"Maraming salamat po!" CASPI superintendent

Father Edwin Agapay sent a letter of appreciation and short report on the Labayen Self-Integrity Scholarship.

Nine graduate of Mt. Carmel schools in the Prelatue of Infanta received funds according to their needs. All scholars submitted tot he CASP office, their grades and certificates of community development, a requirement of Metro Infanta Foundation to continue funding their scholarships. The Foundation is still waiting for a copy of said reports however.

Meanwhile here is the complete list of scholars of Metro Infanta Foundation

Raymond Paul Coralde, MCHS-Polillo

Abigail N. Hernanez, MCHS-Burdeos

Mary Grace Balico, SPA-Dingalan

Renee Rose Cabasag, MCHS-Casiguran

Nomie M. Pujeda, MCHS-Infanta

Jocelyn Villmar, FJKMHS-Dipaculao

Mary Jane Talento, MCHS-Maria Aurora

Charito Bargues, MCC-Baler

Mark Kristian Espinosa, MCHS-San Luis

Each of the above received anywhere from 30,000 pesos to 40,000 each year until they graduate, depending on their choice of school and field of studies.

Metro Infanta Foundation: Its impact in the Prelature of Infanta and beyond

By Deacon Mario van Loon, ACT

Editor's Note: Deacon Mario is on loan to the Prelature of Infanta from the Netherlands. He serves as the prelature's project manager, who raises funds for the entire prelature. Deacon Mario also serves as the grants distributor for the Foundation. Below is his reflection on what impact the Foundation has in the prelature.

We hope this is the first of a series of reflections on how Metro Infanta Foundation is making a difference in the lives of those we serve.

Almost every time I visit Europe one or the other person asks me what I do with the money that I am given for my mission. They have heard so many stories about money going to other destinations than the poor people in the mission.

I tell them without hesitation the following:

When people give me money with the general indication: 'It's for your Mission' or 'It's for the Poor', I can tell you exactly what will happen to the money. The money goes to education. There is only one exception. Lets talk about that first:

There are cases, which I call "Extreme Emergencies", when money is needed to save a person's life. Example: A mother comes to me and says: My child is in the hospital. The doctors need to operate otherwise it will die. Can you give me the money to save the life of my child. I will give the money, when I have it.

These emergencies are the only exception on my rule. What is my rule:

Give people an education so that they can build their life properly.

In every family there should be at least one child that can finish college.

In my experience that makes an impact not only on the life of the child but on the whole family. I have seen families come out of the squatter area because of one child getting a degree and changing their life. I can tell you the stories of families who changed not only themselves but their barrio, because one of their elder children became a teacher and started the process of change first in his/her own family, and consequently in the village.

A basic Christian principle that, thank God, still exists in the Philippine culture is the care of the family members for each other. Ate and Kuya often sacrifice their lives in order to give life to their younger brothers and sisters and even to their nephews and nieces. On this principle we can build the process of change: One child in each family can make a decisive impact.

Therefore, one of the projects of Metro Infanta Foundation that makes an impact is the Scholarship Program. Imagine all those lives being transformed for good, for the good of the person, for the good of the community and ultimately for the good of the nation and the world.

When I was young I wanted to transform the whole world…quickly.

After thirty years in the Third World, I know that I cannot change the world, not quickly. But I can have an impact on some people lives. And that simple fact, makes me very happy, indeed. It can make you happy also!

Prelature reshuffles clergy assignments

Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona, new bishop of the Prelature of Infanta has confrmed the new clergy assignments effective in March 2004. These assigments are as follows:

Dilasag: Fr. Erlo Poblete - parish priest

Casiguran: Fr. Olet Avenilla- parish priest

Fr. Andy Lumasac, Mount Carmel College

Bianuan: Fr. Joefran Talaban- parish priest

Dinalungan: Fr. Boyet Valenzuela- parish priest

Dipaculao: Fr. Ed Veluz- parish priest

Maria Aurora: Fr. Israel Gabriel - parish priest

Quirino - sub-parish: Fr. Eric Avellaneda

Baler: Fr. Dabu Villaflor - parish priest

Fr. Arnel Riofrio, FLP - assistent

San Luis: Fr. Nilvon Co Villanueva, parish priest

Fr. Froilan Rivera , college seminary

Dingalan: Fr. Toneh Evangelio - parish priest

Nakar: Fr. Mario Establecida - parish priest

Infanta: Fr. Boy Makabenta - parish priest

Fr. Lou Evangelista

Fr. Francis Lucas

Real: Fr. Osee Molde - parish priest

Polillo: Fr. Noe Ramos - parish priest

Burdeos: Fr. Manny Leyran - parish priest

Panukulan: Fr. Madz de Leon, AM - parish priest

Jomalig: Fr. Alex Sorongon - parish priest

Seminary: Rector: Fr. Edwin Agapay

Spiritual Director: Fr. Aye Loterte

Spiritual Director: Fr. Nonong Pili

Other Assignments:

