I am here in Iligan attending the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the coming of the Redemptorists to the city. In June 1959, when I was five years old, our family moved to Tibanga, some 3 kilometers from the city center. During that year, the Redemptorists also arrived and rented a house near our home. Since the new church had still to be constructed, they celebrated mass in a nearby school - St. Mary's. I suppose, the presence of the Redemptorists in our neighborhood had an influence on me. I remember imitating the priests when I "played mass" with my siblings at home. During summer time, I attended catechism classes at the Redemptorist church. I became an altar boy when I was in grade six. When I decided to become a priest I naturally applied to the Redemptorist. My first assignment as a newly-ordained priest was with the Iligan Redemptorist community. So I am proud to say that I am the first product of the Redemptorist presence in Iligan.
The anniversary mass was presided by Bishop Galido - the bishop of Iligan. Two Redemptorist bishops concelebrated - Bishop Ireneo Amantillo (bishop-emeritus of Tandag) and Bishop Manny Cabajar (of Pagadian). Both of them were former superiors of the Iligan Redemptorist community.
Happy golden anniversary! I hope I will still be around for the diamond jubilee celebration.