I have long been coming to St. Peregrine steps striving to be the good Catholic my Nanay wanted me to be. Though I still visit the churches I frequent when I was a child together with my mother I now consider St. Peregrine as my regular spiritual home. Here I contemplate on my troubles, pray and offer my devotion.
The traditional catholic in me brought me close to St. Peregrine. Its’ being administered by missionaries, friars from the Order of the Servant of Mary OSM. Today, the term fray have a negative meaning – thanks to our history lessons that highlighted only the mistakes of these foreign men of cloth. This same men of God and of the Spanish crown (Dominican, Franciscan, Augustinian, Recollects etc…) founded some of the most critical institutions in our old society, from agriculture to academics.
Its unfair if we look at history only at one side, we should, as a nation study our history with the true desire of distinguishing facts and attempt to benefit from it on an educational stand point. We could not erase certain events simply because we are unwilling to acknowledge its importance.
The parish is close to where I reside. I feel comfortable with the priests here. They have been outstanding. I always go home pondering about the sermon. The parish has a sizable parking lot which extends to the back of the church. The parish is almost hidden, blocked by a one storey structure that used to be a bank. Its grounds has small parches of gardens, tall trees that provides good shade during the summer days and aviaries that houses colorful parrot like birds.
Currently St. Peregrine is lead by Father Ador as cura paroko and Father Luigi, an Italian priest, its spiritual leader being the most senior among all present Servite priest. I always see him walk amongst the crowd, always with his watchful eyes and modest smiles, on occasions that I would meet him I would always kiss his hands, similar to that of a grandchild to his lolo.
Brief History of The St. Peregrine Laziosi Parish in Tunasan, Muntinlupa
The St. Peregrine Laziosi Parish is one of the eleven parishes of the Vicariate of Our Lady of the Abandoned, Muntinlupa City. Before it became a formal parish on February 10,1985, it was part of the Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish ( Nuestra Señora delos Desamparados). Upon the arrival of the Order of the Servants of Mary in the Philippines, His Eminence the late Jaime Cardinal Sin created St. Peregrine a new parish. Fr. Tarcisio Roffi, OSM was installed as the Parish Priest then, although there was no parish church yet to gather the parishioners for the Eucharistic celebration.
Since 1985, until now, St. Peregrine Laziosi Parish is under the pastoral care of the Order of the Servants of Mary, wherein Fr. Greg M. Obejas is the newly installed Parish Priest. He is assisted by the community of the Servants of Mary: Fr. Nelson Lato, Fr. Ador Javier, Fr. Rudy Wong , Fr.Luigi Ilari and seminarians.
St. Peregrine is the chosen name and patron saint for 2 reasons:
1. His Eminence recommended it to be the name of the Parish,
2. That St. Peregrine is a famous saint as the protector of Cancer patients and this can be a great benefit and blessing to all the parishioners and to all the Filipinos suffering from the dreaded disease.
The Parish, which occupies a greater land area of Tunasan, is the end boundary of the City of Muntinlupa in going to the South. It has 7 subdivisions and 9 poor urban areas and 1 barrio proper.
The Parish is bounded by Laguna de bay in the East, South Expressway in the west, Planas Compound and JPA Subdivision in the north and Municipality of San Pedro in the south.
For several years, the Parish had no church to gather its parishioners for the celebration of the mass. After 12 long years, mass had been celebrated in 7 subdivisions and in different puroks of the Parish every Sunday.
Through solicitations, donations and several fund-raising drives, the most cherished dream of the Order of the Servants of Mary and the parishioners was realized when on October 31, 1998, a beautiful shrine was inaugurated by His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin.
I find St. Peregrine story really interesting not many people know that the guy is not even a priest but was a servite of true dedication to the faith and his people.
St. Peregrine was born in 1265, in Forli, Italy which was a papal-state town governed by the pope. Forli was a stronghold of anti-papal sentiments, and Peregrine’s family was very active in the political party which strongly opposed the pope. The Vatican took the strong measure of placing Forli under interdict, forbidding the celebration of the Mass and sacraments in the tow.
The prior of a local Servite order of monks was sent to Forli to try and create peace within the church. The prior, now known as St. Philip Benizi, was not received well. Peregrine was among the hecklers, and at one point, struck the monk.
Perhaps this was Peregrines turning point, for he soon showed evidence of charity and good works, and at the age of 30, became a Servite himself! During his lifetime service to the sick and poor and forgotten, Brother Peregrine practiced a penance of standing instead of sitting whenever possible. Years of this extreme wear resulted in varicose veins which eventually broke down into open, running sores which were diagnosed as cancer. The leg was putrid and so painful amputation was scheduled.
As the story goes, the eve before the operation, Peregrine prayed before a crucifix, and entered a trance-like state during which he envisioned the crucified Christ coming down from His cross to touch Peregrine’s cancerous leg. When Peregrine awoke, his leg was healed. The cancer was cured. The leg was saved. In fact, he lived on to the age of 80, dying on May 1, 1345.
Peregrine was canonized on December 27th, 1726 and named the patron saint of those who suffer from cancer. St. Peregrine’s feast day is celebrated on May 4th.
This humble parish houses a unique relic, a rib from the incorruptible body of St.Peregrine donated by the order to further Peregrinian devotion here in our country. The relic rest in a small chapel were it is often visited by cancer patients and other faithfuls just wanting to feel what is like to get close to it. There were countless miracles attributed to the miraculous saint. Below is the dedication marker for the historic donation from Forli, Italy it reads…
In line with the desire to spread the devotion of Saint Peregrine, patron of cancer patients, the community of the Order of the Servants Mary in Forli, Italy donated to the Filipino people a relic in the form of a rib taken from the incorruptible body of St. Peregrine. The actual body of the Saint is enshrined in the Basilica of Saint Peregrine in Forli, Italy.
This rib is now in custody of the Fathers of the Order of the Servants of Mary in Tunasan, Muntinlupa. It is preserved in a precious silver reliquary. On October 31 1998 was solemn consecration of Saint Peregrine Parish and it was during this special occasion that the relic of St. Peregrine was enshrined to the relic chapel of the saint. It is only outstanding relic in all the world, excluding his body in Forli, Italy. For this reason, we Filipinos are priviledged and loved by the Lord.
It is my hope that people would come and visit the parish, the true objective of this post is to provide some helpful information for those seeking to locate this place of healing. My faith is my individual belief, none of what I wrote here about myself and how I practice my religion matters actually – I don’t see myself even worthy of being called a religious but I’m quite sure that there are people that would want to see St. Peregrine (a piece of him actually) so I wish everybody well and good luck on your future plans to drop by.