FIN Province’s Recollection & Fellowship

The Salesians of Don Bosco of the FIN Province took advantage of yesterday’s Heroes’ Day, a national holiday in the whole of the Philippine archipelago, to gather for their first quarterly recollection for the year.

The recollection was designed by the Commission on Formation by the FIN Province in keeping with the Province’s Implementation of the 27th General Chapter.

Former FIN Vice Provincial, Fr. Danny Torres, SDB, gave the conference on Group Spiritual Direction. As an output, the whole assembly was broken down into communities to apply the inputs.

The Mass which was held at the new chapel of DBTI, Jesus the Divine Mercy. Fr. Paul Bicomong, SDB, FIN Provincial Superior presided the Mass.

In his homily, he invited the confreres to look at “the heroic fidelity in confreres who are among us… And in a special way to our elderly confreres—this month of August, in particular, Fr. Pepe Reinoso on his 80th birthday, and Fr. Andres Cervantes, on the 60th anniversary of his religious profession.  We know that in their life, they have experienced this dependence on God before whom they bowed and knelt in humility.”

In the afternoon, FIN District Games were held. Among the objectives set for this activity include the promotion of fraternity and bonding and to put in practice the 2016 Strenna.

Sporting events such as basketball, football, badminton, table tennis and table football were held.

The Magone Team, composed of the clustered Paranaque and Makati districts won over the Savio Team, which is composed by North and South districts. The two teams will face each other again come November in time for the Provincial Day.




FIN Province Begins its Chapter Next Week

Exactly one week to go before the Salesians of Don Bosco in the Philippines–North (FIN) officially commence their Provincial Chapter—and it’s all system go!


FIN Provincial Chapter 2016: All systems go!

Following the ‘community discernment’ approach of the 27th General Chapter (GC 27), which is expressed in three consecutive and interrelated phases: (1) listening, (2) interpreting, and (3) way forward, the FIN likewise has taken up this stance even as it “prepared for GC 27 in the preparations and the celebration of the 2013 Provincial Chapter, and then, in the reflection done as a community and as a Province in the months immediately following GC 27, and finally, more intensely, in the preparation and the celebration of the 2016 Provincial Chapter” (FIN Provincial Chapter 2016 Working paper).


Of these three phases however, the FIN Provincial Chapter 2016 is set to look into the last step more closely, which, in concrete, is stated thus, “What concrete actions do we propose for the Province or the local communities, given the deliberations of GC 27?” (FIN PC 2016 Working Paper).

The community reflections have been collated by the secretariat wherefrom the three working documents of the FIN Provincial Chapter have been based. Fr. Paul Bicomong, SDB, FIN Provincial Superior appointed Fr. Joel Camaya, SDB as the Chapter Moderator of the FIN Province.


The FIN  Provincial Chapter 2016 Secretariat.

The Chapter secretariat is composed of young Salesians who are mostly just in their initial formation. Br. Jomar Castillo, SDB, is at the helm. Cl. Paul Dungca, SDB, the youngest member of the secretariat, designed the Provincial Chapter logo of the FIN Province.


Logo of the Provincial Chapter. Graphics by Cl. Paul Dungca, SDB.

One innovation this FIN Provincial Chapter aims to undertake is to go “paperless.” Google Documents will be used for collaboration. Changes to the documents can be tracked down and teams can work simultaneously on a single document. Voting will be facilitated by Google Forms. The same will be utilized in the approval of the final draft of the directory.

Hence, the FIN capitular members have been reminded to bring their own laptops, tablets or smart phones which will be used for the plenary sessions. These will also their own repository of the digital files that will be given during the Chapter.

Let us accompany our confreres from the FIN with our prayers.



+Fr Jonil Lalap, SDB


This photo I was wanting to post last August to honor the priests in San Ildefonso Parish where I go for my weekend ministry. But since Fr. Ian was not in the frame, I decided against it. But since there’s no way for us to be complete anymore, let me post it anyway.

Last Sunday, January 31, my Facebook timeline was inundated with just two types of posts: (1) Don Bosco feast day greetings and (2) status updates in honor of Fr. Jonil Lalap, SDB who passed on that very day.

Since the feast day of Don Bosco is over, and the wake of Fr. Jonil is still on-going, allow me to just quickly jot three of my fondest memories about Fr. Jonil.

First, he taught me how to celebrate the sacrament of Baptism.

The theory I learned from the classroom found practical application in him. Having been assigned at San Ildefonso Parish in which he is assigned,  he went beyond in simply welcoming me to the community, he took it upon himself to show me how the sacrament of baptism is done. He asked me to observe how he celebrated the sacrament.

That was the first and last time I would see him do it.

