Fr. Fel Catan was born in Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. In 2011 he was accepted in the international seminary in Italy, becoming a member of PIME in 2019. After the ordination he will be assigned for missionary work among young italian people.
Brazil – Helvecio Coelho Mendes (1958-2020)
On Monday 25 May, in Esmeralda (Brazil, Minas Gerais) Helvecio Coelho Mendes suddenly passed away. PIME priest, in 1984 he had been sent as a missionary to the Philippines in the Prelature of Ipil, Mindanao; He returned to Brazil in 1990 and left the Institute few years later.
He was buried yesterday in Engenheiro Caldas, state of Minas Gerais.
On Wednesday 18 September, at 11.40 pm, Fr. Giulio Mariani died at the Manzoni’s Hospital in Lecco, Italy.
He was born in Vedano al Lambro (MB), Italy, on 30 January 1933. After taking the temporary oath at PIME in 1954, he completed his theological studies in the USA at the Pontifical College Josephinum, Ohio. He became a perpetual member of the PIME on 3 May 1957 and was ordained priest on 26 April 1958 in Newark, Ohio. He carries out various services in the USA (vice-rector and teacher in Newark and in Oakland, N.J., rector of the Newark seminar, head of the Foster Parents) and attends various courses in American universities. In 1974 he began licensing courses in spiritual theology at the Gregorian Pontifical University (1974-76). After completing the courses, he became rector of the PIME major seminar in Monza (1976-84).
In 1985 he left for the Philippines. On the journey he visits almost all the PIME missions in Asia. He founds, among them many difficulties. He arrived in the Philippines few months before the killing of Fr. Tullio Favali, Tulunan, Mindanao. In those days he stayed in Manila to keep in touch with the media. Hard task, in fact, newspapers, TV news and radio, especially those controlled by the government, were publishing false information on the causes of the killing. He then was assigned to the parish of Mary Queen of the Apostles in Parañaque City, a populous district of Manila. Elected regional superior in 1991 and subsequently deputy director of the Euntes Asian Center (E.A.C.) in Zamboanga City. On May 20 1992 Fr. Salvatore Carzedda was killed and has regional superior found himself, again, face to face with the experience of martyrdom. In 2001 he was called to Rome to cover the position of PIME General Secretary (2001-2007). Eager to return to the mission, he returned to the Philippines and reopened the “new” E.A.C. (the first EAC, founded by P. Enzo Corba PIME was closed in 1999 due to the constant threats of kidnapping), definitively closed for security reasons in 2011. Invited to return to Italy, for health reasons, he lends his service at PIME Sotto il Monte, Bergamo, birthplace of Pope John XXIII, and then two years ago moved to the Home of the Elderly in Rancio, Lecco, Italy
The funeral will take place today 20 September 2:30 local time, the suffrage Mass in Vedano al Lambro (MB). Burial will be held at the Vedano cemetery.
“I adore you, my God, and I love you with all my heart. I thank you for having created me, made a Christian and preserved until this day ” (from Mariani’s testament).
Give him, O Lord, eternal rest.
A Filipino nun, who happened to be the great, great grandaunt of former first gentleman Mike Arroyo, is now a step closer to sainthood. This after Pope Francis has recognized the “heroic virtues” of Maria Beatrice Rosario Arroyo, declaring her as “Servant of God.”
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints promulgated the declaration on Wednesday. Arroyo was the founder of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Holy Rosary in the Philippines. According to the Dominican Sisters, Mother Arroyo was born on February 17, 1884 to a wealthy couple, Don Ignacio Arroyo and Doña Maria Pidal in Molo, Iloilo City. But despite her wealthy upbringing, the nun chose a life of poverty and devoted her life to the service of the poor.
At the age of 27, she entered the convent and donated her inheritance to the congregation. She was described to have “virtues of purity and innocence, deep simplicity and profound humility, and ardent love for the poor and needy.” With the help of two other Dominican nuns, Mother Arroyo created the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary. She died on June 14, 1957.
