"Ora et Labora"
Our Genesis – The Humble Beginnings of the Servants of the Risen Christ
By: Rev. Fr. Elmer Gonzales, SRC-DC
The year was 1991. It was in July when everything was rumbling. There was zero visibility if one were riding a car. Mud and pyroplastic covered by entire horizon of Pampanga, Zambales and Tarlac. The people were shocked, disturbed and frightened by this horrible experience of ash flow. They were all asking each other these questions: When will this turmoil end? What devastation has come to us? What will come next? Our future is blink with uncertainty… What will become of our children? Lord have mercy, only a single prayer emanated from their lips, in
the midst of darkness and anxiety.
It was in this historical event that God was designing something wonderful for our future. Fr. Archie and I were dreaming and wishing something beautiful for God… Discussing, comparing notes, events and experiences for what God has in the Diocese of Tarlac. In the midst of the Pinatubo eruption two souls envisioned a monastery where God can be adored in SILENCE, in SERENITY, in SOLITUDE and in STILLNESS. What a strange dream it was when everybody was thinking and hoping for survival.
Responding to the call of the moment, Fr. Archie and I went to a nearby barangay in Dolores to bless an old woman who died two or three days ago. Before leaving we pray together about our dream – a dream of building of monastery in Tarlac. Putting our hands together we prayed the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. There was zero visibility but I believed in the unfathomable love of God. The “Lux Mundi” would guide us in the pursuit of our dream. The rest were to be the flow of events for 10 years.
1996 Bishop Florentino F. Cinense, Bishop of Tarlac, informed Fr. Archie of a proposal to send him for post-graduate studies (Licentiate or Doctorate) in Rome. This meant leaving his assignment at St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in Ramos, Tarlac. We have been anticipating his departure to Rome in July or August because the school year in Europe starts in September, Fr. Archie prepared him self, worked out his papers and waited for further instructions from the Bishop. God indeed is a God of surprises.
A group of young men approached Fr. Archie for his guidance in starting a religious community. He let them stay at the parish to discern Gods will for them.
1997 The pious group was growing in number. What we only had in mind was that whatever the Bishop decided, we would abide.
There were late nights to early morning discussions about the reality of what we wanted to pursue. The fears, the sidelights and shadows, the highlights and favors made existence a rollercoaster. What was God’s will for us was soon to be unfolded. The parishioners in Ramos were very supportive. Along with them we experienced the birth pangs of the early years of the monastic community.
1998 After two years, the Bishop announced publicly the existence of a certain pious group which was trying to live the charism in the example of St. Augustine, Dominic and Benedict, embracing a contemplative – monastic life. The formal founding of this community took place on September 14, 1998 on the feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The pioneering group consisted of Rev. Fr. Archie, Rev. Fr. Vincent Romuald, Frt. Thomas Mary Lawrence, Frt. Martin Joseph and Frt. Paul Benedict.
1999 The monastic community strived to live out the motto of St. Benedict; Ora et Labora. Their mission was felt by the surrounding vicariate, villages and parishes. A concrete manifestation of this was an orphanage for the abandoned children who were sent to school, whose needs where taken care of and who were given a good upbringing,
Mother Catherine, the mother superior of the Contemplative Nuns of the Risen Christ arrived, initially her group started as Handmaids but the turn of events and God’s will, it branch out into two other women congregation namely; The Oblates and the Contemplatives of the Risen Christ.
2000 Always loving God and neighbor was the utmost goal and conviction of each one who’s strived to line this way of life in spite of their imperfections. Trying to be a brother to one another was not all easy, yet in trying to fulfill the commandment of mutual love and the virtue of self – struggle were indeed a gift from God. Moved by God’s grace very ups and downs were learning experiences and opportunities to mature in one’s vocation,
The Oblates of the Risen Christ was founded with Sor. Salvation, ORC, as its mother superior. Its mission was to be catechist in parishes or in schools, public or private.
2001 The Boy’s village housing 15 children came to exists. Fr. Archie continued his role as the founder – prior with the Bishop of Tarlac remained his co-founder and Bishop Protector of the growing monastic community.
A new house for eight Contemplative Nuns was put up.
On March 7, 2001 – The blessing of the Prior’s hermitage was held. It was also the birthday of the prior founder. The birth of the Handmaids of the Risen Christ had come, Sor. Claire Bernadette became the Mother Superior with the charism of Easter Joy and the Marian way as maid – servants in giving hope, care and love to the hopeless, the orphaned, the aged and the marginalized. The Little Angels Orphanage was established.