Second, when he was hospitalized late last year, we paid him a visit. His situation was bad after undergoing the oral chemotherapy. His sister Ate Lea had to help him extricate the phlegm. He could barely speak. One of the prenovices who came with us observed that instead of being mindful about his situation, he even thought of asking how we were doing. Before we left him, he asked for the white board and wrote there for Beng to read “Treat them for coffee.”

In our community Mass last Monday, Fr. Gerry Battad noted of Fr. Jonil’s concern, too, for others. Two days before he passed on, he even asked Fr. Gerry how many students of theology were in Cebu.

Third, Fr. Jonil is known to be a stickler for punctuality. With his bombastic voice, he is famous–or infamous–for reminding the late comers in the congregation to come on time for the celebration of the Mass.

On the very last Sunday Mass he presided in the parish, once again, for the last time, he repeated to the people that they need to be on time for the Mass. This he did despite the faintest voice that he still had.

In the official notice of his death, we were told that he passed on at 4:30 AM.

In Eschatology, I learnt that “Death is a human act;” that it’s an act of final self-surrender. While I have some issues with this idea, it dawned on me that Fr. Jonil’s passing on, in the wee hours of the morning, must have wanted to emphasize his insistence to be punctual for the Mass.

That even before we could wake up to celebrate the feast day of our founder St. John Bosco, he had already been ready to celebrate it, first hand, and most intimately.


Coetera Tolle: A Gift to Don Bosco

Don Bosco used the theater as a platform to build confidence in the young and also use it as a medium to showcase God’s love for His people. As such, one of the highlights of FIN’s 200th celebration of Don Bosco’s birth is a stage play entitled Coetera Tolle.

Fr. Dennis Paez, SDB, producer and creative director, explains that Coetera Tolle forms the second part of Don Bosco’s motto, “Da mihi animas, coetera tolle” (Give me souls, take away the rest).


The play also tackled about the reality of the lives touched by the Saint of the young through a Salesian priest. Photo by Don Bosco Seminary.

The “Take away the rest is the price Don Bosco was willing to pay that this glory to God may indeed be served.” The production had nine staging, from 24 to 30 August, all held at the Meralco theater in Pasig City.

The cast is composed of 29 young people, pooled in from FIN’s TVET Center in Don Bosco Makati. They come from as far north as Ifugao and all the way to Lanao del Norte in the south. A strong supporting cast was also provided by Tuloy sa Don Bosco Street Children Village. They were all 21 young actors and actresses. The production staff include Salesians, aspirants and lay volunteers.


Over 50 young people performed as a tribute to the 200th birth anniversary of St. John Bosco: God’s Gift to the Young. Photo by Don Bosco Seminary.

The story revolves around a Salesian priest whose life has affected the lives of the people living in his midst. It is set in contemporary time, in which the characters are beset with real, day-to-day crisis attacking the current culture.

Interspersed in the plot are three renowned dreams of Don Bosco: (1) Dream at Nine, (2) Dream of the Two Columns, and (3) Dream of the Roses and Thorns. These three dreams are deemed Don Bosco’s legacy to his children.


The Majestic Dream of Two Columns. Photo by Don Bosco Seminary.

The whole production is sandwiched with the two moments in which Don Bosco wept—First, when he woke up after the dream at nine, disoriented, confused, and afraid as to the significance of that dream and second, when one moment in his waning years, during his celebration of the Eucharist, he could not but weep profusely after recognizing how God’s hands wrought everything into its rightful place. He understood everything now.


A tete-a-tete between conferes. Photo by Don Bosco Seminary.

Br. Paul Dungca, SDB, the script writer, notes that “As this momentous event of the bicentenary birth of Don Bosco coincides with the Philippine church’s celebration of the year of the poor, it is but fitting that the narration of the story of the saint is woven into the story of poor young people he lived and died for.”

FIN Salesian Family held Formation Day on DB’s Life

Don Bosco Technical Institute, Makati City, Philippines, 11 July 2015—The Salesian Formation Day was held in DBTI-Joy Center, Makati City on 11 July 2015 and was attended by 370 Salesian Family members (ASC, ADMA, SDB, FMA, SCG, DB Alumni, FADS, VDB) from the districts of Pampanga, Tarlac, Tondo, Laguna, Paranaque, Makati, Pasay and Mandaluyong.

Not even the threat of a bad weather brought about by the typhoon “Falcon” (international name: Chan-Hom) which just left the Philippines the night before could prevent the members of the Salesian Family in coming together to show their affinity to their father, St. John Bosco.

Fr. Bobby Roxas, SDB, was quite pleased with the turnout of the attendees. Especially since no less than three provincials came to celebrate the Mass, Fr. Mario Yamanouchi, SDB (Japan), Fr. Stephen Yang, SDB(Korea) and Fr. Paul Bicomong, SDB (Philippines-North) as the main presider. A handful of Salesian priests came to concelebrate.

