The first Redemptorists, belonging to the Irish province, arrived in Opon, Cebu on 30 June 1906, setting up missions in Compostela, San Francisco and on the Camotes Islands.
From 1914 to 1928 further communities were established, the most prominent being: Luzon (where the Redemptorists preached the first mission completely in Tagalog), Lipa,Iloilo, Tacloban and Cagayan de Oro on Mindanao.
In 1928, the Philippines was divided into two vice provinces, each under a different province—the Cebu vice-province responsible for the Visayas and Mindanao under the Irish province; and the Manila vice-province responsible for Luzon under the Australian province, now headquartered at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran.
The Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) had a profound impact on the Redemptorist Congregation and this resulted in them pledging themselves more strongly to the poor and disadvantaged in imitation of St. Alphonsus. When the political and social upheavals came in the 1960s and 1970s the Filipino Redemptorists stood in solidarity with those seeking justice and equality for they were to “…embrace the mission to proclaim by word and action, the Gospel of justice so that the poor’s aspirations can be fully realised in Christ, the source of liberation.”
In 1996, the Cebu vice-province became an independent province, known as the Cebu Province.
Today, the Redemptorists in the Philippines add up to 106 (82 priests, 9 brothers, 15 temporary professed students). There are also eleven foundations (4 in Luzon, 5 in the Visayas and 2 in Mindanao).
The Redemptorists are in partnerships with Religious women groups in terms of their various ministries: Daughters of Charity, MCST Sisters, Mercy Sisters, ICMs, Presentation of Mary Sisters, PDDM, Missionaries of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Missionaries of the Assumption, Religious of the Notre Dame of the Mission, Columban Sisters, Oblates of the Notre Dame, Redemptoristines, Oblates of the Holy Redeemer (OSR), Bon Perpetual Succor (BPS).
The Redemptorist of the Philippines are embarking into new pastoral initiatives such as care for the street children, Indigenous people, Youth Ministry, Prison apostolate, Leprosarium, Urban poor, Interfaith dialogue and mission abroad.
by Fr. Colm Meaney, CSsR
A decision for restructuring at the global and regional levels is surely a timely priority: not just because of congregational demographics (falling numbers) but much more importantly as an expression of evangelical cooperation – a fruitful sharing of the Spirit’s gifts, variously and prodigally bestowed. The building up of the Lord’s body will surely be more securely achieved through the sharing of our various charisms – and these in their local (national) flavor or variety. Or more prosaically, many hands make light work.