BATAAN, Dec. 5, 2016 – “Be missionaries of unity.”
This was what Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos told the parish community of St. Francis Xavier and St. Hannibal Mary di Francia Parish (SFXP) in Bataan, as it celebrated the feast of St. Francis Xavier.
Recalling the journey which St. Francis Xavier underwent, especially in Asia, Santos rallied the parishioners towards being “ISA” (one).
He gave three points from the word “ISA”, giving the following meanings per letter:
- “I” – Isipin ang kapwa (being mindful of others);
- “S” – Sumama at Sumali bilang Bayan ng Diyos (participate as People of God);
- “A” – Alamin ang pangangailangan ng bawat isa (awareness of one’s need of others)
‘Culture of unity’
By being mindful of others, Santos invited the SFXP parishioners to be aware of those who do not participate in the life of the Church, of those who need God’s presence in their lives. He challenged those present to go and evangelize others who do not know God yet.
The bishop urged the community to be consistent in its involvement in the activities of the parish, always in communion with the parish priest and his parish collaborators.
The prelate encouraged the faithful to be aware of one’s weaknesses and shortcomings and to ask God’s help and the whole community to be part of building “a culture of unity and communion” with one another.
1st Rogationist missionary post
Santos began his homily by setting the context of the parish fiesta in relation to the recently opened Year of Parish: Communion of Communities, as part of the preparation for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.
Fr. John Lucas, RCJ, the Provincial Vicar of the Rogationist St. Matthew Province, thanked the bishop for his availability and inspiring presence.
Likewise, Fr. Julius Descartin, RCJ, parish priest of the SFX Parish Community, thanked all those who attended the celebration. He also raised a few points on the importance of a growing parish community.
More than a hundred parishioners, guest priests, and friends came to attend the Mass of solemn feast of the Ignatian missionary to Asia.
At present, the SFXP Community is composed of Fr. Julius Descartin, RCJ (parish priest), Fr. Ranny Rodriguez, RCJ (assistant parish priest) and Fr. Menard Cadeliña, RCJ (assistant parish priest). Fr. John Youn Jong Du, RCJ, Responsible for the Mission to the Indigenous Peoples (IP), also celebrated his 5th priestly anniversary on that day.
The Parish in Parang, Bagac, Bataan is the seat of the first missionary post of the first Rogationist missionaries in the Philippines. Assigned as Parang’s first parish priest, Fr. Diego Buscio, RCJ was the first missionary to Bataan. He, however, died in a car accident on March 10, 1978. (Br. John Francis Aberion, RCJ / St. Hannibal Rogate Center / CBCP News)