DON BOSCO AGRO-MECHANICAL TECHNOLOGY CENTER
Banquerohan, Legazpi City
The Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Center located at Banquerohan, Legazpi City is a brainchild of the Most Rev. Jose C. Sorra, DD. For a long time, he had been thinking of how to help countless rural youths remain in their localities and make their land productive.
In 1996, Bishop Sorra contacted the Salesian vocational school in Makati and established links with its technical director Bro. Louis Parolin. Long conversations and meetings resulted in a plan for a new type of training for youths in agriculture. The Provincial of the Salesians at the time, Fr. Luciano Capelli, was fully receptive to a new work in the Bicol Region for the Salesians, He assured the Bishop that his council would accept positively a request for such an apostolate in his diocese. Thus, the months of meetings and drawing of plans between the Bishop and Bro. Louis gave shape to a Project Proposal sent to many funding agencies. The Italian Bishops’ Conference and the German agency MISEREOR approved the project and gave their assurance of joint funding of the buildings and the operation for the first year.
The poor, in spite of their hard labor, have remained poor. Many are of the opinion that they remain so because of their laziness, their addiction to vices and other defective personality traits. The Church believes that this cycle of poverty and the myth that the poor would remain in poverty have to be shattered. There should be a possibility of training young farmers to believe in themselves as creators and sources of hope of their own future. They have to be taught that farming could be a highly productive endeavor as seen in Europe and the United States. Farmers could uplift their own lives if only there were agencies to propel their dreams and desires.
The Don Bosco Agro-Technology Center could be a good beginning. It is a Center 1or training rural youths in modern farming operations. It would also provide poor parishioners free training in livelihood skills and entrepreneurial techniques
Upon approval of the funding agencies, Bishop Sorra assigned Fr. Joy Vargas of the Parish of Banquerohan as Project Manager, with the able assistance of Mrs. Mediatrix Villanueva, diocesan financial adviser. In December 2000, five buildings were designed to be constructed on a 6.7-hectare property of the Diocese in the hills of Banquerohan. These are the Staff House, the Administration Building and classrooms, the Agro-Mechanical Technology and Electrical Technology Building, the Food Processing Technology Building and the Dormitory Building.
After seven months of construction work, the whole complex except for the Dormitory was finished, and inaugurated by Jose T. Cardinal Sanchez on June 28, 2001 in time for the Golden Anniversary celebration of the Diocese of Legazpi. After the Solemn Blessing, Cardinal Sanchez and Archbishop Antonto Franco (Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines) cut the Ribbon and unveiled the historical Marker showing the Coat of Arms of the Bishop of Legazpi and the Seal of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco. Bishop Sorra closed the day with words of gratitude to the initiators and supporters of the Project and encouraged everyone to take advantage of the training programs, which the Diocese and the Salesians have decided to painstakingly pursue, in order to be of effective service to the young and the poor of our communities.
The Salesian Society of St. John Bosco heartily joins the Bishop, Clergy and people of Legazpi in celebrating the Golden Jubilee Year of its foundation. Being also the GoldenJubilee Year of the presence of Don Bosco’s work in the Philippines, the Salesians have joined hands with the Diocese of Legazpi in starting a new undertaking in the diocese.
The Center will initially offer two Basic Courses: Agro-Mechanical Technology, and General Electricity, beginning August 6, 2001. Later, it will offer other courses like Food Processing Technology, and other courses identified by the Diocesan Social Action Center, in order to benefit the Livelihood Programs of the parishes in the Diocese and other Bicol dioceses. Graduates of the Center will also put up Agro-Service Centers in strategic rural areas to serve the needs of disadvantaged farmers. An essential component of the Program includes training in Christian Values and Human Formation. Don Bosco believes that the Christian formation of young people is the key to the Christian transformation of society
DAUGHTERS OF MARY MOTHER OF THE CHURCH
Sipi, Daraga, Albay
On June 4, 1984, upon the request of the Most Rev. Concordio Ma. Sarte, DD., third Bishop of Legazpi, an extension house of the Daughters of Mary Community in Panal, Tabaco City was opened in Legazpi City at the back of the Chancery. Although the DM Community at the Chancery was under the guidance and supervision of the local superior of Tabaco, the Sisters were independent in their daily schedule and activities.