After being recognised as Servant of God, Arroyo now earns the title “venerable.”A person’s declaration as Servant of God signals the beginning of the long and meticulous process of his/her possible canonisation. Canonisation is the official act of the Catholic Church declaring that the person who has died was indeed a saint.
After the declaration of being a Servant of God, a miracle approved by the pope is required to pave the way for beatification. After the beatification rite, a person is now declared “Blessed.” But in case of martyrdom, meaning that the person died defending the faith, the miracle required for beatification can be waived.
A second miracle is required for eventual canonisation. Once the pope declared that the person was indeed a saint, he/she is included in the “canon” or list of saints recognised by the Church. So far, the Philippines have two recognised saints: Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila and Pedro Calungsod of Cebu.
Aside Maria Beatrice Arroyo other three new blessed and five newly venerable are among the decrees authorised by Pope Francis after the audience with Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Among them Felice Tantardini (Introbio, Como, Italy, June 28 1898 – Taunggyi, (Burma) Myanmar, March 23 1991). He entered PIME at the age of 23 and was assigned to Burma, Myanmar, as a lay brother. He remained there for 69 years finding his death on 1991. Initially sent to Toungoo, he moved from mission to mission, wherever his skill as a blacksmith and his ability to withstand fatigue was needed. In this way he builded churches, schools, parishes, hospitals, orphanages, always with a smile on his lips, always with a boundless love for Jesus and Mary.
The recognition of the erotic virtues of Brother Tantardini is a very significant fact for PIME: for the first time this act refers to the life of a lay missionary in PIME. And it comes the day after a special year that the institute wanted to dedicate to the figure of the lay missionaries “ad vitam”, who still today choose to adhere to the missionary charism of PIME.
“We have chosen Brother Felice as a reference figure, who has been in Myanmar from 1922 to his death in 1991, because he is a model of holiness and radical dedication to the cause of the Gospel,” said Father Ferruccio Brambillasca, Superior General of the PIME. The beatification process is also supported by the Burmese Christians who are still remembering him very well.
With the decree on the heroic virtues of Brother Felice Tantardini, a new page is added to the history of friendship that unites PIME with the Church of Myanmar. In the former Burma, where PIME arrived in 1868, the blessed Paolo Manna, Clemente Vismara and Mario Vergara, lived their ministry. And in this same country also Father Alfredo Cremonesi, who will be beatified next 19th of October in the diocese of Crema (Italy), lived his martyrdom.
The XV General Assembly of the PIME in Rome, continues. The reports of the 19 circumscriptions, the General Delegation, the Economy, the initial and ongoing formation and the report of the Superior General have all been presented on last Tuesday. In addition to these there were also the presentation of ALP (or Pime Lay Association), New Humanity and three new projects or proposals: China in what will be the strategy to present the Gospel into this vast continent, India, in order to welcome new missionaries for a more international community, and the Maghreb (North Africa), with the request of the bishop of Tunisia to open a mission that, eventually, can cooperate with the other Pimes now present in Algeria.
From the presentations there appeared a PIME engaged in the mission ad gentes with a wide range of initiatives. From evangelization and pastoral care to catechumenate paths, inter-religious dialogue, attention to indigenous peoples, working for human promotion, peace and justice, attention to the poor and disabled, and finally vocational work and propaganda in order to train young people for the various missionary realities in which they will find themselves.
The report of the general treasurer reaffirmed how we should be all co-responsible for the assets of the Institute, for a more sober lifestyle. The report of the Superior General, welcomed by a long applause, highlighted two key words: true discernment and change things that must lead us to be involved in a personal and communal missionary growth. He reiterated that the mission must be at the centre of our work and the theme of the General Assembly “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” speaks about a missionary urgency that, once, gave life to the Institute. The model to imitate is once again the figure of Abraham: just like him, have faith in the Lord, leaving everything and going where the Spirit guides us to be.
