Holy Mission in Manila: Bagong Barrio
It is always a grace to have every year the opportunity to work hard for the sake of the Gospel and for the sake of the salvation of the souls. But it was even this time a greater grace because we could work in the capital city of the most catholic country of the Far East.
For God’s grace we were able to participate in the Holy Mission carried out from May 1st to 10th in the quasi-parish Our Lady of Luján, which is the only IVE parish in Manila. This quasi-parish, commended to IVE ten years ago, is located at Bagong Barrio, Kaloocan City.
The in charge of the mission was Fr. Salvador Curutchet, IVE, who is the parish’s vicar. Fr. Luis Zapata, IVE, the Parish priest, together with Fr. James Ty, IVE, also helped with all the activities. The number of the missionaries was bigger than years before. This time 42 missionaries integrated by seminarians, sisters (SSVM), postulants and lays, especially the girls of the SSVM orphanage, assisted for the Mission.
Throughout the week the activities of the Mission were accomplished with a great spirit of fervor and enthusiasm. Every day started with a procession wherein the image of Our Lady was carried along the narrows streets of the neighborhood. Then, the meditation before the Blessed Sacrament was held. After having breakfast, we began with the visitation of the houses in separated sections according to the different barangays of the whole territory of the Parish. This was carried out in such a way that every day we were obliged to finish one entire barangay. In spite of the humid weather, the missionaries could visit more than 1000 houses!
Every afternoon we had activities with the children and the youth of each Barrio. Even though the space sometimes was too much reduced, everybody brought out good spirit to play different games. The people surrounding were astonished when they stared at the multitude of children and youth playing; and at the same time, this attracted them to participate of the street Mass.
Finally, the day ended with the “Missionary Act”, which consists on a doctrinal point, a Controversy on some religious issue and the Holy Mass. During the entire Mission the Masses were taken as a Novena in preparation for the feast of the parish’s Patroness, “Our Lady of Luján”. After Mass the day finished with the classical comedy sketch prepared by the same youths of the mission.
The place of the mission, that is, Bagon Barrio, truly reflects the intention of the IVE to be in the most difficult places in order to preach and spread the Gospel. The poor, crowed and small houses, the noise of the music all around, the families consumed by the materialism, the superstition and other kinds of moral and physical evils, the protestants sects and many extra things were the different situations that sometimes we had to face. Nevertheless, it was more than incredible to see how the seed of the faith was in the families like waiting to be watered not only by the apostolic work but also by the grace of God given in the sacraments.
We were able to find people of all ages who had not yet received none of the sacraments. However, God opened the hearts of many so that they might receive His life of grace thought the Sacraments of His Holy Church.
For this event of grace, we had also the presence of three bishops: Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, emeritus from Kaloocan, who first welcome our missionaries in his Diocesis; Bishop Francisco de Leon, who celebrated the Mass for the confirmations; and Bishop Teodoro Baconi, the former bishop, who celebrated the ending Mass of Our Lady of Luján.
To sum itup we must mention also the spectacular and massive procession in honor of Our Lady of Luján and of Saint Lutgarda, the Parish’s co-patroness, which was held on Saturday.
We well know that God blesses us with many unseen fruits, but at the same time, our efforts were certainly much rewarded when Fr. Salvador mentioned the numbers of the given sacraments: 34 baptisms, 29 communions, 22 anointing of the sick and 59 confirmations!, which is, by the way, a new record in the Parish’s history.
We thank God for all the benefits received in this Holy Mission.
Bro. Víctor Gálvez, IVE
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