Through the motivation and recommendation of Bishop Sarte, the Sisters were inspired to write project proposals to several funding agencies for the construction of the Pre-School Formation Center and a convent in Sipi, Daraga, Albay. On May 8, 1991 the construction of the convent started. A year after, on March 25, 1992 the Our Lady of Salvation Formation Center (OLSFC) was blessed and inaugurated by the Most Rev. Lucilo Quiambao, D.D., who was then the Administrator of the Diocese of Legazpi. Since then, the formation center has catered to a yearly average of 25 indigent children in the Nursery and 30 indigent children in the Kindergarten.
Sr. Erlina N. Navales, DM was appointed first Local Superior on May 31, 1992. The Legazpi Chancery Community was the n put under the Sipi Community, though both have their own daily schedules. During weekends, monthly recollection and meetings, and other special occasions, the two communities join together. After a year, the Sisters in the Chancery decided to reside permanently at the new convent in Sipi, Daraga.
- Chancery Finance Secretary 1985 – 1993
- Gregory Printing Press Overseer 1986 – 1993
- Legazpi Catechetical Ministry Coordinator 1986 – present
- Mater Salutis College Seminary Procurator 1998 – present
- Diocesan Youth Commission Treasurer 1993 – 1996
- Other Pastoral Services
- Children’s Christian Formation (nursery & kindergarten) 1992 – present
- Family Catechesis – parents of OLSFC pupils 1992 – present
- Of Holy Communion to sick and aged 1992 – present
- Recruitment of couples for marriage validation 1992 – present
DIOCESAN RADIO STATION DWBS-AM 1008 KHZ
“Radyong Totoo, Lingkod Ninyo”
The blessing and inauguration of Radio Station DWBS on August 17, 1991 by the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines marked the implementation of a decision made by Bishop Concordio Ma. Sarte in February 1987. In order for the diocese to support its pastoral programs and projects, Bishop Sarte decided to venture into radio broadcasting. Bishop Sarte had first come home from a CBCP seminar on mass communication and evangelization conducted by Fr. James Reuter, S.J. and the team of the National Office of Mass Media. Studies had shown the necessity for mass communications-radio in particular- to reach out to the people. In the Diocese of Legazpi at most only 20% of the one million population were regular churchgoers. And despite the increase in priestly vocations the ratio of priest-to-people was only 1 to 10,000.
Evangelization is an utmost need in the diocese, but intensive evangelization has been extremely difficult. It seemed then that radio was the only way to overcome this difficulty to reach out to people more effectively. Besides, pastoral efforts on the parish level also needed media support. Catholic beliefs and practices were under continuous attack from other sects and unbelievers. Besides, the gospel values of justice, peace and reconciliation, hope and genuine human development needed to be inculcated in a people that had been battered by a series of natural calamities and a variety of social problems. Indeed it seemed that establishing a radio station was a clear pastoral priority for a bishop who now saw in mass media a modern vehicle for evangelization and for reaching out and proclaiming the Kingship of Christ in the diocese.
Carrying out this decision meant attending to a host of preparatory concerns. Feasibility studies on its commercial viability had to be made, as the plan called for self-sustaining operations. Funding had to be sourced locally as well as abroad for capital and operating costs. Legal requirements had to be complied with. The location of the station, its power and equipment had to be decided on. Government license had to be secured. Programs had to be designed, and a marketing plan for selling airtime locally and nationally had to be made for generating revenue. Finally, the building and tower to be constructed and the entire facility commissioned for operation. Management and staff had to be organized.
All these took four long anxious years and hard work. Bishop Sarte formed a task force headed by Msgr. Ralph C. Salazar. Fortunately the task force had the support of CBCP through its Commission on Social Communications, the National Office of Mass Media Philippine Federation of Catholic Broadcasters, the Dutch Aid Agency CEBEMO, Broad World, Inc., and Radio Veritas. The “hands-on” persons at this early stage were Msgr. Rala Salazar and Fr. Manuel Camu, the former representing the Bishop on the board level and the latter on the executive level.
In November 1991 however, Bishop Sarte passed away and Bishop Lucflo B. Quiambao Auxiliary Bishop of Legazpi took over the reins of the diocese and the radio station as well. Msgr. Salazar and Fr. Camu continued running the station with a nominal board of trustees. Then when Bishop Jose C. Sorra became Bishop of the Diocese, the management of the station passed over to Fr. Oscar Sumanga. Meanwhile, Fr. Camu became parish priest of Ligao.