Chancellor: Fr. Cha Colendres

Social Communications: Fr. Francis Lucas

Social Action: Fr. Israel Gabriel

SPI: Fr. Nonong Pili

Deacon Mario Van Loon, project manager in charge of raising funds for the Prelature of Infanta

Many of the Carmelites gathered in Infanta in 1997 to celebrate the Golden anniversary of the opening of the Carmelite mission in the Prelature of Infanta.

"The Carmelite Tradition and Spirit in the Prelature of Infanta"

by Fr. Francis Lucas

Fr. Patrick Shanley, chaplain of the US 248th Military Hospital, first came to the Philippines in 1945. He met the then first lady Aurora Quezon who requested him for the Carmelite Friars to come to the Philippines.

Fr. Patrick Shanley

This request materialized when the first batch of Carmelite Friars came to Infanta in 1947. Their names were:

Fr. Gabriel Gates (the superior)
Fr. Patrick Shanley
Fr. Andrew Le Febre
Fr. Leo Mc Crudden
Fr. Herman Esselman
Bro. Vincent Scheerer

There were five (5) priests and one (1) Brother. At the time of their arrival there was a sole diocesan priest who was assigned in Polillo by the name of Fr. Salvosa. Polillo was the only parish that had a priest then. He too was the last diocesan priest assigned in the area before the Carmelites officially took over the prelature. Fr. Salvosa hailed from Polillo, Quezon.

In 1949, Fr. Dominic Scheerer another American Carmelite came to the Philippines to replace Fr. Leo McCrudden who drownedon July 4, 1948, during a storm in Baler.

In 1950 two Italian Carmelites were sent to the Philippines namely:

Fr. Athanasius Daneieletti
Fr. Thomas Pamoli

1950 saw the complete take over of the Carmelite Friars in the Prelature of Infanta. This same year, the Prelature of Infanta was created in September 1950. Then Rufino Santos was the Bishop Apostolic Administrator of Lipa and Auxiliary Bishop of Manila under the tutelage of then Bishop Gabriel Reyes.

As soon as Bishop Santos was assigned in 1950 as apostolic Administrator of the Prelature of Infanta, he immediately "delegated" the post to Fr. Patrick Shanley as the the Apostolic Administrator of the Prelature. Take note, Fr. Gates was then in Baler while Shanley remained in Infanta.

The first foundation of the Carmelites in the Philippines and in the Prelature was in Infanta. Later it was suppressed and transferred to Polillo. Thus the Carmelite Friars' presence in the Philippines was first in the Prelature of Infanta. Infanta is both historical, monumental and memorable to the Carmelite Friars in the Philippines. The first batch were all Americans from the American Province.

Fr. Patrick Shanley was elected and appointed as Prelate Ordinary of the Prelature of Infanta on February 17, 1953. He was consecrated bishop in March 7, 1953.

In summary: 1947 There were 5 Carmelite American Friars
1 Diocesan Priest
1 Brother

To continue: In 1951 Two new priests this time Irish were sent to Infanta they were:

Fr. Sebastian Buckley
Fr. Basil Nolan (was assigned in Infanta for a time)

By 1960 Other Carmelite priests came to the Prelature:

Fr. James Meldrum
Fr. Hyacinth Scheerer
Fr. Joseph Flannery
Fr. Giles Dzuban
Fr. Benedict Bishop
Fr. Elias Gough
Bro. Mark Esselman.

From 1965 to 1970 other priests came and other returned to States, The new names were:

Fr. Cyril Guise
Fr. Richard Lindgren
Fr. Nicolas Riddell
Fr. Alan Rieger
Fr. Tom Martin
Fr. Ignacio Reed
Fr. Benjamin Green
Fr. Ernest Unverdorben

The 1960-70 I suppose were the golden years of the Carmelite Presence in the Prelature of Infanta.  

