RCJ-SMP Communities Celebrate the Feast of July 1st
Provincial Rogate Vocation Center
The Feast of July 1st commemorates the permanence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in our Institutes. As desired by the Founder, St. Hannibal Mary Di Francia, it is considered a foundational celebration of perennial importance in the life of the Rogate Family. He wrote to explain its purpose: “By now, the work was in the possession of the Author of all goods. At the same time this presence becomes a mark, a foundation of the same work, and as such, to consolidate the sense of belongingness of the members of this pious work…This yearly celebration of July the First has been an occasion to enliven faith and fervor, as well as the affection to our own Institute.”
To remain faithful to the wish of the Founder to make this day a perpetual memorial, the St. Matthew Province came up with various initiatives, such as catechesis on the celebration, reflection on the history of the event, Holy Mass and the prolonged adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the Divine Founder. There were also some common activities done together with Daughters of Divine Zeal. Considering the pandemic, these were organized while keeping the indications of the Church and the local government on social distancing.
Reflecting on the History, Catechesis, and Relevance of the Feast
The Father Hannibal Formation Center in Parañaque City organized a live-streamed reflection on the history, significance, and theology of the solemn feast, with Fr. Jessie Martirizar as the resource person. This was shared online across the various media platforms of the Province.
The Mission Station in Vietnam had a three-day preparation for the solemn feast through a series of talks. On June 28, Fr. Joseph Nguyen shared on the significance of the feast among the benefactors. The following day, Fr. Joseph Thinh reflected on the feast with the students. Finally, in the afternoon of June 30, Fr. Ryan Jimenez had his turn to give a talk to the RCJ and FDZ Religious.
The Provincial Rogate Vocation Center (PRVC), through its official Facebook page “Rogate Media SMP,” compiled and featured the various celebrations from the communities of the Province. The publication of the prayer aid KAYA IDALANGIN for July 2020, featured the said celebration, highlighting St. Hannibal’s thought on the feast’s significance in the life of the “small caravan” of the Rogate. A catechesis on the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist was also included.
Also, infographics on the history and significance of the feast, the meaning of Jesus’ presence, and their connection with the prayer for vocations, and charity for the poor were published. The center prepared and shared materials, prayer aids, pictures, and literature. Of special mention is the 2011 Circular Letter “He Came to Live Among Us,” a joint document of RCJ and FDZ Superiors General. This was sent to the communities to be read during spiritual reading, to refresh and deepen on the relevance of July 1st.
Meanwhile, the St. Hannibal Empowerment Center (SHEC) also prepared a video, which featured a “Rosary for Vocations”. This was posted in their Facebook page: “St. Hannibal Empowerment Center-SHEC” last July 2.
The Empty Tabernacle, the Holy Mass, and Prolonged Adoration
Following the tradition of the congregation, the local communities also organized the para-liturgy of the “Empty Tabernacle” on June 30, which also served as a moment of catechesis and prayer.
According to their means and while observing social distancing, the local Communities celebrated the Holy Mass, and continued with a chain of adoration among Confreres, religious, seminarians, and some laypeople. Some communities also opted to have a joint celebration, like the St. Hannibal Rogate Center and the Father Hannibal Formation Center, and the St. Anthony’s Boys Village-Davao and St. John Paul II Sub-Parish. Meanwhile, St. Lawrence the Deacon Parish Community joined the celebration with the FDZ Sisters in their “Madre Nazarena Domus” in Laoag City.
(Article and Photo by: Rev. John Francis C. Aberion, RCJ)