Fr. Filemon de la Cruz, Jr., O.P. delivers his acceptance speech during his installation as the 13th prior provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines last Feb. 2

This year marks the 800th death anniversary of St. Dominic de Guzman, the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines and the 50th founding anniversary of the Dominican Province of the Philippines.

These milestones prove that God has been guiding his people through the years, Fr. Filemon de la Cruz, Jr., O.P., the new prior provincial of the Order of Preachers, said during his installation at the Santo Domingo Church last Feb. 2.

“Sometimes when we feel disheartened by the things that we go through—like this pandemic—it’s a good time to remember the God who has journeyed with us through 800, 500 and 50 years,” he said in his acceptance message.

“We may have gone through a lot but that is part of the journey. There is hope because we believe in mercy and healing,” he added. 

De la Cruz was named the 13th prior provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines last Jan. 18, during the 12th Provincial Chapter held in Caleruega, Batangas was spearheaded by the Convent of Saint Albert the Great.

The Dominican province, which will celebrate its 50th founding anniversary on Dec. 8, was also urged to emulate the wisdom of Jesus, “learn from mistakes of the past and find favor in God as a province and as individuals.” 

“This is what I pray for the province,” de la Cruz said.

De la Cruz emphasized that his duty as prior provincial is to “continue teaching, evangelizing and building the capabilities” of the Dominican brothers.

“In our journey, people get wounded. There is a need for mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation. We need to seek it in our own lives and desire to be a blessing,” he told the Varsitarian.

He added that assisting Catholics in “flourishing as individuals” is among the missions mandated by the provincial chapter.

“In our vocation, we become part of the Dominican family and its history. We try to be a blessing to other people and live in time,” he said.

Celebrating 500 years of Christianity with charity

The new prior provincial urged Catholics to engage in charity works to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

He also called on Thomasians to relaunch “Tulong Tomasino,” a relief campaign spearheaded by the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office, to bring aid to residents affected by natural calamities, as a means to reach those in need.

“This [pandemic] is the time to challenge the potential of the University since we are a big University. Even though we don’t see each other, it shouldn’t prevent us from communicating and networking. [Helping] does not stop when we feel okay,” he said.

Last year, a Tulong Tomasino relief drive was launched for the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption.

“We are part of the Church, country, community, and family…. you’re expected to do your share,” de la Cruz said. M.A.O. Castillo and S.T. Sadang with reports from Joenner Paulo Enriquez, O.P.


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