The first two days will take place in Butuan, in the district of Santa Lucia, where the 2020 mission was to be held, which had been transformed, at the last minute, into a traveling mission in the surrounding mountains because of the Covid.
The Society of Saint Pius X has been hosting a mission there since 1998, in an extremely poor neighborhood where homeless families who have lost everything during typhoons, floods or other natural disasters are relocated. But this district itself is prone to flooding, as the nearby river constantly overflows its bed.
A few years ago, a small chapel was built by one of the faithful without much means, animated by the deep desire to convert the population of the village. This chapel, like the whole of the district, undergoes “minor” floods (50 cm of water on average) at least 20 times a year, and “major” floods (more than one meter of water) at least 3 times a year. .
The apostolate in this impoverished community where superstitions, drunkenness, gambling and prostitution reign, is very difficult. But the grace of God works wonders, and the patient and persevering work of priests for more than 20 years is beginning to bear fruit in the second generation, which turns more willingly to prayer and the sacraments.
On July 16, 2022, Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta came to confirm about thirty faithful. Some of them are involved in the apostolate (visiting the sick, catechism to the Mamanwas tribe that our mission will also visit) and in the social life of the village (organization of the next medical mission, distribution of basic necessities offered by the government, assumption of responsibilities in the management of the barangay [neighborhood]).
Many residents of Santa Lucia lost their jobs during the lockdown. Yolly Gamutan, our missionary nurse from the local ACIM-Asia team, came to help the sick during these two years of very strict confinement in the Philippines. She was able to help them thanks to donations from all Filipino and foreign benefactors. The inhabitants of the neighborhood await the Mission Rosa Mystica as a blessing.
The next two days we will go a little further north of the island, to the Mamanwas of Cantugas, an aboriginal tribe for whom Fr. Timothy Pfeiffer – “Father. Tim”, as he is known locally, opened an apostolic mission in 2020, and where Yolly Gamutan worked for two years as a nurse and catechist. Providence obviously favored this encounter between Fr. Tim and this impoverished tribe whose customs and mores date back to the Neolithic era, and which, in the name of “cultural preservation” ordered by the government, became frozen in ignorance and spiritual darkness.
Unfortunately, the tribal leader and his wife are torn, Yolly told mission organizers, “between accepting our teachings and obeying the government directive that they should ‘preserve their tribal identity and culture’ by resisting Catholicism, which would provide for the rejection of primitive superstitions”. and beliefs based on a false understanding of the world around them.
“The spiritual warfare in their souls is real. We place our hope in our Heavenly Mother, because some members of the tribe like to recite the rosary. Thanks be to God, the chief of the tribe and his wife keep their promise made to Fr. Tim to join in the Sunday Rosary.
A chapel construction project is underway, delayed by the difficulty of establishing land titles in these tribes who were still nomadic not so long ago. Finding the dates and places of birth of landowners is a daunting undertaking.
In terms of health and hygiene, Yolly tries to teach them some basic rules in order to protect them from recurring illnesses due to unsanitary conditions, for example contaminated water. She is counting on the visit of doctors and nurses from Rosa Mystica to encourage them to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
The mission’s third destination is Canlanipa, a miserable neighborhood in Surigao City, where a community of settlers have gathered on common ground more or less legally. Residents of this neighborhood are low-income workers from the city’s seaport.
Many of them lost their homes and the few possessions they had during Typhoon Odette in December 2021. Thanks to donations collected and distributed by ACIM-Asia, they were able to receive aid to rebuild their damaged homes.
Pr. Tim has developed a new mission there and many children, sponsored and spiritually supported by the students of the Dominicans of Fanjeaux during Lent 2022, were able to make their first communion last May.
The Caraga region, where Butuan and Surigao are located, is a particularly disadvantaged region and health services are very limited. Medical care, which is very expensive, is not accessible to the population of poor neighborhoods.
The small team of doctors and nurses would like, if possible, to bring them a little relief, a drop of water in this ocean of misery. This is why the Rosa Mystica Mission needs your help and your generosity. It survives only thanks to the donations of its friends and benefactors.
The volunteers are not paid and finance their own plane tickets. Donations to the Mission are therefore only allocated to the material organization of the Mission itself, to the purchase of medicines and the necessary medical equipment, sometimes to the financing of hospitalizations and larger surgical operations than those that the mission is able to offer.
You can send your donations to: Bernadette Dickès, 2 route d’Equihen, 62360 Saint-Etienne-au-Mont. France.
Checks should be made payable to ACIM-Asia. Either by PayPal on the site: https://fr.rosamystica-mission.com/ – Email: [email protected] – A tax receipt is available on request.