Casian: islands of evangelization

The Augustinian Recollects of the Philippines arrived in Casian in 2008. From this parish they attend pastoral work in seven other surrounding islands. It is mission territory declared by the Palawan bishopric

Water is an obstacle for the thousands of Filipinos who live in one of the small islands that make up the archipelago. This is what happens to the inhabitants of the seven islands near Casian, where the Augustinian Recollects have been carrying out their pastoral work since 2008. The missionaries, in charge of the main parish of San Isidro Labrador, on the island of Casian, must travel weekly the waters that separate each island to distribute the sacraments and spiritually attend to the Christians of these islands, who are practically isolated.

The Augustinian Recollect Joel Naranja, who for several years carried out the missionary work in this place and is currently in Cuba, explains the “challenge” of being a missionary in Casian. “Our work here consists of an aquatic world.” Indicates that to go from one island to another is mandatory to use the boats. “When we go to a chapel, we have to travel by boat half an hour, forty minutes or an hour until we reach the island we want,” he says.

“Every Saturday and Sunday we go to each of these islands. The three priests shared the work and we went from the morning to give the Eucharist, “says Charly Orobia, Augustinian Recollect and prior of the community of Augustinian Recollects in this mission territory.

For Joel Naranja, the work done here responds to the mandate of Pope Francis. “The Pope says that we have to go to the peripheries and talk about Christ. That is what we try to do. We hope that the little we do here gives some results, “he says.

He delves into the difficulty of the islands of Casian the situation lived by the thousands of Filipinos in this place. “There are many people who live in poverty, they only dedicate themselves to fishing for themselves, which is why they are very poor people,” explains Charly Orobia.