The Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia started its 23rd celebration of Religious Life Week on the 15th of January 2016. The theme for this year’s celebration is Care for our Common Home in the Cosmos: Ecological Conversion in Religious Life. 

The Opening Prayer was led by the students of ICLA from the Philippines and their friends from Indonesia, Malawi, and Vietnam.


In his welcome address, Fr. Samuel H. Canilang, CMF – Director of ICLA – gave the reasons for the choice of this year’s theme and resource speakers.


The whole welcome address is included as a feature article of RLW 2016.



The resource speaker on the first day of the symposium was Fr. Denis Edwards from Australia.

There were two main talks given by Fr. Edwards. The first talk focused on Jesus and the Natural World: The Theological Concept of Deep Incarnation, and the second talk dealt with the Eucharist and Ecological Conversion.



Fr. Denis Edwards summarized his second talk about the Eucharist and Ecological Conversion in four statements:

  1. We bring the whole creation to the Eucharistic table.

  2. In the Eucharist, we praise God with animals and plants, rivers and hills, stars and galaxies.

  3. In each Eucharist, we keep a memorial of both creation and redemption.

  4. Each Eucharist is an event of communion — of what Pope Francis calls sublime communion — with the rest of creation.


    After listening to the very insightful talks given by Fr. Denis Edwards, the audience participated in a dyad sharing of their thoughts, feelings, insights, and challenges. It was such an animated sharing that it took some time for the emcee to make them stop to give time for the open forum that followed.


    Ms. Menchie Rojas served as the emcee on the first day.


    There were around 500 participants on the First Day.




It was an afternoon and evening of fun, of presence, and of presents. That is how the ICLA Community Christmas Party 2015 can be summed up. This was held at the Moraleda Hall on the 15th of December. It started with parlor games in the afternoon organized by the student representatives with the dynamic leadership of Sr. Elvie Camilion of the Academic Department.

The evening program started with catered dinner, which everyone appreciated. This was followed by presentations starting with a Doxology in dance prepared by the First Year students.



Dr. Tessa Rosana, ICLA’s Registrar and Secretary, gave the Welcome Remarks while Sr. Marilou Montalban from the Philippines and Bro. John Yang Zhenxiong from China served as emcees for the program.


The presentations, consisting of dances, songs, and dramatizations, were interspersed with the giving of door prizes to lucky persons, whose names were drawn out by some ICLA professors. 







After the various presentations, Fr. Lonely Paul Mashonga announced the winners of the sports tournament and Ms. Eisen Villanueva handed the prizes to the winning groups and individuals. Congratulations to all the winners, especially to the Yellow Team—the over-all champion. Sr. Elvie Camilion also announced the winners of the parlor games.


One of the highlights of the program is the exchanging of gifts. Sr. Elvie read a story and each time the word “right” was mentioned, each person had to pass the gift she or he brought to the person on the right; likewise, when the word “left” was read, each person had to pass the gift to the left. When the story came to an end, the gift in one’s hand became one’s Christmas gift. 


After the exchanging of gifts, Fr. Christian Cangkung, CMF gave the closing message and the blessing. The fun and camaraderie continued with community dancing.


Pasko sa ICLA 2015 was indeed a joyful event, where brothers and sisters from different countries were united in celebrating once again the keeping of God’s promise and the coming of the Messiah.

“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders;

and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” 

Isaiah 9:6


The Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia held the 11th Missiology Forum on November 27, 2015 at ICLA’s Academic Building Conference Hall. The theme for this year’s forum is Caring for our Common Home: The Challenge of Laudato Si.


The event started with the singing of the Philippine National Anthem followed by the enthronement of the Bible. Fr. Pedro Dumpayan, Jr. served as the emcee of the Missiology Forum.


Fr. Samuel Canilang, CMF, Director of ICLA, welcomed the professors, students, and guests and formally opened the event. In his welcome address, Fr. Sammy explained that this year’s theme of the Missiology Forum is Caring for our Common Home: the Challenge of Laudato Si and the theme of the forthcoming Religious Life Week at ICLA is Care for our Common Home in the Cosmos: Ecological Conversion in Religious Life.  These two events— the Missiology Forum and the Religious Life Week— are ICLA’s response to the Holy Father’s encyclical, Laudato Si. These two events seek to deepen and contextualize the message and challenge of Laudato Si from the missiological, theological, and spiritual perspectives. The Missiology Forum is an expression of our solidarity with the whole world, which is threatened by the climate change and other ecological problems. Fr. Canilang expressed his hope that the summit on climate change called by the United Nations will come up with binding agreements and resolutions as well as concrete steps to address all these threatening ecological problems.


