28 Years of SCJ Presence in the Philippines

From the left: Fr. Jeremiah Sheehy, Fr. Henricus Sondermeijer, Fr. Yohanes Sono Pribadi, Fr. Stephen Schmitz, Fr. Adrian Borst – General Councilor, Pope John Paul II, Fr. Francis Pupkowski, Fr. Eduardo Aguero, Fr. Juan Domingo Griffone and Fr. Rino Venturin.

 

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.

Prior to that, from October 1988 to March 1989, the group met in the United States, in Hales Corners (WI) to study English, the common language of the group and one of the official languages in the Philippines.

From April 20 – May 3, 1989, the whole group met again in Rome. During series of meetings with the members of the General Administration, different people from the Philippines, the group could learn more about the needs and challenges lying ahead of them. On April 25, 1989, the group of first missionaries came up with the following guiding principles for their new mission:

  • As a SCJ group of missionaries we give the highest priority to Community life. We reaffirm that “Community life is mission itself”.
  • We go to the Philippines to serve the local Church, as communities, according to the missionary spirit of our own Rule of life.
  • We will try to stay together and to live together avoiding situations where a member has to live permanently alone.
  • We intent normally to form communities of at least three members.
  • We are going to share life, responsibilities, pastoral work, projects and money.
  • We are going to meet once a month with the whole group for at least one day.
  • We are going to meet, once a year, for an Assembly and also in a different date for a Retreat.
  • Once a week those who live nearby are invited to come together.
  • While we are a small group, we will share all responsibilities and decisions.
  • There will be a single common money box; there will be neither funds nor private projects. All decisions, on projects, will be taken together by the missionary group.

The group also chose a coordinator, two councilors and a treasurer.

On April 26, 1989, the group was received by Pope St. John Paul II, who gave his apostolic blessing to the new missionaries, after the mass celebrated in his private chapel at the Vatican City, before their departure for Asia.

As usual, at the end of the Mass celebration, the group was guided from the Pope’s Chapel to the library nearby, where the Holy Father greeted his guests.

“When the Secretary of the Pope told him about us, the Holy Father smiling said to us ‘Dehonians, Dehonians, courage in the Philippines’ (Fr. Juan Domingo Griffone).

Acceptance of New Novices

On May 16, 2017, twelve Postulants (six Filipino and six Vietnamese) were officially accepted to the fourteen month Novitiate. The ceremony of acceptance took place during the Holy Eucharist in Dumalinao Parish, which followed the meeting of the SCJ Philippine Region. The new novices were presented to the Regional Superior Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, by the Master of Postulants Fr. Patrick Gutib, SCJ. So far this is the biggest group that entered the Novitiate program. At the moment the total number  of Novices is seventeen. Five Novices (three Filipino and two Vietnamese) will have their first profession of vows on June 28, 2017.

We entrust all the Novices and the Novice Master, Fr. Indra Pamungkas, SCJ, to your continuous prayers.

60th Parish Anniversary and Patronal Feast in Dumalinao

The celebration of the 60th Parish Anniversary and Feast of San Isidro Labrador Parish in Dumalinao, started in the evening of May 14, 2017 and it was held at the Dumalinao Regional Pilot School. More than 600 people coming from 44 chapels took part in the GSK Coronation Night and “Talendadong Parokyano.” The activity was organized in cooperation with Hon. Junaflor S. Cerilles, RMT, the municipal mayor of Dumalinao, Rev. Fr. Lukas Hadi Sismo Sasmito, SCJ, the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Joseph Muego, SCJ and Rev. Fr. Robertus Sutopo, SCJ, assistant parish priests and some SCJ guest priests and seminarians with the Theme: “Year of the Parish – Communion of Communities.”  Although the celebration was interrupted by the “black out”, it did not prevent the people to enjoy the show which lasted for four hours.

