25 years in Cebu

“A gathering of thanksgiving to the Lord.”

 – Archbishop Jose S. Palma

Today we have indeed a very appropriate theme, to appreciate the charism of the brothers, the Community of St. John…why the spirit has inspired the founder and of course how they look at their community and their charism, as their way of enriching the church….

In the midst of our busy life, it was a reminder that one essential thing we should not forget, namely – to have time for the Lord. This is the message of the contemplative, of the religious. That they have followed Jesus, to remind us…to remind the world, that yes, we do a lot of things, but even then we should come and spend time with the Lord.

In our Christian life…it’s not so much what we give to the Lord, it is what the Lord gives to us…it is the Lord being very hospitable in providing us the Word of God, in providing us the Eucharist… – Archbishop Jose Palma

This is the message of His Excellency Archbishop Jose S. Palma, during his homily on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Brothers of St. John in Cebu, last July 21, 2019.  There were about 500 people who joined the joyful gathering. Oblates, scholars, young professionals, friends, benefactors, supporters, the Apostolic Sisters of St. John, brothers and sisters from other communities, and all those who became part of the big family of St. John came to witness this big event.

The life of the brothers is mainly a life of prayer and contemplation of the mysteries of God.  But they never kept this beautiful life to themselves. They have always shared this charism of friendship with Jesus, to each person they meet along the way.  If you ask the people around, how they came to know the brothers, the answer is most often linked to their search for God, their search for the truth. And how the brothers have led them and accompanied them to this intimate encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist. Indeed the 25th anniversary is a great witnessing of the fruits that the presence of the brothers have brought to the island of Cebu.

After the Holy Mass, a festive lunch was shared. This was followed by the most awaited anniversary program, featuring the San Diego dancers for the opening number.  But of course, God has His own way of exciting us! We were not only blessed by an outpouring of talents, we were also blessed with an outpouring of rain! Yeah! In the middle of the program, the rain came!  But as St. Paul says, who could keep us away from the love of God? Trials, persecution, sunshine or rain? Nothing could keep us from being joyful for the many gifts God has given us for the past 25 years.  The technical team played worship songs, while everyone enjoyed the music under the shade.  Br. Samuel Mary took his guitar and sang his original composition to the Child Jesus.  After his song, the sun came back!  Thankfully the sun stayed in the sky the whole afternoon.  Everyone enjoyed watching the great talents from the different St. John groups.  We had the traditional Filipino dances from the oblates, the Sound of Music song and dance performance from the choir, the modern worship dance from the young professionals group called Christian Chill (CH2), dance performances of the children and mothers from Sitio Tugas, and the very artistic interpretation of the Wedding Feast of Cana by the scholars. Finally, for the last performance, the Brothers of St. John had a one of a kind skit, and surprisingly a dance number about saying “yes” to Jesus! Thank you brothers for your Fiat, in all these 25 years of presence here in Cebu.  Cheers to many more years of service to the Filipinos!

This year, the brothers will begin the construction of an apostolic priory in Tabo-an Cebu.  This will be the future home to young people, families and friends who seek to have time for God amidst the busy city life.

A big thank you to all the brothers for all the organization and preparation of this event. A big thank you also to all the committees, volunteers, helpers, benefactors, and to EVERYONE who in one way or another have made this event possible. Thank you for being a part of the St. John family!  Know that you are always in our prayers.

Happy 25th Anniversary!

Photo Credits: Chris Jude Orbeta

See more photos in Our Gallery.

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Our vision is a city where young people can grow in their faith, in the sense of their responsibility. Inspired by this vision, we want to establish a new house for the mission of the Brothers of Saint John in Cebu City.