Sunday, February 17, 2008

St. Jerome Emiliani and Sta. Susana Parish, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Philippines






A Parish Rises Out Of The Ruins...

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
crsalabang@somascos.org

No comments: