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Witnessing

The brothers are at the disposal of those who would like to understand their spiritual path. Discover here their own experience .

 

First vows: words of our brothers

Br. Ethiel Roxas 2019Ethiel C. Roxas, AA

Is the consecrated life still relevant in our times?

“Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.” (Psalm 40 )

The story of my journey is a roller coaster ride. It is a long yet slow journey between self-discovery and responding to a life of self-giving to Christ. The idea of entering Religious life has been part of this journey, but many times I faced many crises and self-doubt that made me delay making decision to embracing it. In this contemporary time, religious life is being equated with priestly vocation with a minimal difference. What many do not grasp is that this religious life is an eternal process of growing in holiness rather than impatiently waiting for ordination or being a priest. The beauty of religious life is not mainly in professing the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, but in cultivating and constantly checking one’s fidelity to Christ and His church. The biggest challenge of this life is to live each moment as an offering to Jesus and to do and feel like Him.

Why to opt for religious life?

Many of my friends, relatives and family members are asking me what made me decide to enter this life again. I have only one answer: Christ is calling me and I know He is the only answer to my search for meaning. I may not be that young, but I am praying each day that He will use me in building His kingdom within and around me. What I experienced in the first two years of my formation is an opportunity to be like Christ each day through constant conversation and participating in His grace. A life filled with grace in making Christ alive and a life filled with challenges to be better human patterned in the humanity of Jesus.

What are the joys of being an Assumptionist?

Why Assumption? Because Christ led me here and I found my home in the congregation. All my life I have been building God’s kingdom through teaching, parish active involvements, retreats, recollections and missions in depressed areas; and now Assumption gave me all these and am invited to share more of who I am and be ready to be sent. The internationality of the Assumption is a reflection for me of a greater unity that the Church must work, going beyond the boundaries of cultures, beliefs, education and values. Like Mary, whose Assumption is a testimony of God’s greatest power to lead us to life eternal, may she guides every Assumptionist to Jesus as the center of their lives, as our founder Fr. Emmanuel d’Alzon wish his religious should live on, and may her maternal protection be an inspiration in building God’s Kingdom here on earth. Adveniat regnum tuum!

Kim Taesik, AA

Is the consecrated life still relevant in our times?

Consecration means to be separated from something. It means that we belong to God. That’s why it is meaningful. It’s the calling to holiness, a way of following Jesus Christ. As far as I feel, consecration is still relevant in our times. We are living in times of individualism, self-centeredness. However, I believe that there is a calling from God, which enable us to love God. It means that we can love God with all our heart, as well as Mary, and the Church. In this regard, Faith towards God is an inevitable element for me to live out my vocation.

Why to opt for religious life?

Religious life should ne initiated by oneself. I mean to say that each one should be responsible for one’s vocation, centered on Jesus Christ. So if you were to ask me about religious life, I would say that each one should freely respond to God’s calling. Without it, one can’t be happy in religious life.

What are the joys of being an Assumptionist?

I feel that the spirit of the Assumption is centered on Jesus Christ. According to our founder Emmanuel d’Alzon, we strive to love Jesus Christ, Mary, and the Church. Our motto is to extend the reign of Jesus Christ in us and around us. For that, we live together and proclaim Jesus Christ. A far as I feel, our community life and mission must come from the love of Jesus. Thanks to that, I can serve my brothers in the community as well as the Church, where Jesus Christ is at work for the salvation of mankind.

 

Matthew-Mary S. Okereke AA 2019Matthew-Mary S. Okereke, AA

Is the consecrated life still relevant in our times?

Although, strictly speaking, the profession of vows which ultimately signals the full entrance into religious life does not bring about an ontological change as baptism does, the profession is a deep and vivid response to imitate the One who first called the professed. In this special way, consecrated life gives witness that despite the depravity of our world, Christian perfection is a possibility. In an age where absolute liberalism, unlimited relativism, super anti-authority, untoward pluralism, unbridled greed and an irrational redefinition of morality have taken centre stage, the consecrated person on the street and reposed in cloisters (who lives his vows faithfully) becomes for the world a sign of what ought to take centre stage in the life of each person and the world at large. Because the world today has the proclivity to be attracted to the Evil one, consecrated life remains relevant as a means of turning one’s back from this proclivity and being a true sign to others to do same.

Why to opt for religious life?