When the station underwent some troubled times, Fr. Sumanga was replaced very briefly by Fr. Antonio Claudio. The station was downsized and eventually placed under the Catholic Media Network (CMN). Fr. Antonto Peralta was designated officer-in-charge. Presently the station is in the hands of the St. Raymond Peñafort Foundation of Aquinas University of Legazpi.
DWBS is a commercial but non-stock and non-profit radio station. It is owned by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines. Its physical plant and office are located in the compound of the Cathedral Parish of St. Gregory in Old Albay, Legazpi City.
DWBS-AM utilizes a brand new solid state Nantel Amfet ND 10 transmitter. It delivers the clearest on-air sound comparable to any state-of-the art transmitter. It has a 125% positive peak capability of 11,000 watts and is the “perfect” transmitter for both AM stereo and monaural operations.
DWBS-AM has a Remote Pick Up Unit that handles remote broadcasts and a competent VHF team of field reporters based in 37 Catholic rectories in the diocese of Legazpi. DWBS-AM has been propagating its stereo quality sound with a power of 5,000 watts.
It is the only radio station in Albay using the studio transmitter link (STL) technology, a system where the studio is in a location remote or away from the transmitter for the purpose of improving area coverage; beaming the signal to the priority primary areas. While the main studio of DWBS is located in Legazpi City, its transmitter is in Sto. Domingo, Albay.
DWBS commits itself not only to a life of faith and prayer but also to professional service in order to support and intensify the diocesan program of evangelization; and also to provide moral, cultural and socio-economic upliftment through the Good News, information, development education and entertainment.
Today Radio Station DWBS-AM thanks the Lord for what it is and what it has become. It thanks all persons and agencies that helped set it up and who have provided moral, spiritual and material support through the years; enabling it to survive and fulfill its mission. DWBS has overcome its initial travails and now hopes to become, in the words of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II “a channel and expression of truth, justice, peace and goodwill. active charity, mutual help, love and communion”.
DIOCESAN SOCIAL ACTION CENTER
Cathedral Compound, Legazpi City
Established in 1972, the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Legazpi (SAC) is a private entity and is the social action arm of the Bishop of Legazpi. It coordinates, supervises, and implements all community projects of social concern in the diocese whether initiated by parish priests, the mayors of municipalities, or other civic leaders or groups. Its mission is social transformation through empowered leaders and sustainable communities living out the gospel values.
SAC is service-oriented and non-profit. Through the almost thirty years of its existence it has helped establish functional parish social action centers (PSAC) in 80% of the parishes of the diocese; each PSAC doing social apostolate in its respective parish. Its networking is impressive. It maintains harmonious working relationships with many agencies and organizations in the international, national, and local communities of mission partners. On the local level, it coordinates and works well with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Philippine National Police (PNP); as well as church-related organizations like the CSCD, GSH, CFCA, SIPAG-KO, and Simon of Cyrene, Inc.
In the early years of its existence, however, the SAC was primarily a welfare institution, with its Targeted Maternal and Child Health Program (TMCHP) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS)-assisted food aid program. Without neglecting welfare, however, SAC now has a number of meaningful programs.
One of SAC’s most significant programs, which was started during the martial law years, is the Advocacy for Justice and Peace. In those years, Church intervention was necessary in order to help victims of human rights violations, senseless killings, and atrocities committed against persons not only by the government but by other influential persons as well. Since the Church has always advocated respect for human rights and upholds the dignity of persons, it has become the refuge of the voiceless, the weak and the fearful victims of injustice.
SAC also has a Disaster-Reform Program that provides relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters. SAC taps the support of international, national, and local partners in this advocacy.
On a higher level of intervention, SAC has also included education and training, organizing, capability-building and advocacy along with livelihood programs. Among the SAC programs, the Livelihood Program has become the most responsive, and the most positively accepted and highly appreciated. It has maximum participation from among the member partners in the communities; and is presently geared towards expansion.
The Advocacy Program, on the other hand, continues to promote justice and peace and has helped develop a new concept for people empowerment. Moreover, it is strengthening civil affirmative action and initiatives for local participation in governance.
The Human Resource Development Program has its capability-building, skills development, and renewed evangelization endeavors. The Administrative and Support Services Program on the other hand ensures that the administrative concerns of all programs are taken care of and responded to.
The Diocesan Social Action Center is now widely recognized and looked up to as a model for other social action centers nationwide.