2002 On December 2, 2002 at Brgy. Lubigan, San Jose, Tarlac, the historical ground breaking of the proposed monastic building took place alongside with the blessing of the 30-feet statue of the Risen Christ which was presided by his Excellency Most. Rev. Gabriel Reyes, D.D. from the Diocese of Antipolo, and the Most. Rev. Florentino F. Cinense, D.D. from the Diocese of Tarlac in the presence of, the then Governor Jose Aping Yap, the faithful from other parishes of the Diocese of Tarlac.
2003 The servants and the Handmaids of the Risen Christ were growing in numbers. Many vocations arrived as the page of our history unfolded. The medieval type of architecture like the visitors’ kiosk and five hermitages were constructed together with other facilities to accommodate our pilgrims while staying with the community.
2004 The groundbreaking for the oratory was held, which was attended by our “Mother” and Donor – Mrs. Teresita “Imang Tess” Nepomuceno vda. De Wilkerson from Angeles City, Pampanga. The Chapel and the 12-room dormitory were constructed. While the procurement of additional furniture was necessary to meet the needs of a new home for monastic formation.
2005 The President of the Philippine-German Associate in Oberhausen, Germany – Mr. Lutz Ruhloff invited Fr. Archie to be a guest for the world Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany. During his visit, he met Msgr. Volker Bauer from the Diocese of Essen in Germany, who was then the custodian of the Relic of the Holy Cross of Jesus. His search for the ideal and willing candidate to look after the relic was finally over. Fr. Archie who has a homegrown monastic community was chosen to bring home the relic and be its next custodian.
2006 The confirmation of the coming of the relic of the Holy Cross was formally announced to the community and later to the public. The existing chapel was elevated to be the relinquary house of the relic. The construction started in the month of November. The chapel is patterned after Europe baroque type of architecture with its imposing façade and surrounded by a sprawling piazza. It is heavily embellished and design with baroque style trimmings, giving structure grandeur of medieval art and culture.
October 10, 2006 – Little Angels Orphanage in Tagaytay expanded with Sor. Pauline, HRC as its Administrator.
2007 On January 30, 2007, the much awaited inauguration and blessing of the Chapel took place, preside by the Most Rev. Fernando Filoni, D.D., - Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines together with Archbishops, Bishop and guest Priests. And among those Bishops in attendance were: Most Rev. Florentino F. Cinense, D.D., - Tarlac; Most Rev. Paciano Aniceto, D.D. – Pampanga; Most Rev. Ernesto Salgado, D.D. – Nueva Segovia; Most Rev. Diosdado Talamayan, D.D. – Tuguegarao; Most Rev. Antoinette Cabajog, D.D. – Surigao; Most Rev. Sofronio Bancud, SSS, D.D. – Cabanatuan; Most Rev. Roberto Mallari, D.D. – Pampanga. The presence of Msgr. Volker Bauer, Rev. Fr. Joachim Kiwit, Rev. Fr. Alfred Voss and other German dignitaries and friends added more life and grace to the occasion.
The Relic was enclosed in a silver arquetta (ark) engraved with catholic symbols of crucifixion such as a pair of dice, the garment of Christ worn during his passion, a hammer with nails, and a ladder. The relic was enshrined beneath the altar. It was authenticated by a papal seal as proof that it is, indeed, the true cross of Jesus.
The Historic Eucharistic celebration was attended by foreign and local dignitaries and delegates headed by then Governor Jose Aping Yap, with local government official and pilgrims from nearby provinces as far as Bulacan and Metro Manila. Servi Cristi Ressurecti (Servants of the Risen Christ) had come to realize its mission; to be the new custodian of the relic of the Holy Cross of Jesus.
2008 In our journey together in following God’s will through ora et labora we seek for the ideal of our vocation. There is no need to go beyond the self to discover God’s will, but only look within one’s soul and seemingly withdraw from worldly allurements. Solitary confinement within the reach of one’s aspiration enables him to discern God’s will in every given situation. The atmosphere of SILENCE and SOLITUDE is common in monasteries. Here lives are merged into one because of the attraction of a single vocation in stillness, serenity is produced out love for Jesus and neighbor. The innermost sanctum of one’s hearty and its desire day by day… moment by moment… time after time… we should then not hurry for anything for everything is a process, a gradual discovery of “Who am I?”