In his keynote address, Fr. Oscar Ante, OFM – Missiology Professor in ICLA – presented a summary of Laudato Si, the encyclical letter of Pope Francis on ecology.


Fr. Ante also identified some issues for further reflection and discussion with the hope that we become more active participants in the care of creation.

ICLA Students majoring in Missiology gave situation reports on the ecological problems and challenges in their countries. Fr. Jonathan Balakase from Zimbabwe, Sr. Anna Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh, LC from Vietnam, Fr. Robert Pau Gin Mung from Myanmar, and Mr. Romano Bulatao from the Philippines gave their situation reports with slide presentations.


Before Fr. Edgar Javier, SVD, the Missiology Coordinator and professor, gave his analysis of the situation reports given by the four presenters, a group of Vietnamese students performed a dance.


Fr. Javier thanked all those who attended the 11th Missiology Forum.  In his analysis, he pointed out the need to rediscover our kinship in the earth community. The earth is our mother and God’s temple. We can learn from the wisdom of the indigenous peoples, who are emerging in the midst of globalization. They are our teachers in saving the earth because we are kins to one another.  Caring for the earth should not only be part of our way of life; it should also be part of our spirituality.  Fr. Javier concluded his analysis by leaving the audience with two challenges: first, we need to educate ourselves so we can educate our people; second, we need to promote ecospirituality. The Institute provides the students with opportunities to know more about ecology, about the environment, and about ecospirituality.


After the open forum, Fr. Edgar Javier, SVD also gave a brief recapitulation of the Missiology Forum. He highlighted the glaring reality of environmental degradation and destruction. Much of the destruction of the earth, our mother and God’s temple, is due to human activities in the name of progress, in the name of development, or worst, in the name of the present market economy where everything is commodified. Fr. Javier proposed, as a response to the environmental situation, conversion to a life that is simple, to a life that is ecologically conscious, and to a life that is spiritually grounded on mother earth. Fr. Javier ended his recap saying, “The earth is groaning; humanity is crying. We should not be deaf to the cry of humanity nor to the groaning of creation.”

Before the singing of the new ICLA Anthem to end the Missiology Forum, Dr. Amalia Teresita Rosana, Biblical Ministry Coordinator and professor, gave the word of thanks on behalf of the Institute. She thanked Fr. Sammy for making ICLA always available for conferences that are very challenging intellectually, spiritually, socially, and morally.  She also thanked Fr. Edgar and the Missiology students for sponsoring the gathering. She gave special thanks to Fr. Oscar for walking us through the great encyclical Laudato Si. Lastly, Dr. Rosana thanked the presenters, the performers, the students from UST, the academic office, and everyone involved in the 11th Missiology Forum. 




The ICLA Director, Fr. Samuel Canilang, CMF, turned 52 on October 19, 2015; however, the ICLA community celebrated his birthday the following day, Tuesday, at lunchtime. Fr. Sammy returned from a short teaching stint outside the country on the night of his birthday.


Several students “took over the kitchen” and prepared authentic and tasty Asian dishes for the simple birthday banquet. At the end of the meal, a short program was emceed by Fr. Phe Ha of Myanmar and Sr. Bulan of Thailand with songs and dances from Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Korea. The celebration ended with Fr. Sammy’s sharing about his joy in living in this beautiful intercultural community, and giving his blessing to the community.



An ICLA academic staff member, Mr. Ronald Meniano, also celebrated his birthday on this day.


To both of you, Fr. Sammy and Ronald, may the Lord continue to deepen your dedication to your vocations and to ICLA’s mission. Maligayang kaarawan!



ruby header

Homily on my Ruby (40th) Ordination Anniversary

ICLA, 10 September 2015

Rev. Fr. Edgar Javier, SVD


My dear friends:

Today, we are celebrating my 40th ordination anniversary, 45th anniversary of my first profession of vows, 30th anniversary of my doctoral defense at the Pontificia Universita Gregoriana (Rome), and, more importantly, my 15th year of teaching at the Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia (ICLA).

