May 17, 1989, is the official date of arrival of first SCJ missionaries in the Philippines. The original group was composed of eight (8) priests representing seven (7) nationalities and five (5) different entities: 3 from Argentina, 2 from Indonesia, 1 from Germany, 1 from Poland and 1 from British-Irish Province.
The settings of the first assignments were very simple and often challenging. The Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ) were offered three parishes in Zamboanga del Sur: Dimataling in the Diocese of Pagadian and Margosatubig and Kumalarang in the Prelature of Ipil. For a long time, they had no TV set, refrigerator or telephone. The roads were rough, dusty and very often impassable during the rainy season.
One of the most difficult moments they had experienced happened in October 2001 when Fr. Giuseppe “Beppe” Pierantoni, SCJ, an Italian missionary, was kidnapped. Fr. Beppe was held in captivity for six months. Nevertheless, it was also a time of grace because that harrowing event strengthened their unity and solidarity. Continue reading