2022 Temporary Professed Friars’ Chapter of Mats: One with Nature, One in Goal

Monday, 18 July 2022. It was still dark, but since the travel demands a long drive, the group left Parañaque even before the cock crows. With their bags packed, the Formation Team, composed of Fra Dominic Lim, Fra Andrew Datoy, and Fra Odorico Laoreno, and the student friars of St. Maximilian Seminary headed to Quezon Province. It was the 2022 Chapter of Mats of the temporary professed friars of the OFM Conventual in the Philippines.

The four-day Chapter of Mats kicked off with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the monastery of the Poor Clares in Lopez, Quezon. The mass was presided by Fra Andrew Datoy and was concelebrated by Fra Dominic Lim. The success of the Chapter was offered as the main intention in the mass. After a simple lunch at the monastery, the group hopped to Camp Praia in Atimonan, Quezon – the venue of the activity.

Temporarily Professed Friars
Temporarily Professed Friars
L-R: Fra Jude, Fra Isidore, and Fra Gregory

Just as most travels in the sea are not tranquil, the friars, too, had a share of the same on their way to the venue. By boat, they traversed the billowy sea amid heavy rain. The encounter with the waves seemed like a challenge, but to most of the friars, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise instead. The experience was used by the friars as a springboard for their reflection. After about an hour of sailing, the group reached the shore of Camp Praia, and was welcomed by Mother Nature with her serenity and majesty. The rest of the day was spent for rest, recreation, and basking in the beauty of the place.

The first few hours of the second day of the Chapter focused on spirituality. Fra Odorico Laoreno gave a talk on his vocation journey as a religious brother. In his sharing, he highlighted the importance of authenticity, perseverance, prayer, and community. He then welcomed questions from the assembly and wisely answered them afterward. The student friars were then given time of silence to look into their vocation journey. After their moment of silence, everybody listened to each friar’s fruit of reflection.

Simple Professed Friars
Simple Professed Friars
L-R: Fra Augustine, Fra Matthias, Fra Alfie, and Fra Martin

Another highlight was the review and evaluation of the different committees – the Men of God, the Men of Fraternal Life, and the Men in Mission – and the different areas of formation – spiritual life, community life, academic, and apostolate – in the past formation year. Discussions among the student friars and among the Formation Team were made until the afternoon. In the evening, the result was shared before the group, citing the strengths and areas for improvement.

On the third day of the Chapter, the student friars elected the Sacristan and the Kitchen Manager for the Formation Year 2022-2023. Both having 71.43% of the total votes, Fra Alfie Carl Battung and Fra Martin Gabito Jr. were elected as the new Sacristan and Kitchen Manager, respectively. The two wholeheartedly accepted the opportunity to be of service to God and the community. Immediately after the elections, the planning of activities for the new formation year followed with Fra Alfie Carl spearheading the Men of God, Fra Martin for the Men in Mission, and Fra Matthias Montero for the Men of Fraternal Life. Presentation of the plans of the three different committees followed thereafter. Later in the day, the Formation Team announced the missio canonica of the student friars, particularly, their respective apostolate assignments in San Agustin Parish, with the Order of the Secular Franciscans and with the Militia Immaculata. The special assignments of the student friars were also announced at the same time - the secretary, the school coordinator, and the infirmarian, among others.

Simple Professed Friars
Simple Professed Friars

Throughout the Chapter of Mats, Fra Andrew Datoy and Fra Dominic Lim alternately presided over the Holy Eucharist and The Liturgy of the Hours. Being one with nature during the four-day exercise, the Franciscan spirit of the friars was on high as they glorified God in their moments of prayer and contemplation.

Overall, the 2022 Temporary Professed Friars’ Chapter of Mats was a success. With a renewed vigor, the friars headed home on the 21st, united with the goal to actively participate in the fulfillment of the set plans and in strengthening the fraternity and their sense of community.

Simple Professed Friars
Simple Professed Friars
Fra Isidore Ayon-ayon, OFMConv.
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