In 1997 SAC conducted its first Summative Evaluation of all its programs, out of which strategic planning was done. It formulated a three-year Program and a Six-Year Integrated Program which now guide its work; making it more focused and pro-active. A mini-resource unit was set up with an archive and databank. Furthermore, a management information system has been developed
In the new millenium as the diocese celebrates its 50th anniversary the SAC faces the challenge of affirming its commitment to the social teachings of the Church. With its caring and sharing social apostolate, the SAC hopes to continue doing its part in working towards the vision-mission of the Diocese of Legazpi of “building a Christ-centered communion of communities living the life in the Spirit of God the Father, helping the poor and the young, bearing witness to justice and love. . . under the care of our Mother of Salvation.”
HARONG KAN SAGRADA FAMILIA
Bogtong, Legazpi City
The Servants of Charity, founded by Blessed Louis Guanella, arrived in the Philippines in 1989. Jose T. Cardinal Sanchez invited them to come to the Philippines and introduced them to the late Bishop Concordio Sarte. Bishop Sarte readily welcomed and allowed them to activities in the Diocese for persons of Legazpi sons with physical and or mental disability. However, they started their real work in the Diocese of Legazpi only on December 3, 1997 through the kind- ness of the Most Rev. Jose C. Sorra. DD.
Through the generosity of Dr. Jose R. Locsin and many other benefactors in the Philippines and abroad, a Therapeutic Center was established in Bogtong, Legazpi City, named HARONG KAN SAGRADA FAMILIA. It will be a home for the many who like Jesus, Mary and Joseph, never found a place to rest among the “inns” along the roads of their human experience.
The Servants of Charity in Legazpi City strive to make visible the Lord’s mercy, by becoming instruments of His Providence among the most fragile and neglected of our brothers and sisters who, like the paralytic in the Gospel, cry out: “Lord, I have no one”.
Following the example of Christ, Good Shepherd and Good Samaritan and walking the footsteps of their founder, Blessed Louis Guanella, they are searching and caring for the poor, the suffering, the abandoned, and the wounded members of God’s family. In particular, they reach out to indigent children, persons with disabilities, the elderly deprived of human support, youth and families in a state of material and moral abandonment, the incurable, and the dying.
Run by the Servants of Charity in cooperation with volunteer Medical Staff and with die support of benefactors, the “Harong Kan Sagrada Familia” wishes to be a place where people celebrate their common dignity of being “Children of the same Father”. It provides medical and specialized care to persons with physical and or mental disability, children affected by malnutrition, children affected by TB, indigent or abandoned persons in need of dignified support in their illness or terminal condition.
Presently, the Harong kan Sagrada Familia in Legazpi City is being manned by Fr. Paolo O. Oggioni and Bro. Emmanuel B. Sensoro.
HOLY CROSS CHILDREN’S HOME
San Antonio, Tabaco City
The Sisters of St. John the Baptist was founded by Fr. Alfonso Ma. Fusco who was born and baptized in Agri on March 23, 1839. He received from his family especially from his mother a very deep Christian education and he developed a tender and loving devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows, He was a very simple and welcoming priest. He kept alive in his mind and heart his hidden and mysterious dream since he was a seminarian. Jesus of Nazareth told him “You will found an Institute of Sisters; the land is ready”.
As a priest, he gave his first tender and loving care to abandoned children by teaching them catechism and taking part in their games. He opened an “oratory” but the children were increasing in number and their noise disturbed the neighborhood and because of this, he closed the oratory. It was very sad and disappointing for him; but he did not stop. Since there was a need of education, he opened a school in his house that sponsored books and notebooks for the students.
On September 26, 1878, Fr. Alfonso formed and established the Congregation of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist. This was the realization of the young seminarian’s dream. The community gradually grew creating various structures that offer adequate responses to the needs of the young people thus promoting their cultural religious and professional formation.
Now, communities of the Baptistine Sisters are to be found in Italy, United States, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Zambia, India, Philippines, Korea, Poland, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Madagas and Maldaria.
In the Philippines, the Congregation started in 1983 with sixty-one (61) professed sisters who engaged themselves in activities that continue to express Fr. Alfonso’s love for the poor.
In September 1998, the Sisters of St. John the Baptist were invited by Bishop Jose C. Sorra, DD to run a house for malnourished children in Tabaco City. A dilapidated house and a piece of land in San Antonio, Tabaco City donated to the Diocese of Legazpi by the F.F. Cruz Family were in turn donated to the Sisters.
