The young Filipino experienced one of the most important moments of his life when he made his solemn profession of vows as an Augustinian Recollect.
Ramón Bitangcor will never forget 7 November 2020. The young Filipino, born in Tagbilaran City (Bohol), made his solemn profession of vows as an Augustinian Recollect in the Chapel of St. Thomas of Villanova, in the Recollect House of Formation Mira-Nila Homes, in Quezon City. In this way, he committed himself definitively to follow Christ through the Augustinian Recollect charism, once the formation process he started in 2010 was completed. The pandemic has not been able to stop his desire to give himself to God.
The celebration of the Eucharist was presided over by Dionisio Selma, prior provincial of Saint Ezekiel Moreno Province, and concelebrated by the Augustinian Recollect formators, the priests of Saint Sebastian-Recoletos College of Cavite and the religious of the Provincial Curia. The youth of the House of Formation were present maintaining the sanitary protocols to avoid the contagion of COVID-19. The family and friends of the professed, who could not physically attend, joined through the live broadcast on Facebook Live.
At the conclusion of the celebration, originally scheduled for September 19, the religious took the floor to thank God for this important step in his life. “My heart is on fire. In the heat of this very moment, I feel enraptured by the warmth of God’s embrace as an important milestone in my religious life that finally comes to fruition,” he said at the beginning of his words. He also indicated that the pandemic and all that he has experienced, from the preparations to the day of his profession, have made him more resilient and patient. It has also taught him to see the sudden turn of events with a glimmer of hope. At the end of his words of gratitude, he affirmed that this fact is not only his, but of all Augustinian Recollects.
In his homily, Dionisio Selma indicated that one of the necessary elements in this religious vocation is the clarity, on the part of the person, of the one to whom he gives his love. The reason is that the price of following God is very high: it demands the renunciation not only of possessions and positions but also of family ties for the sake of the Kingdom of God, the higher good. And the challenge he entrusted to the candidate is “to love as Jesus loves, to serve as Jesus serves, and to offer his life as Jesus offered his life.
Since St. Ezekiel Moreno Province will be 22 years old on November 28th, the Solemn Profession of Vows was the second celebration held inside the seminary chapel. The first religious to make his Solemn Profession of Vows in the chapel was Joel Dequilla, now a missionary in Taiwan, on February 27, 1999.