THE PARISH HISTORY


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With the growing community of Marcelo Green Village and its adjacent villages, Severina Diamond 18, Superville Subdivision and UPS 4 Paranaque, a Decree of Erection establishing a new parish was signed by His Eminence Jaime Cardinal L. Sin, Archbishop of Manila, on May 18, 1979. This came after many years of residents attending Sunday masses in family yards or garages, and later, at a small chapel along the village's Main Avenue. This used to be a warehouse which was donated to the community for its use.  Masses were officiated by Fr Thomas Cassidy, SVD or by Frs Silverio Deltour and Albert Depre CICM of St Andrew's Church in La Huerta, Paranaque.

The new parish's titular MARY, MOTHER OF GOOD COUNSEL was proposed by the Rev Msgr. Laureano Caoili, secretary of then Manila Auxiliary Bishop Most Rev Amado Paulino over the more popular Our Lady of Fatima. Research was undertaken on this Marian title, leading parish lay leaders to check on a picture of the new patroness at the library of Msgr. Caoili’s Sta Clara Parish in Pasay City. The patroness was seen as having greater impact on the community, defining the Blessed Mother’s tenderness and intimacy with her children. 

The new parish jurisdiction covered Bicutan to A. Santos Avenue, bounded on the north by Dona Soledad Avenue, on the east by the South Superhiway West Service Road and on the soutwest by Sucat Road and San Antonio Valley I. It was to serve 13 subdivisions and 18 developing areas. Also included in the parish jurisdiction were industrial zones and a hospital.

MMGC Msgr Ernie JoaquinWith the Decree came the appointment of Rev. Fr. Ernesto Joaquin as first parish priest. Together with a number of parishioners, Fr Ernie approached Dr and Mrs Felipe Eugenio, subdivision owners, for a lot donation of 2,000 sq m meant for a church building. The donated lot was situated at the end of Peach Street on Phase 2. On August 15, 1981 Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Ceremonial Cornerstone Laying was officiated by  Cardinal Sin.

On October 3, 1981, Rev Fr Gaudencio Salise was appointed second parish priest. He was ably assisted by the Salesians of Don Bosco deacons and priests. Among those who assisted him was the Rev Broderick Pabillo, SDB who would later on become a bishop.

As advised by the Most Rev. Gabriel V Reyes, District Bishop of Pasay, MMGC Fr Gaudencio SaliseParanaque, Las Pinas and Muntinlupa, Fr Dennis  pursued the titling of the donated land and undertook simultaneous fund-raising activities. By November 1983, church construction started. This was led by the Pastoral Council and Fr Dennis. Supervising the construction was Engr Wenceslao Redito, following the plan earlier designed by Architect Pablo Antonio Jr. The first Mass celebrated in the church under construction was during Easter Sunday on April 22, 1984. A week after, on April 29, feast of the patroness, another Mass was held with Jaime Cardinal Sin presiding, and Vicar Forane Rev. Msgr. Ceferino Sanchez and Rev. Fr. Dennis concelebrating.

On July 2, 1984, the Congregation of the Sisters of St John the Baptist opened a school at Superville Subdivision. The following year July 2, 1985, they moved to Phase 5 of Marcelo Green Village, opening a formation house and transferring the school Ville St John Academy. This school had an initial enrollment of 85 pupils. On July 16, Jaime Cardinal Sin blessed the newly constructed school.

On October 5, 1986, the new church was dedicated in solemn rites officiated by the Archbishop of Manila, months after the historic People Power Revolution.

The formation house of the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception in Phase 4 was blessed on August 20, 1987 by Cardinal Sin. The congregation's charism is focused on the care of the sick, education of the needy youth and care of the abandoned. The presbyteral ordinations of Rev Frs. Ronald Gene Generao, Sandy Banzuela, Ricardo Llorag Jr and the diaconal ordination of Rev Fr Noel Bacasnot--all from the congregation-- were held at the Mary, Mother of Good Counsel Parish church.

