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!



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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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Written by Fr. Samuel Canilang, CMF

Fr. Marcellí "Marcelino" Fonts, our retreat director this year (2015), is a Spanish Claretian Missionary working in Japan ‒ which is a part of the Claretian East Asian Delegation ‒ for several years (about 40). He was born near the birthplace of St. Anthony Mary Claret, the Founder of the Claretian Missionaries, in Catalonia. He is a Claretain by birth and by vocation!

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Fr. Marcelino is not really a stranger to ICLA. Just a little bit of history: ICLA was founded upon the collaboration of Claretians in Asia. In the year of the Institute's foundation, Fr. Marcelino was the major superior of the East Asian Delegation. Under his leadership, the Delegation supported the foundation of ICLA, not only morally, but also finacially. Moreover, for some years, he taught the subject on prayer in the Institute.

Fr. Domingo Moraleda, the principal founder of ICLA, used to call Fr. Marcelino "un santo varon" ‒ a holy gentleman. Fr. Marcelino ‒ as a missionary, as a superior, and as a formator ‒ has a long and deep experience of the life of prayer. He has successfully blended the Christian tradition of prayer and a popular Asian method of meditation ‒ particularly, Zen. He has been giving seminars on prayer for several years in different parts of the world.

The annual retreat of the ICLA students for Academic Year 2015-2016 started on August 24, 2015. The Theme of this year's retreat is CALLED to be AWAKE, AWARE, and ATTENTIVE.

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After the Community Morning Prayer, Fr. Sammy Canilang CMF, Director of ICLA, introduced the Retreat Master, Fr. Marcellino Fonts, CMFa Spanish missionary, who lived in Japan for forty years. More information about Fr. Fonts, especially his participation in the establishment of ICLA, will be written in another article.

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Each day of the retreat has two conferences: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. There are also two guided meditations. The Eucharistic celebration is usually at 11:00 AM except on the last day which will be the culminating activity at 5:30 PM. Each night at 8:15 is the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for adoration.

In the first conference, Fr. Marcellino Fonts posed these questions: Am I awake? Fully awake? Some of the highlights of the first two conferences are shown in the slides below.

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