February 20, 2000 [Sunday]
The Personnel Recognition gave me the opportunity to meet old friends. The affair refreshed my memories of having been Regent of the USA High School, and allowed me to hobnob with those who have worked under me. The affair lasted until after 12 MN and so it is in the wee hours of the morning of 20 February that I type this. Anyway, I will have the chance to sleep for the whole of Sunday if I choose to.
February 19, 2000 [Saturday]
During the University of San Agustin's Personnel Recognition, I received a Certificate of Appreciation "for his example of Augustinian scholarship and his earnestness in making Augustine's wisdom understandable to all." It adds that "We, who are members of one body, thank him for embodying for us the Augustinian search for truth." The six years I spent at the University was not such a waste after all! This is the first time that the USA - Human Resource and Development Office has given such a certificate to a friar who has worked in the University. The outgoing President and the VP for Finance/Dean of the Conservatory of Music/Prior of the Community also received a similar certificate albeit for a different motive.
I finally received the Appointment letter from the Provincialate. It is the official notice of my transfer of assignment. It was strange though that it was entitled "Obedience Notice." This was perhaps done to distinguish it from the Letter of Appointment we are given in our educational institutions. After all, a Letter of Appointment can be refused; an Obedience Notice would make a friar think twice before questioning it (or so, they think perhaps). There is another feature to this "Obedience Notice": a paragraph that cites what the Constitutions say about our apostolic commitment: that we are sent wherever we are needed, and that we are not assigned to a place in a stable manner. We are not Carthusians or Cistercians after all, who make the vow of stability. And like the friars of old, we go to wherever the Church calls us. The need of the Church should dictate the assignment of friar who, by his life of consecration, has made himself more available to the needs of the Church. This, I think, is the spirit of the Obedience Notice. It is a reminder that as friars of the Order of St. Augustine, I -- and the rest of the brothers -- must move with the Church who pilgrimages on earth in obedience to the call of the Spirit.
February 16, 2000 [Wednesday]
I finally got my new assignment confirmed: I will be going to Colegio San Agustin -- Bacolod next term (beginning April 2000?). It is a convenient transfer of assignment: Bacolod is just one hour (or less) by boat, and bringing all my stuff there won't be too big a problem. I will however miss the friends I have made in USA -- Iloilo. But after six years, I need a change...
I have been to Bacolod City as a guest on several occassions. If the surfer would like to know something about the place, click here! If you wish to know more about the city I am about to leave after six years of residence there, click here!
I have uploaded some information of how I have spent my life from January 17, 1962 to the present. You can see it with a click of your mouse here!
February 14, 2000 [Monday]
How does a friar celebrate Valentine's day you ask? I'll give you an idea: This morning I celebrated a Mass for the USA -- College of Commerce faculty and students. Instead of preaching on the day's reading, I explained why the Church is celebrating the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius instead of St. Valentine's. Then I preached on the idea that was in the minds of almost everyone at Mass: love. I think the audience liked what I said; the topic touched some hearts I was told later. After the Mass, I went to the office to type somethings into the computer. In the afternoon, I did some more work looking for research materials on St. Augustine. At 4:30 p.m., I was off to the Fathers' computer room to work on the graphics of some of my webpages. After dinner, I went back to the same room to upload the graphics I have made, added some Java-scripts to my pages, and added some other things besides. Do you wish to see the pages I made on Valentine's Day? Click here and tell me whether I celebrated the day badly or not!
February 11, 2000 [Friday]
Today, the Teachers' College celebrated its Jubilee Homecoming. I found the number and quality of TC alumni impressive. I also discovered that many educators in the academic institutions of Iloilo have come from our Teachers' College. During the luncheon, I was touched by what an alumna (now a VP in West Visayas University -- a University which in some respects is superior to our own) said: that the TC alumni working in her University are proud of their Agustinian heritage and that they are giving their best to make the Augustinian ideals they have learned to shine.
February 10, 2000 [Thursday]
For the second time in a span of six months, the article "Ten Augustinian Values for Students" which I finished writing in the summer of 1999 got a hearing. The first time I presented it in a lecture forum was at the Colegio San Agustin--Biņan. Today, I presented it at the University of San Agustin -- Iloilo in a Symposium sponsored by the Teachers' College on the occassion of its 60th Jubilee Homecoming. I wrote the article in response to a request by Dr. Margarita Villanueva, the Directress of Guidance Services of the University for a project they would like to start for the SY 1999-2000. Those who first heard my lecture on the topic were the University's Guidance Counsellors in a Seminar that was held for them sometime in May 1999. I published the article on the Net via Agustinong Pinoy sometime in August 1999 and later on, it got published in the Augustinian Mirror.
The first time I heard about "Augustinian Values" was in 1994, when I first came to the University of San Agustin. Then, everyone thought they knew what "Augustinian Values" meant, yet no one knew what to say when asked about it. In 1995, and then again in 1996, two prominent men of the Order of St. Augustine -- The Very Reverend Prior General (Miguel Angel Orcasitas, OSA) and Fr. Martin Nolan, OSA (a former Prior General himself), respectively -- visited the University of San Agustin and delivered talks on Augustinian Values within the context of the Educational Apostolate. Both became occassions for a deeper reflection on Augustine's doctrinal insights and the tradition he left from within a Filipino academic setting. This climate of research and dialogue on the relevance of Augustine to Education -- a climate encouraged by the Rev. Fr. Eusebio Berdon, OSA ( President of the University from June 1992- March 1996 and now an Assistant General of the Order) -- gave me an occassion for the publication of some articles on Augustinian Education. During our Provincial Chapter of February 1996, the Commission on Educational Apostolate of the Augustinian Province of Sto. Niņo reformulated its Philosophy of the Educational Apostolate. What was new in this short document was its inclusion of "Augustinian Values" as an integral element in the formation of the students under the care of our educational institutions. There was as yet no systematic explanation of such values then. In February 1998, on the occassion of our University of San Agustin Foundation Day celebrations, I was invited by the University's Human Resource Development Office to give a lecture on Augustinian Principles of Education. I delivered a talk that was based on our Province's Philosophy of Education. During the discussions that followed, it became clear that there was further need to elaborate on the idea of "Augustinian Values." I feel that my article "Ten Augustinian Values for Students" has filled up the lacuna.
February 6, 2000 [Sunday]
Three of my fellow friars left early this morning for the Chapter of our Province. A Provincial Chapter is a quadriennial meeting of our superiors, parish priests, school heads and other friars elected to attend the said meeting (we call them "discreets"). I was left with two other friars to "hold the fort" so to speak. And since I am the Sub-Prior, I will be superior for some ten days beginning today.
My first thoughts for the day was about Job and his plaint:
"Job spoke, saying:
Is not man's life on earth a drudgery?
Are not his days those of hirelings?
He is a slave who longs for the shade,
a hireling who waits for his wages.
So I have been assigned months of misery,
and troubled nights have been allotted to me.
If in bed I say,"When shall I arise?"
then the night drags on;
I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.
My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle;
they come to an end without hope.
Remember that my life is like the wind;
I shall not see happiness again."
When one who is conscious of not having done anything evil suffers evil, he (or she) may as well join his voice to Job's. And there are many like Job who feel that they are unjustly suffering, but unlike Job would like to get back at those who are responsible for the suffering they are enduring. But who are to be blamed for the suffering of a soul that deems him/herself innocent?
This morning's sermon at San Jose Parish (Libertad Plaza, Iloilo) seemed to be alright. One of the lay eucharistic ministers congratulated me after the Mass for the "beautiful sermon." Unfortunately, he didn't tell me why it was "beautiful." I would have liked to know.