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international house of formation - newsletter ISSUE 1 - MARCH 2010


Our First Edition

Fr Mark Grima shares with us the aim of balita.


Greetings from the Philippines my dear brothers and sisters.

so that our communion as a MSSP members and friends will continue to grow.

It has been more then a year since we have started our international formation in Manila and it dawned to us that the time was ripe to start sharing with you some of the important events that we lived as a formation community. We are aware that many of you support us in various ways and have been in contact with us throughout the whole journey from establishing the community to setting it off. Many MSSP members have passed by for one reason or another, and I am glad to hear that others are planning to do so.

There is always a sense of feeling here that somehow we are connected with all the regions of our Society, not only because of our international reality but also due to the fact that here lies the future of our ministry and communities. So keeping you informed about what is happening on this part of the world will hopefully strengthen our bond. I am sure that you have already received much of this news from some of us but hopefully by putting all this together you can get an overall picture of the atmosphere here and what are our endeavors.

In this newsletter called Balita (Philippino word for news) we intend to communicate with you periodically, our life,

May you find this publication helpful and feel free to communicate your thoughts with us.

A quarterly online newsletter published by the International House of Formation - Manila. Distributed to MSSP members, family and friends around the world. Editor: Br Alberto Laura Pinales mssp | Design: Br Clinton Farrugia mssp | Email:

Clinton (Jan 2010 ), Bernard (M ar 2009), Mar Tariq (Apr 200 k (Jan 2007), 8), Nilton (J an 20 0 9), Beto (Jan Carlos (Sept 200 2009), 9), Isaac (Aug 2009)

Names are presented from top left to bottom right corner. Date in brackets denotes date of arrival in the Philippines.

The IHF Comm unity


Opening of the MSSP IHF St Paul’s House of Formation - Manila, Philippines The MSSP International House of Formation was officially inaugurated by our Superior General, Fr Bernard Mangion on Sunday, 28th April 2009. Present for the opening ceremony were all the MSSP Regional Superiors who were during an International Superiors Meeting, various brothers and sisters from other Religious Congregations and friends. After the National Anthem, Fr Mark Grima, Superior of the House, delivered a

short prayer in which, quoting Psalm 127, he prayed that “May our celebration be a thankful praise to our God, without whom all these efforts become useless and in vain.”

Fr Mark then welcomed all those invited stating that the opportune moment to start this endevour has come and that the blessing itself was more a blessing on the community of seminarians who will be residing in the house and all our friends who will partake of the fruits of this ministry. After his speech, Fr Mark introduced the short documentary which was prepared for the occasion. The documentary gave a brief overview on the Society’s Founder, its history and its spirit lived through mission and service. The video can be viewed by clicking the following link: Fr Bernard Mangion referred to the ‘completion of this dream’, however

he added that our next dream is that this place will be a place of forming our future missionariies in an intercultural set up.’ Fr Bernard than proceeded with the blessing of the House and like every Filipino encounter, the evening concluded with dinner. A female choir from our missionary parish of Bataan animated the ceremony.

“All the regions who will be sending their seminarians from different parts where our Society is working, is present here to be a witness, because we are doing this as one community, as one Society, with God’s help.” Fr Mark Grima mssp



Common Room

The Regional Superiors who met in our house from the 20th April - 2nd May 2009.


IHF Diary

Sharing with you, in brief, what happened in the formation house throughout its first year.

March - April - May

We celebrated Holy Week together in our parish of Bataan. Fr Joe was more than happy to welcome us in his parish and to organise with him and his cathecists this week. Thus we were involved in different moment of recollections with kids, adoloscents, youths and adults (Couples for Christ and the Basic Ecclesial Communities.) With them we also lived and animated the three days of triduum leading to Easter Sunday. On Easter Sunday we met together as a community, for a moment of celebration.

After the Superiors left, we had a well deserved break in Bagio, preparing ourselves for studies which were still yet to start!


Lunch at Fr Joe’s

While they were here, and as we already described in the previous article, the International House of Formation was officially inaugurated by Fr Bernard Mangion. It was a wonderful moment for all of us to be part of such an important moment and much more a privilege to be the first fruit bearers of this project.