“Lying on a picturesque volcanic lake, Lakewood seems like a place of enchantment, a kind of earthly paradise in which man and nature live in spontaneous harmony. In reality, few places in the world are more torn than these hills of Mindanao, in the South of the Philippines, the scene of clashes, looting and abuses for at least 30-40 years.” Thus begins a report on the area written by Fr. Giorgio Licini in 1993. Once, this was really a corner of Eden: the tropical forest around the lake was lush; the inhabitants were few and all were tribal Suban (a term that means “inhabitant of the rivers”, but they prefer to call themselves Lumad). “But then the arrival of immigrants from the North and Central Philippines was worse than a devastating cyclone,” continued Fr. Giorgio. Having visited it 25 years later, I can only confirm: Lakewood is a beautiful place, so much so that a tourist-entrepreneur opened a four-star resort here. We are, however, in a very isolated strip of the province of Zamboanga del Sur. The nearest town, Pagadian, is 31 miles away. As for the problems of the tribal population, despite some significant improvements over many years, they cannot be said to be totally resolved.
PIME arrived here in 1985, at the surprise request of Bishop Federico Escaler. The area remains very remote despite the improvement of communications. Fr. Angelo Biancat, who died in 2005 at the age of 68 (32 of which he spent in the Philippines), conquered the hearts of people with his simplicity during the years he spent in Lakewood. They called him “Fr. Lumad” or “Fr. Native”, because he immediately had done his utmost to care for the Suban, learning their dialects and welcoming their culture as well as their strong religious beliefs. He had become one of them, to the point of defending their human rights before Philippine Government authorities. After repeated efforts, he succeeded in declaring the land where the Suban people lived “ancestral domain”.
Fr. Stefano Mosca, from the Brianza region of Italy, has been working in Lakewood for 12 years. Fr. Ilario Trobbiani, a veteran of the Philippines, has been lending him a helping hand since 2015. In all that time, Fr. Mosca did not forget how the Regional Superior of the Philippines welcomed him when he arrived: “The Superior, Fr. Gianni Sandalo welcomed me at the airport like this, ‘Have you come here ready to die? If the answer is no, take your suitcase and go back to where you came from.’ It was a welcome with a profound sense that I soon understood.” After a period of language study in Davao, Fr. Stefano was sent to Sampoli with Fr. Ilario, after only three years, he was called to replace Fr. Carrara in Lakewood. The ministry of preparing people for Christian initiation, catechises, and the celebration of the Sacraments would be a great undertaking. However, he quickly realised the urgency of three social priorities that were more pressing: the Suban people, education, and medical aid for the sick.
The tribal situation at the beginning of the 2000s was complex; they had formed a legal association to prove to the government that they were the first inhabitants of the area. A legitimate claim soon clashed with the greed of powerful local people. “They placed hurdles of all kinds in my path,” Fr. Stefano laments. “The situation turned very ugly, they started threatening me with death, trying to tarnish my name and sending letters to the local Bishop. It was a hard time, I was scared. When they killed Fr. Fausto Tentorio, in the fall of 2011, they told me, ‘You will be next.’ Fortunately, I’m still here.”
In 2013, the Filipino government issued a law that offers these tribal people the opportunity to apply for a mine-operating permit as they “arrived first”to the territory. “My people sensed the importance of this opportunity and understood that, if they turned down the government’s offer, they would have opened the door to the arrival of foreign multinationals.” Thus, the Lumad Mining Corporation was established, with the financial support of a friendly politician. Thanks to the intervention of a pro-Lumad Filipino and all required legal documents in hand, we are now studying how to carry out the project.