It is important to state here that religious life is primarily an expressed choice to respond to God’s call. The big word here is response. It is God who calls us first; it is He who sends us even before we are made. It is not we who have chosen the Lord, it is he who has chosen us. The seeming choice we make in joining religious life, while it is a true human choice, it is in its deepest sense a choice to respond to what God has chosen for us. To be Consecrated which comes from the Latin consecrare means to be made holy or set apart BY God and for God. We opt for the religious life to cooperate with the One who has called and incorporated us into his life and service.

What are the joys of being an Assumptionist?

The joy of being an Assumptionist relies in the ability to follow God deeply in the most simplest of ways. Simplicity of life is a characteristic Assumptionists “love to flaunt.” What more can give one joy than living for the One who gives life in conditions that are not complicated?

Rafael Huerta Ramos, AA – Video in Spanish / Video en español

Have you thought about consecrated life, but you feel afraid of failing? Or maybe one of the ideas that takes you away from being a religious is that you want to earn money and to be “successful” in society?  Many people asked me why I decided to join religious life and not to study a career? Is still religious life relevant in our time? Why to opt for being consecrated when there are many opportunities in life? That is why I want to share something for you to clear those questions. First, we have a wrong idea about success, once my brother told me that in religious life we are NOT called to be successful but to be faithful; then we should have a look at the apostolic exhortation Vita Consecrata and I hope that the Holy Spirit will awaken in you the desire to consecrate your life to the only source of happiness which for me is God himself.  

What exactly is success?

There is a moment that we must decide what to do with our lives, where should I work, to get married or not, to live alone or with my family, etc. but one of the common questions that appear in our heads is how to be successful. But what exactly is success? How can it be defined? And what does it mean to be successful in life? Sadly, most people unquestioningly adopt the definition that is propagated by media and mainstream culture. Based on this widespread definition of success, a person is successful when they make a lot of money. It’s as simple as that. If you have a lot of money, a nice car and a big house, you’re considered successful. If, however, you base your definition of success entirely on money, tangibles and other superfluous things, you may be up for an unpleasant surprise. In fact, you may even be setting yourself up for disastrous failure. The simple truth is, there is no “one fits all” definition of success. Therefore, it’s so important to establish your very own definition of success. For that, ask yourself, is it really money what makes me truly happy? Is it by possessing everything in this world that I will have peace? Will I gain true freedom by doing so? 

Called to be faithful, not successful

Now, with this mindset, one may think that in religious life we are obliged to be successful in what we’re meant to do or to be. For the consecrated person the goal is heaven by being imitators of Jesus Christ. However, as long as we are still in this world, we cannot fully experience what heaven is or we cannot imitate Christ completely, that is why we are called to be faithful, not successful. Even if we fail from time to time God calls us to go back to Him and continue our journey towards Him. Therefore, do not be afraid of failing because we all fail and have moments of crisis and temptations but think that we have a merciful God who calls us to get up every time we fall down. 

Maybe the idea I want to transmit is not yet clear. Here is when Vita Consecrata comes in. let’s take only the very first paragraph of this apostolic exhortation. 

1. The Consecrated Life, deeply rooted in the example and teaching of Christ the Lord, is a gift of God the Father to his Church through the Holy Spirit. By the profession of the evangelical counsels the characteristic features of Jesus — the chaste, poor and obedient one — are made constantly “visible” in the midst of the world and the eyes of the faithful are directed towards the mystery of the Kingdom of God already at work in history, even as it awaits its full realization in heaven.

Consecration as an encounter of the will of God with the freedom of a person

The word consecrated means set apart, it is when someone dedicates oneself totally to something, that is why dedication is an essential aspect of consecration and it is an encounter of the will of God with the freedom of a person; God calls us and we answer to that call. The invitation is not only for few or for those involved in the church but all the baptized are called to holiness and we must find the way suitable to reach holiness. We are not called because we are better than others but because we realize that we can become better every day in God. 

Consecrated life is a gift

On the other side, it is a mistake to think that we are the ones to choose this kind of life, in fact, and as I said, it is God who consecrates us, not ourselves. Consecrated life is a gift and the Holy Spirit prepares the person who will be bearer of this gift and since God loves us first, my consecration is a response to the love He has for me. How can I repay the Lord for the goodness he has bestowed upon me? To make the vows is an authentic act of worship, a give of self, a good answer to the call and to the love I receive from God. To be consecrated also means to be totally dedicated to God. It is a total awareness of my gifts and limitations. Despite the requirements to make the vows we receive Jesus Christ and the more we increase the intimate relationship with Him, the more we are set free. Then with this experience of love, peace and freedom we feel invited to tell the world that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving, in giving ourselves to God and to men. 

