Dear Columban Friend,
The missionary vocation not only calls us to witness but also to serve. As a young man pondering a vocation, I was attracted to the Columbans because they were missionaries to the nations. It is in the encounter with our brothers and sisters of all nations that God’s Kingdom is most fully revealed and when our vocations take on their fullest meaning.
How You Can Help:
- One room, fully furnished $4500-$5000
- Bed $50-$75
- Computer $600-$650
- Bookcase $100
- Wardrobe $80-$120
- Armchairs $80-$120
- Construction cost per square foot, estimated $54-$64
It is with great joy that I write to you today about our need to renovate and expand our formation house in Quezon City, the Philippines, where Columban seminarians are housed and educated. Like me, young men today are drawn to the Missionary Society of St. Columban and our work as cross-cultural missionaries. The Columbans went to the Philippines in 1929 and started accepting vocations from the Philippines and other countries where Columbans serve in 1984. Due to the unique position of the largely Catholic Philippines in Asia, we foresee a continuation of the present trend for students from other regions to come to the Philippines for part of their training. We see this as a service that the Philippine Region is in a unique position to offer, and we also see that it will have the potential of greatly enriching the seminary experience for all candidates.
The current formation house in Quezon City has a lot of limitations; size is just one of them. The house has become too small. We have too many students and not enough space! While we are thrilled to have so many students, we currently have to house some of them in another, rented house which separates them from their classmates.
Architecturally, the current design of the house can best be described as utilitarian, although it fails in a few areas there as well. The rector’s office had to be retro-fitted with more substantial walls, as a lot of what was said during confidential counseling sessions could be heard in the hallway. The library needs to be much bigger to accommodate more computer desks.
Our formation program is quite demanding, for both students and formators. We want to provide all the students need to help them succeed. For the students to succeed, they need a quiet library and other well lighted places for reading and studying, a room with sturdy walls for confidential discussions, a classroom for in-house classes, a computer room with internet access along with recreation space, as well as adequate bathing, cooking, dining and laundry facilities. Perhaps most importantly, they need a chapel that is dignified and lends itself to well done prayer services and liturgies.
The formation house needs to be functional, certainly not palatial. It should be peaceful and well run. There needs to be a certain sense of tranquility to facilitate the study, prayer and personal reflection that are such important parts of seminarians’ lives. Recreation is also a part of a balanced life. A basketball court or a space for volleyball would be a good addition to the property.
The amount needed for the construction is around $400,000 which will allow us to accommodate more than double the current number of students, house four staff members instead of two and add one guest room for visiting Columbans and others. The library will expand, and the new chapel will be built.
Columban Fathers around the world pray for those who support their work. It is the best way we know to say thank you for all you do for us. The real thanks will have to come from the Lord, and we ask Him to bless you in our prayers and Masses.
Gratefully yours in Christ,
Fr. Arturo Aguilar