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Alumni Association and Activities

Priests and seminarians who have completed the program of Formation for Seminary Formators of the Local Church, sponsored by the Studium Theologiae Foundation, Inc., automatically form part of the Alumni Association. Through the coordination and logistical support of Theological Centrum, the alumni organize means of on-going formation regularly either at the national or regional level, such as meetings, seminars, and retreats.
     Such reunions help update the participants in the different aspect of their priestly ministry. They are also occasions for the alumni to take the much-needed (and deserved) rest from their hectic schedules and intense work. There they meet new and old friends who have undergone both similar and different experiences in the country and abroad.
     Theological Centrum also publishes the STF Newsletter, giving updates on the studies, activities and pastoral ministry of current scholars and graduates alike.


Theological Centrum is pleased to invite all STF Alumni and other diocesan priests and seminarians to a Convention on:





To come up with concrete ways for seminarians to promote vocations to the priesthood from among Altar Servers.

(Attending seminarians would be equipped to take charge of Altar Servers, both directly and by guiding those in charge of Altar Servers in the parishes and schools. These Seminarians would also be ready to help in the Vocations Promotion office of their respective seminaries.)


STF Alumni, other Diocesan Priests and Seminarians


Around 30 members of the Catarman Seminarians Association and 40 of the Borongan Major Seminarians Organization attended a Convention on “Forming SEMINARIANS as PROMOTERS OF VOCATION among ALTAR SERVERS.” The Convention was held in separate venues, namely the John Paul Seminary in Catarman (Northern Samar) and the Seminario de Jesus Nazareno in Borongan (Eastern Samar), last April 6 and 9, respectively. A similar Convention was first held last year, from April 14-17, 2009, at the San Pablo Seminary in Baguio City, where a total of 22 seminarians and 4 priests attended.

The Conventions hope to instill among seminarians the need to look for vocations to the priesthood, and very concretely among Altar Servers. This is quite natural, since the majority of priests had been Altar Servers when they were young. It is also probable that many Altar Servers have a vocation to the priesthood, only that no one has helped them discover it; in such cases, seminarians could be God’s instruments to guide the Altar Servers discern their vocation, and even become their spiritual directors. As a consequence, the Conventions will likewise hopefully encourage seminarians to be more committed to their own vocation, for them to be examples for Altar Servers and attract them to the priesthood.

The half-day Conventions started with the showing of two films on priestly vocation, namely, Catholic Priesthood Today (Midwest Theological Forum, USA) and Fishers of Men (US Conference of Catholic Bishops). Fr. Gregory Ramon D. Gaston, a priest of the Archdiocese of Manila, then gave a conference on Zeal for Souls and for Priestly Vocations. This was followed by another conference on Priestly Holiness and Fidelity, given by Fr. Gerry S. Patio, , a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei, currently Editor of Theological Centrum Documentation Service. After these talks, the seminarians were divided into small groups, to share on how they can promote vocations to the priesthood among Altar Servers, and to report their realizations and concerns to the body.

Fr. Gaston and Fr. Patio were assisted in Catarman by Fr. Trini C. Pinca, Acting Rector, and Fr. Rico M. Manook, Director of Vocations. In Borongan, Fr. Dale O. Perez, Spiritual Director, and Fr. Michael P. Gadicho, Rector, helped them out. Fr. Gaston also left copies of the three booklets he wrote for Altar Servers: Religious Instruction Guidebook, Norms of Piety (Christian Prayers) and Virtues. These booklets, intended for the doctrinal, spiritual and human formation of Altar Servers, and for the promotion of vocations to the priesthood, are available at St. Paul’s and other outlets (information at www.altarservers.org).

By Rev. Fr. Gregory Ramon D. Gaston



The moment we, the Sorsogon Sedes Sapientiae alumni, came to know of Don Pedro's visit to the Philippines we decided right away that this time around he was to come to Sorsogon so that he might get a glimpse of that southernmost province of Luzon he has already heard so much of from us of course.  So when he arrived, accompanied by the good priest Fr. Danny Icatlo, by plane to Legazpi on Monday the first of September, we, Fr. Joseph Erestain, Rev. Cyben Vitug, Bros. Chrisly Ereño and myself, already had a plan in mind.  To really let Don Pedro see, taste, hear and smell all about Sorsogon.

        We brought him to meet the people.  The Vicar General, Msgr. Melchor Esperida, in the still under renovation Diocesan Cathedral.  The Vicar for the Clergy, Msgr. Francisco Monje, in his parish, dedicated to the Our Lady of Fatima.  While we were there the Bishop Emeritus of Sorsogon, Msgr. Jesus Varela came looking for the Vicar.  We all found the Vicar and we sat to chat a little, sometimes in Spanish, English being the rule and Bicol out of the question.
        We brought the two visiting priests to the College Seminary where we had breakfast with some of the seminary fathers together with the Father Rector afterwards.  To the Sorsogon Home for the Clergy where Fr. Joseph introduced them to Fr. Butch, our resident tetraplegic priest of about 27 years in the ministry, 25 of which spent on bed.  In the HFC they stayed throughout their very short visit in Sorsogon, little more than a day.  Before lunch that same day, we had Mass with the College seminarians and we had Don Pedro's talk shortly afterwards.  He was to the point, indeed concise, well aware of the hungry stomachs and of his own stomach of course.

