zambosur_smallFrs. Fernando Milani, Giancarlo Bossi and Gianni Re were the first PIME members to arrive in the Prelature of Ipil, in 1981. In the first 10 years, PIME (with the coming of other missioners frs. Luciano Benedetti, Paulo Da Rocha Dias, Helvecio Mendes, Bruno Bottignolo and Nicola Barbato) has consolidated the two Parishes of Kumalarang and Siay, and has founded 3 new ones: LakeWood, Payao and Sampoli. Ipil, at that time, was a Jesuit mission and PIMEs found there a unique kind of structural church called Kris-Ka. Fr.Milani wrote at that time: “Here in Ipil, there is Kris-ka movement (Kristohanong Kasilinganan), small christian communities that are trying to bring the experience of faith into the families who live near one another in the same barrio. There are group of families (seldas) who gather every week to discuss the Sunday Gospel, reading it and seeing how to apply it concretely in their personal, familial and social context. Each parish is made up of 30-40 barrios, each of which has its own chapel. Each barrio has its own numbers of seldas”.  Kris-Ka leaders, kaabags (eucharistic ministers) and alagads (those who are leading the Kris-Ka Sessions) gather once a month at the parish formation center for on-going formation and training. In that occasion they will prepare and print the monthly Guide for the seldas. These small communities are a unique grass-roots means to provide faith formation and create groups of responsable adult christians. This work is not easy, especially in the rural areas where formal education remains scarce and where the few who can afford to study beyond the elementary level tend to leave for the cities like Pagadian and Zamboanga.

The 80s were difficul years with insurgency, NPA (New People’s Army) on the mountains and BMA (Bangsang Moro Army) on the sea-coasts and counter-insurgency of the Government troops, marines and para-military forces, in full activity. Bishop Federico Escaler, SJ, was kidnapped in 1983. Very often PIMEs and the local clergy were called to safeguard the lives of civilians cought-in-between or arrested by soldiers. In 1991 Fr. Fernando Milani became the pastoral coordinator of the Prelature and started a program called LOGCO (Local Government and Church Officers) with the aim to establish better relationships between the  Church in Ipil and the Local Government.  Meanwhile Fr. Bottignolo moved to island of TawiTawi for his research and in 1995  published the book “Celebrations with the Sun”, an overview of Religious Phenomena among the Badjaos of Tawi-Tawi, who are often mistakenly classified as Muslims or animists. Much of Badjao ritual, the Pag-umboh ceremony, revolves around the sun, when sunlight first emerges from the eastern horizon and when the sun is at its peak in the heavens. In 1994 muslim rebels attacked and burned the town of Ipil killing almost 100 people. After the year 2000, and the newly created province of Zamboanga Sibugay, more improvements were made in the infrastructutes, meanly with the concreting and asfalting of the national road from Pagadian to Zamboanga City. After 27 years, PIMEs still remain in the Prelature of Ipil (now a Diocese), working in the parishes of Sampoli (frs. Ilario Trobbiani and Emerson Gazetta), LakeWood (fr. Stefano Mosca) and Bayog (fr.Bruno Vanin). In June 2007, Fr. Giancarlo Bossi assigned to Payao, was kidnapped by a group of rebels (they called themselves ‘Abusayyaf’) and realesed him after 40 days. Payao was then returned to the local diocesan clergy. In LakeWood PIME, in collaboration with filipino sisters (Guardian Angels Sisters), have committed themselves to the local Indigenous People (IP) called ‘Subanos’. The program started in 1989 with the late fr.Angelo Biancat with the estabishment of elementary schools, health centers and cooperatives in the IP territories. 10.000 hectars have been established as Ancestral Domain and no commercial mining or logging can take place there without the expressed consent of the IP communities.

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