From Bayog to Lubang Island

1999 starts with the election of a new Regional Superior PIME-Philippines of fr. Gianni Sandalo who replaces fr. Giulio Mariani. In January 1999 PIME leaves the parish of Siay, in the Prelature of Ipil. In the written letter the Bishop emphasized the importance of that parish in favor of the local clergy. PIME has been there since 1982.  After some months, May 1999, the Prelature asked if PIME could take cure of the parish of Bayog, because a situation of crisis that was developping between the local clergy and some lay people. So during the Regional Assembly 2000 PIME agreed to take Bayug determined from the fact that, beyond to the normal job pastoral, more was wanted to render more consistend the present of our group in Zamboanga del Sur and Ipil’s Prelature due mostly to the distance beteween LakeWood and Sampoli. Bayug was right in the middle. So in June 2000 father Giancarlo Bossi entered in the parish and begun the, so called,  job of healing the wounds which  afflicted that parish. The task then continued with the arrival of the parish priest fr. Bruno Vanin (November 2000). Since the parochial house and the annexed facilities were very old, the two started the construction of the new parochial house. Then followed the construction of the Formation Center with part of the money coming from the parochial community and the Prelature of Ipil.

After the kidnapping and release of father Benedetti (september – November 1998), father Nicola Mapelli (companion of fr. Benedetti in Sibuco) took residence in the Regional House in Zamboanga but offered to take care, as part-time, Sibuco and Malayal, mainly during the festivities and weekends. Meantime the diocese of Dipolog was engaged in searching for some diocesan clergy willing to work in the south of the diocese, Baliguian, Siocon and Sibuco (formely under PIME care), as a team. After few encounters PIME decided  to return the missionary zone of Sibuco/Malayal to the diocese of Dipolog and in the Regional Assembly of 2001 to send fr. Mapelli from Zamboanga to Arakan Valley.

In October 2004 it was come to know that the parish priest of Labangan, father Vincenzo Bruno, was under the threat of kidnapped from a non identified group of persons. After having spoken to the bishop and considering the situation, PIME decided to withdraw from the diocese of Pagadian, inasmuch as also that the other PIME father in Pagadian Joseph Bui decided not to re-enter in the Philippines. The decision was formalized during the Regional Assembly of 2005.
Down to the Prelature of Ipil, after his kidnapping (2007), father Giancarlo Bossi, moved to Manila (2008) and father Emerson Gazetta (2009) went to Sampoli as assistant of father Ilario Trobbiani, the parish priest.

In Kidapawan father Steve Baumbusch was asked to move from Columbio to the parish in Paranaque in Manila. Not having PIME ready personal the diocese of Kidapawan took care of that parish. In the 2006 Regional Assembly PIME decided not to engage itself in Columbio for the time being leaving but opened the option of other possibilities of engagement in the diocese of Kidapawan in the event there were other PIMEs disposed to work there. But in 2009 father Peter Geremia, after 25 years,  has been asked to leave the post of coordinator of Indigenous people and settled again in Columbio as parish priest.

Going back some years in 2001 PIME started a presence in Sinunuc (Zamboanga City) this after a reflection concluded by the Regional Assembly of January. With the opening of a workplace in Zamboanga City (Sinunuc) PIME agreed to work in an urban area of Mindanao while Paranaque in MetroManila was the other point of reference for urban missions. Providentially the land acquired for the new parish was contiguos to the PIMEs land of Euntes. This was seen as a future possibility of confluence of three things (maintaining autonomy): the parish in Sinunuc, the Euntes Center and, inside the Euntes land, the possibility of a new Regional House which (as to now) still located in downtown Suterville, Zamboanga City. Father Nevio Vigano begun the job in Sinunuc saying mass in the old chapel while following the construction of the new church and parish center. For two years PIME and priests in Euntes helped the quasi-parish in the pastoral work and in september 2006 father Vigano entered in the new parochial house in a land donated by PIME-Euntes. From there he continued to follow the contruction of the new parish church building financed by Propaganda Fide, friends of father Vigano and in minimal part from the parochial community of Sinunuc, which became, formally, a parish in 2008.

