Fray Bitancor: Delayed but Never Extinguished
Mira-Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY—Even in the midst of pandemic, Fray Ramon Bitangcor III, OAR, from Tagbilaran City, Bohol solemnly professed the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience before the Holy Mother Church with Fray Dionisio Selma, OAR, Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno, who received his profession. Fray Monmon, as he is fondly called in the seminary, is the lone friar who made it to this stage of formation from the thirty-three hopefuls in their batch, the Seekers, who started their seminary formation last 2010.
The said celebration was held in St. Thomas of Villanova Chapel, Recoletos Formation Center, Mira-Nila Homes, Quezon City last November 7, 2020. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist was presided by Fray Selma, OAR, and was concelebrated by the formators from the said seminary, and priests from San Sebastian College-Recoletos de Cavite, and Provincial Curia. The formands of Recoletos Formation Center were all present while observing health protocols provided by the local government. The family and friends of the candidate, who were not able to attend physically the said celebration, joined through the live streaming via Facebook which was facilitated by the members of the Recoletos Communications, Inc. (RCI), the media arm of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.
In his homily, Fray Selma, OAR, said that one of the elements needed in this religious vocation is the clarity, on the part of the person, of the one to whom he gives his love. The reason is that the price of following God is very high. It demands renunciation not just of possessions and positions but even family ties for the Kingdom of God, the higher good. And the challenge that was given to the candidate is “to love as Jesus loves, serve as Jesus serves and to offer his life as Jesus offered his life.” These demands are not easy. For this reason, grace from God is to be consistently asked. Lastly, he challenged the candidate to be faithful to God’s call of love and ask his grace so that he may respond faithfully to the demands of following Christ.
“My heart is on fire.At the heat of this very moment,I feel enraptured by the warmth of God’s embrace as an important milestone in my religious life finally comes into fruition.” These were the opening words of Fray Bitangcor, OAR, as he gave his message of gratitude after the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. According to him, his experiences in this pandemic, from the preparations until the day of his profession, made him more resilient, patient, and look at the sudden turn of events with a silver lining. As he finished his words of gratitude, he said that this milestone is not only his to keep but everyone’s. He is now in his fourth year in religious life since he made his simple profession of vows in St. Ezekiel Moreno Novitiate- Recoletos last April 30, 2016.
As the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno turns 22 this coming November 28, this year’s Solemn Profession of Vows was the second time that the celebration was made inside the chapel of the seminary. The first friar to make his Solemn Profession of Vows in the said chapel was Fray Joel Dequilla, OAR, now a missionary in Taiwan, way back on February 27, 1999.
Originally, the schedule of the Solemn Profession of Vows was scheduled on September 19, 2020, Memorial of St. Alonso de Orozco. However, due to some circumstances, it was rescheduled two months after the original schedule.