MMGC Msgr Roberto CanlasStructural projects were undertaken during the term of Fr Roberto Canlas. These include the construction of the rectory, the first parish center and the Adoration Chapel. The parish center, a three-storey built on a vacant lot by the rear of the church, served as offices and conference rooms for use by the personnel and the community. This eventually became the old parish center as a new one was constructed in 2004. A lot adjacent to the church was acquired, where eventually the new Parish Formation Center was to be constructed. During the term of Fr Bobby, devotional activities were likewise initiated.  These include the holding of the First Saturday dawn procession, daily prayers to saints, and devotion to the Divine Mercy.

On October 2, 1990, the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception of Charity established their Mother Maria Sara Lona Formation House at Phase 3 of Marcelo Green Village. The sisters dedicate themselves to the care of the sick and education of the orphaned, the abandoned and the needy youth.  They also carry out hospital work with doctors, nurses and specialists and collaborate with the parish in catechizing children.

Fr Hernane Denolo institutionalized the arancel-free program in 1993. Fr Hernane DenoloThis program sought to enable parishioners, especially those in the developing areas, to avail of the sacraments by doing away with associated fees. Parishioners thus learned to share their treasure with the parish through their monthly pledges.  Expenses for all pastoral programs and the maintenance of the church are sourced from these monthly pledges. This will eventually be called the Balik-Handog Program of the parish.

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The ministry of Fr Jose Miranda led to the introduction of the seven-minute catechism program before each Sunday Mass. Spearheading this were the catechists led by Shirley Pena, Carmela Caringal and Tita Cerdenia. This was a response to the call of the Second Plenary of the Philippines for a renewed evangelization of the Philippine church. Mass-goers were reintroduced to the fundamental tenets of the Catholic faith ranging from doctrines, to morals and worship. These lessons were adopted from the Catechism for Filipino Catholics and the Catholic Church Catechism.


 

On December 7, 2002, the Diocese of Paranaque was established by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II in the Papal Bull Ad Efficacius. The new diocese was carved out of the Archdiocese of Manila. The Most Rev Jesse E Mercado was appointed its bishop and St Andrew's Church in La Huerta, elevated as the cathedral of the new diocese. 

Fr Vir2Other structural projects in the parish were undertaken in the succeeding years. Construction of the Sanctuario del Buenconsejo Columbaria started in March 2002 and was undertaken by Rev. Fr. Virginio Pedregosa. It was completed in May 2003, blessed and consecrated by Bishop Jesse E. Mercado on June 2, 2003. A new Parish Formation Center was also constructed in 2004, in time for the Silver Anniversary celebration of the parish. It was inaugurated and blessed by the bishop on January 5, 2005. Facilities of the center include the chapel of St Joseph, seminar and function rooms, and the parish office.  It was also during this time when eight parish pastoral zones were established.

These years unfortunately saw a divided community as issues were raised against some clerics. MMGC Msgr Chito BernardoThis paved the way for the community to undergo discernment and quiet reflection on its direction. Under the ministry of the Rev Msgr Jose Bernardo, PC,  the Parish Renewal Experience program aimed at healing the community was undertaken. This led to a greater number of committed lay leaders in the parish. A respected priest-formator, Msgr Chito was a sought-after retreat master among the lay and the clergy.  Established during Msgr Chito’s ministry were the Basic Ecclesial Communities at Phases 9, 5 and 6 and Manggahan-Kawayanan. It was also during this time when the community started praying the Liturgy of the Hours.  Administratively, Msgr Chito led in the establishment of the Chaplaincy of the Divine Mercy in Severina Diamond Subdivision, covering the Sto Nino (Severina)  and Mary, Mother of Divine Grace Chapels (UPS 4). He designated Fr Charles Isagan as priest-in-charge of the chaplaincy.  This was to eventually become the Padre Pio Parish.

