Hi! This is my first post in this blog and I would like to introduce myself. I am Fr. Amado Picardal, a Catholic priest belonging to the Redemptorist congregation and presently based in Davao, Philippines. Everyone calls me Fr. Picx. I am 51 years old and this year I celebrate the silver jubilee of my priestly ordination.
Before I was professed as a Redemptorist, I studied AB Philosophy at the University of San Carlos from 1971 to 1975. I spent seven months as a political prisoner a year after Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972. After finishing college, I lived among the poor for six months in a slums area in Cebu and was trained as community organizer. I became a Redemptorist in 1977 and was ordained priest in 1981 after finishing my theological studies at the St. Francis Regional Major Seminary.
For over eight years after ordination, I was a member of the Redemptorist mission team - which was composed of Redemptorist priests and brothers and also lay missionaries. We helped form and strengthen Basic Ecclesial Communities in different parishes and dioceses in Mindanao. My last mission assignment was in San Fernando, Bukidnon where I helped organize and mobilize the communities against the logging companies in 1987-1988. As a result of our efforts, the government imposed a total log ban in the province since 1989.
I spent some time as a hermit in the mountain of Busay during the early part of 1989 and in August of that year I started my higher studies at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. I joined the Pax Christi - a Catholic Peace movement - in 1990. In 1991, after I received my licentiate in theology, I proceeded to Rome to continue my studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University. In 1995, I earned my doctorate in theology (magna cum laude) with my dissertation entitled "An Ecclesiological Perspective of the Basic Ecclesial Communities in the Philippines. "
Since May 1995 to the present (2006), I have been based here in Davao, as professor and dean of academic studies at the St. Alphonsus' Theologate. This is a school of theology for Redemptorists in Southern Philippines, Thailand and Singapore, and also for other religious communities in Davao. Besides teaching, I have been involved through the years in pastoral ministry as parochial vicar and acting parish priest. I have also gone around the country giving talks on Basic Ecclesial Communities to various dioceses and groups and conducting retreats for clergy and religious. I have also been involved in Christian-Muslim dialogue and in peace advocacy. I am part of the council of leaders of the Coalition Against Summary Execution. I am also known as the cycling priest of the Philippines. In 2000, I biked for peace across the country (from Davao to Ilocos Norte) covering 2,083 km. I have also organized an annual bike for peace in Davao during the Mindanao Week of Peace. I biked around Israel in 2005 during my sabbatical. Last summer, I biked for life and peace around Mindanao for 3 weeks accompanied part of the way by some priests and a bishop.
I have written several books and articles on Basic Ecclesial Communities. I have also written over 50 poems. I play the piano, flute, violin, guitar and harmonica. I also compose songs for liturgy and evangelization seminars. I am a mountain climber - I have climbed Mt. Apo seven times. I also go scuba diving occasionally.
I am an aspiring theologian. I would like to come up with a theology from the grassroots, a theology that is inculturated and contextual, a theology that is not just discursive but also narrative and poetic.
It is for this reason that I am starting this blog - to share my story, my experiences, and reflections in the light of the Christian faith and tradition.
What has happened since then for the past 10 years - 2006-2016:
- biked for life and peace around the Philippines in 2008 - Davao to Aparri and back in 56 days covering over 5,000 km
- walked barefoot 800 km from French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela, Spain
- left Davao in 2011 and moved to Manila and started working with the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines as executive secretary of the Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities
- run/walked across the Philippines for Life and Peace from Davao to Aparri via Maharlika Highway and the Cordilleras in 57 days covering over 2,000 km
- bicycle climate ride from Manila to Tacloban to Davao and Iligan in 14 days covering 1,800 km)