Mission Society of the Philippines

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MSP DINNER FOR A CAUSE

On the occasion of the 50th Foundation Anniversary of the Mission Society of the Philippines (MSP), a series of activities were held in Japan and in our country. The local celebrations were held in Davao City, Cebu City, and finally in Metro Manila, the site of the MSP Central House.

The event in Metro Manila was held at 4:30 p.m. of October 11, 2015 at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City. The event theme, “One Mission, Many Hearts, Many Faces” aptly expresses the fact that there are many faces of benefactors and friends whose generous hearts are supportive of one mission: to help proclaim God’s loving Words through their support to the MSP. 

Preparation for this big event entailed the collaborative efforts of committee members from both the MSP and the POLA community, the parish in Mandaluyong City being administered by the MSP priests.

The Thanksgiving Dinner had a two-fold objective : first, it was a gesture of gratitude of the MSP priests and seminarians for the Society’s visible presence in 14 countries across five continents of Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Australia;  second, it was a vehicle to raise funds for two urgent construction projects of the Society: 1) a new college seminary building to replace the irreparable seminary in Tagaytay City, and 2)  an MSP Retirement Home for the aging and ailing missionaries who are returning home after decades of service in the missions abroad. (Thus, it was initially labeled as a dinner-for-a-cause).

The program was launched with the procession of MSP seminarians toward the stage while the song “Amare et Servire” was sung: quite a fitting invocation for the occasion. To formally open the program, Fr. Eladio B. Oliver, MSP, the Society’s Father Moderator, delivered the welcome address. His motivating message was appropriately complemented by the MSP video presentation that showed the Society’s history, milestones, and various episodes of its missionary journey. It was followed by Fr. Rommel T. Cruz, MSP who made an appeal in behalf of the seminarians.

The moderate yet impressive dinner catered by PVL was marked by an ad lib grace before meal led by Fr. Carmelo Horlador, MSP. 

Another highlight of the program was the sharing of missionary experiences in Papua New Guinea and the Netherlands by Fr. Jonathan Germinanda, MSP. In contrast to his fear that he might lull the audience to sleep,  Fr. Athan inspired the audience with his colorful real-life experiences made up of struggles, problems,  as well as joys and fulfillment. The next number which was a song “Thanks to You” rendered by Fr. Dong Marcaida, MSP served as a refreshing respite after the talks.

When a series of numbers from the clergy was over, it was the laity’s turn to give their response.( And who is the best person to represent the laity’s heart for MSP?  (Prior to the event, the Committee members were unanimous in saying that Atty. Tony Bernardo is the right person for this role - “a dedicated servant, a staunch supporter of the missions” as aptly described by the voice over). Atty. Tony began his talk by expressing his sincere gratitude to God for the many  blessings his family has received.  He was also very thankful for having been given the opportunity to serve through the MSP and the POLA community. He urged all the guests, particularly the laity, to support the MSP in its missionary undertakings. 

Toward the latter part of the program, the usherettes distributed brown envelopes that contained a Prayer Form, a Pledge Stub, and an MSP keychain as a token of MSP’s appreciation to the guests.  For a meaningful conclusion of the program, Atty. Bernardo invited the guests to a Thanksgiving Tribute. At this juncture, the guests were requested to write down the things they are thankful to Mama Mary for and the petitions they wish to ask from her.  Guests who wanted to make a pledge for donation to the MSP filled up the Pledge Stub as a sign of their heartfelt gratitude for answered prayers and for blessings yet to come.

To further honor Mama Mary, a Marian song was sung by two lady-parishioners of the  Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned.  This was followed by another beautiful song of thanks that was participated in by the guests as the lyrics were projected onscreen. The MSP priests and seminarians went around the guests to personally thank them.

This simple yet meaningful thanksgiving dinner was definitely a fitting celebration for the fifty years of missionary endeavors - being in the forefront of evangelization in Asia. As the MSP strives to begin another chapter in its missionary journey, it is tantamount to zealously heeding the call of the Supreme Pontiff. During his Pastoral Visit to the Philippines in January 2015, Pope Francis urged the Philippine Catholic Church to send “outstanding missionaries to Asia”.  Having received this tall order from the Holy Father, both the clergy and the laity must work hand in hand and continue heeding his exhortation to fulfill our missionary duty as Christ our Lord has done.


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