The idea of the Adorno Fathers opening a Mission in the Philippines can be traced to the birth of a baby boy in South Carolina (USA). The occasion of his baptism brought Father Edgardo Enverga to Goose Creek, South Carolina in early October 1994. When the mother of the baby came to the Immaculate Conception rectory to make arrangements for the baptism, she asked the then Pastor, Father Nicholas Capetola, CRM, if Father Ed, her brother, could stay at the rectory while in South Carolina. Father Nicholas was delighted to welcome a fellow priest and told him that he could stay as long as he wished. Father Ed was pleased. He felt at home right away and never left.
In the time that followed, Father Ed expressed interest in the Adorno Fathers and even revealed a wish he had since his seminary days to join a Religious Community for the rest of his life. His desire was made known to the Bishop of Daet, where he was incardinated and to our Superiors in Rome for consideration to join the Order. There were no objections from either side. Father Ed spent two years in our houses in the United States and six months in our seminary in Kerala, India. He did his canonical year of novitiate (1996), made his Simple Profession (1997) and took his Solemn Vows (2000). While his gradual commitment to the Order was taking place, he also put the Adorno Fathers in touch with some young men in the Philippines who were interested in religious life and willing to cross the ocean to study for the priesthood with the Adorno Fathers in Ramsey, New Jersey.
The presence of Father Ed among the Adorno Fathers and the prospects of seminarians from the Philippines motivated a visit by Father Michael Marotta, CRM and Father Hector DiNardo, CRM. They accepted the invitation to visit with Bishop Almoneda, the then Bishop of Daet, and they also made contacts with some young people interested in joining the Adorno Fathers. Soon, the General Council in Rome re-assigned Father Nicholas from South Carolina to the House of Formation in Ramsey, New Jersey. He arrived simultaneously with a batch of new students, among them were Nony Villaluz and Jun Abog who were the first two Filipinos ordained for the Adorno Fathers on December 8, 2001.With these students, a new era opened for the house in Ramsey. In fact they were followed by others and the idea soon emerged that someday the Order would consider opening a Mission in the Philippines. The idea became quite attractive following a visit to the Philippines by Father Nicholas and Father Ed in the autumn of 1999. They discovered and ascertained the favorable conditions for a foundation. The Bishop of Daet was open and willing to cooperate for an eventual establishment of the Adorno Fathers in his Diocese.
The formal petition to open a House in the Philippines was made at the General Chapter in the year 2000. With the approval of the petition, the Chapter also assigned Father Nicholas to be responsible for the initial and necessary steps in the gradual entrance of the Order in the Philippines. For the next two years, and with the invaluable help of Father Ed, the Order was able to secure a land that was donated by Atty. Harry James Pajares on June 13, 2001.
The Bishop of Daet proposed that since the Adorno Fathers did not have its own seminary, the Diocese would build a special structure inside the Holy Trinity College seminary where the Adorno Fathers would form their candidates until they would build a seminary of their own on their own land within the diocese. The Adorno Fathers- Fr. Nicholas as the Superior and Father Jun and Father Nony as his companions took up the residence at Holy Trinity College Seminary on March 1, 2002. Thus, the first of March 2002 is the official date of the foundation of the Adorno Fathers in the Philippines.
The first contacts with prospective vocations were very satisfying. In a short time about ten young men came to visit and asked for an application. The news was so promising that Father Nony soon organized a week of LIFE IN THE SEMINARY. But when the scheduled day of arrival came, of the ten who had expressed interest only one showed up. It was like re-reading an ancient page in the life of the Founders of the Adorno Fathers. It is written that when Father Adorno and Francis Caracciolo returned to Naples after the approval of the Order in 1588, “of those they had left (nine of them), only one, who was the Abbot Don Fabrizio, had remained steadfast and still committed to establish the Order.
In 2005, the seminary community relocated to a new home in Sto. Domingo, Vinzons, Camarines Norte. The blessing and inauguration of the new seminary building was held on the Feast of St. Francis Caracciolo on June 4, 2005.
After a few years, the Adorno Fathers built the seminary chapel. The Chapel was named the “Sanctuary of Jesus, the Risen Savior. It was solemnly dedicated by Most. Rev. Gilbert Garcera, D.D., the Bishop of Daet on March 9, 2009. Attending this blessing was Rev Raffaele Mandolesi, CRM, Superior General of the Adorno Fathers and Rev. Hector Di Nardo, CRM, delegate of the USA-Filipino delegation.
The community of the Adorno Fathers has grown after since then. Two of the pioneer seminarians have already become priests. Giovannie Nunez, CRM and Noly Berjuega, CRM were ordained to the Priesthood on June 4, 2011. They are the first ordained priests who did their entire college and novitiate formation in the Philippines. Arman Hagos, and Arnel Hagos, the twin brothers also were ordained in 2015 while there are more professed brothers who are studying theology.
Another blessing for the Order is the establishment of the new formation house in Lipa, Batangas, Philippines. On Pentecost Sunday, July 08, 2014 in the morning, the newly built Adorno Theology House in Tierra Maria Estates, Brgy. Anilao, Lipa City, Batangas was blessed and the new chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Most Blessed Sacrament.
It was through the generosity of Mr. Antonio Montinola, the donor of the land and owner of Tierra Maria Estates and also through the help of Mrs. Nelly Lopez who first met Fr. Ted Kalaw, CRM and promised to help find land for the Order in Lipa, Batangas, Philippines. The blessing and dedication of the Chapel were officiated by Cardinal Emeritus of Manila Gaudencio B. Rosales, D.D., and the building was officially resided by the first batch of six newly simple professed brothers who are also studying at St. Francis de Sales Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Lipa, Batangas.
Since its humble beginnings, one can see the abundant blessings of our Lord to the family of the Clerics Regular Minor in the Philippines.