In the year 2000, through the supervision of Atty. Antonio Biglaen and with the help of some generous persons, the renovation of the dilapidated house was started.
On March 17, 2001, Bishop Jose C. Sorra and Bishop Lucilo B. Quiambao blessed the newly renovated house and named it Holy Cross Children’s Home. Presently, the Baptistine Sisters occupy the house and are running a pre-school for poor children there
SERVANTS OF JESUS OF CHARITY CLINIC
Sagpon, Legazpi City
Saint Ma. Josefa of the Heart of Jesus founded the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus of Charity on July 25, 1871 in Villa del Bilbao, Spain. The Congregation was approved as a religious institute of apostolic life by His Holiness Pope Leo XIII on January 8, 1886. During her time, Sr. Ma. Josefa was able to found 42 houses. The congregation now counts 93 houses es- tablished in Europe, Latin America and the Philippines.
1.Home for the Aged (Sociedad de Beneficencia), Maytubig St., Malate (1992)
2. Saint Ma. Josefa Formation House, Iriga City (1994)
3. Servants of Jesus Day Care Center, Iriga City (2000)
4. Saint Maria Josefa Hospital, Iriga City (2000)
5. Servants of Jesus Charity Clinic, Legazpi City (1996)
1. Medical Missions to poor and far-flung barangays.
2. Home visits to the needy especially to the aged.
3. Holistic reflexology from Monday to Saturday mornings only
Consultation for adults is scheduled every Monday, Thursday and Friday at 2 to 5 PM. Home nursing care is available upon request. They now have a dental clinic and they also aim to procure an ultrasound machine.
The community is composed of six Sisters, 2 Spanish and 4 Filipina Sisters:
Sor. Rafaela Lazaro Cantera,SdeJ Burgos Spain
Sor. Begonia Robles,SdeJ Asturias, Spain
Sor. Roselyn Balang,SdeJ Iriga, Camarines Sur
Sor, Juanita C. Bautista, SdeJ Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur
Sor. Marlyn Ledesma,SdeJ Zamboanga City
Sor Leah Lero,SdeJ Bulan, Sorsogon
STA. RAFAELA MA. STUDENTS’ HOME
Rizal St., Sagpon, Daraga, Albay
The Congregation of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (A.C.I., for Ancillae Cordis lesu) was born canonically in Madrid, Spain on 14 April 1877 through its founders St. Raphaela Mary( who was canonized as saint in 1977 by Pope Paul VI) and her elder sister, Dolores.
The charism of the Congregation is Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Its members consider themselves as women in love with Christ and partners of Jesus in His life and mission. The Eucharist is the heart of their life. Jesus in the Eucharıst is the source of their identity and work, enabling them to commit themselves to the work of reparation through twofold means: Adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist and Evangelizing Education.
In fulfillment of the desire of Raphaela Mary that her Congregation be universal, it presently exists in 22 countries with a little more than 1,500 Handmaids all over the world.
The ACI sisters came to the Diocese of Legazpi in 1980 upon the invitation of Bishop Teotimo Pacis who wanted to have a perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel adjacent to the Cathedral. He offered to the Handmaids a building in the Cathedral compound to be used as a dormitory for young ladies. This was the start of their apostolate with the youth which included giving of catechesis in nearby areas such as Brgy. Maoyod, and in various schools particularly, Divine World College of Legazpi, Bicol College and Malabog High School. At the same time, a Sister took charge of the catechetical ministry in the Diocese. In December 1990, the community moved to Sagpon, Daraga, Albay. They renamed their house Sta. Rafaela Ma. Students’ Home. In 1992, the Handmaids started their BEC apostolate with children, youths and adults. They also give religious instruction in Bicol University High School, Bicol College and Mary’s Child Learning School.
In order to carry out their mission of reparation, the Handmaids have daily mass and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. They provide Christian formation for their dormitorians and give recollections, retreats, and spiritual directions to their lay collaborators and vocation searchers. They also engage in eucharistic apostolate.
