Last 5th October, the Sons of Divine Providence celebrated the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the first missionaries to the Philippines. This celebration can only be understood looking at the history.
The Meeting with Cardinal Sin
In February 1991, Fr. Giuseppe Masiero, Fr. Angelo Mugnai and Fr. Oreste Ferrari met with Cardinal Jaime Sin, archbishop of Manila, who knowing that they wanted to work on a depressed area, said, "Would you like to work with the poor? I have a special place for you: Payatas." Then they visited the area which was a just place for the Congregation. After accepting it, they met some priests who worked in Payatas and began the necessary preparations for this the new mission.
The dream begins to come true
On 5th October 5, 1991, the first Don Orione religious came to the Philippines: Fr. Luigi Piccoli, Fr. Oreste Ferrari and two lay people, together with Fr Angelo Mugnai. This was the beginning a new chapter missionary of the Congregation. Their challenges were to learn Tagalog, to know the Filipino culture and to organize the pastoral work. Meanwhile, the community lived in Fillinvest, a neighboring district, because there was no the parish house.
On 12th January 1992, Cardinal Sin created a new parish, "Mother of Divine Providence", appointing Fr. Luigi Piccoli as the first parish priest.
The Mission Grows and Strengthens
After starting the pastoral activity, on 12th July 1992, the community moved to Payatas and in that November, the first charitable activities began: a daycare center for children in Sagrada Familia chapel.
The following years will be years of growth and strengthening, where new missionaries arrived and the pastoral and charity activities multiplied: the orphanage in Payatas, the first Filipino aspirants, the feeding program, the savings program, the Cottolengo Filipino, the Montalban community, the novitiate, the educational programs, the free clinics, the arrival of the little missionary sisters of charity, the creation of PAOFI, the first Filipino priest’s ordination and recently the third community in Lucena.
This celebration is also an ending as well as starting point. An ending point because we can see the fruits of twenty years of pastoral and charity work. A presence that is growing and has already a Filipino face and heart. A starting point also because it invites us continue offering the Don Orione charism to the Filipino people.
Divine Providence on his loving plan has given to the Sons of Divine Providence the possibility of making true Don Orione’s dream, so pasalamatan natin ang Diyos sa Kanyang mga biyaya at mga pagpapala! (Let us thank God for the graces and his blessing!).