10/21/2014

Of Mercy and Compassion


(This article is first published at Sacred Space - the official newsletter of the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii)

"Reared by injustice
with poverty to eat
a home on the sidewalk
a world on the street."

You can see them almost everywhere: outside the fast food restaurants; outside churches; in the parking  areas; outside big villages of the affluent - almost everywhere. We, the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii have a special mission for them. We call them our K-Friends. They are the homeless families who live in the Kalye (streets) and sleep in Karton (card boards). The Kariton  (pushcart) is their means of livelihood.

Jamie Rivera's newest song 'We Are All God's Children' clearly expresses their circumstances and the mission that is waiting for us.

Do you see these children on the streets?
Have you walked the pavement where they sleep?
Do you feel their hands when you give them alms?
Do you ever give them bread to eat?

 We meet these children in our convent on Tuesdays. Gosh, these children deserve a more decent life than this!

We are all God's children, we are all the same.
He is calling us by name to help the poor and lame,
and learn what life is really for.
It's to know and love and serve the Lord.

Sr. Matt calls them 'Jesus' . Yes, maybe they are Jesus in disguise. Why does serving them gives meaning to my stay in the convent?


"He is calling us by name to serve the poor and lame." For me,I believe HE did not just called me. He waited for me and is now fighting for me to fulfill my destiny.

Every Tuesday, I'm happy to feed them. I am delighted to see their smiles full of joy. I am overwhelmed by their sincere gratitude.

I am amazed to see them with their spine straight; their feet flat on the ground, one foot apart; and their hands in 'mudra' position. Yes, I am teaching them contemplative prayer, and I am glad that they obey.

Stand together and let's do our part.
Hear their voices and mend their broken hearts.
Choose to be brave and fight for their rights.
Give them back their honor and their pride.


For now, I can only listen to their small voices. For now, I can only hug and kiss them to mend their broken hearts. But I believe that one day, support and assistance will mushroom. I believe that one day, the floodgates of charity and compassion  will flow for them. We need to help them help themselves so that one day, they can also help others.

---------------
The song 'We Are All God's Children' - by Jamie Rivera - is the official theme song of the papal visit in the Philippines in January 2015.

10/17/2014

Untitled



You are my inspiration
You are my light
You are my stronghold
You are my guide.

And you said
We will climb every mountain
And you said
We will ford every stream
To make all works light.

Thank you for the courage
Thank you for the guts
Thank you for the Legacy
Thank you for the opportunity
Thank you for the Love.

Regina Rosarii



You touch every heart
You heal every wound
You intercede for every request
Yes, you are my mother.

You answer all my prayers
You calm my heart
With you I am at rest
Yes, you got me.

And even the clouds
go down to kiss you
And even the birds
sing to praise you
And even the trees
dance to celebrate you
Who I am not to kneel?

My Blessed Mother
Regina Rosarii
Now, you have me
Do not abandon me.

10/01/2014

Thank you Lola!


She's my number one fan,
very much a part of me.
One of the people in my life 
who prepared me to the battle of life.
One who always believe.
One who always wish me well.
One who always listen, without judgement.
One whose love made me
grow in confidence.

One who looks fragile 
yet my source of strength. 
She is nearly complete.
I must learn to let go.
She deserves the rest.

Thank you lola!


9/29/2014

A Special Path to Perpetual Rest



Do you want to rest under the loving gaze of Our Lady Regina Rosarii? Stay eternally at rest at Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary.
Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary was conceptualized by the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii and designed by their resident artist, Jose (Jojo)Barcena Jr.
After the ban was lifted in the 1960s, Catholics became more open to the practice of cremation. Columbaria now are also gaining popularity in the Philippines as it cuts costs and saves physical space on earth.
In 1983, the late Pope John Paul II promulgated the revised Code of Canon Law. Accordingly, the Archdiocese of Manila released in November 1998 a circular to priests in the dioceses which echoed the recommendations of the Vatican.
Following Cannon 1176, it states that “Deceased members of the Christian faithful must be given ecclesiastical funerals according to the norm of law.
“The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed; nevertheless, the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine.
Columbaria are continuously gaining acceptance as an alternative to expensive and space-consuming memorial plots. These are places where cinerary urns of our dearly departed are kept and are usually located next to a church.
The Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary is surrounded by green grass in a garden setting next to the Regina Rosarii Chapel on the Hill directly below the loving gaze of Our Lady Regina Rosarii.
            Artist JojoBarcena said that Pahuwayansa RICA Columbary and Ossuary “is a manifestation of hope in the appreciation of fragility of our current being which is in a process of imminent death. It is the light of knowing our eventual end that our path in life must be guided. However, this guidance is not meant to make us fearful, instead it is to lead us into repentance and forgiveness.”