At present, the ACI community of Sta. Rafaela Ma. Students’ Home is composed of five Sisters and one postulant. They are:
- Sr. Amelita A. Aguilar, ACI-Superior
2. Sr. Ana Otaegi, ACI
3. Sr. Imelda Mejla, ACI
4. Sr. Jesusa Myra M. Baracena, ACI
5. Sr. Antonietta M. dela Cerna, ACI
6. Emelita Barias, pAC
THE DAUGHTERS OF ST. PAUL
Old Albay, Legazpi City
The Daughters of St. Paul first came to the Diocese of Legazpi in 1955 through Guinobatan with the mission of visiting families; carrying Catholic books and magazines.
In 1972 to 1986, the Pauline Sisters organized Gospel and Marian Weeks in the different parishes of the diocese, giving bible lectures and catechesis in the barrios taking census for marriage validation and baptisms, and arranging for the sacraments to be brought to the aged and the sick.
The Pauline Sisters spread out to schools, offices, military camps, retreat houses, seminar halls, seminaries, malls and supermarkets distributing Homelife and Youngster magazines.
In 1987 the Pauline Sisters began their radio apostolate with the Catholic Bible School- on-the-air over Radio DWGW.
In 1991, the Diocesan Radio station DWBS and other radio stations in Legazpi and Sorsogon provided air time to the DSP, enabling them to reach larger radio audiences, especially the poor in remote areas, the unchurched, prisoners in jails, and even the NPAS.
The St. Paul Media Center is located at Rizal St., Old Albay, Legazpi City beside the Cathedral church. It is the center of evangelization activities of the DSP, and is the showcase of the institute’s products and media materials for the integral and on-going formation of all the people.
In the Diocese of Legazpi, DSP is also into pastoral involvement in the liturgical music ministry. In the Cathedral Parish, the Pauline Sisters conduct evening prayers (Vespers) every Saturday inside the church while the congregation awaits the anticipated Mass.
The culture of communication now pervades the entire world, and the Daughters of aui, as communicator-apostles, are but an inadequate small group. Yet they feel confident, knowing that it is God who is doing the work and the Paulines are only His instruments.
GOOD SHEPHERD HOME
San Roque, Legazpi City
The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd (Religious of the Good Shepherd) was founded in France by St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletler in 1835. The Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) first came to the Philippines in 1912. They were Irish Sisters who crossed the seas from Burma and opened St. Bridget’s Academy, now St. Bridget’s College in Batangas City. From that initial foundation, there are now twenty apostolic and three contemplative communities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
In Bicol, the RGS came to Buhi in 1963 and opened St. Bridget School as a preventive response to the exploitation of girls and women It was also the plight of women that prompted Bishop Teotimo Pacis in 1977 to request for the presence of the RGS in the Diocese of Legazpi which was reiterated by Bishop Concordio Ma. Sarte in 1985. In response, two Sisters from the Buhi Community came to start a crisis intervention center in 574 Rizal St., Legazpi City. The services given then by the RGS sisters were primarily residential, coupled with formation sessions among students in different schools in Albay and hospitality girls.
The Legazpi RGS community received its canonical status on March 19, 1990 and was officially recognized by the Diocese on April 9, 1991.
An evaluation of the five years of work in the Diocese pointed to the necessity of placing the services of the RGS in a community-based setting and in dialogue with the poor. Providentially, the then parish priest of St. Raphael Parish, Msgr. Ralph Salazar invited the Sisters to work in San Roque, Legazpi City. They purchased a piece of land there where the Good Shepherd Home was built in November 1990 and later blessed on March 19, 1991.
The Good Shepherd Home provides temporary shelter and developmental therapeutic services to women or girls who are in crisis. Many of those who seek admission are survivors of sexual abuse – rape and incest. Others come because of marital discord or unwanted pregnancy.
The RGS also responds to the call of other communities in Legazpi City. As of now, the community-based integrated services given by the RGS are already in nine (9) barangays:
San Roque, Tula-tula, Estanza, Baybay, Pigcale, Taysan, Victory, Barriada and PNR The point of entry for organization and evangelization is the socio-economic development program. Livelihood projects are financed by micro-credit, repayment of which is done weekly during the Center meetings.
It is also during the weekly meetings that the RGS conducts education and formation. Women attending the meetings do not only learn from the input of the facilitators but from their interactions. The sharing of their struggles, pains, joys and victories-of their daily life experiences – develops and strengthens their bond. They recognize God’s movement in their personal life, as well as in others. Gradually, they are becoming evangelizers as they them- selves are evangelized.
