The Order of the Pious Schools, Asia Pacific Province, is once again graced by God, on December 12, through the ordinations to the Order of Deacons to our brothers Nguyen Tan Phat Sch. P. of the Holy Child Jesus (Vietnam), Luu Van Tran Sch. P. of Saint Francis of Assisi (Vietnam) and Felix Olavides Sch. P. of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God of the Pious Schools (Philippines). Br. Nguyen Tan Phat received his diaconate ordination through the hands of Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, the bishop of Cubao, while Br. Luu Van Tran and Br. Felix Olavides receive theirs through the hands of Bishop Guillermo De la Vega, bishop of Digos. Even with the challenges brought by the pandemic, the ordinations happened on this same day but separately; one in Manila, Luzon at 4:00 p.m. for Nguyen Tan Phat and the other at Kiblawan, Mindanao at 10:00 a.m. for Luu Van Tran and Felix Olavides.

Nguyen Tan Phat, who hails from the Diocese of Phu Cuong, was a tourist guide for a year before joining the Piarists. He is the youngest in the family of nine siblings. Luu Van Tran is a pharmacist from the diocese of Ban Me Thuat. Both brothers are from Vietnam. Felix Olavides is a Civil Engineer from the Diocese of Dipolog, Philippines. He is the second child of three siblings in his family. These three brothers of ours finished their theology formation together just two years ago.

Bishop Ongtioco of the Diocese of Cubao stresses in his homily that God has chosen Br. Nguyen Tan Phat as His own and Br. Phat has made the right choice in taking the courage to be God’s servant. He imparts that Nguyen Tan Phat’s love in the ministry will be measured by his obedience, and this resounds also for his fellow newly-ordained deacons Luu Van Tran and Felix Olavides. He adds that Saint Joseph Calasanz will continue to guide him.

Due to the pandemic, everyone who physically attended the celebrations observed standard pandemic protocols like wearing face masks. Our smiles of happiness for our newly ordained deacons may be concealed, but our hearts’ joy of thanksgiving to God for the gift of a vocation and our prayers for our brothers were certainly felt.

Felix Olavides said: “Nothing is impossible with God. Like Mary, God chose her to be the Mother of God, Jesus Christ. Nobody expects to be what or who we are now, to be Piarist deacons.” Nguyen Tan Phat also said that “diaconate is to serve, but to serve forever.” These profound lines certainly reflect in the hearts and minds of our newly-ordained deacons.

We continue to give thanks to God for the gift of vocation, Piarist vocation to the Order, as we embrace our newly-ordained deacons who courageously and joyfully receive the Order to the Deacons.

May our Mother Mary continue to intercede for us as we pray for the perseverance and joy of these brothers. Saint Joseph Calasanz, pray for us!

Jaffarson Jeffrey Opaon Sch. P.