Servants of the Risen Christ Logo
Wooden Cross - the Cross as the Way to Salvation
White Cloth - symbolizing Christ's glorious resurrection
White Cloth-forming-letter 'M' and the Blue radiance - symbolical elements of Mother Mary and like Mary, 'M' for 'Monks' who contemplate God's grace in their hearts
White Cloth-Embracing-the-Cross -symbolizing SRC Monks' Love of the Cross
Basin of Water, Sandals and Towel-symbolizing Servanthood, following the most humbling act of Jesus in the 'Washing of the Feet", I come not to be served but to serve.
Let us serve the Lord with Gladness - the fruit of a risen state with the Lord
Perfect Circle - Eternity, Jesus as the Alpha and Omega
1998 - year of the Foundation of the SRC
Servants of the Risen Christ Monastic Community Directory
Rev. Fr. Ronald Thomas A. Cortez, SRC (Bamban, Tarlac)
Rev. Fr. Vincent Romuald, SRC (Joven Saadvera, Bicol)
Rev. Fr. Giovanni Paolo, SRC (Edward Mañalac, Pampanga)
Rev. Fr. Ignatius Arsenius, SRC (Arsenio Balmaceda, Bicol)
Rev. Fr. Mark Mary Raphael, SRC (Ulysis Castro, Bataan)
Rev. Fr. Patrick Anthony, SRC (Leody Cerdeño, Bicol)
Rev. Fr. Moses Angelo, SRC (Romeo Namalata, Zamboanga Del Norte)
Rev. Fr. Ezekiel Augustine, SRC (Enrique Ocampo, Manila)
Rev. Fr. Josaphat Alphonsus, SRC
Rev. Fr. John Henry, SRC (Narciso Domingo, Novaliches)
SRC DIOCESAN TERTIARIES
Fr. Elmer Gonzales, SRC-DC
Fr. Cristeto Cortez, SRC-DC
Fr. Michael Tanacio, SRC-DC
Fr. Peter Joe Dagsi, SRC-DC
Fr. Freddie Claudio, SRC-DC
Fr. Danny Pajarillaga, SRC-DC
Fr. Dodong Rebusad, SRC-DC
Fr. John Iglichki
Fr. George De Vera
Rev. Fr. Giovanni Paolo, SRC
Rev. Fr. Ignatius Arsenius, SRC
Rev. Fr. Mark Mary Raphael, SRC
Frt. Francis Bernard, SRC (Roland Picart, Baguio City)
Frt. James Andrew, SRC (Jolly Quijano, Bicol)
Frt. Joshua Benedict, SRC (Henry Pio Dulay of La Union)
Rev. Fr. Patrick Anthony, SRC
Rev. Fr. Ezekiel Augustine, SRC
Rev. Fr. Moses Angelo, SRC
Rev. Fr. Jhosapat, SRC
Frt. Samuel Leonard, SRC
Frt. Linus Chrysostom, SRC
Rev. Fr. Vincent Romuald, SRC
Frt. Dominic Clement, SRC (Darvin Grageda of Albay)
Frt. Isaac Martin (Danilo Salenga, Lubao, Pampanga)
Frt. Timothy Stephen, SRC (Florino Paulite of Gumaca Quezon)
Frt. Matthew, SRC (Jonel Balilo, Concepcion, Tarlac)
Rev. Fr. John Henry, SRC (Narciso Domingo, Novaliches)
Frt. Michael Camillus, SRC (Marlon Gelizon, Biliran, Biliran)
Frt. Theophillus Archillus, SRC (Roperto Itchon, Agustin, Surigao del Sur)
Frt. Anthony Michael, SRC (Dionisio Labrador, Jr. Calamba, Laguna)
Frt. Albert Crispin, SRC (Jasper Jose Singcay, Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occ)
Frt. Charles Gregory, SRC (Cledwin Carlos, Calumpit, Bulacan)
Frt. Eleazar Joseph, SRC (Jonathan Morales, Taguig City)
Rev. Deacon Jose Miguel, SRC (Jose Herrera of Bulacan)
Rev. Deacon.Stephen Raymond, SRC (Oscar Roque, Jr of Bicol)
Frt. Joseph Anthony,SRC (Francis Neil Mendiola of Rizal)
Frt. Alfred Nicolas, SRC (Anthony Salazar Bonifacio of Pandan, Catanduanes)
Frt. Philip Isidore, SRC (Jose Tiro Guivencan of Panglao, Bohol)
Frt. Benjamin Philip, SRC (Randy Buela Minion of Novaliches Quezon City)
Frt. Simon Jude, SRC (Elmer Cuatriz Ramos of Tandang Sora, Quezon City)
Frt. Cyril Jacob, SRC (Jason Manalang Sucion of Maliwalo, Tarlac City)
Frt. Gabriel Sebastian, SRC (Gilbert Viridiano Vidanes of Pililia, Rizal)
Bro. Eric Gallo
Bro. Reynaldo Angeles
Bro. Louis Mon
Bro. Rhoneil Pelaez
Bro. Angelito Castillo
Bro. Marlon Hegina
Our Family of the Risen Christ……Giving Hope to the Hopeless
Handmaids of the Risen Christ Monastic Community (HRC)