In whatever apostolate the RGS Sisters devote themselves, they are guided by the Good Shepherd vision: a world transformed through JESUS CHRIST where there is fullness of ie for all beings, where no one is marginalized, oppressed or exploited, where everyone enjoys equally the comprehensive security of God’s care.
The RGS Sisters today continue the mission of witnessing to the compassionate love of God, having the option for the oppressed and exploited, joining the materially poor, the marginalized and the voiceless in their attempt to liberate themselves from everything oppressive. Its motto- “a person of more value than the world”- underscores the worth and dignity of everyone as a child of God. This motto continually guides the RGS Sisters in their ministries and services.
MONASTERY OF THE MOST HOLY REDEEMER
Gogon, Legazpi City
In this year of the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese of Legazpi, the Redemptoristine Community in Gogon, Legazpi City is also celebrating its 30 years of presence and apostolate in the Diocese.
It was the late Bishop Teotimo C. Pacis, CM, DD who conceived the idea of bringing the first Redemptoristine contemplative community in the Diocese of Legazpi. He wanted a “praying heart” in the Diocese. And so, he wrote a letter of invitation addressed to the Redemptoristine Community in Australia. The letter was personally brought to Australia by Rev. Fr. Hugh Thomas, CSSR in 1979 when he was on a mission vacation. Unfortunately, circumstances did not allow the Australia community to honor the invitation even if there were three Filipinas then in the said community. However, Rev. Fr. Francis Pidgeon, CSSR, the Vice- Provincial then, offered a solution. He went out of his way to visit another Redemptoristine community, this time in Liguori, Missouri, U.S.A. The Liguori Redemptoristine Community accepted the invitation and immediately went about the details of establishing a house in Legazpi. By the time they were preparing themselves for coming to the Philippines, Bishop Pacis, however, tendered his retirement as Bishop of Legazpi, to the anxiety of the four sisters chosen for the challenging task. However, their fears were dispelled when Bishop Pacis’ successor, Bp. Concordio Maria Sarte, “welcomed them 200%” in January 1981; hence, the start of the Redemptoristine Sisters’ presence in the Diocese of Legazpi.
The Congregation of the Redemptoristine Sisters acknowledges with great gratitude the four valiant sisters who pioneered in the foundation of the Redemptoristine Monastery in Gogon, Legazpi City. They are: Sr. Joan Calver, Sr. Rose Marie Schnell, Sr. Mary Ann Philipps and Sr. Nanette Durham now residing in the Monastery of St. Alphonsus, Liguori, Missouri, U.S.A.
MISSIONARY CATECHISTS OF ST. THERESE OF THE INFANT JESUS (MCST) Legazpi City
It was on August 12, 1958 when the Missionary Catechists of St. Therese of the Infant Jesus was born. Its main apostolate is catechesis in public schools where faith is most neglected due to lack of committed people who will catechize the children. Five years after its foundation, on March 16, 1963, the institute received a Decree of Nihil Obstat (Diocesan Right). June 1, 1974 marked the day of triumph. Pope Paul VI granted the Decretum Laudis or Decree of Praise. It became a Religious Institute with a Pontifical Right sixteen years after its foundation.
In the Diocese of Legazpi, three Sisters were assigned to the Parishes of Our Lady of the Gate, Daraga; St. Raphael the Archangel, Legazpi; and St. Gregory, Albay. All three were head catechists of the above-mentioned parishes helping out in the catechetical apostolate. They coordinated with the Legazpi Catechetical Ministry Staff especially in the formation of catechists. At present, they visit schools; meet the parents of the candidates for First Holy Communion; give pre-Cana instructions to couples and pre-sacramental instructions for parents and sponsors of the candidates for Baptism; and facilitate high school students’ recollections.
In 1997, the Sister serving in the Our Lady of the Gate Parish was assigned as the Catechetical Vicarial Coordinator of the Second Vicariate for the reason that the said parish has already formed a lay catechist to take care of its catechetical ministry.
The Sister works with a priest coordinator. A vicarial team assists the vicarial coordinators in facilitating and conducting seminars, recollections and other catechetical activities in the eleven parishes of the vicariate.
The Second Vicariate has tried its best to implement the program for the formation of catechists prepared by the Legazpi Catechetical Ministry in consultation with the other vicarial coordinators, parish priests and catechists. The program aims to provide the catechists with a wholistic on-going formation integrating the doctrinal, social, spiritual and apostolic needs of the catechists, with hopes of making them relevant, effective evangelizers and witnesses of the faith.
