31 years of SCJ presence in the Philippines

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.

Following the example of their founder, the Priests of the Sacred Heart in the Philippines were able to bring the love of Christ to the people and places that society neglects, the people and places in greatest need of His healing touch and compassionate care. During the last 31 years, they have been involved in different social projects favoring the poor, the sick, and the oppressed; giving priority to youth and lay leaders, indigenous people and victims of abuse and social injustice.

From simple beginnings, the SCJ Philippine Mission developed into a body recognized by the local Church and SCJ Congregation. In 1999, the Philippine Mission became a District and on March 14, 2012, was elevated to the rank of a Region. They have one big parish in the Diocese of Pagadian (Dumalinao) where their Novitiate House is located. One parish is located in the Diocese of Ipil (Kumalarang), and one parish and a chaplaincy in the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro (Aluba and Dansolihon) where they also have a minor seminary. The San Roque Parish in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, and the SCJ theological house are located in the Diocese of Novaliches, Quezon City. The members of the formation community are involved in aiding chapels in the Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish in Payatas.

In 2016, the SCJs were entrusted with San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Quezon City, where the SCJ Theologate belongs, and started two new presences in Talisay, Hilongos in Leyte, Diocese of Maasin, and in Tandang Kutyo, Tanay, Rizal (Diocese of Antipolo).

Today, the SCJ Philippines Region is composed of 47 members: 34 priests (22 Filipino priests), 1 bishop (Brazil), 2 deacons, 1 religious brother, and 9 scholastics on temporary vows. In addition to this 1 novice will profess his first vows on May 31, 2020. At the moment they run 3 formation houses and 8 parishes.