VINCENTIANS IN THE PHILIPPINES
In 2013, the Vincentians celebrated their 150th anniversary in the Philippines. 150 years is a long period of time by any kind of reckoning be it biological, historical, sociological, etc. It is also a very interesting since those 150 years happen to be one of the most colorful and important eras in the history of mankind with all the scientific, cultural, economic progress in that period of time. This short history is a flashback and reflection on the Vincentians but also of Filipino culture.
The two very clear historical periodization of Philippine Vincentian History are: the Spanish period and the Filipino governance of the Province. Roughly the Spanish Period started with the arrival of the first Spanish Vincentians in 1862 and ended with the election of the first Filipino provincial visitor in 1979. The Filipino Governance started in 1979 up to the present.
The Spanish period is characterized by the flowering of the Seminary apostolate in the Philippines with the Vincentian takeover of the important seminaries in the Philippines: San Carlos Seminary of Manila (1862), Holy Rosary Seminary of Caceres (1865), San Carlos Seminary of Cebu (1867), San Vicente Ferrer Seminary of Iloilo (1869) and the Vigan Seminary (1872). The Seminary apostolate which lasted for over a hundred years was the centerpiece of the Vincentian work in the Philippines together with the work with the Daughters of Charity, popular mission, retreats for priests and laymen taking important places in the minds and hearts of the missionaries.
The success of the Seminary training undertaken by the Vincentians can be measured by the number of priests and Bishops that were trained under them. More importantly for the country in the great continent of Asia, these priests helped in the development of the country and in preparing the leaders in the remote provincial level. Rufino Cardinal Santos, Jaime Cardinal Sin, and Julio Cardinal Rosales were all trained by the Vincentian Fathers. Some of the most important leaders coming from the provinces were trained by the Vincentians in the far flung countryside: Graciano Lopez Jaena, Jose Maria Panganiban, Sergio Osmeña, to name but a few.
The glory and honor should be abundantly showered on the hundreds of well-trained and talented Vincentians sent from Spain. By 1862, the date of the Vincentians’ arrival in the country, Spain lost most of her colonial territories and was looking with some nostalgia at the Pearl of the Orient Seas. The desire to train the native clergy and help keep the colonies motivated the Madrid bureaucracy to send the best of the best to the islands.
From 1979 to 2011, the Filipino Vincentians were at the helm of the Province, more or less, keeping up the tradition of service to the Filipino people in their apostolate which included Parish work, Popular Mission work, retreat and formation of the Clergy, support to the Daughters of Charity, Education, and Foreign Missions.
-Fr. DelaGoza, CM
Our Vision-Mission Statement In The Philippine Province
- Humbled by the experience of our personal weaknesses, community divisiveness and lack of apostolic directions;
- Encouraged by God's saving grace, the love of our Vincentian vocation, the affirmation of our confrerers and those whom we serve;
- Challenged by the glaring reality of widespread material and moral poverty of our people, and the urgent calls of the Church for renewal;
We the Vincentians of the Philippine Province, with total trust in God'sl ove and providence, rooted in Jesus, the evangelizer of the poor, following the way of St. Vincent De Paul, envision ourselves in the Church of the poor as a discerning community of disciples.
Under the leading of the Holy Spirit, with Mary as our model, and in collaboration with our partners, we commit ourselves and our resources to an inculturated and renewd integral evangelization of the poor, especially the more abandoned, and to a contextualized formation of the clergy and the laity.
- Hence, each one of us will renew his prayer life, live a simple lifestyle and be shaped by a continuing formation that will deepen his love and commitment to the Vincentian vocation towards becoming new men.
- As new men, guided by the values and processes of the Basic Ecclestial communities, ee will be animated by creative ways of praying, strengthened by mutual quality presence and affirmation, faithful to and directed by community plans towards becoming a new community.
- As new men in the community, called to a more visible presence among the poor, we will revitalize and redirect our existing apostolates and be open to a new ministries in order to be more effective in our work with the poor, the clergy and the laity towards a new evangelization.
- Ours, will then be a province of new men and new communities journeying together towards the Kingdom.