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A Home of Our Own

A Home of Our Own
(The Blessing of the Salesian Residence in Don Bosco Batulao)

19 August 2017, Batangas, the Philippines—As the retreat house or center for spirituality of the Salesian Philippine North Province, the setting commonly known as “Don Bosco Batulao” marked a milestone in its history last Saturday, August 19, 2017. This is no other than the Blessing or Inauguration of the new Salesian Residence.  It is the stand-alone building inside the retreat house compound (near the entrance), the living quarters of the confreres assigned in the work.

Thanks to generous benefactors and skillful constructors, the building is a most welcome addition to the complex. For the longest time actually (in fact, since from the very start of Don Bosco Batulao in 1985), the confreres assigned there really never had their own private quarters. They have been occupying only a number of rooms located in the retreat house building itself. These rooms have now been vacated, and are presently being retrofitted to become additional rooms for retreatants and guests. And of course, the confreres are now staying in their newly blessed building. From an aesthetic point of view, the edifice of the Salesian Residence blends well with the main building of the retreat house, as well as with the surrounding natural terrain. Special credit goes to Fr. Benhur Borja, a confrere who was tapped to work on the interior furnishings.

The ceremony last Saturday started punctually at 9 am, presided by Fr. Anthony Paul Bicomong, the FIN Provincial. Several guests graced the joyful occasion: friends and benefactors, lay mission partners and collaborators, and various groups of religious women and men (the Canossian and St. Paul of Chartres sisters, the fathers and brothers of the Servants of the Paraclete, and our young confreres from the FIN-FIS Postnovitiate in Canlubang). Naturally, some of those who used to be assigned in Don Bosco Batulao were also present. The first Rector of the community back in 1985, Fr. Alton Fernandez, graced the occasion. Then, those who were assigned here until last year (namely, Fr. Renato Molina, Fr. Philip Lazatin, and Fr. Richie Santos), who were responsible for the start of the building construction, were also present. Also the nearby Galilee Center (under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines)—with which we Salesians of Don Bosco are in close collaboration regarding renewal and ongoing formation programs—had a representative in attendance. And finally, adding a youthful touch was the animating presence of the DB Batulao Youth Ministry (particularly the community’s scholars).

It is enough to recall that through the years, many an EAO meeting or congress has been held precisely in Batulao, Philippines. Although primarily meant for those assigned in the retreat ministry in the setting, the new facility is surely a welcome addition to the retreat house complex. Indeed, the Salesians who are and will be assigned there now have a place which they can truly call their own: a fitting home for rest and for hospitality.

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by Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

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