The Order of the Somascan Fathers was founded by St.Jerome Emiliani in the Church under the action of the Holy Spirit in the beginning of the 16th century. He and his followers were privileged to have received the Charism of Divine Fatherhood. We are the Somascan Fathers, spreading God's Fatherhood.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Order of the Clerics Regular ofSomasca
Southeast AsiaVice-Province Mother Of Orphans
Very Rev. Fr. Gabriele Scotti,crsMajor Superior St. Jerome House Commerce Ave., Ayala Alabang,
Tel. no. (02) 8422366/8424947
WITH STEPS OF HOPE
(written in the year2000)
The Somascan community in thePhilippineshas reached the age of 20 years. It is the age of youth. It is a season of dreams and hopes. It is a season in life of expectancy of the future. It was said that no other Somascan undertaking had a beginning more accurately studied and prepared than the Philippine Foundation. Let us take notice of this, without forgetting that "man purposes but God disposes" and sometimes God in his providence disposes things not according to our most accurate plans: his interventions oftentimes take us by surprise and are, therefore, surprising. It is he who traces the path to go: a path we have not planned, moreover, a path that always includes theregia via cruciswith a constant slope up.Are these things obvious ? Yes, at least in words; but when the evangelical obviousness becomes history, then it is suitable to recall the difficulties, sacrifices, setbacks and disappointments experienced by the pioneers who generously made themselves available for this work of Christ.It is, therefore, an act of Christian and brotherly charity to acknowledge the struggle and commitment of many Pauls who planted and the many Apollos who watered, although our overall thankfulness goes to the Lord who gives growth.One sure fact is that if some fruits are ripening it is because of the foundation, the root is Christ. The analogy of the buildings put up through the personal contributions of many persons using a variety of materials (ranging from the most precious to those less valuable and resistant) can also be recognized in the Philippine Somascan reality. The fire test is at the same time a verification and a guarantee of salvation(cf. 1 Cor.3:4-20). When you eat a fruit, think of the one who planted the tree says a proverb dictated by the Oriental wisdom. For this reason we want to give thanks, first of all, to the Master of the vineyard who spreads the seeds with a generous hand and cultivates every new shoot with love. Our gratitude, however, intends to reach also all those laborers sent to his vineyard at different hours throughout the 20-year-long day. We are sure that the generosity of the recompense will overflow from the infinitely bountiful heart of the Father. And there was evening and there was morning: another day rises, during which the Lord will continue to work his wonders, also through our collaboration. These are the works of Christ,in which our Founder exhorts us to persevere with a heart full of love. Only by following the way of the Crucified, loving one another with fraternal charity and serving the poor, the Somascan community in thePhilippines will walk with steps of hope along the new Millenium.
St. Jerome Emiliani School Of the Somascan Fathers
Roosevelt, Dinalupihan, Bataan
A year after the parish dedicated to St. Jerome was erected, in the same venue, a school for the young people of Bataan was built. It caters for the Christian catholic academic formation of the youth. The school boasts its low tuition fee which is very much affordable for the low income families in the area. It has complete facilities to provide quality education and convenience to the young students. It is directly run by the Somascan Fathers under the directorship of Fr. Melchor H. Umandal, CRS, and Fr. Rey Genaro Malabanan as assistant director and principal with the help of 7 teachers.
By the invitation of the Diocese of Balanga through his excellency Most Rev. Socrates Villegas, the Somascan Fathers extends their presence in the people of Bataan. Here in Roosevelt, Dinalupihan, a parish was erected in 2005 under the protection and prayers of our Father and founder St. Jerome Emiliani.
Fr. Domingo Batac Jr is its pastor with the assitance of Fr. Rey Genaro Malabanan.
The newly built house of the Order here in Cebu is catering for the welfare of the abandoned and orphaned boys in the area. And at the same a building for the formation of the young people who aspires to become apostles to these less fortunate children is also located. Fr. Luigi Brenna is the superior of community. Fr. Enrico Balderama is with him to help in the formation of the seminarians. The other religious assigned in this house are Fr. Agusto Dingal and Bro. Rolan Manago.
Through the generosity of the Arvedi Family and the many benefactors abroad, the first expansion of the Somascan Fathers in the Visayas was realized in 2001 by building this home for boys which takes care of the needy children in the region.
The religious present here serving the Visayan people are Fr. Manuel Lobo, the very first superior of this newly erected community; Fr. Ronald Baldillo, and Bro. Eugene Libut.
These were greetings of the Sisters and aspirants of the DVMI community who welcomed us in the domestic airport of the city of Ruteng, Island of Flores. They immediately offered manggarai hats for us fittingly worn by tourists.