The main celebration was held on May 15, 2017. The Bishop of Pagadian Diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel “Manny” Cabajar, C.Ss.R, D.D., was the presider of the concelebrated Holy Eucharist, together with the parish priest, two assistant parish priests, Rev. Fr. Franciszek Pupkowski, SCJ, the regional superior of the SCJ Philippine Region, 14 SCJ priests and 4 diocesan priests.  The Holy Mass was attended by more than 1,500 faithful coming from Balongating and Tigbao Sub-Parishes, and 44 Chapels of the San Isidro Labrador Parish.

The celebration was concluded with the procession carrying the statue of the patron around the town, followed by a lunch together and short program.

By. Fr. Joseph C. Butlig, SCJ

Feast of San Isidro Labrador Parish in Kumalarang

More than 1,000 people attended on May 14, 2017, the celebration of the 36th annual feast of Saint Isidore, the Farmer,  in Kumalarang, Zamaboanga del Sur. Most Reverend Julius S. Tonel, D.D. was the main presider of the concelebrated Holy Eucharist, together with Rev. Fr. John Karl Cabaluna, SCJ,  the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Ronald Basco, SCJ, assistant parish priest, Rev. Fr. Franciszek Pupkowski, SCJ regional superior of the congregation (SCJ), Rev. Fr. Donald Longno, SCJ regional councilor of the congregation (SCJ), Rev. Fr. Joseph C. Butlig, SCJ regional secretary of the congregation (SCJ), Rev. Fr. Rico Lapinig, SCJ Formator of Aspirants ín Cagayan de Oro City (SCJ), Rev. Fr. Joseph Ryan Sereneo, an assistant parish priest from Kabasalan, Diocese of Ipil and Rev. Arnel Palado, a deacon from the Diocese of Ipil.

During the celebration there were 166 young people who received the sacrament of confirmation. Also, 56 extra ordinary ministers of the Eucharist (Kaabag), 82 Basic Ecclesial Community leaders (Alagad/BEC), 16 family life apostolate (FLA), 62 catechists (katekista), 12 members of the Community Based Health Program (CBHP) and approximately 25 members of Legion of Mary, in the presence of their bishop, renewed their commitment to serve the parish and faithfully take their responsibilities and obligations for the greater glory of God.

The bishop in his homily focused on the second reading from the first letter of St. Peter that says “Beloved: Come to Him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourself be built into a spiritual house to be Holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” He tried to convey a message that our Church (Roman Catholic Church) which was built in the foundation of Christ has been persecuted by many kings and leaders who attempted to put an end of our Church but they were all unsuccessful. Until now our Church continue the mission of Christ for more than 2000 years already, the reason behind is that our Church is indeed build on the foundation of Christ who continue to lead and protect His Church through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we have to make ourselves part of the flock (Roman Catholic Church) under one shepherd who is Christ himself. The celebration lasted more than one hour and half.

By: Fr. Joseph C. Butlig, SCJ

Perpetual Profession and Renewal of Vows

On May 13, 2017, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Bro. Rogereve Pausanos (SCJ) professed his final vows of Chastity, Obedience and Poverty in the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The celebration was held in the Chapel at the Dehon House in Quezon City, and was presided by the superior of the Philippine Region, Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, who accepted his vows.

During the same celebration six Filipino and two Vietnamese brothers renewed their temporary vows. The vows of the Filipino SCJs were accepted by Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, and of the Vietnamese by Fr. Delio Ruiz, SCJ, the superior of the local community.

The celebration was attended by the SCJs from the Metro Manila area, some religious sisters, family members, relatives of the professed and friends.

We entrust Bro. Rogereve Pausanaos and all the brothers who renewed their vows to your prayers. The world needs committed religious and priests who will continue the mission of the Church and of the Congregation.

Feast of the Holy Cross in Tandang Kutyo

 

The Holy Cross Parish (Parokya ng Banal na Krus) in Tandang Kutyo, Tanay, Rizal (Diocese of Antipolo) was officialy erected on June 26, 2016, and was entrusted to the Priests of the Sacred Heart. As of now, the parish is run by three SCJs: Fr. Marcial Aguirre, SCJ, Fr. Sergio Matumoto, SCJ and Fra. Justreel Tuburan, SCJ. The parish has a long history of the devotion to the Holy Cross, the symbol of our salvation. Every second Monday of May many people would gather there to celebrate the titular feast of the chapel, not exluding the National Election held on this day. The particular date has a special meaning for the local people as it commemorates the date of finding again the cross after it disappeared from the chapel in mysterious circumstances.

