On 12 December 1977, feastday of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, Patroness of the Philippines, four Spiritans from four different continents, landed in this country. They based themselves in Iligan, in northern Mindanao. There, they began their ministry, in a region where the local Church most needed them.
Since then, Spiritans have come from different countries of Africa and Europe to join them. The community grew and began to work in different places on the islands of Mindanao, Cebu and Leyte. Spiritans are involved in campus ministry, in rural and urban parishes, in a Chinese-Filipino parish, in teaching, in a youth centre and in a formation programme, in hospital and prison chaplaincies, in dialogue between Christians and Muslims, in food programmes, and in many other roles that corresponded with our Spiritan vocation of evangelical availability.
A big Spiritan retreat centre, with a Holy Ghost sanctuary, is situated in Mindanao, whilst in Manila there is a house of formation for theological studies for those from Spiritan districts in Asia. On 12th December next, the 20th anniversary of our arrival and of the foundation of this mission, we will also have the priestly ordination of our first two Spiritan Filipinos. Our most recent group of young Spiritan candidates will soon begin their formation south of Leyte, and we will continue to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit and to respond with “one heart and one soul”.
(Feature picture: Spiritans working in Taiwan and the Philippines meet in Iligan, january 2003.)