Selamat Datang, Fathers... Are you a new congregation? Our Bishop is looking for a new congregation to take charge of a new parish near Borong. Romo (diocesan priest) Beni gushed forth these words upon knowing that we were religious priests visiting Indonesia for the first time, and unknowingly, we are together in plane from Bali to Ruteng. He invited us to go and visit his parish in Borong.
What a divine plan! What a coincidence! Right there and then, God really worked for us, leading us the way!
Ruteng became the door for us to enter Indonesia... and Ruteng eventually welcomed us with open arms and cheerfulness!
Fr. Grato and I arrived in Ruteng on August 29, 2006 after spending the night in Bali. It was rather sunny midday, very cool and fresh. We stayed during the nights to sleep at the Monfortan Novitiate and had some interesting conversations with Pater (religious priest) Dwi, the superior of the community and with other postulants and novices. During the day we were with the DVMI sisters dividing their time and turn to room us around. The DVMI sisters were very accommodating, rather showing us an extraordinary Filipino hospitality, for they are Filipino missionary sisters in Ruteng. Immediately, they arranged our itinerary, encouraging us to experience the life in Ruteng or in the kampong (countryside) with many stories about the local people, their customs, religiosity, the language, the many vocations for the priesthood and religious life; their activities, apostolate, formation and the more than fifty congregations in Ruteng and still counting! We came to visit their convent in Sita, still under construction, 21 km from Ruteng, where they use to spend the weekends helping the parish for catechesis and bringing communion to the people in the barrios. We had visited some of the formation houses, and found out a very encouraging result: vocation to priesthood and religious life is plentiful. We were able to witness this when we visited the minor seminary in Kisol, 66 km from Ruteng, with 415 minor seminarian. Every convent of sisters we visited, there were more tan 15 to 20 aspirants or postulants or novices.
The population of Ruteng is 90% catholic, very religious. They go to mass every Sunday with the whole family, meaning, with the father, mother and children with their best attire. They prefer to attend mass very early, say, 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. and really the church was filled with these simple parishioners.
The language is quite easy to learn at least for me because of its familiarity with some Filipino dialects. We are indeed neighbours, sharing some similarities and peculiarities with language and dialects. Filipino missionaries in Ruteng could speak Bahasa Indonesia for just a matter of some months. (Buka, pintu, mukha, dingding, makan, mahal, mura, datang, laut etc.)
We were not able to meet the Bishop of Ruteng and give him the endorsement from our Major Superior, because of his absence from the Diocese. Fortunately, we were able to meet and talk with his alter ego, the vicar general of the Diocese, Romo Alfons, who is very gentle, accommodating and always smiling. He stayed in the Philippines quite sometimes with the SVDs. He told us that Bishop is not refusing permit to any congregation to establish in Ruteng. He actually welcomes them. And how about us? He smiled widely, and said Yes, just wait for the response of the Bishop. "Very very can be", according to Romo Beni, as he quoted the bishop when he called him informing our presence and offering us a parish.
We visited Borong, a coastal town, that according to Romo Beni will become a city by next year, that is the reason why the Bishop is creating new parishes within the area. It is 51 km from Ruteng, passing through a forest where monkeys were just on the road. The parish priest is Romo Beni, whom we met at the Denpasar airport in Bali. He immediately invited us to visit his place and accept to take charge of the new parish. The seat of the new parish is in Jawang, in between Sita and Borong. The elders of the tribe had invested us already with "manggarai hats", signaling their acceptance to us, welcoming us as one of the elders. They were thinking that we were there already to start the parish! We were not allowed to go directly to the chapel but instead to go to the house of the chieftain and observe the traditional welcome ceremony. The chapel is dilapidated, small and old already. The place was very rustic, rural and poor. Most of the inhabitants are poor and impoverished farmers. Indeed, this would be a real missionary parish!
Where could we stay? From the suggestion of the vicar general, Romo Alfons, we could rent a house for the meantime, at least to have a place for some religious to stay and learn the language and many things, put up a formation house later and establish an apostolate outside Ruteng to help the needs of the diocese, meaning, a formation house, a parish, an apostolate center, etc.
We came to visit a house in Ruteng, just near the house where the DVMI sisters are renting a house, too. We were so excited and enthusiastic about it that Fr. Grato and I wanted to stay there and start already to fix the house. Exactly, the house is for rent and we could stay there as soon as we want to start our mission in Ruteng and eventually spread to some parts of Indonesia.
To sum up our unforgettable and exciting exploration in Indonesia, in Ruteng particularly, Fr. Grato exclaimed before leaving Ruteng: "We could have visited and started in this place ten years ago!" Hence, now is the time, a good opportune time to start the Somascan presence in Indonesia, and spread the charism of St. Jerome Emiliani. Now or never!
SELEMAT DATANG DI INDONESIA ORDO IMAM DAN BRUDER SOMASCAN!