This year, on May 8, 2017, the celebration of the Parish Feast was graced with the presence of the Bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo, Most Rev. Francisco M. De Leon, DD, who presided the concelebrated Holy Eucharist. The celebration was attended by the SCJs from the Manila area and some diocesan priests.

Alleluia! The Lord is Risen!

The resurrection of our Lord is the source of our hope and joy. It gives us the confidence that death is not the last word, but eternal life. In the resurrection, death is overcome by death! Christ’s victory over sin and death reveals to us that sin can be overcome by love.

Faith in the Risen Lord makes us confident that everything as promised by God would be fulfilled, when there will be peace, love, harmony, freedom – and death and suffering will be no more. However Easter is not simply a proclamation that there is life after death, but most of all an invitation to live the resurrected life. This means allowing the power of the Risen Lord to live in and through us, to live the spirit of Christ by imitating Him in life and in death.

As we celebrate Easter, let us show ourselves to be people of joy and hope, prophets of love and reconciliation. With Christ’s resurrection, the future is certain and has been anticipated in the resurrection of Christ. A Christian never gives up on sinners or in any difficult situation, challenge or trial because he or she knows that Christ, who has overcome all things including death, can do the same for us as well.

Celebrating Christ’s victory over sin and death let us pray that:

  • Those who are homeless will be given suitable shelter and accommodation.
  • Those who are hungry will be given the food and drink which they need.
  • The lives of all people will be respected and valued from beginning to natural death.
  • The people of every nationality and creed will live in harmony and peace with respect for each other and for the planet we live on.

As disciples of the Risen Lord, let us also be that light of Christ for those in darkness.  Let us bring the joy of the gospel to the world by reflecting the Risen Lord in us, by living joyful lives filled with love and compassion. Let us be a resurrected people and testify to others that Christ is indeed risen in us!

Wishing you a blessed and holy Easter!

1st Grand Fiesta of the Holy Name Society in Dumalinao

On March 19, 2017, on the feast of Saint Joseph, approximately 800 male members of the Holy Name Society, excluding their wives and children, attended the ”1st Grand Fiesta Celebration.” The festivity took place at Saint Isidore Parish, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur. It started with the Celebration of the Eucharist presided by Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ and concelebrated by Fr. Franciszek Pupkowski, SCJ Regional Superior, Fr. Joseph C. Butlig, SCJ Regional Secretary, Fr. Donald Longno, SCJ Regional Councillor, Fr. Laurentius Suwanto, SCJ Scholastic Formator, Fr. Robertus Sutopo, SCJ, Balongating Sub-Parish in-charge and Fr. Joseph Muego, SCJ, Tigbao Sub-Parish in-charge. It was followed with a cultural program prepared by the participants.

The Holy Name Society was founded in 1961 by one of the Columban Fathers. Mr. Didong Sandalo was the first president. Unfortunately, the organization did not last long and it came to an end sometime in 1964.

In 2005, the organization was revived through the initiative of Mr. Roberto Torrecampo Anding, who became the president. This time the group was given a new name Mga Alagad sa Parokya (MAP) with 28 members. Among the various activities the group committed itself to clean the church every 3rd Saturday of the month. They also started to participate actively in the BEC  and Bible study every 3rd Thursday of the month. In addition, the group volunteered to prepare food during big celebrations and occasions of the parish.
In 2006, Fr. Janusz Burzawa, SCJ seeing the need of men’s participation in the church, officially recognized the organization and proposed to go back to the old name of Holy Name Society. Fr. Janusz supported very much this group during his time as a parish priest, which is continued by the present parish priest Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ.

The celebration is a way of thanksgiving to God for all the graces and blessings received by the group and to encourage them to continue their mission in serving the parish. Today, the organization extended their services and membership to the sub-parish of Balongating and sub-parish of Tigbao.

By: Fr. Joseph Butlig, SCJ