ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The Somascan Fathers in celebration and on mission for orphaned and abandoned children

Wednesday, 8 February 2023 evangelization   children   street children   school  

Manila (Agenzia Fides) - Celebrating today, February 8, the feast of Saint Jerome Emiliani (Venice, 1486 - Somasca, Feb. 8, 1537) in the parish named after him in the municipality of Muntinlupa - one of the cities that make up MetroManila - is an occasion for the proclamation of the Gospel and God's love: the church was the first institution of the congregation of the Somascan Fathers, founded by Saint Jerome Emiliani, in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. It is the "Mother House" of the entire community of Somascan religious in the area, founded over 40 years ago. In 40 years of evangelizing presence, the religious have given life to many communities and mission initiatives that today express their apostolic zeal, especially in favor of children.
The establishment of the parish took place in 1982 when the Cardinal of Manila, Jaime Sin and the first Mass was celebrated on Christmas Eve 1982 in the newly built church, and in the following year he entrusted the Somascan Order with the pastoral task of the parish. "The parish today is a refuge for the young and the old, for the poor and the rich, for the weak and the strong, for the last and the lost. It is the living legacy and spirituality of Saint Jerome Emiliani in the Philippines, as his heart beats only to serve, love and give", says Father Melchor Umandal, Somascan Province in Southeast Asia, to Fides, also speaking about the other parish cared for by the religious, Saint Jerome Emiliani Parish in Roosevelt, Bataan Province.
The Provincial recounts the missionary activities in the province, primarily in the field of education with three schools (Aemilianum College in Sorsogon, St. Jerome Emiliani School of Dinalupihan in Bataan, and St. Jerome School of Sta. Rosa in Laguna) all recognized by the government. Then there are the reception centers for orphans and children: there are 7 "Miani Homes" in the province, 6 in the Philippines and one in Indonesia, all accredited by the government's Social Services. Here they take care of the spiritual, educational, physical and health needs of children, especially orphans and abandoned street children.
Furthermore, the "Somasco lay Movement", is active, made up of groups of lay collaborators, teachers and volunteers, but also professionals such as doctors, nurses, dentists and psychologists who offer free services for the benefit of children.
Well-liked and appreciated by the people of Southeast Asia, the Somaschi continue to welcome young people who wish to join their congregation. There are 2 houses of formation in the Philippines: the Somascan Minor Seminary and Postulancy in Lubao which is aimed at high school aspirants; the Somascan Major Seminary and Novitiate in the city of Tagaytay, a house for novices, some engaged in philosophical and theological studies. Other institutes are located in Maumere, Indonesia, where Indonesian aspirants and religious are welcomed, and one in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, which already has a good number of aspirants.
The Somaschi mission in Southeast Asia has celebrated its 40th anniversary. "With the same love as the Founder, our congregation continues to devote itself to the material and spiritual care of orphans and the poor, it deals with the human and Christian education of young people and pastoral care, accompanying young people with educational institutions and youth ministry", the religious note. "Let us take note of this - they conclude - "without forgetting that man proposes, but God disposes, and God in his providence disposes things not according to our plans: his interventions are often surprising. It is he who traces the path to be taken: a path that we have not planned, moreover, a path that always involves a way of the cross and a gaze always turned toward the Most High". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 8/2/2023)