‘Grateful’ Zambaleños reunite with Columban priests
St. Columban Church – Olongapo. ST. COLUMBAN CHURCH – OLONGAPO FB PAGE
by Raymond A. Sebastián
July 4, 2018
Catholics from across the Diocese of Iba waxed nostalgic as they joined visiting priests of the Missionary of St. Columban (SSC) on Tuesday in celebrating 100 years of spreading Christ’s good news to the ends of the world.
“In behalf of all those of who were served, loved, and touched by the Columban fathers during their stay here in the diocese, I extend my endless gratitude,” said Iba vicar general Msgr. Crisostomo A. Cacho in a Mass held in their honor at the Parish of St. Columban in Olongapo on July 3.
A diocesan priest, Cacho considers himself a “Columban priest at heart,” having worked with Columban fathers for most of his priestly life, and having taken part in their gatherings where he witnessed and experienced firsthand the Irish, British, Australian, and New Zealander missionaries’ spirit of camaraderie and simplicity.
The priest went on to recognize the congregation’s contributions to the local church of Iba, particularly the communities they helped build and the schools they established.
“Many of you here now present were baptized by the Columban fathers, and were sad when they finally bade the diocese goodbye after staying with us for more than 50 years,” added Cacho, who also serves as president of Columban College.
According to him, though they are no longer around manning the local parishes, the Columban fathers had left behind an imprint of God’s love that forms part of the story and history of Zambales which Zambaleños will always remember and retell with gratitude.
Also present at the celebration were Iba Bishop Bartolome G. Santos Jr, San Fernando, La Union Bishop-elect Daniel O. Presto, Fr. Jaime A. Escurzon, Fr. Regalado Tiongson, and other members of the local clergy.