“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic –the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.” ~Charles de Lint
On the revival of Epistoliorum, there is one word that comes foremost to mind – synchronicity. I know at one time or another, you may have experienced striking occurrences of two or more events at one time. This is either coincidence or synchronicity.
In the case of Epistoliorum, both in its birth and revival, I would like to think that synchronicity was at play. I thought so because unlike mere coincidence, synchronicity implies the presence of deeper intelligence at work.
On April 14, 2020, Fray Joel sent me a message in Messenger about a very important matter. It has no direct relation to Epistoliorum at all. After a long exchange of messages, however, Fray Joel wrote, “BTW, I think we can get back to Epistoliorum project since I have the time anyway…” To which I’ve responded, “I am all for it. I am sure Fray Ted will be glad to do the same.” We agreed that I would bring this up to Fray Ted and when I did, I’ve learned that Fray Jimmie Cura had already asked him during his last vacation in the Philippines about reviving Epistoliorum. He also added that some younger Filii are willing to help with its revival. He said he’ll approach Frays Ralph, Jayno and Jo-al. The rest is history.
The birth of Epistoliorum can be attributed to synchronicity as well. A casual conversation between Fray Ted and myself in Toronto Airport brought about the need for a medium of communication among Filii. When Fray Joel was approached about the idea, he was so excited. He even informed us that he has already started one before when he was in Manila. Fray Joel’s contribution to Epistoliorum is incalculable. He is the Director of its IT Department and with the aid of Fray Ted’s professional design and photography background, the maiden issue of Epistoliorum was launched with considerable success.
We’ve seen, however, that its success was momentary. After 3 issues, the heralded means of communication came to a crashing halt. We lamented the shortage of content which will continue to challenge us going forward. On the other hand, we believe that the shortage of content doesn’t come from a shortage of talent. All of us have the ability to express ourselves in a manner only each one of us can do. All of us have unique experiences and perspectives that have helped us live our lives for better or for worse. When shared, these same experiences and perspectives benefit us all.
We need to hear the stories of each one, his struggles, his failures, his successes, his hopes, his joys, his strengths, his flaws, his foibles, his life. For it is in knowing these things that we begin to experience belongingness.
COVID-19, dreadful as it is, has effectively shown us that we are in this together and that we are one. You will find as you read that this revival issue has its focus on the current pandemic, specifically on how we continue to live our individual lives, keep our faith, hold on to our hopes, show our love, and postpone our plans or change them altogether.
I have a story to tell. Let me tell you a story of remarkable enthusiasm, professionalism, and dedication. Your brothers Fray Joel and Ted have together provided us an excellent example of these traits. Together, they’ve set a standard for us to follow in the creation and management of our Epistoliorum.
In this revival issue of Epistoliorum, we are happy to announce the inclusion of the amazing photographs and paintings of our classmate Fray Noel aka Leon Paulo Zaragoza, a world-class talent and businessman. We are proud of his works and rightly so. His other works will continue to occupy the pages of our features sections in the future issues of our newsletter. We hope that you would regard his works highly as we do.
Epistoliorum, literally “Letters of the (Brothers) will continue to be an important instrument of communication among Filii members and its subscribers. Its future appears brighter now because of the participation of the younger Filii who will continue what we had begun. With wider participation comes more content; with more content, more understanding, and with more understanding, stronger brotherhood.
Back into the thick of things after a lengthy hiatus since the last issue of our newsletter. I thought I felt it all along too. That unmistakable desire that is hard to ignore. They say, once a fish is always a fish that knows nothing but swim in the water. Yes, we form a distinct specie of our own yearning, of our own collective purpose to swim in the same water that quenches our thirst for expression. Something inside us is raring to be let go, to be freed, so that it can live, evolve and prosper, and finds expression in a medium that transforms, reverberates, and manifests – our constant desire to write, express, and articulate for Epistoliorum.
