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THE ORDER OF THE PIOUS SCHOOLS THE PIARIST FATHERS IN ASIA

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THE PIARIST FATHERS IN ASIA
 
THE PIARIST FATHERS IN THE PHILIPPINES

THE REMOTE ORIGIN

Let us start talking about the remote origin. The Piarist Fr. Basilio Sancho was carrying out very good services in the Court of Madrid when he was proposed by the King Charles III as Archbishop of Manila in 1765. He was nominated for the job in 1766, but he arrived in Manila in March 1767. Together with him there were four Piarist Religious. One of them, Fr. Martin Martinez was nominated by the General Congregation as a Commissary to found a Piarist School in the Philippines. Nevertheless, such a foundation was not authorized  by the Indian Council. Therefore, the Fathers were dedicated to collaborate with the Archbishop, especially in the celebration of the First Provincial Synod (or Council) of Manila, and also in the direction of the Diocesan Seminary created by him  (where the first native diocesan priests were formed) and in Saint Joseph School the Jesuits had to leave (future Ateneo University of Manila). Moreover, when Fr. Sancho dies in 1787, the Piarists did not remain in Manila since the rest went back to Spain. Had the trying been successful, Manila had been the first Piarist foundation outside Europe, much earlier than the first house opened in America. The trying was there, and 200 years later, others have been able to see what our ancestors dreamt.


 

THE IMMEDIATE ORIGIN

The immediate origin of the foundation in the Philippines is in the intention of Fr. General Joseph Maria Balcells at the beginning of the years 90s, intensifying the Piarist presence in Asia. After he was elected in 1985, he pushed in a decisive way the foundations of new works in Africa (thanks to his initiative is the presence of Aragon (Spain) and Poland missionaries in Cameroon, and Italians in Ivory Coast), and the co-ordination of the Piarist development in the zone, through the Missions Delegate, Fr. Jesus Lecea, who became his successor in 2003. After this presence was consolidated, actually with great hope, his eyes go to Asia. On one hand, because he is worried about the problem in Japan, and he understands that it is easier to help the Piarist works in that country from the same Asia than from far away. And on the other hand, Asia is the place where live more than the half of the world population, with a minimum percentage of Christians. The Pious Schools, as other ecclesiastical institutions, cannot turn deaf ears to the frequent invitations of the Church to intensify the missionary presence in Asia.


With a plan of foundation in his mind, in 1992 he sends a questionnaire to all the Piarists with the intention of finding out, among other things, their availability in going out to Missions. And in the month of December of that year, through Fr. Lecea and Fr German, Vicar of Japan, he goes for the first time to the Philippines, where the Piarist Sisters are already there for 10 years, with a presence rather well planted and with several native vocations. He will animate, at the same time, the Argentine Province, who through Fr. Joseph Alfaro has his eyes in India. In reality, Fr. Alfaro arrives at the beginning of 1994 to the Kerala State, in the southern part of India, in order to start a foundation in Aroor City.


THE FOUNDATION

In 1994, he has already the first team: he counts with Fr. Rafael Buitrago, a young Colombian Father who in 1994 is sent to study English in England. He counts too with Fr. Jesus Lacarra, wanting to come from Yokkaichi, Japan, to give impulse to the vocational work in the new foundation, and with Fr. Imanol Lasquibar, who already before had been for 17 years in Japan and that he offered himself as a volunteer. He has contacted too other Religious, but for the moment it is enough to form a first team that would open the road. He takes advantage of his visit to Japan in November to present the plan; later on, it is necessary the approval of the Vicariate (January 1995) and Vasconia Province Chapters (some months later) to complete the project. Everything happens as it was expected. After the Vicariate Chapter at the beginning of February 1995. Frs. Jesus Lecea and Fr. Gterman Lumbreras visit again Cebu City and they see that everything is ready to send the first team. Our Piarist Sisters are ready to welcome them and to guide them during the first steps.


During the Holy Week of that year, the three missionaries get together in Rome with the General Congregation in order to reflect about the meaning of the new foundation in the Philippines, the objectives, orientation criteria, organization and the first steps to be taken in it. After the meeting, Fr. Imanol goes back to Spain where he has to finish his school year, while Frs. Rafael and Lacarra go to Japan on April 20. There, they had to solve the visa problems to enter the Philippines and they have different meetings with the Piarist Sisters  (the Superior, Sister Teresa Fernandez gives them different advises about their future stay in the country) and with the members of the Vicariate when they come back from the Provincial Chapter, Frs. German and Iraola. On May 14, al last, they leave for Cebu City.

The data provided is based on the book "ESCOLAPIOS EN JAPON - 50 anos de servicio misionero"
 written by: Rev. Fr. Jose Pascual Burgues, Sch.P.; Japan-Philippines Fr. General Delegation
Translated into english by: Rev. Fr. Jesus Lacarra, Sch.P.

READ MORE - - - THE LIVING HISTORY

This is an Unofficial Website of the PIARIST FATHERS IN ASIA, Japan-Philippines Vice-Province. The Piarist Fathers in any way is not subject to any liability for whatever account appears on this site.  2004 nelcabz