Leyte Maasin Confirmations by Bishop de Galarreta
His Excellency Bishop de Galarreta kindly visited us after his tour of Holy Cross Seminary in Australia. It was his third if not second visit of the Philippines.
He arrived on the 26th of August. The next day, the OLVC School celebrated the Filipino day and his Excellency enjoyed the good performance of our students.
August 28 (Fri), His Excellency went to Cagayan de Oro with Fr Ghela. Fr Tim welcomed our bishop there. It was the first time that our bishop visited Cagayan de Oro. 96 confirmations were given. The Hall was full of people (more than 300) in spite of the fact that it was on a week-day. After the ceremony, so tired, around 10:30 pm, Fr Tim thought to go to a restaurant for supper but in vain. All the restaurants were already closed. Our bishop was so kind that he would be happy to eat whatsoever found in a shop still open. Fr Tim could buy at least some peanuts, some bottles of beer bread and peanut-butter. Our priests just ate peanuts with beer together with his Excellency and went to bed.
August 29 (Sat), 33 new solders of Christ were confirmed in Davao. Our chapel was too small to accommodate the attendants of Mass.
August 30 (Sun), at 10 am 70 faithful received the sacrament of confirmation at our new big chapel in General Santo City. The Church was also full. His Excellency came back to Manila on Sunday night to prepare his next trip to Leyte.
On that Sunday, after the ceremonies in Gen San, Fr Ghela alone went back to Davao by bus, in order to assure the Evening Sunday Mass in Davao. Fr Ghela flew from Davao to Manila also to be ready to assist his Excellency on the next day.
August 31 (Mon), his Excellency, Fr Ghela and Fr Onoda flew together Tacloban. They visited our Holy Family chapel in Tacloban where our faithful welcomed his Excellency with songs.
Then, around 3:30 pm Fr Ghela drove our Innova to Maasin (180 km). With some stops at famous Agas-Agas Bridge and at our chapel in Bato, it took us 4 hours. Upon arrival of Maasin, around 7:30 pm a group of our faithful who were working to prepare the altar and the hall for the next day came to a certain restaurant to meet his Excellency. They sung for him. His Excellency appreciated their warm welcome very much. One of them was Brother Vincent who is assigned in Wanganui but who just arrived at Maasin on that day for his holidays.
September 01 : We had as many as 96 confirmations in Maasin (same number as in Cagayan de Oro). More than 100 confirmands wanted to receive seven gifts of Holy Ghost through this Sacrament, however, some of them were not allowed because they did not fulfill the requirements.
Some thirty confirmands came from Tacloban with other faithful. They left home 2 am to travel 4 hours. They are already at 6:15 am in front of the rented Hall for the confirmation. After early morning Masses which started at 6:30 am, Fr Ghela and Fr Onoda were disposal for penitents, especially for the confirmands of the day. His Excellency was ready at 9:30 am for the ceremony to start at 10 am as planned. But the two queues of confessions are so long that, in spite of all the efforts of the priests, unfortunately the start of the ceremony was delayed. The patience of the bishop was so edifying without any complaint he waited for the end of confessions of all the confirmands!
His Excellency preached the greatness of the office of confirmed, through the definition of confirmation given by Our Lord Himself: "Be the witness of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, in Judea, until the end of the world". The confirmed must be witnesses of the truth of the teaching of Jesus Christ. They must be the solders to defend this Truth. And finally they must be the Apostles to propagate and to diffuse this Truth. After having explained these triple conditions of the Confirmed, his Excellency mentioned the best way to accomplish these roles is the true devotion of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We must pray much. We must consecrate ourselves, be dependent totally to Her. We must render service to Her.
After the confirmations and Solemn High Mass, having some time to talk to our faithful, bitting good-bye to them, three of us drove towards Tacloban around 2:30 pm. Fr Ghela was planning to drop by a restaurant on the way, but it was already 3 pm, so we decided to buy some siowpao and eat inside the car and to continue our route. His Excellency congratulated us that siowpao was very good (better than peanuts!).
September 02 (Wed) : We woke up 4;40 am to take flight of 6:40 am from Tacloban to Iloilo via Cebu. In Cebu, Brother Nathan, our seminarian in holidays, with ther faithful, came to meet us. (They travelled for 3 hours from Toledo!) They kindly brought us to the Basilica of Santo Nino, Cross of Magellan and Fort San Pedro (with three Bastions of La Conception, San Ignatio de Loyola and San Miguel). Around 10 am, we had a breakfast (or brunch) near the airport. I was so glad to listen the good growth of the Cebu community of SSPX. Every Sunday 100 minutes for confessions before the Mass do not suffice in Cebu. Our Chapel Saint Pius V became too small to accommodate all of them. There are so many out-standing faithful in Cebu during the Sunday Masses. Bishop will return here on Saturday to officiate the Sacrament of confirmations. We left Cebu to go to Iloilo at 12:20. When we arrived at Iloilo, Fr Cacho and Fr Hora came to fetch us. At the Novitiate, His Excellency visited the various parts and Fr Cacho, Fr Salvador and Fr Onoda showed him around. At 5:30 pm, first Sung Vespers of Saint Pius X.
Sept 03 (Thurs): The community of Saint Bernard celebrated the feast of SPX with his Excellency. Fr Daniels, Fr Salvador, Fr Ghela, Fr Hora, and Fr Onoda were happy to be with our Catholic Bishop. Fr Tim, who was the organizer of this meeting, could not come because he had an urgent work to do. After the second Vespers of the Feast, Fr Ghela and Fr Onoda left the Novitiate for Manila because on the next early morning, both of them have to go to their regular missions (Leyte and Japan respectively). On the way back at the airport, we met a faithful whose child was baptized by Fr Onoda at OLVC!
04 (Fri) : 23 Confirmations at Our Lady of Consolation and Saint Joseph in Jaro at 6 pm.
05 (Sat) : 44 Confirmations at Saint Pius V in Cebu 9:30am.
06 (Sun) : At OLVC, we started the ceremony of Confirmations at 9 am, followed by Sung Mass. 46 solders of Christ were confirmed. Thus, in the Philippines, 312 received the grace of Sacrament of Confirmation! Deo Gratias!
07 (Mon) : His Excellency left for Geneva. We were told that this year, after having visited Australia and Asia, he would visit Africa, North America and South America. Thank you, Your Excellency for your great charity of visiting us and comforting us!