Home Feeding Sites Father Reymond B. Canete Speech 2008
Father Reymond B. Canete Speech 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 06 December 2008 08:37

Good Morning!  Maybe some of you are wondering who am I, where did I come from?   For in fact, this is my first time to land on American soil, I travelled half way around the world just to say Mass with you today.  I’m Reverend Father Reymond Canete. It is indeed a privilege for me to come and share with you our mission work.  On behalf of the people of our diocese, I wish to express our gratitude to Archbishop John Niensdtedt who has invited us to make a mission appeal for the diocese of San Carlos.

85 million people are living in the Philippines with a total land mass size only 25 percent bigger than the state of Minnesota on 7,100 islands.  Our diocese is located on Negros Island in the Central region of the Philippines. It has a total land mass area of 70 thousand square acres. The total population of our diocese is close to one million people and 344 thousand of them are children.    About 90 percent of our population is Catholic.  The average married couple has 5 children.  The main sources of income are agriculture and fishing.  Most of our people are workers in the sugar cane plantations, on which they receive approximately 60 pesos a day, which is equivalent to 1 dollar and 25 cents per day, or a paycheck of $6 to $7 dollars a week in American money. 85 percent of our population is living at or below poverty level.  Our poverty level is 10 levels below what you know and understand as poverty in America.    It is a sad reality that many of our children and youth do not go to school because of this poverty. Somewhere between the ages of 6 to 10 years old, a child has to go to work to provide enough food for their family and themselves.  Because of  this poverty, only 1 out of every 3 children in a family, can go to school.     

Our Diocese has 33 parishes and 4-mission station areas. I had the privilege to be assigned to one of these primitive mountain mission churches called Pacuan.  This village had no T V’s,  no cars, no electricity nor modern means of communication. I stayed in shanty homes of members of the community because there was no rectory. In fact the small old church itself was falling apart because of termites.  Pacuan has  40 outside mission chapels with some of them being a 4 hour walk each way.  Sometimes I have to swim or cross rivers and hanging rope bridges, climb mountains just to get to them to celebrate mass.  We are only 10 degrees north of the equator so you can imagine how exhausting it can be to do all this walking in humid, tropical heat.  But the warm welcome, innocence, grateful response and purity of the people inspires me and energizes my soul.  These intelligent, hard-working people live a very poor and simple life.   

When I celebrate mass with them, I cannot just simply say to them, “God is love”.  I have to actualize that love for them.  For these people the grace of God is concretely expressed when they have food on their table.  There is no grace for them when there is hunger in the home. Your Philippine brothers and sisters in Christ, struggle daily to bring food to their table.  Yet they have a sincere faith on a God that provides, no matter what, and that is why we are distributing nutritious food to the poor donated by Feed My Starving Children and Risen Savior Missions.

There are 33 parishes, 4 mission areas, close to a million people and only 40 priests active in parish work, which amounts to approximately 25 thousand people for each priest available.  We have a diocesan seminary that trains young men to become our future priests. We are blessed with so many vocations each year but limited ability to accommodate, educate and train these new seminarians because we lack the financial aid.  Currently we have 70 seminarians studying for priesthood that is twice as many as we have enough room for.  The seminary building in our diocese is over-crowded, has major cracks in its walls, foundation, and the roof is about to fall in. And they need your help!  There is a great need to support their education, formation and better living conditions since they are the future servants in the kingdom of our Lord.  Here is where you can help, this year the diocese has endeavored to construct a new building, a HOME for our seminary.  We are now in the first phase of the construction.

Now, let’s go back to the mission parish in Pacuan for a moment. Every Sunday when I would celebrate two Masses with them, our total monetary collections would only be 8 to 10 U S dollars.  Can you see why we need your help? Brothers and sisters, I share with you our mission and our challenges.  We need your support for the pastoral demands of the diocese and in our effort to provide a better seminary for our future priests.   I appeal to the generosity of your heart to please help us to build the new home for our vocations to the priesthood.   I pray that we can constantly help make the love of God concrete in the lives of so many poor people through our diocesan programs, in helping the sick, feeding the starving children, and educate the young and the seminarians.  

Whatever you can share it will make a difference, in the lives of our people today and for the future.   ON behalf of the people, the malnourished children in our diocese, I say thank you so much for listening, your caring and letting me celebrate Mass with you today!
 

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This donation will be used to assist Risen Savior Missions in their efforts to relieve the starving and malnutrition of children in the Philippines. You may mail a check to:..................................................... Risen Savior Missions....................... 14533 Eureka Court........................... Apple Valley, MN 55124...................... or..................................................... click on the "Donate" button to pay with Paypal or credit card.



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Home Feeding Sites Father Reymond B. Canete Speech 2008
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