Remembrance, thanksgiving and prayer at Tondo

The Parish of Our Lady of Peace and Good Journey, which the Augustinian Recollects administer in this neighborhood of Manila, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

In 1971 a new work of the Augustinian Recollects began in Manila (Philippines). It was in Tondo, one of the poorest and most underdeveloped districts of the country. There, the Order began its apostolate in the Parish of Our Lady of Peace and Good Journey. Half a century later, the church is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its creation this year, as part of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the evangelization of the islands.

For this reason, the Prior General has sent a video message to the faithful and religious who share their faith in this parish. Miguel Miró has assured that he “joins with joy the celebration of the 50th anniversary” of the parish, which, in addition to spreading and celebrating the Word of God, carries out an important social work. “Celebrating this anniversary is for us a reason for joy,” he says.

Tondo slum in the Philippines

In his message, Miró proposed three words. The first is to remember “those people who have made this parish possible, who with their lives have written this history”. The Prior General remembered the religious and lay people involved in this work, “simple people who with their prayer, work and effort built this church, and who with their life and prayer made this parish alive and continued through the years”. He especially mentioned the Augustinian Recollects Jesús Sobejano and Jorge Peligro, the first and present parish priests respectively. “They have all left their mark,” he said.

Thankfulness is the second word of the Prior General. He invites us to thank “the Lord for the gifts he has given to the Order and to all of you in this parish”. Miró considers that there are reasons to feel very grateful, because “the Lord has been great with us and we are joyful”, paraphrasing Psalm 125. Finally, he invited to pray and to look at the family of Nazareth. “Living and praying as a family helps us all to feel joyful and to experience in the depths of our hearts the joy of the Gospel,” he said.

St. John Paul II during his visit to Tondo on February 18, 1981.

Finally, he asked Our Lady of Peace and Good Journey to protect all the Filipinos who are far away, the sick, the suffering and the poor, especially at this time of pandemic. Miguel Miro also recalls the beginnings of the parish, blessed at its inception by Pope Paul VI during his visit to the Philippines in 1970. On February 18, 1981, Pope John Paul II visited the parish on his trip to the Philippines and addressed a speech to all present. In his words he said: “When we think of the many problems you face daily, when we think of all the people in other areas, in the slums of the big cities and in the forgotten rural areas in other parts of the Philippines, then we think of Christ.