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Ermita parish, Soroptimist Manila mark centennial; Archbishop Soc Villegas to address chastity meet


CELIA Tibayan Austria launches her book, “Valuing Culture: Source of Pride and Strength.”

The Parish Church of San Vicente de Paul in San Marcelino, Ermita, Manila, marked the 100th anniversary of its dedication July 16. But the parishioners, with parish priest Fr. Bong Sarabia, CM, celebrated the Remembrance Mass only last July 28. It was presided by Very Rev. Fr. Venerando Agner, CM, the provincial visitor of the Vincentians.

The church was constructed in 1813 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity on July 22,1862.

Fr. Rene Ruelos, CM, former parish priest, says a novena Mass every Monday at 8 a.m. to St. Nicholas of Bari, bishop of Myra.

First concrete Catholic Church

San Marcelino Church, as it is known, is the first church constructed fully with reinforced concrete in the Philippines. It has the features of Neo-Romanesque church architecture with semicircular arches, barrel vaults and dome, aside from the Latin cross formed by the nave and transept.

A crypt is located under the apse. This church looks majestic, seen from a distance.

It was here that prominent weddings were celebrated in the last century. World War II, however, caused extensive damage to the church. Japanese soldiers burned the woodwork of its interiors, including the intricately carved retablo behind the altar. American soldiers bombed the remaining structures in February 1945.

Immediately after the war, the priests Jesus Cavanna and Antonio Gomez began the reconstruction of the church. The retablo was replaced with the images of the three apparitions of our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

Canonical erection

For the 100th anniversary of the canonical erection of the parish on Dec. 6, 2009, the complete renovation of the church was undertaken by Fr. Rene Ruelos, CM.

The church was declared the center of devotion and propagation of the Miraculous Medal by Manila Archbishop Jeremiah Harty on April 16, 1914.

The Visita Domiciliaria, the daily transfer of the image of our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, inside an “urna,” or portable shrine, to different homes, was approved by Manila Archbishop Michael O’Doherty on Sept. 11, 1919.

On Aug. 16, 1957, the Miraculous Medal Apostolate was established in this church.

PWU book launch

Celia Tibayan Austria is an Education graduate, Class ’60, of the Philippine Women’s University (PWU). When she was a member of the Philippine Bayanihan National Dance Company, her dance partner was Lito Atienza, who would later become Manila mayor and now member of Congress, as party-list representative of Buhay.

Celia will launch her book, “Valuing Culture: Source of Pride and Strength,” on Aug. 30, 3 p.m., at PWU Conrado Benitez Hall.  Celia has invited Rep. Lito Atienza and PWU chair Helena Z. Benitez as guests of honor.

Celia’s book is about her experience in teaching traditional Filipino dance to Filipino-Americans, young and adults alike, in Seattle where she and her family had settled.

This passion for sharing her skills and knowledge of dance with the Filipino-Americans and with native Americans led to the creation of the Mabuhay Dancers in Bainbridge Island. The children of intermarriages have somehow lost their cultural identity and must be introduced to Filipino culture, said Celia.

Sharing her vision and passion was her late husband, Andy Austria, who for over 15 years devoted his life and resources to teaching Filipino-American children Filipino values and culture through the Filipino Ancestry International. He founded it in 1996.

Mariquita S. Castelo Centennial Awards

The recognition and awards program for the Mariquita S. Castelo Centennial Leadership Award of the Soroptimist International of the Philippines Region (SIPR) will be held Aug. 30 at Dusit Thani Hotel.

The special project was launched on Aug. 30, 2012, a first in the 47 years of SIPR, to honor the centennial birth anniversary of Mariquita S. Castelo, whose pioneering spirit paved the way for the founding of the Soroptimist organization in the Philippines in 1966.

For the past year, each of the 79 Soroptimist clubs in the Philippines was encouraged to search for and nominate a member who best exemplifies the virtues and leadership qualities of Castelo.

A total of 15 semifinalists have been selected: Belen Cecilio (SI Cabanatuan), Epifania Daoey (Baguio), Isabel Diquiatco (Caloocan), Lourdes Javier (Pampanga), Linda Luciano (Sta. Maria), Donatila Melchor (Angeles), Nimia Ocampo (Tarlac), Fortunata O’Santos (Bocaue), Gabrielle Quimpo (Kalibo), Miguela Santiago (Guagua), Lorna Silverio (San Rafael), Pilar Solomon (Antipolo), Maripaz Tagle-Chua (Mandaluyong), Ligaya Tankeh (Makati) and Leticia Uy (Metro Cabanatuan).

Soroptimist officer Minda Garcia heads the awards organizing committee.

Fundraising exhibit

The Salingoy Art Group of Naga, headed by Pancho Piano, is holding a fundraising exhibit, “Black Nazarene,” at the Avenue Plaza in Naga, Aug. 25 to Sept. 25. Beneficiary is the Black Nazarene Church  in Binanwaana in Calabanga, Camarines Sur.

Parish priest is Fr. Rex Palaya.  Those interested to help can contact Pancho at 0917-5343238.


Real Love confab

Jason and Crystalina Evert, two advocates of real love in the US, will address the Real Love Revolution 2013, a chastity conference, at PICC, Pasay City, Sept. 7. There will be two sessions: 8:30 a.m-12 p.m. and 2-5:30 p.m.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan will celebrate the Mass at 2 p.m.

The speakers will address the issues in Philippine society today, such as the RH Law, contraception, divorce, premarital sex and teenage pregnancy.

For more information, contact Andi Vicente at 0917-6288606. E-mail catalystorganization@gmail.com.

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Tags: Archbishop Soc Villegas , Ermita parish , Mariquita S. Castelo Centennial Awards , Parish Church of San Vicente de Paul , Philippine Women’s University , San Marcelino , Soroptimist Manila

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