After the Mass, the guest speaker, Fr. Joel Camaya, SDB took off with a lectio divina on the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11). He then gave a brief yet sweeping review of the 2015 Strenna: “Like Don Bosco, with the Young, for the Young.” After which, he proceeded to his main talk which focused on “Milestones that Matter in Don Bosco’s Life.

Three SDB Provincials celebrated the Holy Mass. Photo by Br. Crell Barrios, SDB.

Three SDB Provincials celebrated the Holy Mass. Photo by Br. Crell Barrios, SDB.


… And a handful of concelebrating Salesian priests ! Photo by Br. Crell Barrios, SDB.

Fr. Joel highlighted five turning points in the life of DB: (1) Dream at Nine (2) Losing his father (Francis) and his spiritual father (Don Calosso) at a young age and his good friend Luigi Comollo (3) Encounter withGarelli (4) Lowest Point in Don Bosco Life (April 5, 1846 Palm Sunday) since there would be no more place for his youngsters and (5) Mass celebration at the side altar of the Mary Help of Christians Basilica, stopping for 15 times upon realizing the purpose of his life.

Fr Joel Camaya

Fr. Joel: For us to like Don Bosco, we must know him first! Photo by Cecil Elera.

Towards the end of his talk, Fr. Joel’s sharing became more personal when he touched on two books on Don Bosco’s life which he read when he was very young. These have been a source of inspiration for him to follow Don Bosco’s steps more closely—as a Salesian of Don Bosco!

He challenged the members of the Salesian Family that in order for us to truly “like” Don Bosco, we must know him first.

Thanks to Ms Maria Junifer Maliglig for furnishing additional reports 

FIN Salesian Family Honors MHC @ 200

23 May 2015, Parañaque City FIN—The members of the Salesian Family of the Philippine Province of St. John Bosco North (FIN) held a Eucharist honoring the Blessed Mother under her title Mary Help of Christians (MHC) after Pius VII instituted the title 200 years ago.

Some forty priests lead the FIN Salesian Family in paying homage to the principal protectress of  the congregation: Mary Help of Christians. Photos by Br. Isidore, SDB

Some forty priests lead the FIN Salesian Family in paying homage to the principal protectress of the congregation: Mary Help of Christians. Photos by Br. Isidore, SDB

With no less than His Excellency, Leo Drona, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of San Pablo, as the main presider, he was joined by some 40 concelebrating priests. The Eucharist was held at the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians,

Bishop Drona holds the distinction of being the first Salesian Filipino priest and bishop. Fr. Remo Bati, SDB, director of the Marian Affairs of the Shrine and a classmate of Bishop Drona revealed that the bishop was also the first rector of the Shrine.

"Bishop Leo Drona is an icon of a Filipino Salesian priest." Fr. Remo Bati, SDB

“Bishop Leo Drona is an icon of a Filipino Salesian priest.” Fr. Remo Bati, SDB

Unable to take part in the gathering of Salesian Bishops in Turin, Bishop Drona gladly accepted the invitation to preside the Mass in honor of MHC.

In his homily, he traced the development of the devotion to MHC in the Philippines which took off when Monsignor William Piani, himself a Salesian, was assigned in the country as Papal Nuncio some decades before the Salesians of Don Bosco finally settled down in 1951.

To date, there are at least 32 parishes and quasi-parishes in the Philippine archipelago.


Members of the Salesian Cooperators, Alumni, Caritas Sisters of Jesus, Association of Mary Help of Christians, Volunteers of Don Bosco, Damas Salesianas, and Caballeros came in full force.

After the Holy Mass, everybody was treated with a sumptuous lunch provided by the Shrine.

St. John Bosco propagated the Marian devotion under the title of MHC among his children, the Salesians, and to numerous close sympathizers.

Interestingly, this bicentennial celebration of the institution of the title of MHC coincides with the 200th birth of Don Bosco, her ardent son and foremost disciple. The site where the Shrine is located stands along Don Bosco Street, in a village popularly called “Barangay Don Bosco.”

Animating communities through Social Media

This coming Sunday, 17 May 2015, we celebrate the 49th World Communications Sunday. To mark the event, I’m sharing here my talk on Animating Communities thru Social Media which was held last year, 27 September 2014, at Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City when the FIN Province held an assembly on social communications.


Wrapping up our novitiate in 2007, we were given this requirement entitled “Do something Salesian.” The gist of the project is this: We are to choose any endeavor that is connected with the Salesian ministry. A batch of novices before us chose to reinforce its presence in the Sunday oratory; one novice resolved to do the first approach. Another one chose to establish a youth group he called Lawaan Angels.