In 2004 PIME Philippines opened a new place in Antique, Panay. This after a communitarian reflection regarding the possibility to have an engagement and a presence in the the center of the Philippines. The occasion was given from the visit in Antique of a group of PIME seminarians. These after the rector of the time, father Sergio Fossati, and the local Bishop Mons Romulo de la Cruz, discussed the possibility to have a small group of confreres working in the diocese. The Bishop asked for a specific work among the local Indigenous People (Ati-Iraynong Bukidnon), and to be engaged in the ordinary pastoral work in a parish.
The PIME community believed that the engagement of Antique was worthy and assigned ther fathers Milani and Benedetti). The first coming from USA and the second from Italy. Also was considered the fact that time was not still prudent a return in Mindanao. Father Fernando Milani then after a short time as parish priest in Sebaste was assigned definetivly for six years in the parish of San Pedro, San Jose de Buenavista, this also because of his acquaintance of the Philippine culture, the ability to learn a new language and the facility to construct relations. He earned very soon the confidence of the local clergy. In 2009 after six years in San Pedro PIME was asked to move to the much bigger parish of San Nicolas de Tolentino, in Tobias Fornier, where father Fernando Milani is the parish priest and, the newly arrived PIME father, Paulo Amorim  his assistant.

In february 2009, after 10 years, fr. Gianni Sandalo is replaced by father Gianni Re as the new Regional Superior. In 2010 PIME agreed to send two men in Lubang Island, Vicariate of San Jose, Mindoro Occidentale: Frs. Giancarlo Bossi and Giuseppe Carrara while father Simone Caelli, from Italy, has been assigned to Zamboanga City to the Euntes Mission Center.

In and out

In this first decade of the new millennium some confreres have left the Philippines for study:  fathers Nicelli (Zamboanga), Carrara (LakeWood) and Mapelli (Arakan Valley). Nicelli still in Italy while Carrara re-entered in the Philippines in 2009 after his studies and work in South Italy. Nicelli had also to go back to Italy for a situation of hostility created by some persons against him in Zamboanga City. Father Nicola Barbato, left the Philippines in 1998 after to have worked in Siay (1991 -1998), for a period of study, re-entered in the Philippines in March 2001 taking the post of parish priest in Paranaque. In 2004 he leaves the Philippines for Italy and he is now working in its diocese of origin, Aversa. Father Del Torchio, in 2000 asked to live outside PIME in the Diocese of Dipolog, then to engaged in a NGOs project in Cebu City. Father Licini, after years in Arakan Valley in July 2002 was recalled to Italy and re-assigned in Papua New Guinea (2004). Father Bui arrived in the Philippines in 2001, after the study of the local language was assigned to Labangan (Pagadian)as assistant parish priest. In 2004 during his vacation in U.S. he asked to be re-assigned to PIME-USA. He too has had difficulty times in the Philippines. Father DeMaria arrived in the Philippines some days before the Regional Assembly 2005 (January) and in september 2005 was already hard working in Arakan. However in March 2006 for health reasons he had to leave the place and re-called in Italy.
Father Biancat leaves LakeWood for Italy in 2002 because illness and eventually dies in Aviano in August 2005. Father Mariani in Dicember 2001 was asked to become the General Secretary of PIME and after seven years he is back as the new director of Euntes Mission Center in Zamboanga City. Father Fossati after the term of its engagement in the PIME Theological Seminary of TagayTay, in 2003 leaves the Philippines for a new post in PIME-USA. His successor father Ticozzi in 2006 went go back to his former mission of HongKong. His place was then taken then by father Marco Brioschi with the assistance of father Giandomenico Urbani from Tahiland. At present the new director of the Theologate in TagayTay is father Steven Baumbusch.