My community is my family

Then, we decide to live this consecration in community, my community is my family, if you don’t love the brother you see, how can you love God whom you do not see? In a community we are confronted and we are invited to change and become better persons. We come together with one heart and one mind intend towards God. 

Remember that we are able to find the meaning of success in our lives and we must discern what is it that will bring us peace, happiness and true freedom. Then do not be afraid of giving yourself to God at the service of man, God called you to love and to be holy since you were baptized. If today you feel the call of the Holy Spirit, do not be afraid to tell Him, Thy Kingdom come and Thy will be done.  

Entering AA congregation

portrait father Ngoa 2018

Purpose of Formation

“When God sees that his people are in need, He calls individuals. He gives them the grace to feel and to love as he does. He gives them the strength to act. He calls them and He sends them.” - Introduction to our Rule of Life

In the Assumption there is a time of formation for those who are called. In order to be prepared and effective in our lives and mission, the Ratio Institutionis (which is our Assumptionist plan for formation) gives us the goals of the formation in the congregation:

“To form a candidate or a brother means not only introducing him to the broad outlines of the Assumptionist charism ; it means, rather, helping him to conceive within himself a creative dynamism through which he can reinterpret this charism faithfully. It is a pedagogy that leads him to appreciate its essence and to deploy its potential within today’s diversity of cultures.”- Ratio Institutionis of the Augustinians of the Assumption

We know and believe that God’s call is addressed to men who are very different from one another, considering their personal histories and their diverse gifts and aptitudes. Our living together is an opportunity to discover, understand and experience this reality. Formation is for that purpose also.

Formation is a life-long process. From the novitiate until the ongoing formation, we are learning how to adjust our thoughts, desires and actions to the will of God. Community life is very important in this process. It is there where we experience the love of God and it is from there that we are called to go out to share the beauty of this experience.

Father Ngoa Ya Tshihemba

2018-10-18T10:52:25+00:00

Father Ngoa Ya Tshihemba

portrait father Ngoa 2018
“When God sees that his people are in need, He calls individuals. He gives them the grace to feel and to love as he does. He gives them the strength to act. He calls them and He sends them.” - Introduction to our Rule of Life In the Assumption there is a time of formation for those who are called. In order to be prepared and effective in our lives and mission, the Ratio Institutionis (which is our Assumptionist plan for formation) gives us the goals of the formation in the congregation: “To form a candidate or a brother means not only introducing him to the broad outlines of the Assumptionist charism ; it means, rather, helping him to conceive within himself a creative dynamism through which he can reinterpret this charism faithfully. It is a pedagogy that leads him to appreciate its essence and to deploy its potential within today’s diversity of cultures.”- Ratio Institutionis of the Augustinians of the Assumption We know and believe that God’s call is addressed to men who are very different from one another, considering their personal histories and their diverse gifts and aptitudes. Our living together is an opportunity to discover, understand and experience this reality. Formation is for that purpose also. Formation is a life-long process. From the novitiate until the ongoing formation, we are learning how to adjust our thoughts, desires and actions to the will of God. Community life is very important in this process. It is there where we experience the love of God and it is from there that we are called to go out to share the beauty of this experience.
BrRex portrait 2018

Opportunity for practicing virtues

"Community life provides the opportunity for practicing some virtues like humility, patience, kindness, prudence and charity. Every day we have the opportunity to practice what Jesus commands us “to love one another as I have loved you.” It means being patient with one another, bearing with one another, forgiving one another. This is not easy in an international community like ours where cultures, values, languages, belief system and context are different and contradict from each other. But in the name of Christ who unites us it becomes possible."

Brother Rex Navarro

2018-10-04T11:32:11+00:00

Brother Rex Navarro

BrRex portrait 2018
Community life provides the opportunity for practicing some virtues like humility, patience, kindness, prudence and charity. Every day we have the opportunity to practice what Jesus commands us “to love one another as I have loved you.”
br Eddy portrait 2018

I am a witness to God’s works

"I came to the Assumption family eight years ago. But previously I belonged to the diocese of Providence Rhode Island in the US. Every summer I used to work in different parishes. In one of these parishes I had the privilege to meet father Phillip Bonvouloir, who introduced me to the Assumptionists. The next step for me was to apply and enter the community located in Worcester Massachusetts. Since then I have been in religious life. I am very happy and blessed to belong to this religious congregation. It is small in number, but God is working with the Holy Spirit in us. God works in mysterious ways and I witness that. From dioceses to religious life and from the US to the Philippines. At times I think God has a sense of humor, and I just have to be open to his will and grace."