PIME runs a very important educational service through the Lakewood mission. It makes sense, since the number of children and young people that hang around the parish is so high. “Through the PIME Foundation,” Fr. Mosca explains, “there are 186 students who will take advantage of this opportunity this year: 36 in college, and 150 in high school. They are mostly tribal, because they face more learning difficulties.” In addition to this school, there is also the diocesan vocational school recognized by TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority). An important vocational school promoted by the State that offers a diploma recognized throughout Asia. The children and their families are asked to pay a small, accessible fee, about a third of the cost of similar schools in nearby Pagadian City. “Formally owned by the diocese, every year this vocational school educates more than 300 students through various training courses for manual work.” Fr. Stefano took advantage of the previous experience of Fr. Ilario, who had already opened a Tesda school in Sampoli. “Today we have 12 recognized courses,” Fr. Stefano explains. “In our school we train welders, electricians, mechanics of motorcycles and cars, but also computer technicians, tailors, masseurs, physiotherapists, taxi drivers and bus drivers. We have recently started a course to teach how to preserve food: make jams or can sardines in oil, etc. These are all courses we have studied for the Lumad because, in the absence of some work skills, they would continue to be socially marginalized.” The result? “The vast majority of the students who have graduated have already found work: one has become the chauffeur of the mayor of his town; another is in Manila working as welder in skyscrapers under construction. Being able to work allows them to have an income and send money home, it gives them a strong sense of self-esteem.”
The third front on which the parish works is medical care for the sick. “The nearest hospital is the Pagadian Medical Center, 37 miles from here. We had a public hospital in the village, but the authorities closed it. Pagadian is semi-private and my people cannot afford it,” says Fr. Stefano. “The nearest state clinic is in Margosatubig, but there, too, care is not free. Consequently, they put off a visit to the doctor or hospitalization until it might be too late. Hence, why so many recoverable sick people end up dying.” It is for this reason that the parish of Lakewood is setting up a Caritas fund for the sick.
Among the many young people who have passed from his parish, Fr. Stefano has not forgotten Cristy Capua. “She was finishing middle school and, as she was good at school, I promised to help her get into college.” On the first Sunday of June 2017, Cristy received her Confirmation. A few days earlier, participating in a work camp organized for the students, a stray dog bit her. Frightened by the possible costs of treatment, she said nothing but simply rubbed some alcohol on the wound.”
Fr. Stefano fights for equal opportunities for the Suban people; more often than not, their own government forgets them. “When I went to bring her the certificate of Confirmation,” Fr. Stefano remembers. “I saw that she was pale, but she explained that she was just tired.” In short, Cristy got worse. Fr. Stefano was going to suggest that Cristy use the Caritas fund to pay for the costs of her treatment. By the time he made it to the hospital, it was too late: rabies had already taken her life. “The nun at the hospital told me that right before dying, Cristy comforted her family members: ‘Why are you crying? Jesus is coming to take me and I go with him, I’m happy. Why are you crying?’” They buried her near the parish church. Fr. Stefano concludes: “From time to time I stop at her grave, and I ask her to intercede for our young people.”
Grande entusiasmo e partecipazione alla prima festa patronale della nuova parrocchia di Pangi-Ipil. La novena ha invitato tutte le comunità di base e cappelle alla preparazione spirituale dell’evento. La sera della vigilia, come tradizione nelle Filippine, c’è stato un programma e spettacolo nel cortile della parrocchia. Il giorno dopo, domenica 21 ottobre, grande Barrio Fiesta preceduta dalla celebrazione eucaristica presieduta dal vescovo di Ipil, Mons. Julius Tonel. La data è stata scelta perché il patrono della nuova comunità parrocchiale è san Giovanni Paolo II di cui si può vedere la bella statua all’interno della chiesa.
Dopo la Messa, processione parata con tutti i leaders e le organizzazioni della parrocchia per le vie della zona. Infine il pranzo comunitario preceduto dalla scelta del lechon più gustoso, cioè del maiale allo spiedo che ogni cappella ha portato nel suo stand per la gioia dei partecipanti. In poche parole, tutti sono stati vincitori, eccetto ovviamente i maiali che in queste celebrazioni festive ci lasciano sempre letteralmente la pelle.
Alla regia di tutto naturalmente il nuovo parroco brasiliano del PIME, P. Paulo Dos Santos, installato ufficialmente lo scorso giugno, che dice di essere più che felice in questa nuova destinazione, anche se le attività da iniziare e poi portare avanti sono tante. Durante la parata dopo la messa P. Paulo ha cavalcato un cavallo del posto, come segno di voler servire come Gesù. Dopo un’ora e più di camminata il povero cavallo non ha fatto commenti.
