NEWLY elected Prior Provincial Fr. Edmund Nantes, O.P., plans to “strengthen the Dominican brotherhood and give preference to the poor.”

“This brotherhood should not deteriorate to a mere social club or school fraternity, but (it should be) patterned after the community of the disciples of Christ,” Fr. Nantes told the Varsitarian. “And hopefully, contact with the poor will let us live a simple lifestyle—living simply that others may simply live.”

The Dominican Province of the Philippines elected Fr. Nantes, treasurer of the Order of Preachers based in Rome, as Prior Provincial at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Intramuros last Nov. 5. He remains the treasurer of the worldwide Dominican Order until a replacement is appointed. As provincial, Nantes now heads the 200-strong Philippine Dominican Province. He is also Vice-Grand Chancellor of UST on a concurrent capacity.

The grand chancellor is the Master of the Order, the Rev. Fr. Carlos Aspiroz, O.P., who is the head of the Dominicans worldwide.

Fr. Nantes, who was installed as prior provincial last Nov. 11, replaced Fr. Ernesto Arceo, O.P., whose four-year term ended this year.

Ordained in 1981, Fr. Nantes said he would focus on apostolic priorities such as evangelization, charity, and theological reflection.

“(There will be) preferential option for the poor. That means all (Dominican) educational institutions, parishes, and other allied apostolates must have this as a special interest,” he said.

“It is my hope to re-orient (the Dominican) presence in the campus from administrative to (being) more (pastoral),” Fr. Nantes said.

Fr. Nantes claimed that St. Martin de Porres, the Patron Saint of the Poor and the Sick, was the “mysterious hand” behind his election. He said recurring signs of the saint led him to attribute his election to St. Martin’s guidance.

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“Even before the election, people (non-voters) said I had a chance to be elected, but when I found out that the date of the election was on Nov. 3, the feast day of St. Martin, medyo kinabahan ako, what was this telling me?” he told the Varsitarian.

He was not elected in the Nov. 4 elections, but the Provincial Chapter held another election on Nov. 5 because Fr. Eugene Cabillon, O.P., Prior of the Saint Albert the Great convent in Calamba, Laguna, refused the post.

Other “mere coincidences” reaffirmed St. Martin’s aid, Fr. Nantes said. He now considers St. Martin as a “personal” spiritual partner guiding his decisions for the Philippine Dominican Province.

He also hopes that UST administrators would not only be effective administrators but faithful ministers as well.

Fr. Nantes, who graduated cum laude in Philosophy in Studium Generale, Sto. Domingo, finished his Master’s degree in Higher Religious Studies in UST. He was also a professor in the Faculty of Sacred Theology from 1988 to 1989.

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