        Don Pedro talked about the priest and how a seminarian should be a good, a saintly priest indeed.  A priest, he said to the 41 college seminarians, 11 of whom hail from our daughter Diocese, that of Masbate, is first of all a man, full of manly virtues; secondly, a priest is a believer, firmly believing in the sublime mysteries he preaches and is custodian of; thirdly and finally, he knows himself to be a sinner, a firm believer and constant receiver of the Sacrament of Confession.  I listened to Don Pedro say these things in my four years with him in Sedes Sapientiae and yet I remained riveted to the whole talk from minute one until the applause.  Our gratitude Fr. Joseph expressed very nicely afterwards and the College Seminary's Father Rector, Very Rev. Fr. Henry Diesta, expressed his thoughts too and invited us all to his Seminary for lunch.

        We brought Don Pedro and Fr. Danny to know the people and we also had them taste our very own delicacies.  Our lunch in the Seminary was attended by Rev. Cyben's parents and Bro. Mark Marbella's mother, Mark being the latest Sorsoganon to be sent to Sedes.  Tita Lucy, Cyben's mom, brought home-made gulaman, the main ingredient harvested from her hometown, Barcelona.  We toured Sorsogon that Monday afternoon.  We had snacks in Gubat with the parents of Fr. Joseph.  They treated us with buko juice, fried “kuyog”, which kind of melt in your mouth and some cassava goodies. 

We admired the majesty of the Barcelona Church dating back to 1852, indeed a deserving candidate for UNICEF's attention.  We passed by Bulusan and proceeded to Irosin, my beloved hometown.  The trek from Bulusan to Irosin is breathtaking.  Were it not for the really rocky road, it would have been a perfect ride.  There was the forest on either side of the road replete with chickens darting in and out under our car.  There was the cool clean air and the smell of the leaves and boughs being burnt by village people. And there was the vista of the Hin-ay valley seen from Patag where we left the high grounds to descend the ancient volcano crater that was Irosin Poblacion.  That crater is now that high mighty neighbor of ours, Bulusan Volcano.  We had merienda with my parents.  They treated us with pansit, coconut sweet-filled “tikoy”, fried banana “sinapot” and some rice delicacies. 

Our chat would have been longer had time permitted it but we were running late for dinner with the Bishop Emeritus who invited us that morning to his residence in El Retiro, Cabid-an.  So I had to apologetically cut my father's little dissertation on Church and State Separation.  We barely made it to the seven o’clock in the evening appointment, but we did.  And after the dinner and a little chat with the very amiable sisters of the Sister Servants of the Divine Healer, a community founded by the Bishop Emeritus himself, I started to nod.  I could observe Don Pedro having lively chat with Msgr. Varela, and with the rest of the company.  But for me I was ready to call it a night.

        Next day, Tuesday, the second of September, was rest day.  Don Pedro celebrated Holy Mass in the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Minor Seminary adjacent to the HFC.  Frs. Danny and Joseph, who serves as spiritual director to the Minor, concelebrated and Rev. Cyben and Bros. Chrisly and myself led the De Angelis Gregorian chant.  We allowed ourselves plenty of time before bringing Don Pedro and Fr. Danny to the Legazpi Airport for their Cebu Pacific flight to Manila where Don Pedro will have another busy afternoon.  We will miss Don Pedro and are now thinking of another good alibi for him to visit the Philippines so that maybe next time we can visit some places we did not have time to: the Bulusan lake, the Mateo Hot Spring Resort,..  We were happy to have had Don Pedro over and we will surely be happy to have him back.  Maybe next year?

Philippe Gallanosa, with Joseph Erestain, Cyben Vitug and Chrisly Ereño


Theological Centrum to hold annual retreat for diocesan priests

MANILA, September 22, 2008— Theological Centrum will organize a retreat for diocesan priests. In line with the Pauline Year, the retreat bears the theme “The Year of St Paul and the Priest’s Role in Evangelization.”
The retreat is scheduled on November 10-13, 2008 at the Tagaytay Conference Center.

The planned topics of the retreat are “Faith and the Priest’s Response of Faith,” “The Priest: Called to Witness to Christ,” and “The Priest: Preacher of the Word, Nourished on the Word (The need to read, study, and meditate on Scriptures),” Opus Dei Fr. Michael Angelo Cardenas, director of Theological Centrum (TC), told CBCP News.
The retreat preacher is Fr. Carlos V.G. Estrada, Ph.D., of the Prelature of Opus Dei. He is currently a Chaplain of the University of Asia and the Pacific, professor in Theology for university students and a director of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, said Cardenas.

Held annually for some years now, the retreat for diocesan priests was established to offer an on-going formation programs to the secular clergy in the Philippines. This was made possible through the JPM Foundation, Inc.and the Archdiocese of Manila, along with a number of professionals, who were eager to assist Filipino Bishops in their response to the Second Vatican Council's call to facilitate the on-going formation of priests.

Priests who would like to receive more information on the retreat may write to Theological Centrum, 5th Floor, Quad Alpha Centrum Building, 125 Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong, Manila, 1505 Philippines; call telephone (02) 635 6113, Telefax (02) 634 8590 or E-mail: theologicalcentrum@yahoo.com. (Santosh Digal)


Diaconal Ordination of Rev. Dale Perez

Theological Centrum congratulates Rev. Dale Perez, an STF alumnus, for his diaconal ordination last April 1 at the Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral Parish, Borongan, Eastern Samar.



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