Every year the Second Vicariate offers a Basic Orientation Seminar to new catechists. Cato of 47 new recruits participated from 1997 to 2000. In January 1999, twenty-two (22) catechists participated in the facilitators’ training held at Bethlehem Pastoral Center in Bacacay. A follow-up session was given on February 12, 1999 at the Bigaa Pastoral Center.
LITTLE BRETHREN OF MARY
Pag-asa, Legazpi City
Fr. Antonio Piacentini, an Italian priest of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus, founded the Movement of the Little Brethren of Mary. It is a private association of lay faithful with the goal of helping its members transform their lives by listening to, loving and living the Gospel; at the same time making the Gospel known, loved and lived by forming groups of Christian life.
The members of the Movement seek to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. She is for them the one who listened to and believed the word of the Lord, and kept and pondered it in her heart.
The Movement draws inspiration from Fr. Charles de Foucauld, to shout the Gospel with their whole life. Fr. Rene Vollaume and Bishop Daniel Comboni gave it the example of assuming a poor and contemplative style of life.
The specific work of the Little Brethren of Mary is evangelization. It is done by visiting people who live far from the Church; have Gospel sharing with them and inviting them to undergo Five Days of Light Seminar based on the Gospel; and then form small groups of Christian life
At present, the Little Brethren of Mary works in eight (8) parishes in the Diocese of Legazpi. It has already formed fifty-six (56) small groups of Christian life with a total of 341 members. These groups are having their monthly meeting to deepen the understanding of the ideals of the Movement and verify the way they are put into practice in daily life.
The Little Brethren of Mary seek to follow these Five Ideals:
- Read the Gospel everyday, savoring and meditating upon it
2. Follow Christ as the only Lord and imitate Him as the only model so that His life may continue in them
3. Embrace the poverty of Christ and oppose the spirit of consumerism of the world
4. Pray in a profound and prolonged manner with the Gospel in hand, following the invitation of Jesus to pray always without becoming tired
5. To do apostolate in families and in other communities with testimony of life; and to spread the Gospel by forming groups of Christian life
THE WORK OF MARY THE SERVANT OF THE LORD
The Work of Mary the Servant of the Lord is an Association of lay faithful desirous of practicing the evangelical counsels, on paths leading to a fuller communion of life with Christ thorough humble means, i.e. prayer, the sacrifice of suffering, the life of witnessing in their families and in their professional environment, as well as by undertaking concrete apostolic tasks in the Church.
The Association was first established and approved in Poland. It was then called the Sccolare where a group of women seeks sanctity and the will of God in their life. This group stemmed from the Families of Nazareth Movement.
On December 1, 1995, Beata Skarynska (a Polish member of the Association) came to the Philippines. She introduced and gave spiritual direction to a number of lay persons in Legazpi City. Later, that group of women became open to spiritual direction as a means of sanctification. Starting January 1996, Fr. Benedict Redito, a secular priest of the Diocese of Legazpi who had undergone formation as spiritual director in Poland, gave regular spiritual direction to the group. In August 1996, Bozena Sazula also came from Poland and introduced the charism of “communion of life with Mary” to the Legazpi group. Later, the Association’s Legazpi Community was formed out of that “discernment group” who since then had been having regular weekly meetings.
On September 1, 1997, “Mary’s House” was established as the Formation House of the Work of Mary the Servant of the Lord (Legazpi Community) in #4 Governor Reynolds St., Old Albay, Legazpi City. On February 6, 1999, the Blessed Sacrament was installed therein. Later, on March 25, 1999, the Association Work of Mary the Servant of the Lord was officially recognized in the Diocese of Legazpi when it was formally accepted by the Bishop of Legazpi, the Most Rev. Jose C. Sorra, D.D. in accordance with Canon Law and the approved Statutes of the Association. The acceptance was done in the presence of the Association’s Vice-Responsible, Hannah Kaminska and the Regional-Responsible, Maria Felisa Marifosque.
For the love of Christ, the members made their promises of evangelical chastity (to be accomplished in their lay life) in the hands of Hanna Kaminska. At present, in the Diocese of Legazpi, there are 16 consecrated sisters/members who live the charism of communion of life with Mary in their families and professional environment. Two of them are now in Poland undergoing formation.
Meanwhile, The Work of Mary the Servant of the Lord is waiting for the Vatican’s canonical elevation of the Association into an Institute of Consecrated Life.