MANILA, Oct. 27, 2014 – The Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) concluded the three-year celebration marking its 75th year in the Philippines with a mass officiated by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo at the Queen of Apostles Sanctuary in Pasay on Oct. 11.
The prelate related that his first exposure to Catholic literature was through the Daughter of St. Paul when he was in a primary school in Naga.
“I was struck by that,” Sr. Maria Rosario Agtarap, fsp.paulines.ph webmaster, said. “It’s the beauty of Pauline mission. You never knew who you became part of.”
Gathered about a hundred Daughters of St. Paul, including sisters from the congregation’s communities in the Philippines and overseas, and about the same number of longtime benefactors, friends, and well-wishers, the event also recognized 75 people who helped and partnered with the congregation during its 75-year journey.
“Since we were celebrating our 75th year in the Philippines, we gave 75 plaques of appreciation to 75 people who accompanied us in our mission in the past 75 years,” Agtarap said.
The sponsors who came from different walks of life, including entrepreneurs, a physician, a retired soldier, and teachers, carry on the charitable tradition they inherited from their forebears, she said.
A mass was also celebrated at the Queen of Apostles Sanctuary on Oct. 8 in memory of departed collaborators and sponsors who backed the apostolate of the Daughters of St. Paul during the last 75 years.
Part of the three-year celebration was the distribution of 75,000 copies of the Bible to poor families in depressed areas across the country, said Sr. Lorena Briones, Paulines Publishing House associate editor.
Bibles in Every Home
Known as “Biblia sa Bawat Pamilya (Bible in Every Home), it began in October 2011, she said.
The Bible-giving project did not simply distribute copies, Agtarap said. It was also accompanied by formative talks and discussions between the sisters and the recipients.
Copies have reached poor communities from Tuguegarao in the north across typhoon-devastated Visayan provinces to Zamboanga in the south.
To some recipients who have less in life, it was the first time they got hold of the Bible and “it was very moving on the part of the sisters, as well as [for] those people,” Agtarap said.
Recipients “made a pledge” that they would read the Bible five to 10 minutes as a family, everyday, she said.
Other activities during the three-year celebration included Biblical animation; a reach-out project for street-children, women inmates and young offenders; catechism; and workshops for the development of lay collaborators.
The Daughters of St. Paul was founded in Italy in 1915 by Blessed James Alberione, an Italian Catholic priest.
In 1938, the congregation was founded in the country by Italian sisters. Today, the Philippines province covers houses in Malaysia, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea.
The province currently has 200 sisters who harness books, audio/videos, radio, TV, the internet and other media of communication to carry out the congregation’s apostolate to evangelize. (Oliver Samson)