In May, we welcomed amongst us Fr John Taliana who came to visit us and to have some days of rest. Holy Week in Bataan

Following Easter, the Regional Superiors and the General Council members started arriving for the Regional Superiors Meeting which was held from the 20th April till the 2nd May. The house was nearly in its full capacity and as students we were helping out in the daily chores, while our brothers were having their daily meetings and other moments of reflection.

Fr Stephen’s Birthday

June - July - August June brought with it preperations for the new scholastic year. Most of us were resuming their studies after more than two years of pastoral experiences, except for the English course which most of us attended, as preperation for this experience. So throughout these months, we were faced with the reality of settling in an another new setup, getting to know new friends, new lecturers, while preparing ourselves for this new course of studying. Anxious yet enjoyable!

Throughout these months, besides weekly communitarian encounters and one-to-ones, we also had various moments of fellowship, some of which where also dedicated for cultural visits. Such moments helped us to immerse ourselves more and to get to know more

We were also assigned new pastoral ministries. Nilton and Beto are helping out in the parish of Bataan, working in the formation of youths and of the leaders of the Basic Ecclesial Communities. Tariq continued his ministry with the ICPE community in Montalban, whilst Bernard started taking care of a youth group at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), whose chaplain is Fr Lonnie Borg. Isaac and Carlos, our newcomers, started supporting the sisters of Mother Teresa in their ministry with abondoned children in Tawhuman. Cultural Visit

English Lessons

Fr Gerard Bonello & Fr Pedro Arotaipe, who at the meantime were living in our community, now moved on to start their sabbatical course at the East Asian Pastoral Institute, Ateneo de Manila University. We also welcomed Fr Stephen Mifsud, who came for some holidays and with whom we had the opportunity of celebrating his birthday.

this new culture.

On 26th September, Philippines experienced the typhoon Ondoy. We were not hit directly, however it was impossible to remain unaffected by this tragedy! Thus, some two weeks after, we decided to roll up our sleeves and give a helping hand with a relief program for victims of typhoon Ondoy. The place we went to, Marikina, was badly affected by the storm. The huge amounts of water measured up to more than 4 metres. The people lost practically all their possessions, some also their loved ones.

In November, the Parish of Fr Joe, organised the Filipiniana - A Filipino Night with a difference! We were invited not only to enjoy the Filipino music, dance, customs and more, but also to share our own, whom, our dear Peruvians wholeheartedly accepted! A mixed-cultures night!

we had a short break at Subic. In October joined the youths of PUP in their Youth Ministers Night for which we debuted with a short video clip entitled ‘The Stethoscope’ - with the message: Christ lives in YOU. It can be viewed on:

After ending our first semester tests,

Filipiniana in Bataan

Br Tariq

Sept - October - Nov

PUP Youth Ministers

Roling... Action!

Helping out in Marikina

It’s Christmas time... well, in the Philippines Christmas time started long time before. Since October, the Christmas fever was already high with Christmas carols and decoration here and there. Experiencing a hot Christmas was new for most of us! Being our first Christmas in the house we also used our talents at their best to decorate our home in the cosiest manner possible. Jockingly, the Maltese were homesick so they decided to bake some Christmas logs, with the excuse of giving the Peruvians and the Pakistani a taste of Maltese Christmas!

The Christmas Logs


We lived Advent time and Christmas in our community. Everyone took a day, and animated it in his own way. At times we also invited other friends and youths to join us. Another memorable experience!

January - February On January we welcomed all the formators who gathered together for the International Formators’ Meeting. For us it was nice to meet our ex-formators and to have time to reconnect after quite some time. Besides a whole week of meetings, they also attended a weekcourse at the Ateneo de Manila and visited our parish of Bataan. We also had various discussions, both formally and informally, in which we shared our aspirations, dreams and the challenges we face in our formation and in our Society. Formators’ Visit to Bataan

Oh Holy Night!

Preparing for Christmas


If you would like to post any comments or suggestions, you may write to us on or else on the Alma Mater blog. Thankyou.


The online newsletter of the MSSP International House of Formation, Manila, Philippines


The online newsletter of the MSSP International House of Formation, Manila, Philippines