Grateful to God for his vocation, Rev. Fr. Ronald Thomas A. Cortez, SRC on the occasion of his 10th year Presbyterian Ordination, founded the Handmaids of the Risen Christ Monastic Community. On December 2, 1999, sisters bearing the names as Handmaids of the Risen Christ dedicated themselves totally as heralds of the Easter message to all.
Inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit and in total submission to God’s will and in obedience to His Excellency, Bishop Florentino F. Cinense, DD., Fr. Archie together with the sisters bearing the name of Handmaids of the Risen Christ, humbly started the journey of following the Risen Christ in the Apostolic Contemplative life. Together they committed themselves to become leaven of the beatitudes in the midst of the world and authentic witness of the gospel. Through their life of contemplation and action, the joy and peace of the resurrection, in communion with the whole humanity and God’s creation is manifested through their love and commitment in their apostolate. Sharing and transforming the society and the world worthy of God’s reigned thru their service to the church, through the signs of the times, in prayer, contemplation, sacrifices and apostolic work by corporal works of mercy.
Embracing the charism entrusted to them as a monastic community in action they reach out the orphans like flowers and fruits which carry the seeds of new life. Performing the corporal works of mercy; to fed, to clothe shelter and educate. To offer opportunities for educational scholarship grants and training program for them. To keep these children into God-loving, useful and productive citizens of the community.
Trusting in the Divine Providence makes the operation of the said apostolate exist. The apostolate for the abandoned children subsists on donation to run the apostolate. To love these children affects a positive response in their minds and hearts and realizing that at the crossroads of life there in one virtue that matters and that is to love unconditionally for love wins love…..love always wins.
Sharing our gift of talents to the community made possible in our various apostolate: candle making, card, calamansi concentrate in bottles and the like. Desiring to live as a servant like Mary, the sisters growing in numbers fosters unity and love with one another as they journey towards their goal in sanctity of life and sustained by prayers as responsible stewards of God’s creation.
The Oblates of the Risen Christ (ORC)
Goal and Spirit
We, the Oblates of the Risen Christ (ORC) are contemplative not cloistered community of women dedicated to the resurrected Christ, living in a poor, celibate, obedient and monastic life to spread the Gospel message of love in action by giving hope to the less fortunate children through formal education, in the Spirit of Jesus such as; prayer, silence and contemplation-adoration and rendering services like; counseling and retreats, to bring people closer to God.
The Oblates of the Risen Christ Monastic Community, was born February 1999, at St. Therese of the Child Jesus parish, Ramos, Tarlac, under the inspiration of Rev. Fr. Ronald Thomas “Archie” A. Cortez, SRC, Founder-Prior, to assist the Servants of the Risen Christ in the parish and to teach catechism in the public schools.
Sor Teresa Mary John Valdon, was receive in the community, by our Founder-Prior, appointed her first Superior/Formator of the ORC Community. Women came to join her: Miriam, Sor Ana Margarette, Rosbel, Raquel, Alma, Keth and Adrelyn. The Dumatay residence in Ramos, Tarlac was the first formation house for the Oblates. However, this group of formandi, merged with the Handmaids Formation Group, except Sor Anne Margarette, ORC, who stayed in Ramos, while Sor Teresa left temporarily in the community.