MMGC Fr Alfred RamosThe Parish Scholarship Program called Handog Paaral ng Parokya was launched during the ministry of Rev Fr Alfredo Ramos. Recipients of this program were elementary, high school and college students from the developing communities in the parish. Gawad-Kalinga, a community-based program which seeks to restore dignity and gives back to the poor their capacity to dream, was introduced to the Manggahan-Kawayanan area in 2007. This program aims to free the poor from poverty in all forms--materially, mentally and spiritually. It institutes a strong values formation and mentoring program for sustainable transformation and seeks to raise leaders at the grassroot level, empowering the community to connect to mainstream services and opportunities. The Parish Clinic was inaugurated in 2009, offering services to financially-challenged parishioners. It was also during the term of Fr Alfred when the Mass with Children was introduced. To ensure the liturgical life of the residents of Severina and UPS 4 Subdivisions, Fr Alfred designated Fr Eulogio Lawenko priest-in-charge of the Divine Mercy Chaplaincy.

The eight-month appointment of Rev Fr Christian Emmanuel GabineteMMGC Fr Ian Gabinete as parish priest was nonetheless significant as he consolidated all youth groups under the Commission on Youth.  During his brief term, Fr Ian undertook intensive fund-raising projects to sustain the Parish Scholarship Program.  These include movie premiere sponsorships. Parish liturgical services were likewise aligned with the diocesan statutes as he was ably assisted by Rev Fr Carmelo Estores.

MMGC Fr Eric SalazarThe general reshuffling of clergy assignments in 2011 led to the appointment of Rev Fr Enrico Salazar as 11th parish priest of MMGCP. Fr Eric drew up plans for the renovation of the church. This however, was put on hold as he was reassigned to pastor the newly established parish of St Pius of Pietrelcina. On December 16, 2011, this new parish was canonically erected, dividing the jurisdiction of the MMGC parish. The St Pius of Pietrelcina Parish covers Severina 18, Superville Subdivision, United Paranaque 4 and 15 developing areas.

Rev Fr Francisco Siguan Jr. was installed parish priest on January 9, 2012. Fr Francis photoUnder his ministry, the renewal of the community became a pastoral priority. Parish programs were geared towards the propagation of New Integral Evangelization, the reinvigoration of Basic Ecclesial Communities and the pastoral zones, the drawing of renewal groups to parish life, the implementation of reforms in liturgy and the pursuit of greater efforts toward conscientization and lay empowerment.  Fr Francis appointed a  new generation of young lay leaders, infusing new vigor to the life of the parish.

As part of the practical exposure program for its seminarians, the diocese assigned then acolyte Bro (now Fr) Gilbert Romulo to assist Fr Francis for a period of six months; eventually, the diocese assigned to MMGCP then deacons Rev. (now Frs) Tommy Lira Jr and Kevin Luther Crisostomo. During the papal visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, two families in the parish had the privilege of being included as family-participants of the Meeting of Families at the MOA Arena. In March 2014, the Azure Urban Resort Residences along the West Service Road was inaugurated. The parish serves the new community through requested Masses and blessings. In April 2015, the Mater Boni Consilii Grand Choir of the parish was chosen to lead the choir service during the Solemn Lauds and Chrism Mass of the diocese at St Andrew's Cathedral. Other milestones include the community celebration of the 35th Ordination Anniversary of Fr. Francis on June 12, 2016 and the parish Thanksgiving Mass for the Canonization of St Alfonso Fusco, founder of the Congregation of Sisters of St John the Baptist on October 18, 2016.

Msgr Melchor David2With the reshuffling of the clergy assignments in 2017, the Bishop appointed the Rev Msgr Melchor David, PC as new parish priest effective July 1. Msgr Mel comes to Mary, Mother of Good Counsel Parish with a wealth of experience on social action, environmental concern and youth affairs. Significantly, it will be during Msgr Mel's term when MMGCP will celebrate its 40th Anniversary as a Parish.

From its beginnings in family yards to the warehouse-turned-chapel, to a full-fledged parish that rose above the trials of a growing community, to the vibrant Church that it is now, our Mother of Good Counsel continues to draw us into her intimate relationship with her Son, and makes her presence in our daily life felt as a compassionate loving mother would to her children.

May our devotion to our Mother of Good Counsel inspire others to give Mary and her Son a permanent home in their hearts.

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