Why choose eternal rest at Pahuwayansa RICA?
             Filipinos value the lasting bond between the living and the dead. For us, it is necessary to continue our relationship with those who have gone before us and keep them forever close to our hearts. Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary is not just your regular columbary. It has unique features to benefit you and your loved ones and you can rest assured that they will always be remembered with love and care.
The gentle sound of the flowing water in the nearby Lihim Waterfalls resonates with the whispers of the wind amongst lush foliage and creates an ambiance of serenity. You can actually take a meditation walk in the circular path while enjoying the breathtaking view from the open air structure and taking comfort with piped-in music.
              With Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary, your beloved one will always be remembered especially during the month of November in the liturgical life of the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii. You are assured of a prayerful atmosphere in this solemn and sacred space.
                  Regina RICA is a place of pilgrimage and so the congregation values order and cleanliness in the place ensuring the daily care and perpetual maintenance of its columbary.
               A few meters away from the columbary is the Regina Rosarii Chapel on the Hill where Mass is said every day and where bereaved families can pray. In the three-storey chapel structure are eight clean restrooms.
            Regina RICA also accommodates onsite reception and lunch facilities and services. It serves delicious vegetarian food which can somehow give comfort to grieving families.
RICA has a safe and secure parking place. You vehicle can also park near the columbary or the chapel after a vehicle parking permit is obtained from the Pilgrims’ Place.

The Setting and the Landscape
Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary lies on the 13.5 hectare land of Regina RICA in Tanay, Rizal and administered by the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii. The new circular edifice in the place which occupies 4,000 square meters including the garden is nestled in the mountainside between the 71 foot statue of Our Lady Regina Rosarii and the Regina Rosarii Chapel. Its architecture and landscape gives an ambiance of peace, serenity and calmness.
Unique in its design and made to last many generations, Pahuwayansa RICA Columbary and Ossuary commands a breathtaking view of nature with its trees, vegetation and hills that brings you closer to nature as you visit your loved ones.
At the end of the outer pathway in the left lane, there is a passageway that will lead you to the viewing deck where you can take in the view of the Lihim Waterfalls on the right side. On your left you can see the view of Sunset Hill, Regina Rosarii Chapel, and the statue of St. Joseph waving to Our Lady Regina Rosarii.And depending on the time of your visit, you can even observe the flock of grazing sheep and be entertained by the sounds of the Bengali chicken.
Pahuwayansa RICA Columbary and Ossuary sets the mood of closeness with our loved ones through the serenity of nature. The flow of water gliding gently through rocks and boulders, from Lihim Waterfall harmonizes with the gentle music of the wind.
Although outdoor, you can be protected from the scorching heat of the sun as fruit bearing trees are plentiful in the area. The green grass and the artistically-designed ornamental plants add to the freshness of the air and the serenity and peace that you can only experience in the surroundings of Regina RICA.

The Architecture

Pahuwayansa RICA Columbary and Ossuary, with its unique circular design, features 1,350 burial niches.Jojo Barcena said that, “the circular shape of the columbary is a symbol of eternity, the very gift awaiting us upon death.”
The facade is the artist’s own concept of contemporary life. He said, “These formations depict the pixels which are the very foundations of the pictures that overrule and overwhelm modern times. As we partake of our journey in this world, we must take special care to invest for our souls in eternal riches instead of fleeting fancies.”
The whole place is surrounded with eight mystic women saints beloved by the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii and gracefully carved and composed by Jojo Barcena. He explained, “The angelic figures of the women mystics gracefully stand guard in every lane so that their faces offer quiet comfort. Their elegant garb moves fluidly seemingly caught in the middle of a passionate dance.”
 At the entrance of the Columbary is the statue of Mary Magdalene with her popular message during the resurrection “I have seen the Lord!”Barcena depicted her as “fluid and active as she dances with joy in witnessing Christ’s resurrection.”
Upon entering Pahuwayan, you will be welcomed by two saints, St. Joan of Arc and St. Therese of the Child Jesus, gracefully pointing to their lanes. Inside at the first turn of the inner area of the circular place you will find St. Anne, the mother of Mary, with the little Mary gazing lovingly at her mother. At the opposite side, St. Gertrude is calmly seated on top of the vaults. Near her is St. Elizabeth of Hungary. On the second level just above St. Anne, you will find the Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta and St. Rose of Lima sitting elegantly on the top of the vault.
The active and animated quality of the figures can be attributed to the artist’s belief that “life creates its own unique harmony and we must dance in the music of our destiny. The mystics gather together in worship united by nothing more than the unwavering love and dedication to serve God and serve others. They stand as a resounding reminder for us to choose the life and ministry that will ignite our hearts and bring peace to us and our souls.
At the center of the columbary, there is a round metallic altar table where you can put the urns of your beloved during the burial Mass.The circular aisles are illuminated with hidden bulbs in different colors.