Forty years ago, fifteen (15) of us were ordained. Today, only four (4) of us are still alive and active in the ministry. One is a missionary in Brazil, another one is a missionary in the Netherlands, and two of us, our former Superior General and I are assigned to the Divine Word Institute of Mission Studies (DWIMS) in Tagaytay.

Moments like this are moments of reminiscing, celebration, and renewal. The question is: “How did I come this far? Why did I survive?”



Idealism kept me going for the past forty (40) years....... Great minds had influenced me in my religious, missionary and priestly life. I was influenced by Dag Hammarskjold, the former Secretary General of the UNO. He once said, “I do not know when and where and why, but the moment I said ‘YES’ then my life has had meaning. William Shakespeare, in his Sonnet 29, said that “people with what they most enjoy are contented least.” In my life, I tried to do the opposite – that is, “with what I most enjoy, I was very contented.” Regrets, I have had a few; but in general, I have a happy religious, missionary, and priestly life. Albert Einstein has also influenced me a great deal. He once said, “Make it simple, but not simpler.” I kept that in mind.  I tried to live a simple life. And as a teacher, I emulated Socrates, Jesus Christ, and Siddhartha Gautama, who became a Buddha. Like Socrates, I teach by asking questions, like Jesus, I teach by telling stories, and like Buddha, I took silence as the answer to the riddles of life.

On the lighter side of life, I enjoyed the music of Burt Bacharach, especially the song “Alfie” sung by Dion Warwick. As the song goes, “Without true love we just exist.” Love is the essence of life. I love other peoples, other cultures, other religious traditions, and so forth. I love what is different from me, what is different from my culture, religious tradition, and so on. The word “different” had made my life make the difference. I also loved the music of Yanni, a Greek-American musician. He once said that “the best things in life are available to everyone.” Such things are silence, beauty, friendship, happiness, and so on. I believed in what he said and so took advantage of these good things in life.

Of course, prayer kept me alive! I prayed a great deal, but not in the conventional way. I communed with God in a non-conventional way. Believing that the “Earth is God’s Temple,” I enjoyed praying with nature. While praying, I tried to absorb the beauty, majesty, power, and the truth about God revealed in the created world. My prayers are also influenced by the current events that are taking place today. I loved praying for the victims of natural calamities, victims of diseases, victim of unjust structures and systems, and so on. The spirit of liberation theology influenced my daily prayer since the late 1960s when liberation theology was born.



The prayer that I said on the day that we were ordained....... was this: “Lord, give me the grace to finish what you have allowed me to begin in your name. Bless those who have helped me reach your altar.”

What we are celebrating today is not what I have achieved as a religious, missionary priest. Rather, we are celebrating God’s love for humanity and the created world. Grace upon grace was poured out on us and so we celebrate today God’s blessings.

We are also celebrating the missionariness of God. We are celebrating the mystery, the deep and unconditional love of God for us and for the world, and his mission to make us come to the knowledge of the Truth. It is not so much that we understand the mystery, but that the Mystery understands us. It is not so much that we love God but that God loved us first. It is not so much that we come to understand the truth, but that the Truth sets us free from ignorance of who God really is.

We also celebrate today the giftedness of the many peoples whom I have encountered across cultures and religious traditions. Their welcoming smiles, words of encouragement, and prayers had paved the way in building a welcoming and inclusivist Church for contemporary times.



Moments like this are opportunities for renewal....... And so, before you, my brothers and sisters in Christ in ICLA, I will renew my vows. I will recite the formula that we used forty-five years ago.

“And so, I, Edgar Javier, solemnly promise you, O holy and triune God, to observe forever poverty, chastity, and obedience, in accordance with the Constitution of the Society of the Divine Word.”

“Mary, the Star of Evangelization” I entrust my whole life to you. Saint Arnold Janssen (SVD founder) and Saint Joseph Freinademetz (first SVD missionary to China), pray for me.

Thank you for joining me today to celebrate the Eucharist, the bread for our missionary journey. I look forward to celebrating with you – God willing – my golden jubilee on September 5, 2025. God bless us all.

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