70th Year of Claretian Presence in the Philippines

The Kapatirang Claretiano INC. (KCI) – Pangasinan Chapter Joins the Celebration of the 70th Year of Claretian Presence in the Philippines. The Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Cordis Mariae Filius – CMF), popularly known as the Claretians, are celebrating their 70 years of fruitful missionary works in the Philippines, this year of 2016. On December 26, 1946 the first Claretian Missionary Fathers arrived in Manila, Philippines, through the invitation of Bishop Mariano A. Madriaga (formerly, Diocese of Lingayen-Dagupan) way back dated August 20, 1945 to Rev. Fr. Stephen Emaldia, CMF., Chicago, Illinois, USA. The pioneering Claretian missionaries in the Philippines are: Fr. Raymond D. Catalan, CMF., Fr. Arcadio H. Martin, CMF., and, Fr. Thomas J. Mitchell, CMF. They were canonically installed in Santa Barbara Pangasinan Parish on January 9, 1947. Consequently, these missionaries erected the altar of St. Anthony Mary Claret (at the right side of the Church), which was historically known as St. Claret’s first altar in Asia. Since then, the province of Pangasinan was blessed with the missionary service of the Claretians, until they were deployed to other mission stations in Manila and other mission frontiers in the Southern part of the Philippines. Indeed, there is a reason to celebrate in thanksgiving for the gift of the Claretian presence in the Philippines.

The Pangasinenses or the native people of Pangasinan, are grateful to be part of the history of the Claretian Missionaries in the Philippines. They felt blessed to be served by the Claretians and in turn they are happy to join the celebration and thanksgiving for the 70 years of the Claretians in the Philippines. The KCI – Pangasinan Chapter officers and members are part of this sentiment because they too feel the blessings and at the same time in solidarity with the missionary fervor of the Claretians.

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(the altar of St. Claret in Sta. Barbara, the statue of St. Claret in Dalongue, the novena to St. Claret in Pangasinan)

It has been a tradition that the officers and members of the KCI – Pangasinan Chapter gather together every December 26. They usually come together at the altar of Saint Anthony Mary Claret which is located in the Holy Family Parish Church in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan. This became a yearly pilgrimage of the group in honor of St. Anthony Mary Claret. Aside from the altar of St. Claret in the Church of Sta. Barbara, the KCI – Pangasinan Chapter rediscovered a statue of Saint Anthony Mary Claret (made on April 24, 1965) and the Novena to St. Claret (published on September 30, 1950) written in Pangasinan language.

These two religious icons about St. Claret were providentially found by the group on December 26, 2011 (during the celebration of the 65th year of presence of the Claretians in the Philippines), in Brgy. Dalongue chapel in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, by which St. Claret is the patron saint.

Since December 26, 2011 onwards, the KCI – Pangasinan Chapter considered the Dalongue community as their apostolate in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, and eventually their partner towards future missionary endeavors, because they believed that the spirit of St. Claret has led them to be gathered to realize their mission in that area under the guidance of the Claretians in the Philippine province. And it has been a common prayer that the Dalongue community, the KCI – PC, and the Claretians – Philippine Province will deepen their commitment to help one another in building the Kingdom of God here on earth, inspired by St. Claret in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord, for the well-being of His people.
In celebration of the 70 years of the Claretians in the Philippines, the KCI – Pangasinan Chapter had the following activities:

(from left to right: Louie Lamsen, Romano Bulatao, Fr. Samuel Canilang, CMF., Oliver Eucapor, Edgar Tagum, Jenewel Mondares, Rodelito Calicdan, Joseph Reyes, Francis Salvador)
The KCI – Pangasinan Chapter representatives joined Rev. Fr. Samuel H. Canilang, CMF., in thanksgiving-prayer and the singing of the song “O Virgin and Mother of God,” in front of the altar of Saint Anthony Mary Claret, dedicated for the 70th year of Claretian presence in the Philippines.

The group had the courtesy call with Rev. Fr. Carlito V. Yden, the parish priest of the Holy Family Parish, Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan. Fr. Yden is very supportive in every activity of the KCI – Pangasinan chapter here in Sta. Barbara, particularly in Brgy. Dalongue chapel. The group has a regular communication with the parish priest especially on matter concerning the community in Brgy. Dalongue.

Rev. Fr. Samuel H. Canilang, CMF., President, Saint Anthony Mary Claret College, Quezon City, and Director, Institute of Consecrated Life in Asia, is the first Claretian Missionary who officiated the Holy Eucharist in Brgy. Dalongue Chapel, representing the Claretians in the Philippine province.
There is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in Brgy. Dalongue chapel together with the community, KCI – Pangasinan chapter members and officers, and Fr. Canilang presided the mass and he was assisted by Joseph Reyes (a Claretian second year theology student).

In his homily, Fr. Samuel H. Canilang, CMF., shared about the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, whose feast is celebrated that day. He also related this theme of martyrdom with Saint Anthony Mary Claret whose entire life was full of martyrdom. Fr. Canilang further mentioned about the Claretian Congregation whose members follow the footsteps of St. Claret in line with his life of martyrdom. Finally, he challenged the KCI – Pangasinan chapter officers and members, together with the community of Brgy. Dalongue, to live a life of martyrdom, by being witnesses of faith, expressed in their respective professions or vocation. The martyrdom of St. Stephen indeed becomes a reminder of what we truly celebrate during Christmas – to go back to Jesus Christ, and live the fullness of life in God.

Before the final blessings, the officers of the Brgy, Dalongue chapel who were duly elected last May, 2016, were formally inducted into office by Mr. Edgar Tagum Jr. (Municipal Councilor of Basista, Pangasinan, and Vice President of KCI – Pangasinan chapter). This induction is a symbolic act of accepting their mission in line with the missionary charism of the Claretians in the Philippines.

(the Brgy. Dalongue Chapel Officers with Edgar Tagum, Jr., Vice President, KCI-PC, Romano Bulatao, President, KCI-PC, and Fr. Samuel Canilang, CMF.)
Right after the celebration of the Holy Eucharist which is the nourishment of the spirit, the group joined the Dalongue community in partaking what they prepared for lunch, which is for the nourishment of the body. Rev. Fr. Samuel H. Canilang, CMF., blessed the food. This simple banquet also strengthens the relationship that bonds all the communities concerned.

After lunch, the group proceed to San Carlos City, Pangasinan, in the residence of Fr. Canilang where the annual meeting and report of KCI – Pangasinan Chapter was held.

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(from left to right: Rodelito Calicdan, Romano Bulatao, Fr. Samuel Canilang, CMF., Fr. Jonas Centeno, Francis Salvador, Steve Iñigo, and Oliver Eucapor)

On this site of the church [Immaculate Conception Parish, Bani, Pangasinan], Fr. Jonas Centeno will erect and dedicate an altar for St. Anthony Mary Clare
From San Carlos City, Pangasinan, the group travelled all the way to Bani, Pangasinan, and visited Rev. Fr. Jonas Centeno, (KCI – Pangasinan Chapter, spiritual adviser), Parish priest of Immaculate Conception Parish, Bani, Pangasinan.

The whole day activity was culminated with a dinner in Alaminos City, Pangasinan. It has been a meaningful day as the join the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – Philippine Province in their 70the year of their fruitful missionary service in the Philippines. The KCI – Pangasinan Chapter officers and members are looking forward for the next year’s get-together. To all Claretians and those inspired by St. Anthony Mary Claret – CARITAS CHRISTI URGET NOS!

Written by Romano M. Bulatao
President, KCI – Pangasinan Chapter