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OAR Fathers and FORSOAR gathering: Reliving the spirit of fraternity and communion

MANILA, Philippines—It was a fresh start as a post-pandemic meeting of the ForSOAR Luzon versus OAR Fathers in a friendly-brotherly basketball match, held at the home of the Golden Stags in San Sebastian College-Recoletos Manila Gymnasium. The event was held last August 13.

The ForSOAR won by points. The Fathers won by feeding and welcoming the ForSOARs. It was never a clash between mythic versus legends but simply mirrors the second joyful mystery-the visitation. The excitement was high like Mary and Elizabeth’s moment.

FORSOAR stands for Former Seminarians of the Order of Augustinian Recollects. Such is the working definition thus far since time immemorial.  The group consists of mixed categories as professed, ordained, theologians and philosophers who now have different types of calling and missions.  In a religious parlance, priesthood is irreplaceable–forever a commitment. “You are a priest forever in the line of Melchizedek.”  However, it is also understood from the words of the Gospel that indeed “Many are called but few are chosen.” In a catechetical hermeneutics it is not a comparison between priesthood and married life. Simply put, both requires Christian witnessing. And St. Augustine’s frequently sought eternal emblem says “My heart is restless until it rests in thee.”

There is perhaps a deeper and yet better purpose of the gathering as what Fr. Arnel Diaz, OAR the Canon Lawyer of the Province told the ForSOAR, “This is to encourage the ForSOARs to meet and relive the Augustinian Recollect spirit of fraternity and communion, but first organize ForSOARs of Luzon. Should it lead to a bigger and much more relevant community activities the OAR Father giveth their support.” (I’m paraphrasing Neil Medina is temporarily named by the group as In-Charge of ForSOARs’ NCR, Southern Tagalog and Bicol Region.

The event was made possible due to the initiatives of Fr. Edgar Tubio, OAR, Fr. Manny Bolilia, OAR and Mr. Jaydel Lique (the man with many adjectives).  Fr. Egay, the good and accommodating parish priest of San Sebastian Basilica opened the St. Ezekiel Moreno Center for the visiting brothers with sumptuous lunch.

A brief note about the basilica, it was built in 1881 and deemed to be the only all-steel church in Asia.

Before the group went separate ways, they agreed to meet again on September 17, 2022 in San Sebastian College-Recoletos in Canlubang, Calamba City Laguna.