In 1981, Mrs. Josephine Madrigal Bayot offered the Somascan Fathers two homes inside the New Alabang Village (as Ayala Alabang Village was then known) for their temporary use. The Madrigals also had an old family chapel dedicated to Sta. Susana in their vast mango orchard. With the cooperation of Mr. Enrique Zobel and Mr. Adolfo Duarte, Ayala Corporation tore down the Madrigal chapel and built a new church, which became the seat of the St. Jerome and Sta. Susana Parish.
On 4 February 1983, Jaime Cardinal Sin blessed the St. Jerome Emiliani and Sta. Susana Parish and installed Rev. Fr. Cesare De Santis, crs, as the first parish priest, who was assisted by Rev. Giovanni Tarditi and Rev. Valerio Fenoglio. Thus was established the first Somascan parochial church in Far East Asia.
The parish, at that time, included the following areas: New Alabang Village,the areas west of the South Expressway, areas south of the Alabang Zapote Road, namely, Stockfarm, Madrigal Hills, Madrigal Estate, and the Serum Vaccine Laboratory (SVL).
The disparity among the residents of the three areas was glaring, so the Fathers tried to find a way of bringing them together through the Holy Bible. Efforts were made to purchase thousands of copies of the bible in English and Tagalog. Sunday classes were organized for children, youth, and adults; catechists themselves, while preparing for their lessons,became acquainted with scriptural passages; people became familiar with the Psalms when they had to recite the Lauds before each morning Mass. This movement to get people closer to the Bible (and to each other) reached its high point during the Bible celebration in the parish on August 25-27, 1989, when conferences were organized on the theme Our Journey of Faith in Union with the Disciples of Emmaus. The parochial library was enriched with patristic books, famous modern writers on the Bible, and with 400 volumes of the Sources Chetiennes, a prestigious collection of the writings of the Fathers of the Church.
To supplement the spiritual benefits brought by the Bible, the Fathers gave immediate attention to the material needs of the less fortunate sector of the Parish. The Parish Office became an employment office. Many families found jobs within Ayala Alabang Village and even abroad.
Environmental conditions in Sitio Masagana were improved when the parish initiated moves for the paving of the sitio's main roads, for a regular collection of garbage, and for obtaining a collection with the water system of the Village. Potable water became available to every family through underground pipe system and fountains. Thus, intestinal diseases diminished radically, according to local doctors.
Different activities were organized to meet the needs of the various groups of the parish. Remedial classes in English, Math, and Tagalog were conducted to help the children of Sitio Masagana. Religious instruction for domestic helpers was organized by dedicated parishioners every Sunday morning. A skills-training program for women was started when the Parish established a sewing center in Sitio Masagana.
In 1990, the rectory, the Parish offices, the living quarters, and the St. Jerome Hall in the basement were built. After the blessing by the Most Reverend Gabriel Reyes, the Fathers moved from the temporary Apitong home provided by the Madrigal family. In 1991, canopies were added to the three entrances of the Church. In 1993, the crypt was dug out to accommodate 130 tombs and 200 niches. Diring this time, parishioners initiated a fund campaign to provide bells for the church. In August 1994, a set of eight electronically-controlled bells from Milan, Italy were installed. A few months later, new hand-carved pulpits were installed along each side of the altar. The years 1995 to 1996 saw beautiful stained glass windows adding color and artistry to the quaint church.
On June 15, 1990, Jaime Cardinal Sin divided the parochial territory into two parishes. The whole Ayala Alabang Village became the new Parish of St. James the Great under the guidance of the diocesan clergy.
On March 15, 1998, the Cardinal reshaped the boundaries of our parish by trans ferring Alabang Stock Farm, Serum Vaccine Laboratory (SVL), and the RITM to the San Roque Parish.
At present, the St. Jerome Parish is composed of the following areas: Tierra Nueva, Elsie Gaches Village, San Jose Subdivision, Purok13, Marillac, New Haven Institutions, St. Jerome Village (also known as Bliss or Filinvest Socialized Housing, Where the residents of Alabang Stock Farm were relocated), and Sitio Masagana.
On February 14, 1999, Rev. Fr. Grato Germanetto was installed as parish priest to replace Fr. Cesare, who served the parish for 16 years.
From that little church in the middle of nowhere some 20 years ago, St Jerome church has become the center of the spiritual life of many residents, of countless passers by, and of regular office workers. This beautiful church is becoming too small for the growing community of Alabang. It would be a dream come true if some day we were able to expand it!
The Faces of the Parish
The parish is under the community apostolate of St Jerome House headed by the superior Very Rev. Fr. Angeles Javier San Jose, crs with Fr. Grato Germanetto,crs as parish priest and is helped by Fr. Lino Juta crs, Fr. John Valenzuela,crs.
Our Address: Commerce Ave., Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City, 1702 MM, Philippines Tel.no. (02) 842-49-47 email@example.com