It was on the 11th January 1999 that our first MSSP member, Fr Lonnie Borg mssp, arrived in the Philippines with the aim to establish a new mission. He was later joined by other MSSP members from around the world. From the beginning, the members understood the importance that we, as cross-cultural missionaries, need to enter in the new cultural context and participate in the life of the local Filipino Church. This meant looking, listening and learning before committing ourselves in full-time apostolic ministry. In the period of insertion, we entered in dialogue with the local bishop in Manila and were recommended certain work in parishes and other ministries.
When the opportune time came, we looked for ministry which was close to our charism. Campus ministry was the first stable pastoral activity to be taken. The Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) was assigned and a full-time chaplain started his ministry there. Following was a quest to attain a pastoral zone. An opportunity arrived when we were given the new pastoral zone of St Catherine of Alexandria in Pagalanggang, Bataan. Fr Joe Cremona mssp was appointed as its first Parish Priest.
On April 2009, the International House of Formation was opened. MSSP students in formation will come here to study their theology in an international community. In 2016 the House started hosting other stages of formation such as the Prenovitiate, Novitiate and Philosophy studies. Students from Malta, Pakistan, Peru, Vietnam and the Philippines have been receiving their formation in the his House.
In the meantime the community continued to extend its ministry to the community of informal settlers occupying the lower part of 13th Street in which the House of Formation is located. This ministry includes catechism classes to the children, educational sponsorship programs, and remedial classes through the help of volunteers.
The MSSP consecrated members are now also sharing their charism with lay people who feel called to embrace this charism and live it out in their daily lives. So our small community now is boasting of an extended family of lay members.
Time passes on and we feel God’s hand working through his different blessings. In ‘Mi Ultimo Adios’, the national hero, Jose Rizal, once described the Philippines as the ‘Pearl of the Orient Sea.’ Hard times, as well as poverty, may have tarnished this lustrous peace. We still can see a vibrant Christianity, freshness and zealous Filipinos doing their best to live their faith. As MSSPs we are blessed to be here, enabling others to shine out as the true pearl that God intended all to be.