The Vaults
Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary has seven lanes of niches. Each lane is guarded and dedicated to a woman mystic. The niches are made of Class A-concrete casted with reinforced steel coated with waterproofing inside and out. The material is extremely durable and highly resistant to the effects of the environment.  The interior of the niches are finished with premium gold aluminum cladding. The niches are designed incorporating multiple moisture prevention and dissipation features. An atmosphere of reverence and dignity is further heightened with covers made from all prime natural black stone granite sourced from Italy. All the bolts and nuts are stainless steel and welded inside the concrete for durable strength and security. Each niche has its own wall and is self-contained to prohibit unauthorized access.
For aesthetic and security, a double nut lock with umbrella cap is used to close the niche. Portraying a contemplative way of life, the artist did not use striking colors. In addition, he used a minimalist concept-design to create a prayerful atmosphere.
            All the niches are sized to accommodate 4-6 family members’ standard-sized urns. All the niches are at prime locations with mountain or altar view.The faceplate inscription will include the name, birth year and death year of the beloved dead. To ensure uniformity, the size of the letters are designated including both upper case and lower case letters.  
            Intended to bring these niches to the hands of many, the right for the use of the vaults can be assigned or transferred.

Why planning your final perpetual resting place is important
                If you are considering cremation and a special way of remembrance, an interment in a columbarium is the best option.Thinking about funerals leaves most people feeling uncomfortable. However, planning your own funeral arrangements offers immense emotional and even financial security for you and your family. In time of grief, unexpected pressures can often result in hurried decisions which may be contrary to the will of the deceased. With pre-planning, families are consoled knowing that the funeral reflects what their loved one desired and gives them peace of mind at a stressful time.
                When you accept that death is a basic part of life, you can confidently imagine your earthly mortality and embrace the practical realities of planning for the time of death. Securing a time- honored privilege to use one of the vaults at Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary for you and your family’s perpetual rest is a good option for your peace of mind. A columbary presents flexibility and affordability as a final resting place for you and your love ones. 

Donation depends on position
              Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary offers affordable donation amounts.The donation for the vaults depends on the level of the vault.  Donors can avail of the privilege to use the vaults with one time donation or monthly donations. Currently, the Pre-Operation Donation is still being offered where you can save 30% of the total cost.
              Getting a vault and making a donation for your columbary will ensure that even after the flowers have withered, you will continue to leave a legacy.
            For more information on how to reserve a vault, please call Sr. Brenda at 401-2036 or 0919-960-7031.






2/11/2014


February 11, 2014: My Acceptance to Postulancy





“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who ask you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.” (1 Peter 3:15-16)

After prayerful discernment and with my initial formation experience with the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii, saying YES to the call is now easy.

I now commit a life of service to the Kingdom of God, in the Roman Catholic Church and in the world, by living the Gospel and by seeking ways to follow the example of our father St. Dominic, in proclaiming Christ by my life and words. 

As I am now a postulant, I felt the blessings and graces of the Lord, as I feel him residing in my heart. I pray that I deserve enough to be His temple so that I can proclaim Him with justice through my words, thoughts, actions and deeds.

The Lord never fails to show me His great and unconditional love when He gave me the opportunity to experience life here on earth, basically with my loving family who initially gave me the unconditional love. He continues to show me His love through great friends and life mentors that I meet along the way; through challenging experiences that gave me lessons, strengthened me and shaped me; through satisfying employment opportunities, beautiful causes, and beautiful memories that initially gave meaning to my life. Finally, He manifested His great love for me as He led me to the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii, which I felt He really prepared for me as the timing is just right that when I found Regina Rosarii I am already prepared to answer His call.




May the good Lord continue to guide and bless me with His graces until the end.

Irene V. Rafer