Manila (Agenzia Fides) - St. Therese of the Child Jesus, a holy missionary, is the Patroness of the new Mission launched by the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in the Philippines. The chosen location is known as General Mariano Alvarez (named after one of the heroes of the War of Independence from Spain), which is in the Diocese of Imus, on the outskirts of the capital Manila. According to the agreement signed between PIME and the local Bishop, His Exc. Mgr. Reynaldo Gonda Evangelista, the mission is led by Father Giuseppe Carrara, 51, active since 1994 in the Philippines, where he has worked pastorally in various contexts: in Mindanao, especially in rural areas with strong non-Christian presence (Muslim or tribal); then in the north, first in Mindoro, then Cavite.
As reported in a note of the Institute, sent to Fides, Fr. Carrara explains the reasons for choosing the new mission: "Pope Francis has been launching the challenge to work in the suburbs of large cities for a long time. Furthermore there is the possibility of a pastoral integration in the Diocese of Imus.
The area entrusted to the PIME is territorially small: about 4 km long and 2 km wide. However the population is significant: about 20,000 people who will certainly increase in coming years due to the development of the area".
The position of this area is peripheral compared to Manila and Cavite: it is a "buffer" area between the two areas where the government for years has been transferring people coming from the slums of Manila. These, in fact, make up the vast majority of the population. "This means that, from an economic point of view – continues the missionary - many people have found a small, decent housing, but have lost their jobs, which explains the high rate of crime: theft, drugs, murder".
The mission in the suburbs will have to deal with issues such as social unrest, unemployment, drug addiction, which often afflict the young. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 14/03/2016)