Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Reunion and a Departure

Yesterday, Fr Jepoy OP, who has been studying in Paris, returned to Dagat-dagatan for my despedida or going-away party. It was a small event and we were joined by close friends in the parish and lay Dominicans and two of my former students.

Fr Jepoy is back in Manila for his month-long summer break and it was wonderful to see him again and to hear about his experiences of life in the Dominican Convent of Saint Jacques, Paris and his joy in discovering French coffee, wine, cheese and the way of life in Europe. Our community here in the Filial House of San Lorenzo Ruiz - Frs Allan, Terry and Jepoy (shown above from right to left) and I - were reunited for one night and it was such good fun and laughter, as if we'd both never left it.

And even as he returns to the familiarity of home in the Philippines, so too I am departing later this day for the familiarity of my home and family in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My three weeks in the Philippines have really flown by quickly. They have not been hectic or too eventful but pleasantly full with the pleasure of just being here where I feel much at ease and relaxed. It's been just the kind of sojourn I need before returning to the UK in September. It may not be the sort of holiday most people envisage, to come to a Third World parish and cope with floods and poverty... But I know that what matters in life is not so much material comforts but happiness with people, especially "my kids" and the joys of a Dominican community life.

I really feel ready now to set off to Cambridge next month and discover the community there and to become a part of their common life and to embark on my Novitiate! Before then, as I leave the relaxed way of life that characterises these islands, I shall return to my family and friends in Malaysia and Singapore and a noticeably more intense pace of life. There will be administrative details to tie up before I am ready to set off for England, a large family event to organize and attend and people to see and say good-bye to!

I reckon it will be at least another two years before I next get a chance to return to this part of the world and I hope I may come back to Dagat-dagatan then too and see the new parish church completed, "my kids" grown-up and I pray an improved standard of living for the people here. But that's all in the future which I commit into the hands of the Lord!

For now, I am content to offer myself to Him through Our Lady of Guadalupe and as I journey again, I entrust my steps to her motherly care and protection.

May St Clare, whose feast we remember today, pray for me too.

The friends we know, we meet along the way;
Too soon the times we share form part of yesterday,
'Cause life's a constant change
And nothing stays the same, oh no...

- from Constant Change by Jose Mari Chan, a Filipino songwriter and singer.


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