Prelature of Infanta to continue Carmelite tradition with new bishop!

July 3, 2003. Pope John Paul II formally appointed on June 28, 2003 Carmelite Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona to replace the retired 77-year old Bishop Julio X. Labayen as Prelate of Infanta. Thus, the Carmelite tradition started by the late Bishop Patrick Shanley and followed by Bishop Labayen will continue in the Prelature of Infanta.


Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona, OCD DD

Newly Appointed Prelate of Infanta

Birth: July 22, 1946

Place of Birth: Sampaloc, Manila

Sacerdotal Ordination: April 21, 1974, Rome

Episcopal Ordination: December 29,1994 &endash; Manila Cathedral


Centro Escolar University
Manila, 1952-1958

High School
Centro Escolar University
Manila, 1958-1962

Political Science
San Beda College
Manila, 1962-1965

San Carlos Seminary
Makati, 1968

Mt. Carmel Carmelite Monastery
Haifa, Israel, 1969-1970

Collegio Internazionale
Carmelitani Scalzi
"Teresianum", Rome, 1970-1974

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)
Institutio di Spiritualita
Rome, 1975

1976- Member, Formation Team, Carmelite Seminary, Tugbok, Davao City

1976-1978- Novice Director, Carmelite Fathers Novitiate, Davao City

1978- Member, Parish Team, Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish, New Manila

1978-1980- Parish Team Member,Carmelite Shrine Parish, New Manila

1979- Postulant Director, Carmelite Seminary, Davao City

Professor, Formation Institute for Religious, Davao City

Teaching Staff, Summer Institute of Spirituality, MOL, Novaliches

Staff, Summer Spirituality Seminar, Davao City

Spiritual Director, St. Francis College Seminary, Davao City

Parish Priest, Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish New Manila

Superior, Carmelite Community, New Manila

OCD Provincial Councilor

1981-1986- Parish Priest, Carmelite Shrine Parish, New Manila

Parish Team, St. Anthony Parish,Casiguran, Aurora Province

Professor, CCD, Quezon City District

1986- Staff, BCC-CO Luzon

1986-1990- Rector, Carmelite Scholasticate, Monastery of St. John of the Cross, New Manila

OCD Provincial Councilor

Rector, St. John of the Cross Seminary,New Manila

1988- Professor, Mary Hill School of Theology

1989- Religious Assistant to the Carmelite Nuns

1990-1992- Parish Priest, Carmelite Shrine Parish, New Manila

1992-1994- Provincial Superior

1996 - Bishop of Malolos

Source: Diocese of Malolos

St. Mark's Cathedral
Infanta, Quezon

Seat of the Prelature of Infanta

The Prelature of Infanta

Erected: April 25, 1950
From: Diocese of Lipa

Bishop Patrick Shanley, OCD (dec)
Appointed Feb. 17, 1953
Resigned in 1960

Bishop Julio X. Labayen, OCD
Appointed July 26, 1966
Retired June 28, 2003

Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona, OCD
Appointed June 28, 2003 -

Catholic Population
1950: 40,000 Catholics (80% of 50,000)
2002: 387,660 (90% of 430,734)

Diocesan priests
1950: 6
2002: 28

Religious Priests
1970: 12
2002: 9

Catholic per priest
1950: 6,666
2002: 10,477

Total Priests
1950: 6
2002: 37

Permanent Deacon
1950: 0
2002: 1

Male Religious
1970: 15
2002: 9

Female Religious
1970: 15
2002: 31

1950: 4
2002: 18

Square Kilometers: 7,189 (2,776 sq. m)

-- Source: Catholic-Hierarchy.org

Editor's Note: We question the statistics under Diocesan Priests for 1950 which shows 6 diocesan priests. Historically the Carmelites opened their mission in Infanta in Feb. 1947 with four priests -- Fr. Patrick Shanley, Fr. Andrew LeFebre, Fr. Herman Esselman, Fr. Gabriel Gates, and Fr. Leo McCrudden -- and a brother -- Bro. Vincent Scheerer. In 1949 Fr. Dominic Scheerer followed the original six.

Thus by 1950, there were six Religious priests and one brother. Fr. Shanley was named the first bishop of the Prelature of Infanta.