I chose something which was a bit different: for one whole month, I wrote letters—just short letters—to our alumni whom I taught in Canlubang—asking them how were they doing, when were they graduating; inquiring from them what happened to so and so, etc.


Eventually, I tried to expand my “Do something Salesian Project” by preparing a testimonial for them in Friendster, and making myself available to everyone in Yahoo Messenger.

I was able to use a print screen of my notes to them since we’re asked to record it day-after-day. Most notes received replies, very few did not.

I was asked to share my story on how I serve the Church and the Good News through the media, but I am not sure if my way is a way to proclaim God’s Word in cyberspace. What I am sure about is this: In order to win the love of the young people, Don Bosco used the same method in his own context: a whisper in the ear.

Don Bosco was fond of making the first approach, of meeting the young people where they were, with a view of teaching them, in order to lead them to a higher place.


I opened my Facebook account when I was in the postnovitiate. My six years of using it and being in it afford me to see the world from two perspectives.

FB has become a window for me. Stepping into this world has allowed me to become familiar with the common people’s language, videos, music, images which trend within my virtual wall but outside my physical confines.

FB allows me to zoom in to be more familiar with persons. It gets me to be acquainted to people by the posts they like and share. It gives me an inkling whether the person before me is into gardening, a devotee of Padre Pio, or a yellowed citizen of the republic.

The world of FB can be likened to a holding room, an antechamber, which leads me to meet and interact with young people and even confreres first here in the cyberspace, before I get to finally see them in the real world.


I am relatively new to Instagram. It’s a channel of social media which has revolutionized the sharing of photos. By opening an account just last year, I have been able to capture “the best moments of life in simple things I see around me.





And by “things,” I mean, people, events, activities in my world which I would like to share with the world outside.  It makes me share with the world the beauty of just being alive, the greatness of interacting with people, the great feeling of how good it is to be a Salesian.

It is interesting to see how my photos of the images of the saints have gradually attracted my ‘followers.’ I can fairly say that the world of Instagram is a breeding ground where we can invite the young to foster and celebrate our faith.


Twitter is one social media channel which limits each message to just 140 characters, but it challenges its users to be very creative.  I see Twitter comparable to the goodnight talk of the Salesians which ideally lasts for under three minutes.

I use Twitter as a prodding device to get to people I need to reach. For example, I was able to get in touch with three authors whose advice I needed badly. Without falling in line, and in just one tweet, all of them replied to my query and shared their expertise on the matter I was asking.


I’ve been using Twitter to announce having posted something in my blog which could interest them; to prod people; to provoke them with an idea, to inspire … the list is infinite!


I’ve been into blogging since 2006. I was an aspirant back then. And we were reviving the InsideOut, Don Bosco Seminary’s official publication. I recall that our circulation was just about 200—enough copies to be given away to our parents, benefactors, and Salesian settings which have their aspirants in Canlubang.

I used my blog as a receptacle of my opinion columns so that others who were not able to receive our InsideOut issue could still read them. The last time I checked, my blog has registered 33,570 visits.


In the novitiate, we were asked to summarize a volume of the Biographical Memoirs, print it so that we could put it in the library. But I told myself, “Who would ever read my summary in this library? They might as well go to the original source instead.” And so, I asked the permission of my Salesianity professor if I could upload my summaries in the net, and create a blog just for it.


My endeavor in social media is not something I do alone. Since I know that there are confreres who excel in lay out, I ask for help.  For example, since June of this year, I started to share my Sunday Gospel reflections through my blog. To make my article call the attention of young people, I use photos taken by confreres or Sunday Gospel memes prepared by them.




With these, I might not be fully doing the task of evangelization, but I am sure that through social media we offer alternatives to the rubbish that is plaguing the net.


As Menardi, author of Theology of Social Media puts it:

Social media gives us an unprecedented entry point into people’s lives … And its theology is the heart of Catholic faith: We are all members of the Body of Christ and we need to be connected. Communication conveys information. But only through connection can we be engaged into a relationship that engages. Connection is vital to evangelization today (Menardi, 2013).

In Closing

It was Palm Sunday in 1846 and Don Bosco was in a real predicament. He was told to leave the field he was renting where he held his activities for his poor young people.

Don Bosco noted that on a good day, the youngsters would reach to about 400. Sadly, that Sunday though a good one, would be unfortunately their last; he began to weep. This must have been one of the most heartrending episodes in the life of the Father and Teacher of youth. He wrote in his Memoirs: “My God, why don’t you show me where you want me to gather these children? Oh, let me know! Oh, show me what I must do!”


Will the next “Pinardi Shed” be the social media for the Salesians?


Let me hear your thoughts. Let’s dialogue:

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