya
  • Nguyen Thi Kim Thi to the Community-Taller, Silay

            Lunch was served for all those present held at the Basketball Court of the Holy Family School which is also celebrating its Foundation Day.

            In the afternoon at 4:00, a simple rite of acceptance of Nguyen Thi Bich Hop  to the Novitiate was held in the Provincial House Chapel in the presence of the sisters and the families of the newly professed. A power-point presentation on M. Socorro Hernandez was presented to prepare for the following day’s 100 years anniversary of her death.

            A lively merienda cena was shared before the guests from Vietnam left for the airport to take their evening flight to Ho Chi Minh.