It has been nine months since our Seminary has changed its residence. From being in the center of Lipa City we moved to the Barangay (“barrio”) “San Celestino was constructed.
El nuevo seminario
It has also been nine months since we started the apostolate among the peoples and houses of San Celestino every Saturday. It is in truth a very poor place. The houses are very simple and the people very humble; however, since we arrived they have not stopped helping us and showing themselves grateful, thankful and blessed for having a seminary in the Barangay. They are always happy of seeing the cassocks, the children at the Oratory and receiving the brothers in their houses.
El oratorio de los sábados
Visita de casas
In this chronicle we want to tell you a big fruit which we have had from Saturdays’ apostolate ¾ forty people have returned to the Catholic Church!
In order to start, and for those who don’t know it, is necessary to explain the religious situation of The Philippines. Up to now the Catholic Church is the religion with more faithful. But, unfortunately, day after day the sects and other denominations are multiplying. Amid them shows up the Iglesia ni Cristo (the Church of Crist) founded by the masons and which has many temple all around the archipelago. It has a total protestant feature and basically the same as other sects which are making so much evil in this catholic country.
Meanwhile, other Church exits which is somehow more dangerous. It is called Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church) and is vulgarly known as Aglipayan Church for its first “chief” Fr. Gregorio Aglipay. In the year 1902 a group of priest, strongly encouraged by the masons, have separated from Rome. Thus, they started a kind of national church which rapidly spread out with the motto “it is not necessary to be Roman, to be catholic; it is enough to be Filipino’”. Consequently, many people and many priests left the Catholic Church and moved to this new Church.
In our Barangay there are sadly many members of this Church who have their “chapels” and “priests” (they do not have the sacrament).
But they are not so many now. Since two month ago, when we were making apostolate, an old man approached us saying that he and all his family wanted to return to the Catholic Church. What a surprise for us! We already knew who they were and that they belong to the Independent Church, but we never thought that they would approach “just like that” asking us to return to Catholicism.
So, forty persons (all the family clan) and the “priest” himself officially asked to return to the catholic faith.
First we went to see our parish priest who told us that we should give them some catechism classes and then we will have a mass at the Parish where they will profess anew the creed. And thus we did.
En la parroquia después de la Sta. Misa
Two weeks before the Mass we gave them some classes of catechism in our seminary. All of them –children, youth, adults and old people- took part of them. Finally, the last Sunday we had the Mass in the Parish, the profession of the creed and later the celebrations at the seminary.
Festejos en el comedor del Seminario
Thanks God, everything was excellent and for the good of all.
But this story is just at the beginning. As well, others families approached us asking to reentry to the Catholic Church. Thanks to the initiative of these first families new ones followed their example.
The adults who have made their sacraments in the Catholic Church are coming to the seminary to confess and to renew their faith. On the other hand, the children and the youth who had only received invalid sacraments have already received the confirmation and the baptism validly.
We thank God for the immense graces and we ask prayers for the perseverance of this new members of the Catholic Church and for the ones who are coming and will come.
In Christ and Mary,
Sem. Bernardo M. Ibarra