In September 8, 2002, Sor Anne Margarette and Sor Johanna Salavacion made their solemn profession of Vows at St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish, Ramos, Tarlac, officiated by Most Rev. Deogracias Iniguez, bishop of Caloocan. Shortly after their solemn vows, Sor Johanna was appointed second Superior of the ORC community. Eden, Prudence and Sor Cristina joined them followed by Gina, Minnie, Annaliza, Jean Ann, Joy, Aileen, Marilyn, Hermina, Anajoy, Floredeliza and Basilia. Formation was the focused, formal education of the formandi by sending them to Catechetical School and Catechetical Ministry in the public school. The community lived at #2 Molave Rd. Pilar Village, Las Piñas City. Sor Cristina, later joined the Contemplatives of the Risen Christ (CRC). These groups of ORC formandi again, merged with the Handmaids of the Risen Christ Monastic Community in Angeles City for the second time except for Sor Mary Grace and Sor Judith Marie who stayed in the community with Sor Salvacion.
These process of merging of formandi was a moment of grace, wherein the Oblates of the Risen Christ School for the less fortunate was conceived last October 2006 and by June 2007 the school started accepting for the pre-elementary grades.
With all the rough roads that we have gone through in our journey of following the Risen Christ, the hand of God is working indeed mysteriously to see His intervention, put our total trust and confidence in His GRACE.
The Contemplatives of the Risen Christ
We, the Contemplative Nuns of the Risen Christ, are religious sisters who dedicate our lives to the Holy Triune God under the patronage of our Blessed Mother, the perfect adorer of the Risen Lord, in service to God and His Church by our profession of the Evangelical vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience and devoting ourselves to make reparation and intercession for the whole Christ’s Body Speaking in God’s own Holy Will it can be said that the Contemplative nuns of the Risen Christ was born and founded in God’s Merciful love. To live in common life, in simplicity and austerity of hidden life and to share the word of God and sacraments through solitude and silence, prayer, contemplation and adoration of the Eucharistic Lord in the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the monstrance as the reflection of God’s love to man and to the world for the realization of His kingdom now and forever. In response to God’s call, Mother Catherine Therese Lacsamana, CRC and Sor Cristina Maria, CRC with some aspirants joyfully started to fulfill this mission at St. Therese Shrine, Ramos, Tarlac. And now with our novitiate formation house, “Monasterio de Deos Patres,” Mount Resurrection, Eco-park San Jose, Tarlac. In pursuit of holiness, our life in common is characterized by ORA ET LABORA(Prayer and Work), which is strengthened and nourished by the daily celebration of the Holy Eucharist, Contemplation of the word of God in Scripture, Adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the Holy Rosary and the singing of the Divine Office, as we strive to live a life rooted in the Gospel, working and praying together under the discipline of silence, simplicity of life under the spirit of humility and by fraternal charity in the mutual sharing of goods. As Contemplatives, we are tasked of proclaiming the Good news of Salvation to all humankind, to bear the Light of the Risen Christ by the witness of our life and service to the church. Each sister is in constant union with God in mind and in heart, devoting herself for the work of redemption which has been wrought by Christ in His passion, death and resurrection.
Our life of penance is our response to Christ’s admonition to “repent and believe in the Gospel” that is expressed vividly in our joyful renunciation of worldly goods and allurements, to make reparation not only for our selves but for the whole humanity, to intercede to God for the spiritual, as well as the temporal needs of God’s people. We therefore work to bring humankind closer to the heart of the Risen Lord. Our calling then is transformative and productive, for it endeavors to love and to serve God through our neighbors in pursuit of God’s kingdom.
Tertiary of the Risen Christ
Inspired with the spirituality of the Servants of the Risen Christ Monastic Community; Bro. Dan Mary of St. Dominic Savio and Sr. Ma. Gloria Gregoria of Mary Immaculate started to form a community of lay people who have the desire to follow the spirituality of the congregation. This community seeks to live the charism of SRC “giving hope to the hopeless” as a laity. This Easter joy radiates in our family, neighbors and work – that the Risen Christ is deeply present in our hearts.
As a community, we come together and pray ad meditate on the sacred scriptures and the spirituality of SRC. Formation sessions and spiritual exercises are done every month to form us into a living witness and heralds of the Easter message to all. Our presence in the community has influenced other people who are not active in living out his/her faith into realization of their vocation to become evangelizers in their own workplace.
The apostolate of the Tertiary of the Risen Christ is to help and assist the community in bringing about their apostolate in realization for the greater glory of God.