It is certainly a great grace to be given opportunity to persevere for long period of time as twenty-five years in religious profession. This is the case of two of our religious and priests: Fr. Mark Dalaygon and Fr. Jose Adan who just celebrated their silver jubilee as religious. Having made their first profession on 14th of August 1991, they went through the original transition from the time of the Franciscan Conventuals to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.
These two friars have been to several missions and various communities of the Institute. Both Fathers had been in Italy. Fr. Mark continued his ministry as priest for a period of time in the United States while Fr. Jose was assigned in Nigeria for an extended period of roughly 10 years.
Fr. Mark Dalaygon, known in the world as Rolando was born on March 19, 1966 in Plaridel Misamis Occidental. After having finished his BS degree in Math, he felt the call of the Lord to the religious life, first as Franciscan Conventual, then later, as Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate. Fr. Jose Adan (known as Reynaldo in the world) was born on December 3, 1965 in Meycauyan, Bulacan. He had been a missionary in Ijebu-igbo, Nigeria for a long period of time until his present assignment in Pampanga, Philippines. At the present, he is being appointed as the Father Guardian of our House in Tarquinia, Italy and the novice master for the Institute in Italy.
“Religious service would not be sustainable without the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity.”
What is God’s message through the jubilee celebration of our brothers? First and foremost, it is a message of His own fidelity to us. Man’s faithfulness to his promise will always be anchored on God’s personal faithfulness to each individual. He is the one who sustains, keeps and make individuals persevere. His constant presence in the lives of these religious is revealed not so much in unique prodigious actions and moments in their religious life but rather the continuous day by day hundrum and grind of religious observance and service of God.
But on the other hand, something is also revealed in the very actions of these religious. Since religious profession’s primary object is to render God due service according to His given vocation, the whole twenty five years of these friars and priests must always be God-oriented. This means that theological virtues of faith, hope and charity must constantly be animating and directing all their thoughts and actions. Religious service would not be sustainable without these theological virtues. It is faith that makes them constantly believe in God’s presence and must guide every principle of their lives. It is hope that makes them continually aspire for the goods to come rather than being dissuaded by false promises this world can offer. It is charity that makes them surpass difficulties in their service of God and neighbor and in their ministry. Without this God-directing theological virtues, religious profession will not last.
But above all, it is the unique presence of Mary Immaculate that kept these two brothers where they are right now, and we hope, to continue in the future. Mary, whose own fidelity to God’s service continue to manifest through anyone who belonged to her through consecration. The religious who persevere are living extensions of Mary’s continuous “FIAT” in the world. She is the one who enlightens her beloved religious that God is the absolute goodness one can cling to; she warms the soul of his religious of the beauty of serving God through an inner experience of peace and joy that surpasses the deceptive joys of this world. She carries her beloved religious in moments of their crisis as she soothes them with the consolation that everything will be fine and there is nothing to be bothered about. If the twenty five years of our brothers are possible, it was certainly made as such by Mary in whom they belonged. She certainly will not let them go as long as they don’t let go of her.
May all praise and glory be given to God for these religious for the good things He has done in their lives.