Prelature's Pastoral Conference V may be last for Bishop Labayen

by Deacon Mario Van Loon

Feb. 11, 2003

Editor's Note: The Prelature of Infanta, realizing that Bishop Julio X. Labayen, OCD, may be seeing his last days as bishop/Prelatre, held its fifth Pastoral Conference in Antipolo. It was attended by all sectors of the prelature, include clergy, lay and its Catholic school delegates and others.The Pastoral Conference looked back on its more than 50 years history and looks forward to the future with its eyes toward a new bishop to replace Bishop Labayen.

Both the Socio-Pastoral Staff and the Yapak Formation Staff facilitated the conference.

Below is a short account by Deacon Mario on some happenings of PPCV.

I am still kind of overwhelmed by the happenings in the pastoral conference. It was an enormous process. We achieved all we had hoped for and the atmosphere was celebrative from the beginning till the end. Bishop was/is so proud of his handy work. He got a beautiful plaque for 42 years of leadership, inspiration and episcopal seal. I myself got one also, big surprise, for 25 years loyal service to the Church of the Poor.

Last night during the last eucharistic celebration many of us cried, because it is obvious that Bishop is at the end of the rope. His voice is lettinghim down and his strength disappears like snow for the sun. Therefore, it was so important to secure in this conference the gains that he has been able to foster in the Prelature.

The Bishop announced that the Nuncio has assured him of having a replacement around May this year. Let's hope it is true and let's hope that we can work with the new man on the same track.

The working together with SPI and the Yapak staff was not only smooth but very effective and succesful. No complaints, no problems. When I came in the second morning with your good news about the funds* (see story in next column) it gave another boost in the right direction. We are flying high and that was apparent in the whole conference. Together with Fr. Nonong and Richard we made an historical screen of the Prelature's 50+ year journey. It provided the background for the whole process. It gave also the possibility to make each one, old and young, feel connected to the Prelature's trouble but beautiful history.

SPI's Bembet Madrid and Aurora Alipao were crucial for the process, making the summaries and explaining the historical necessities in very clear sociological terms, while Bishop, Nonong and, with the support of Fr. Edwin, provided the theological and ecclesiological fundamentals. Fr. Francis was absolutely great the last day in guiding the assembly to a realistic and inspiring plan of action. In short, the feeling of a new found unity and solidarity was overwhelming!

Socio-Pastoral Institute a partner in building the Kingdom of God

by Mila Glodava

Feb. 11, 2003

The SPI staff ably coordinated and facilitated Metro Infanta Foundation's book launching of "Labong ng Kawayan: Walking through the pathways and streets of Infanta" in June 2002 in Manila.

The Socio Pastoral Institute has positioned itself in the Philippine church as an able facilitator toward the "integral renewal and building up of the church and society, in developing an effective strategy to reach our dream of helping build "a new heaven and new earth."

Founded and headed by Bishop Julio X. Labayen , OCD, SPI uses three key ingredients in their strategy to cultural formation: 1) a vision of what could be, 2) knowledge of the way things are, and 3) an understanding of the general process of cultural change.

SPI believes in the renewal of the Church and society by proclaiming the Church of Poor as an alternative to the Christendom model. With this in mind the SPI staff assist in practical matters of building and promoting the Church of poor through pastoral facilitation and formation services, research, publication and video productions.

SPI staff consisting of Deacon Mario Van Loon, Fr. Nonong Pili, Bembet Madrid, Aurora Alipao, Mayee Abear-Marzan, Jing Saavedra -Apuhin Richard Vergara and others (Joey Clemente, its executive director is currently on sick leave), were very much part of the formation programs for the Prelature of Infanta and many other Philippine dioceses that have declared their "preferential option for the poor."

It was no surprise that SPI staff were present at the 5th Pastoral conference of the Prelature of Infanta (see story on the left). SPI staff also facilitated the January conference on "Sustainability of the Church of the Poor through Stewardship and Formation."

As a result, SPI has been given the task of "creating a module on stewardship which is adapted to the reality of the Philippine Church. They will provide the materials needed, create a task force for dissemination and assist in building the network of a network of stewardship practitioners and volunteer-teachers for the module."

To aid them in this huge task, St. Thomas More Parish will fund ($10,000 per year, with the first installment recently disbursed) the three-year implementation process that was agreed upon at the conference. In addition, Metro Infanta Foundation facilitated a mission appeal on their behalf in the Archdiocese of Denver. With the help of Fr. Nilvon Villanueva, the appeal generated at least $12,000.

Said funds should help sustain the SPI office for a few years.