Monday, 15 November 2021 09:44

Pray, Share, Celebrate! 60th Foundation Anniversary of the Blessed Sacrament Novitiate in the Philippines

It is an understatement to say that joy filled the celebration of the Foundation Anniversary of the Blessed Sacrament Novitiate (BSN) of the Philippine Province. Despite the restrictions of the COVID pandemic, this formation community remembers in gratitude and awe its “60 years of enkindling faith and nurturing Eucharistic vocation”, the unifying theme that aptly witnesses to the rich history of this novitiate house.

Located on the hills of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, 25kms from Manila, the three-storey house was built during the late 1950s by the American SSS Fathers in response to the need for a canonical domicile for the initial formation of the future Filipino, and a definitive community first settled there on September 29, 1961. The BSN building is geographically isolated from the rest of the world with the hope that the novices residing there will live undisturbedly the necessary “desert experience” with the Lord who invites them to enter into the silence and solitude of his Heart.

Since its canonical erection, the BSN was led by an uninterrupted string of superiors and resident formators, from its first novice master, Fr Daniel Roach, SSS to its present director of novices, Fr Vergel Dalangin, SSS. Today, Fr Vergel is joined by Fr Manuelino Maamo, SSS and Br Arthur Abalos, SSS in forming twelve novices, hailing from different parts of the country.


Annivesario 60 1


Each of these novices will spend two years in BSN to be initiated to the history and spirituality of the Founder, St. Peter Julian Eymard, and that of the Congregation, its Rule of Life, its traditions and prayer practices, the evangelical counsels, the teachings of the Church, and many other learnings and animations designed to prepare these young men for a vowed life. Here, the SSS novice will open himself to the riches of the Word of God and the Eucharist, while immersing himself to two revered prayers of the Church: the Divine Office and the Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. He will also be given opportunities to test his vocation through prolonged retreats and selected exposures.

The celebration of the Foundation itself, under the catchphrase, Pray, Share, Celebrate is a testimony to the lively nature of the community. With the theme,

 “60 years of Enkindling Faith and Nurturing Eucharistic Vocations”

the novices designed a beautiful logo that highlighted the Eucharistic leanings of our Province. This logo has appeared in our official anniversary prayer cards, collared shirts, sports wear, and even on the floor of our basketball court! Our community is also blest with talent on videomaking and social media, and, so, has produced a 45 minute video presentation, presenting the greetings of our religious and collaborators, including of course, the message of our General Superior, Rev. Fr Eugênio Barbosa Martins SSS, and of Most Rev. Sofronio Bancud SSS DD. This video was launched in Youtube and Facebook, and was even featured in Dominus Est, a Filipino Catholic website. It should be noted also that the novices made an exhibit on the history of BSN, a veritable walk-in mini-museum that allows its visitors to experience the novitiate past through pictures and memorabilias.


Annivesario 60 2


The true highlight of the celebration, however, is the Eucharistic celebration, presided by the Provincial Superior of the Province of Our Lady of the Assumption, Fr Roel Dela Cruz SSS. Due to intense lockdowns in the country, few selected guests were present in the celebration, which made the Mass truly intimate and family-like. In his homily, Fr Roel stressed on the importance of the novitiate as part of the history and faith experience of every Filipino SSS religious. The Mass ended with the renewal of the dedication of the Novitiate house to the patronage of St. Joseph, protector of vocations, and a sumptuous feast prepared by the community.

At the end of the month of October, the celebration continues as the annual encounter of the novices and scholastics resumes, after a pause during the pandemic, a symbolic gathering of the past and present residents of this novitiate house, praying and hoping together for an even greater grace-filled future for the Filipino SSS formation. Adveniat Regnum Tuum!


Father Vergel Dalangin, sss
San Jose del Monte, Philippines - 20 October 2021

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 November 2021 08:44