Mabuhay si san Juan Pablo II, mabuhay ang bag-ong parokya sa Pangi, Ipil.
P.S. Per chi volesse altre immagini, vedi : http://www.facebook.com/St.JohnPaul.II.Pangi
Dako kaayo ang kadasig ug partisipasyon sa unang patronal nga kapistahan sa bag-ong parokya sa Pangi-Ipil. Atol sa novena, ang tanan nga GKK ug mga kapilya gidapit sa pag-pangandam sa ilang mga kaugalingon alang niining mahinungdangong nga okasyon pinaagi sa usa nga espirituhanong pagpamalandong. Sa gabii sa bisperas, isip usa ka tradisyon sa Pilipinas, adunay usa ka programa ug cultural show sa nataran sa parokya .
Pagkasunod nga adlaw, Domingo, Oktubre 21, didto gud ang dakung Barangay Fiesta nga gisundan sa Eucharistic nga pagsaulog nga gidumala sa Obispo sa Ipil, Mgr. Julius Tonel. Ang petsa gipili tungod kay ang patron sa bag-ong komunidad sa parokya mao si St. John Paul II diin atong makita ang usa nga matahum nga estatuwa sulod sa simbahan.
Human sa Misa, adunay usa ka prosesyon ug usa ka parada sa mga kadalanan sa lugar sa Pagni, nga gitambongan sa tanang mga lider ug sa nagkalain-laing organisasyon sa parokya.
Sa katapusan, ang katingbanong paniudto nga gisundan sa pagpili sa pinakalami sa tanan mga letchon nga gidala sa mga kapilya ngadto sa ilang mga stands alang sa kalipay sa mga partisipante. Sa laktud, ang tanan nahimong mga mananaog, gawas lagi sa giasal nga mga baboy nga kanunay mao ang bugtong mga biktima niini mga matang nga kasaulogan. Tinuod gayud nga sila gani ang una nga nawad-an sa ilang ‘mga panit’
Dayon, sa katapusan gud, dapat naton hinumdoman ang direktor sa tanang kalihokan nga mao ang ating Brasilian nga pari nga si Paulo Dos Santos, PIME, kinsa nahimong kura paroko sa milabay nga Hunyo. Siya miingon nga labaw pa siya nga malipayon tungod niining bag-ong misyon ug buhat pasalig. Atol sa parada, si father Paulo nagsakay sa usa ka lumad nga kabayo, isip timaan sa pag-alagad sama sa gibuhat ni Jesus. Hinuon, human sa usa ka oras, ug labaw pa sa paglakaw, ang ‘intawon’ nga kabayo wa gani mokomento.
Mabuhay si san Juan Pablo II, mabuhay ang bag-ong parokya !
Great enthusiasm and participation in the first patronal feast of the new parish of Pangi-Ipil. During the novena all the basic communities and chapels were invited for a spiritual preparation for the event. On the evening of the eve (bisperas), as a tradition in the Philippines, there was a program and show in the courtyard of the parish. The following day, Sunday, October 21st, the great Barrio Fiesta was preceded by the Eucharistic celebration presided by the Bishop of Ipil, Mgr. Julius Tonel. The date (the day of his santification in Rome) was chosen because the patron of the new parish community is St. John Paul II of whom we can see a beautiful statue inside the church.
After Mass there was a procession parade, through the streets of the area of Pangi, joined by all the leaders and organizations of the parish. Finally, the community lunch was preceded by voting for the tastiest lechon, that is the rosted pork, among those that each chapel had already brought to their stands for the joy of the participants. In short, everyone has been a winner, except of course the pigs that literally lost their skins in these festive celebration.
The new Brazilian PIME parish priest, Fr. Paulo Dos Santos, officially installed last June, says that he is more than happy for this new mission, even if the activities to start the parish and to carry on are many. During the parade, after the Mass, Father Paulo rode a local horse as a sign of wanting to serve as Jesus did. After an hour or more of toddling the poor horse made no comment.
Mabuhay San Juan Pablo II, mabuhay ang bag-ong parokya sa Pangi, Ipil.