This year’s celebration of the feast of Father Founder Anthony Claret was highlighted with the blessing of the new College seminary chapel. After 26 years of housing and forming the prayer dimension of the seminarians it now has a new ambiance to share. October 24, 2012 at 9:00 in the morning Fr. Leo Dalmao, cmf, the provincial superior of the Philippine Province blessed the chapel and opened its new door once again for prayer. The Eucharistic celebration was attended by more than 15 Claretian missionary priests from the different missionary communities. Religious sisters from different congregations also joined in the celebration.
Before the blessing, Fr. Santiago Gonzalez, cmf, provincial econome, presented the reflective theology motivating the design of the chapel. Fourteen (14) majestic stained glass windows adorn the sides of the chapel. These glass panels were arranged in parallel: the life of the missionary of God the Father who is Jesus and the apostolic missionary who is Claret. On one side, it starts with the Blessed Mother’s response to the
ANNUNCIATION OF THE ANGEL
BAPTISM AND MINISTRY OF JESUS
FEEDING THE MULTITUDE AND HEALING THE PARALYTIC
THE LAST SUPPER
AND HIS EVENTUAL DEATH AND GLORIOUS RESURRECTION
The presence of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, can be seen concretely carrying out the work of salvation in each of the stained glasses as they recall Christ’ life events, culminating with the Icon of the crucifixion on the altar.
On the other side of the chapel, the missionary response of St. Anthony Mary Claret, called, answered positively and followed the missionary life of Christ.
Portraits of Claret as an
THE FOUNDATION OF THE CONGREGATION
THE 51 MARTYRS OF BARBASTRO
THE TEACHING AND FORMATION PROCESS IN THE HEART OF MARY
THE TWO MOST BELOVED DISCIPLES OF JESUS AND CLARET, JOHN AND JAMES AND FINALLY AN INVITATION OF JESUS TO HARVEST
‘for the grain is plenty and the laborers are few’. Dramatically the life journey of Jesus, portrayed like a biography, ends with the inspired Crucifixion icon of st John the Evangelist and Mary, where a Claretian could find his source of sonship of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Here Christ would tell the seminarians as He did to His beloved apostle John “this is your mother” (Jn. 19:27) and St. Anthony Mary Claret would call all Claretians the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
There are other great theological symbolisms that the chapel features. A first-rate altar which at a glance one would think that it is carved, instead it was grown and taken from the garden of the seminary. The Altar tells of the faith of a Christian in a triune God. It is a single tree trunk, uprooted and brought to the chapel. It symbolizes one God, one nature, breaking into three branches Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The altar invites you to a closer look and one could discover a glass floor under the altar table showing the intricate design of the roots, teaching the seminarians the eternity of God to go and spread this faith. On top of the tree trunk there is a decorated table of precious narra wood where the Eucharist is celebrated and the Father feeds and nourishes his children with the Word and the Body and Blood of His Son. This is a chapel that by its own preaches and teaches the missionary call.
The renovation of the new chapel is not just for the spiritual growth of the seminarians but also for the growing community around the seminary, who joins the Eucharistic celebration daily and on Sunday. Now it can accommodate more disciples of Jesus and mass goers.
In the ideals of St. Anthony Mary Claret where he instructs us that the two pillars of a Claretian seminarian is prayer and study, the college library also went under an outstanding change and renovation. The library was expanded and rearranged allowing more space for study. It also now responds to the modern needs of new evangelization with new computers. Even the study tables in the new library show contemporary and ergonomic designs by Fr. Santiago Gonzalez. The Library was blessed too after the chapel.
Fr. Leo in his homily challenged seminarians and formators alike to make the new chapel and library a source of inspiration and an instrument for the aspiring missionaries to persevere in the call and put into practice scientia maxime cum virtute.