(This article was first published in the BULAWANONG GASA: OMPH Parish Golden Jubilee 1972-2022 coffee table book.)
At 52, on my 29th year as Redemptorist Missionary & on my 25th year as ordained priest, I have much to be thankful of the many graces God has shared me all throughout these years. Along the vocation & privilege of serving our Lord as Redemptorist missionary priest, I am humbly given a chance to witness how the Lord has continually worked His wonders in us through us, His followers.
In 1996, being its first ordinand, I have been part of the birthing & have witnessed the growing years of Redemptorist Cebu Province. To revive the stagnant mission-efforts in Negros Oriental region, as a young priest, I have organized Dumaguete Redemptorist Mission Team doing mission around Negros Oriental & Siquijor Island, that somehow awaken missionary dynamism within Dumaguete Diocese, which has paved a way for collaborations with the local church’s BEC ministry, organization & formation endeavors, and the missionary formation of Redemptorist postulants-then, whom some of them are now promising Redemptorist missionary priests & brother .
While studying in Leuven, Belgium, I have been involved with various Filipino Catholic communities in Belgium, Netherlands & Germany during weekends & breaks. After gaining my licentiate & some stints with teaching at SATMI, as our collaborative effort with other units & explorative initiative for migrant ministry, I found myself in Gwangju in South Korea, ministering to our OFWs & all English-speaking migrants as spiritual director for all Filipino Catholic Communities in the Archdiocese.
Be as it may be, all of these graces I take great credit not only on my missionary experiences & journey as Redemptorist missionary priest, but on my growing & formative years as parishioner of Our Mother Perpetual Help-Bajada.
Yes, I am a Redemptorist for life & I am also a parishioner of OMPH-Bajada in life. Since as a kid until adulthood, I have grown under the tutelage of Redemptorists and of the OMPH Bajada Parish all my life. And now happens to be also the Only REDEMPTORIST so-far whose family is originally from our OMPH parish.
Daily gazing at the backdrop of the great Mt. Apo, I remember, growing as a kid in Buhangin, I cannot help but wonder about the world beyond out there. From a protective and less-involved but regular church-goer family (of seafarer father), world-out-there, life-beyond family & school was made known to me with a simple invitation: “SERVE Ta”.
At a young age of eight, me & my classmate buddies found ourselves serving Sunday masses as Knights of the Altar – or altar boys in our parish church. There, we come not only to learn how to serve, participate, & understand sacraments, but also were able to meet and grow with other kids & people from other BEC communities. Through these experiences, we were initiated to our Catholic religion & church life, most especially to parish life – a life beyond family, schools, & neighborhood. Since then, the words “Serve ta” became part of our vocabulary as we grew in age & maturity as parishioner and as Christians.
As OMPH Bajada parish has grown & evolved these years, for us parishioners who have been part of the parish ever since before and even until we have branched out into other parishes and countries, the challenges & responses to the invitation of “SERVE ta” has always been part of the language-vocabulary of our parish church life within our BECs & families in whatever capacities & talents.
As Parishioners, we are also grateful to the Redemptorist charism and for the witness of Redemptorists we have journeyed with, here in Davao, as we have been formed & grown in the spirit of involvement, voluntarism, and charitable service for our dear parish. Through the Redemptorist we have come to know, love & serve our Lord & our Church. In our parish, we also come to experience Redemptorists as missionaries. They are dear & close to us but they are transitory – never permanent. Redemptorists come and go. Some left but most, still remains. Same way as part of our parish is now apart from us, as they are now a new parish, Redemptorists as well as us OMPH parishioners as we are, evolves not only for our good but moreso for the better version of our faith-life in Christ.
However & Whatever might be in store for us now & for the near the future, the challenge for us OMPH parishioners here at home & abroad, & for me – specifically as OMPH parishioner Redemptorist, remains still and always: “SERVE Ta”.
Proficiat. 축하합니다Congratulations to OMPH Bajada Parish on our Golden Anniversary