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Monday, May 3, 2010

San Miguel Mission Parish (Marahan, Davao, Philippines)

Short history of the Mission Parish

On Jan. 30, 2005, San Miguel Mission Parish was formally established as the thirty second (32nd) parish of the Archdiocese of Davao under the leadership of Most. Rev. Fernando Capalla, D.D., Archbishop of Davao. Three years prior to this event, Fr. Stanley Young, MJ and Fr. Joel Canuel, MJ, began the tedious task of journeying with the communities of the area. With the assistance of the Missionaries of Jesus, the parish is oriented towards dialogue between Visayan immigrants and indigenous peoples specifically the Matigsalug-Manobo tribes in the struggle to defend and protect the ancestral domain, in promoting self-identity, faith and culture and in search for truth, prosperity, justice, peace and harmony.

At present, Fr. Stanley Young, MJ and Fr. Bernard Maes, MJ continue the journey beginning with the Visayan immigrants who are the predominant members of all seventeen small Christian communities or GKK (Gagmay Kristohanong Katilingban) comprising the parish. Along the journey, the parish took the option to advocate healthy lifestyle and ecological farming as a concrete alternative to promote life and defend the environment. This option is inclusive since the parish does networking with other church groups and especially with indigenous peoples in realizing this very important endeavour.

Description of the context

Our parish is set within the mountain slopes found Northwest of Davao City. It is some 925 meters above sea level. A cool place and often engulfed by fog and soaked in torrential rains, the whole area is surrounded by timberland and vegetables farms. Livelihood is predominantly dependent on vegetable farming with livestock such as pig, chicken and goat raising as supplementary source of living. Majority of the resident farmers earn two thousand pesos (2,000) average monthly trying to eke out the daily needs of a family of 4 to 6 children.

It is hoped that the piggery would provide a jump-start financial assistance to the parish to become self-sustaining to carry on financing its mission about catechetical work and formation.

Within this agricultural context, the mission parish is committed to promoting agriculture through ecological farming. One constitutive aspect of this commitment is to cater to the formation of the youth and children by providing Gospel values catechetical instructions in nine (9) non-sectarian schools. More particular focus in this catechetical teaching is given to developing and nurturing stewardship of creation which is inalienably embedded in our nature as being created in the image and likeness of God. This is a gift, a task and a responsibility each generation has to own and live by.

The mission parish is at the moment encountering financial constraints to assists its catechists financially to realize this noble and valuable concern for the youth and children of the whole area. The mission parish catechists, who have to work for their family, sacrifice extra time to teach in the said schools three times a week with the expenses coming from their own meager earnings. Unfortunately, the mission parish could hardly assist them financially being new and only having limited resources. Thus, we started the piggery. It is hoped that this project would provide a jump-start financial assistance to the parish to become self-sustaining to carry on financing its mission about catechetical work and formation.

San Miguel Mission Parish Vision Mission

Blessed by the enormous wealth of creation;

Blessed by the gift of life and the gift of faith in God;

Blessed by the population of people originating from various tribes;

How we wish that we all remain blessed this way forever!

However, we witness and experience today:

• Abject poverty

• Destruction of the environment

• Threat to life

• Greed on power and money

• Dwindling faith in God

• Lack of understanding and unity

• Lack of respect and appreciation of Filipino values and traditions and most of all,

• The aggravating agony and suffering of our indigenous brothers and sisters, Matigsalug-Manobo who are the pioneers and former stewards of our land;

We, the followers of Jesus Christ in San Miguel Parish, Marahan, Marilog District, Davao City envision to sustain and form ourselves into a community where concern and care for each other reign between Lumads and Visayans together with the environment.

We are resolved to translate this into reality together with our Matigsalug-Manobo brothers and sisters through:

• Caring and nurturing of the environment

• Being generous and by humble service of each other,

• Strengthening of faith in God, the Creator and Giver of life and creation.

• Consistent and constant search for just and upright means to achieve unity and understanding,

• Owning and promotion of Filipino values and traditions,

• Faithful and steadfast conviction to defend and promote truth, justice and peace.

O God, walk with us and help us to fulfil all these for without you we can do nothing.

Fr. Stanley Young, MJ was a missionary in Congo (Africa) and is now the pastor of San Miguel Mission Parish in Marahan in the island of Mindanao, Philippines.

You can write to him: symj1764@yahoo.com.ph

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