Epistoliorum will resume and continue to carry the collective works of all contributing writers. This time, contribution from our younger writers, Paul Espino, Emman Pangan, and Edwin Manuel, breathes new life. The works of our veteran core of writers, Jimmy Cura, Lydio Pedregosa, Jigs Villaflores, Celso Paguntalan, and Manuel Marasigan continue to diversify content and reinforce the balance of reading materials. This issue also acknowledges the unique contribution of Fray Noel Paolo Zaragoza. The contribution of two reverend Dominican priests, Fr. Ojie Ojoy, OP and Fr. Enrico Gonzales, OP, whose decades of works in the pulpit have been a constant inspiration to many and whose teachings and preachings are pillars of our catholic faith and source of our spiritual nourishment. Their contribution to Epistoliorum will undoubtedly expand its readership, extend inclusivity among their loyal followers, and strengthen credibility.
Let this be our constant reminder to our Filii brothers who want to contribute to deepen the breadth of our contents. We continue to seek expansive writing involvement from our amang, Rev. Fr. Rey Adalid, OP, and to many others whose silence beneath their talents portend positive vibration. One day your turn will come. Please get involved.
Our hosting application dashboard driven by WordPress has evolved since two years ago. It took me some exploring and testing to see what function works suitable to my needs. The interface needs some familiarity and new sets of features augur a promise of improvement every program upgrade infused into the product as part of its marketing strategy. With some guidance and quick tutorial tips from Fray Joel, lord and master of all things related to technology and beyond, the learning experience continues to be pleasant. Using new features constantly is the way to learn and my intrepid approach to learning new stuff, tech included, pays dividends. If one thing is not broke, it will be soon once you start tinkering with it.
So back we are…writing, editing, designing, and wrestling with time and vying for a firm publication release date on which everyone can invariably agree. All this and many other tasks we will tackle behind the production of Epistoliorum, bespeak of a monumental responsibility we gladly and voluntarily encumbered ourselves with so we can produce a product worthy of your time. Allow me to congratulate all our writers for the hard work they put in so that they can make the difference.
On behalf of my fellow writers and editors, Peter Nuñez and Joel Gabriel, I welcome you all. This revival issue will span a spectrum of interests emanating from diverse topics. We hope our objective to communicate, to inform, and entertain will get across to our readers, beyond mere words. Enjoy reading!
In a fast-paced world, the pandemic seemed to have brought everything to a complete standstill, something that we were ill-prepared for. Seemingly for some, the reduction in activities has somehow also subdued our way of life. But I guess much more than being still, what is essential is the next step: whether to go forward, take a step back or take advantage of the stillness to reflect on our future state. Plagues and pandemics have been known to occur throughout history, and surely the cycle won’t end with this one. In developing countries where pollution is rampant, when the usual grind of daily life came to a halt, nature appeared to have breathed a sigh of relief as could be gleaned from clear blue skies and sea creatures thriving in once-murky waters; it is in moments like these when we stop and smell the flowers that we realize that the beauty of the rose consists in its everydayness — thorns included.
I am of the belief that technology, while essential to modernity, has but one major flaw: it killed an art-form — the one that started with “Dear” and usually ended with “Truly yours”; the philatelic among us can attest to this. Perhaps it is the romantic in me, but I have always been enamored by the power of the written word, the power to hold down the passing of the days and etch it into history; the power to reach out to persons you have met but in your dreams; the power to make you vulnerable and yet keep your privacy, a chance to be your true self, to be safe, to express freely without interruption, without second-guessing the meaning of a gesture; the power to make you tender, funny, courageous, seemingly unafraid of anything. But I guess, of all its powers, the one that appeals most is its ability to enable us to live a life of connections; when writing comes from the heart, it ceases to be about writing, it’s all about relationships. Hopefully with the pause that this pandemic has forced on us, we can go back to those things that truly matter.
Coincidence or not, this Epistoliorum issue being revived in this major inflection point in humanity’s timeline on a scale that crosses international boundaries, is symbolic for that intrinsic, fundamental and vital element within us that allows for the capacity to appreciate our surroundings and the importance of relationships without becoming too distant.