Yes, the SVD missionaries of the Philippine Central Province have spoken. On January 16-18, 142 priests and brothers gathered together at the Divine Word Seminary of Tagaytay for the Philippine Central Province General Assembly and chapter.
SVD gatherings like this have always been very colorful and inspiring for us seminarians. It is a great joy for us to be reunited with our former formators and brush elbows with our confreres. It is also an occasion to know each other’s apostolate, the lights and shadows of the ministry and not to mention, to celebrate missionary life. Yes, missionaries also drink and sing our hearts out.
But the highlight of the gathering which we seminarians really waited is the election of the Provincial and his Council. It was held in the afternoon of the second day. They started with the singing of Come, Holy Spirit before casting their votes.
The SVD missionaries of the Philippine Central Province have finally spoken. Fr. Nielo Cantilado, SVD was elected Provincial. It was a sweeping victory which delighted all the confreres around. He got ¾ of the total votes of the assembly. Confreres were clapping their hands in approval. Then, Fr. Nielo came to the front and addressed his confreres: “Last time, I refused. But now, you have spoken. I accept the position.” Loud cheers were heard.
It can be remembered that Fr. Nielo was also a candidate for Provincial three years ago but he declined before the actual voting process. Fr. Pol Jaucian, SVD won the position and Fr. Nielo was elected Vice Provincial. A sudden twist came when Fr. Pol became the Bishop of Abra. So, Fr. Nielo assumed the position vacated by Fr. Pol, and now he is elected and he accepted it humbly. His landslide victory is indeed a gesture of confidence coming from the SVDs in the Central Province.
Also elected were: Fr. Jerome Marquez, SVD (Vice-Provincial); Fr. Wilfredo Saniel, SVD (Admonitor); Fr. Pablito Tagura, SVD and Fr. Bar Fabella, SVD (councilors).
Congrats Fr. Nielo and your Council! God bless!