50 years with the people in need

Declared officially as a new parish on March 16, 1971 by his Eminence Rufino Cardinal Santos following a papal desire and pronouncement made by no less than Pope Paul VI himself when His Holiness visited the depressed areas around on November 30, 1970, the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (OLPGV) Catholic Church now proudly celebrates after fifty challenging years its Golden Foundation Anniversary.

This Church whose pastoral care was entrusted to the Order of Augustinian Recollects from the very start lies geographically at the heart of Tondo, Manila where thousands of hard-up struggling families have shelters with sporadic means of living only gleaned around the sea ports and market places.

With this ecclesial context, the 2021 steering committee – composed of religious and lay leaders again and again grabbed much time together for brainstorming, planning, re-focusing and determining what salient features would well define the great significance of this celebration.

Three specific queries at the beginning of 2018 were seriously considered for community discussions: what do we need to do before 2021? what do we want to happen in 2021? what do we expect to see after 2021?

The parish finally highlights its Foundation Anniversary with its theme: “Faithful Journey to God the Father through Jesus with Mary” since our celebration is solely dedicated to the Lord Jesus with the Blessed Mother and the pilgrim church journeying towards God the Father, the only Source of genuine fullness and salvation.

Knowing wholeheartedly our objectives this anniversary which are: renewal, reach out and recruitment, every parishioner vows to renew oneself first internally in the liturgical ministries we engage daily in the parish. We also see the need to bring our church closer by reaching out to the peripheral families and twenty-four barangays by way of its Basic Ecclesial Communities and Caritas Manila. Our slogan is: When we reach out, we engage; after we engage, we then multiply.

The golden anniversary momentum was affected and quite stopped by the worldwide 2020 pandemic. In fact no meetings or gatherings for updating were done for so long. But before we end every Sunday Mass, we make sure that we turn to our saints and to our Patroness, OLPGV as we recite our 2021 Prayer – asking for special graces, particularly for the success of the golden anniversary celebration. This prayer has been our foothold and strength as we traverse the pandemic times.

We shall kick off our Anniversary Week festivities on March 15, 2021 with a solemn “Cantamisa”, an evening thanksgiving Mass of a newly ordained, Oblates of St. Joseph priest who grew up as a child in Parola, one of our depressed communities.

On the next day, March 16, there is a ceremonial Opening with an early morning Fluvial procession and fireworks around the North Harbor Area near Barangay 28, known to have the first construction of a small “Fugoso” Chapel, the cradle of the OLPGV parish church in Tondo. Our poor folks in Isla Puting Bato along the sea port together with other small groups representing the territories of the parish from C.M. Recto, Asuncion, Zaragoza, Wagas, Moriones and Road 10 will be taking their turns as caracol dancers during this colorful and festive Anniversary Opening as well.

Our Bishop Administrator, Broderick Pabillo, DD is scheduled to have the evening Jubilee Mass with the ceremonial blessing of the Holy Door on March 19, the solemnity of St. Joseph.

With some other anniversary programs, our Parish is prayerfully expressive of our gratitude to the Lord, our Savior for keeping us in his Divine Heart amidst the challenging times, with the constant inspiration and intercession of our saints and the Blessed Mother our Patroness.

Empowered by the memorable visit and presence of Pope John Paul II on February 11, 1981 who came to bless and affectionately prayed with our poorest of the poor, we are one in our belief that God faithfully continues to transform our lives, through our liturgy and pastoral works of charity even when at times people are slow to understand his divine holy will.

In closing, our OLPGV parish pledges at the end of the golden foundation anniversary celebration to animate more intensely the seeds of faith, hope and love that were sown earlier by the Recollect Missionaries for the last fifty years as an active response to the universal call to holiness and salvation of all souls

Jorge Peligro OAR

Artículo publicado en el Anuario OAR 2020