This photo taken yesterday’s Easter Mass at the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish reminds me of how Camp Phillips has evolved as a faith community through the years.
Like the rest of the Bukidnon parishes, ours was founded by the Society of Jesus (Philippine province, because at that time, there were Jesuit Provinces in the country, the other being China). I am not sure who started the parish, but I remember that Fr. Rodolfo Cabonce started the schools. Fr. Cabonce also wrote the first English-Cebuano Dictionary.
Anyway, when we were small, we had two missionary Jesuits, Fr. Luigi Moggi and Fr. Joseph Bittner – two magnificent and wonderful people whose faith and missionary zeal shaped the parish as it is today. I wasn’t there when the Jesuits pulled out. I learned about it when I met Fr. Moggi in Manila in one of those meetings.
But there are people who remained as permanent fixtures in the parish, and whose distinct contribution to make the church alive cannot be undermined. There are names like Lorna Vismanos, Miss Gonzales, Mrs. Tining Tutor. Heck, I saw my classmate Nino Batucan doing the second reading and he was an altar boy thirty years back. Dodong Tagud was an altar boy in my childhood and he is still doing the job.
Priests come and go but the faithful remain. They are the ones who should be accredited in shaping the parish.