Prior Provincial’s ‘unique’ visit to Laray community
LARAY, Talisay City, Cebu – Despite the ubiquitous threat of Covid-19, Father Provincial, Fray Dionisio Selma OAR, paid a two-day visit to the Recollect community here on August 2-3, 2021. Just like his visits to other communities, the one here in Laray was also done in the context of the ongoing pandemic and in compliance with his canonical duty.
It was midmorning of August 2 when the Prior Provincial arrived, together with the Provincial Secretary, Fray Jose Ernil Almayo. This was his first stop in a series of a weeklong visit to OAR communities in Cebu Province. The official visit started almost immediately, at the convent chapel, with the Father Secretary introducing the sequence of the opening liturgy. In attendance were members of the community: Fray Constantino Real (local prior), Fray Renie Villalino (parish priest), Fray Invenzor Melgazo (local procurator), Fray Michael catama (house liturgist), and Fray John Paul Tanquis (chronicler).
During his exhortation, Father Provincial started off by clarifying the nature of his visit which is, according to the OAR Constitutions 464, “to know the state of the community, to re-affirm religious life more fully and the charity and unity between the brothers, as well as to correct any abuses.” He had also made some brief remarks on our consecrated life as Recollects, which disposed the brothers for the ensuing individual dialogue.
As the brothers took turns in their heart-to-heart talk with the visiting superior, the secretary was checking the important books of the community including those of the parishes. (The community of Laray is administering the Our Lady of Consolation Parish-Recoletos and the St. Augustine of Hippo Quasi-Parish-Recoletos in Inayawan, Cebu City.)
In the evening, right after dinner, Father Provincial also gave a talk to the SARF (Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity)-Laray Chapter and the RAY (Recollect Augustinian Youth) members of the two parishes.
The next day, August 3, the Prior Provincial presided the 5:30 a.m. mass held at the quasi parish in Inayawan, with the other friars as concelebrants. Towards midday, the renewal visit was concluded. Father Provincial’s closing message ranged from gratitude to challenge. Gratitude, for the community’s warm welcome and for its continuing fidelity to the life and mission. He also personally appreciated the brothers for their openness and cooperation. Challenge, because he reminded the community to be careful in the use of social media, to be mindful of the procotols in the protection of minors and vulnerable adults, among other equally important pointers.
After lunch, the visitors were shuttled to Balamban, in the west coast of the island. And just when we thought that was the only visit of the Prior Provincial to Laray during the quadrennium, he came back on August 7 for the celebration of the founding anniversary of OLCP-R.
That made the Prior Provincial’s renewal visit to Laray unique.