Brother Eddy Gonzalez

2018-10-18T10:47:56+00:00

Brother Eddy Gonzalez

br Eddy portrait 2018
"I came to the Assumption family eight years ago. But previously I belonged to the diocese of Providence Rhode Island in the US. Every summer I used to work in different parishes. In one of these parishes I had the privilege to meet father Phillip Bonvouloir, who introduced me to the Assumptionists. The next step for me was to apply and enter the community located in Worcester Massachusetts. Since then I have been in religious life. I am very happy and blessed to belong to this religious congregation. It is small in number, but God is working with the Holy Spirit in us. God works in mysterious ways and I witness that. From dioceses to religious life and from the US to the Philippines. At times I think God has a sense of humor, and I just have to be open to his will and grace."
Portrait father Cris Quirinal

Why I became an Assumptionist

Can you tell us the path that led you to the Assumptionists ?

"I knew the Assumptionists when I was studying business management in Cagayan de Oro. I had to work to finance them and it was with the Assumptionist sisters that I found a job. It was my first link with this great religious family. One day, father Peter, an American priest also Assumptionist in charge of vocations was visiting the Philippines. We had a lot of discussion, but it was not at that moment that I decided to join the community."

At that time, did you already feel a call for religious life ?

"This call, I felt it when I was in primary school. I even met once my first-grade teacher, who told me that in a form I replied that I wanted to be a priest. I first had to work to pay for my siblings education because I am the eldest son of a family of four children. When they all found a job, I stopped and took a desert time."

You were wondering ?

"Yes, a lot. My work had lost its’ meaning and I could see that I had moved away from faith. I was troubled, I felt a drought in my spiritual life. So, I went back to my parents’ farm and settled in an independent house without electricity, much like a hermitage. I prayed and asked the Lord to find me a job that allowed me to attend mass every day. It was a healing period."

Did the Lord hear your prayers ?

"Indeed, five months later, I received a call from Religious of the Assumption sisters who urgently needed a teacher in southern Mindanao to replace a sick sister. I left immediately and every day I had mass with the sisters ! I nourished my spiritual life by sharing that of the sisters. After a year, sister Mary Francis asked me about my vocation. I made up my mind and in April 2008, I met father Jay in Adveniat. My path of discernment began first as an aspirant and then a novice. I made my final vows eight years after joining the Assumptionists."

Who are your spiritual masters ?

"Saint Augustine of course since we follow his rule. He inspires me. I also think of saint Isidor, the patron saint of the farmers. I grew up with him because he was the patron saint of the chapel of my childhood village in Mindanao."

How is ordination prepared ?

"I followed a period of diaconate during which I served at the parish San Antonio de Padua in Antipolo. I participated in the liturgical work, served mass and celebrated baptisms up to 800 in one year ! Then, I retired in silence for 10 days in Davao. After that long progress towards the priesthood, I was ready to answer the Lord’s call and to serve him wherever I would be sent."

Father Cris Quinal

2018-10-05T06:31:19+00:00

Father Cris Quinal

Portrait father Cris Quirinal
Can you tell us the path that led you to the Assumptionists ? "I knew the Assumptionists when I was studying business management in Cagayan de Oro. I had to work to finance them and it was with the Assumptionist sisters that I found a job. It was my first link with this great religious family. One day, father Peter, an American priest also Assumptionist in charge of vocations was visiting the Philippines. We had a lot of discussion, but it was not at that moment that I decided to join the community." At that time, did you already feel a call for religious life ? "This call, I felt it when I was in primary school. I even met once my first-grade teacher, who told me that in a form I replied that I wanted to be a priest. I first had to work to pay for my siblings education because I am the eldest son of a family of four children. When they all found a job, I stopped and took a desert time." You were wondering ? "Yes, a lot. My work had lost its’ meaning and I could see that I had moved away from faith. I was troubled, I felt a drought in my spiritual life. So, I went back to my parents’ farm and settled in an independent house without electricity, much like a hermitage. I prayed and asked the Lord to find me a job that allowed me to attend mass every day. It was a healing period." Did the Lord hear your prayers ? "Indeed, five months later, I received a call from Religious of the Assumption sisters who urgently needed a teacher in southern Mindanao to replace a sick sister. I left immediately and every day I had mass with the...