By Sister Zenaida Nacpil, OP
Chapter Prioress, Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter
August 28, 2017, Angeles City, the Philippines – The Adrian Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter blessed a second school building of Dominican School of Angeles City – the Virgin de los Remedies Building – on August 23, the Feast of St. Rose of Lima.
Most Rev. Paciano B. Aniceto, DD, Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, presided over the joyful event, assisted by Father John Tordera, Deacon Herwyn Bulaun, and Sister Michelle Salalila, OP.
Dominican School of Angeles City, located in the impoverished Barangay (village) of Mining, Angeles City, opened six years ago with three kindergarten students. At the time of the construction of the new building, the enrollment stood at 238 students in grades kindergarten through 10. The new building was constructed to house six more classrooms and spaces large enough for school Masses and physical education, to allow the school to add grades 11 and 12.
The blessing of the new building included ribbon-cutting ceremonies in various areas of the building. The ribbon for the main entrance to the lobby was cut by Sister Zenaida S. Nacpil, OP, Chapter Prioress and Engineer Allan and Maricel Gatpolintan. Leilani Samson-Cunanan, Deputy Superintendent of Education for Angeles City, cut the ribbon for the right staircase while the ribbon for the left staircase was cut by Teresita Celis. The ribbon for the Business Office was cut by Sister Rosita Yaya, OP. Sister Liberty Mendoza, OP, cut the ribbon for the chapel.
Sisters, special guests, friends, and benefactors shared in joy and gratitude for the occasion. Sister Gudelia Kabigting, OP, and students in grades 9 and 10 led the choir in the festive singing.
The new building, supported in part with a grant from the Adrian Dominican Sisters, is a concrete way to implement the Enactment from the 2016 Adrian Dominican General Chapter, calling on the Congregation to “create resilient communities with people who are relegated to the margins, valuing their faith, wisdom and integrity.”
The Dominican School of Angeles City is located in the Clark Freeport Zone – the former U.S. Clark Air Force Base – where the young are at risk of becoming involved in the sex trade, human trafficking, or drugs. The school provides affordable Catholic education to children from low-income families. Academic training in accountancy, business, and management, in tandem with eco-faming, care of creation, and training in culinary vocational skills, are being built up for the senior high school students in the new building.
Members of the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter express their deepest gratitude to our Congregational leaders, Sisters, friends, and families, benefactors, and all who supported this project financially and through prayer.
Clockwise: From left, Sisters Gudelia Kabigting, OP, Zenaida Nacpil, OP, and Michelle Salalila, OP, with members of the construction crew. Sister Gudelia Kabigting, OP, plays the guitar with Sister Antonette Lumbang, OP, and students from ninth and 10th grades. Participating in the blessing of the school are, from left, Deacon Herwyn Bulaun, Sister Michelle Salalila, OP; and Father John Torfera.
By Sister Liberty Mendoza, OP
Principal, Dominican School of Apalit
June 14, 2017, Pampanga, the Philippines – As the Dominican School of Apalit, located in the region of Pampanga in the Philippines, anticipates its 20th anniversary in 2018, Sister Liberty Mendoza, OP, reflects on how faculty members and staff have worked to form the students as young Dominicans.
The Dominican School of Apalit (DSA) will turn 20 in 2018. One of the lessons we have been impressing upon the hearts of our young pupils is “compatior” or compassion. The learning community, from the youngest 4-year-olds to those in the 12th grade, in collaboration with the parents and local government units, has been engaged in the process of learning what it means to give compassionate care for all of creation. It is presumed, however, that the seed of compassion was first seen, sown, and nurtured in the homes of our pupils.
To be a Dominican stakeholder means not just to acquire profitable competencies that prepare an individual for the “university of life,” but also to walk an extra mile, to be other-oriented. It means to share not just canned goods or a bowl of hot soup during disaster relief operations or peak sharing seasons, but to see, smell, and feel the holy presence of God in the people who are poor, in the faces of the indigenous Aetas, the indigent pupils in nearby government-run schools, or the out-of-school children residing at a nearby public cemetery.
The hope of the school staff is that these encounters would strike a chord in the hearts of our young Dominicans, urging them to forget themselves and change the small space where they stand. Compassion for all of creation is translated into concrete actions.
How has Dominican School of Apalit preached in terms of living out its stance on compassion for all of creation? Teatro Dominiko, the school club for students who have inclination and passion for stage-acting, has mounted well-attended plays dealing with social and ecological themes: Mommy Ko Nature in 2011, Balik-bayan Box in 2014, and Luzviminda in January 2017.
Mommy Ko Nature exhorts spectators to suffer with, weep, and even bleed for Mother Earth as she continues to experience wanton destruction. Every child of nature is awakened from its slumber caused by indifference and must pledge to nurse his Mother, named Nature.
Balik-bayan Box is a tribute to our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), in particular to the many Filipino parents who saw the heart-wrenching need to leave children behind, risk working on foreign shores, and remit crisp foreign currencies back to their families, with the hope that this will ensure a more secure and stable future for their loved ones.
Luzviminda, a contracted name for the three major islands in the Philippines – Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao – aims to remind the audience about the current ecological state of the country. The play advocates respect for the dignity of all life forms – the marginalized tribal groups, plants, animals, fish, and everything else that breathes and lives.
Providentially, this preaching medium – theater – has been helping us to send the message about the urgency of taking part in rehabilitating and healing the planet Pope Francis calls “our common home” and of being more conscious of the social ills besetting the country and the world.
In partnership with Caritas Manila, DSA – and the other schools in which the Sisters in Our Lady of Remedies Chapter serve – recently drafted an Eco-Ministry Plan. We are acting on that plan in many ways.
DSA is situated near the Pampanga River and numerous coastal spots, which have been clogged by thriving water lilies that cause flooding during rains. Our School Head, Sister Rosita M. Yaya, OP, and the Parents-Teachers Association are working with the local government of Apalit, and Senator Cynthia Villar’s Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance Foundation to solve the problem by removing water lilies and turning them into materials for handicraft weaving.
We at DSA hope to care for the legacy of the Pampanga River and other local coastal bodies so our students will understand that the river has its own life. It is our duty to keep that life flowing.
Feature photo (top): Prep students from Dominican School of Apalit perform a welcoming dance.