A L A G A D   N I   M A R I A

Religious Community of the Disciples of Mary

VOCATIONS

Upcoming Ordination: Deacon Ericson Laguna, AM
May 4, 2019
Bishop Nolly Buco, JCD, DD (ordaining bishop)

Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.

Hebrew 5:1, NAB

Picture was taken during the Ordination of Deacon Ericson Laguna, AM last October 6, 2018 at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The parish is assigned to the Disciples of Mary or Alagad ni Maria. The current pastor (parish priest) is Fr. Joey Manaran, AM. Most Rev. Antonio Tobias, DD was the ordaining bishop. The priests in the pictures are Alagad ni Maria with some friends.

Vocation Story of Bro. Rocky Abraham Sibayan, AM
Perpetual Profession: June 9, 2018

“If you really believe that God is calling you to serve as a priest, who am I to stop you? If this is where you really see yourself now and in the future, though it pains me to say it, sige, pinapayagan na kita [yes, I am now giving you my blessing].”

Bro. Rocky, AM

Bro. Rocky Abraham Sibayan, AM at the middle together with AM Priests and Bishop Bernardino Cortez, D.D.

“OUT OF LONGING to have a baby boy, I promised God before you were born to offer you into His service when the time is right,” revealed my mother when she insisted that I serve the altar as a child—something that only made sense to me after four years when I asked her to allow me to enter the seminary.


When my father died in 1995, I ended up as the only boy in a family of four. Since my mother had a lot of stories to tell about my father, it had always been my dream to become an engineer like him. It was upon graduating from elementary when she introduced to me the idea of ministry when she asked me to become an altar server in our village chapel. Growing up without much of a solid religious foundation made it difficult for me to accept her request. To be honest, I remember my only reason for agreeing was that I always knew that what my mother wanted for me was the best option that there ever was!


And so I did serve the altar for almost three years, only to find out that I was already asking myself, “what if I become a priest instead of an engineer just like my father?” At that time, it was already clear to me that I wanted to have the same career that my father had. Problem came when my growing exposure to the church brought in a lot of what ifs that opened new options to my unidirectional life. I was not yet equipped to handle big life choices then, so fortunately for me at that time, I, for some reason, stopped receiving my serving schedules forcing me to be away from the church again—hence, also from those questions.


As an introverted youth, I had undergone these signs unprocessed and eventually forgotten, for I didn’t know who to share them with and from whom to seek help. But God has his own ways to get back. I came across the apostolic work of the Alagad ni Maria towards my last year in high school. I became a member of their school-based youth ministry through their annual sports festival called the Paligsaya. In the summer of the same year, I was made to attend a leadership seminar-workshop facilitated by the Alagad ni Maria priests and seminarians and, eventually, a vocation seminar-workshop as well. It was funny though that my teacher only convinced me to attend the latter because we had no representative from our school. I responded because there was always something new and different that I only get to experience from that community as one of its youth leaders. I did not become an active leader, admittedly, but whenever I was there I would always find myself wanting more. I had in that group a different sense of fun and fulfillment rooted in ministry and enjoyed a different aspect of family and friendship so much so that I eventually decided that I wanted to become part of it.


After a series of seminary exposures, I came to the point of choosing which path to take, because just when I finally decided to enter the seminary, I also received information that I passed the UP college admission test and DOST scholarship to which I applied a few months before. It was painful for me because I was torn between my childhood dream and my newfound love, but I also knew that it was more excruciating for my mother because she saw the opportunity as undoubtedly a gift from God to our family, especially to me, and I was wasting it because of a decision that came out of nowhere. She cried over the letter that I wrote her asking for her blessing; it pounded my heart to see her bargaining with me to let my decision wait till I finish college, but I was already decided. A few days after, she reminded me of her little promise to God before I was born, topping it with a revelation that my father also had the same calling but was hindered by my grandfather. I was inspired, especially when she finally gave in and just said, “If you really believe that God is calling you to serve as a priest, who am I to stop you? If this is where you really see yourself now and in the future, though it pains me to say it, sige, pinapayagan na kita [yes, I am now giving you my blessing].”


As soon as I entered the seminary, it immediately occurred to me that I was walking through a path whose end I could barely see. It was not an easy start for me, not an easy journey to be exact. There were a lot of times when I was so tempted to give up. Living with the religious vows always came with a lot of challenges which I had to face every now and then. It was also the hardest finding out that what I fell in love with—community and apostolate—could also become reasons for my biggest crises, even greater than the inspiration that they offered. And then I realized that, in the religious life, what is most important is to respond to Christ’s call here and now. Looking too much ahead, there will always be a lot of difficulties and temptations to give up. The end will never be as clear as the day; but if I am resolved to follow Christ here and now, I believe he will always cast my fears away.


I professed perpetually my vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to the AM community last June 9, 2018.

Bro. Rocky Abraham Sibayan, AM with AM Seminarians