THE FRANCISCANS IN THE PROVINCE OF CAGAYAN
Fr. Martino Concato, OFM
Alphonsus Schnussenberg, OFM, in his "Historia Missionum", rome 1967, writes the following about the origin of Foundation
of Buguey, Cagayan,
mission began because His Excellency Alejandro Olalia, bishop of Tuguegarao, and His Excellency Mauricio Rosa Archbishop pf
Hankaw (Shina) wanted it.
former oftentimes had asked for some Franciscans to do pastoral work in his diocese; while the latter wished that his missionaries,
exiled from China, work in the Philippines, in order that, should the situation in China change for the better (as he thought
would happen soon) it would be easier for them to return.
to their wishes, the then General delegates for the Far East, Fr. Alphonsus Schnussenberg, sent Fr. Gerardo Filippetto, OFM, and Fr. Angelo Ramponi, OFM, to the
Philippines. It was in March 1951; they were the first non-Spanish
Franciscans to work in the Philippines.
the first year they remained in Manila, but the following year (March, 1952) they transffered to Buguey, Cagayan, in Northern Luzon, to Bishop Olalia's Diocese of Tuguegarao.
a contract was drafted for the next 25 years. But this contract was signed only
in 1961. Bishop Teodulfo Domingo, Olalia's successor, declared that he counts
the 25 years starting from the date of the signing; therefore, the contract expires
only in 1985. As per the contract, three municipalities were entrusted to the
pastoral care of the Franciscans: Buguey, Gonzaga, and Sta. Ana, with a population
of around 40 thousand people, most of them Catholics. The Aglipayans and Iglesia
Filipina Independiente are fairly strong. In the mountains and in the forest
there are some groups of Negritos. Ilocano is the prevalent dialect, but many
speak or understand English or Spanish. The official national language is Tagalog,
and it is spreading fast.
by little, the work increased. Other Franciscans came, so that by 1961 the three
parishes were well staffed with parish priest and assistant.
the beginning, Fr. Filippetto though of and worked for the foundation of a local congregation of Sisters to help in the parish work. They were officially approved
by Bishop Teodulfo Domingo in 1957: THE
FRANCISCAN APOSTOLIC SISTERS. They opened the Saint Anthony Academy in the Municipality of Sta. Ana.
1968 a branch of Saint Anthony was opened in Gonzaga by Fr. Antonino Sernagiotto, OFM, parish priest for 15 years in that
Fortunato the Pellegrin, OFM, worked very hard to set up a third school in Sta. Teresita, a new municipality separated from
that of Buguey. The school was named after Saint Francis, and it started to function
the contract with the Bishop is it provided that there should be one REGULAR PARISH (pleno jure). First, Sta. Ana was chosen, and so the Foundation was also called Sta. Ana foundation. But in 1973, after the canonical visitation of Fr. Provincial, Fr. Anton Maria Lunardi, OFM, it was changed
to the new parish of Sta. Teresita in order to have the school of the Foundation and the Regular Parish in the same place.
1972 the new church of Sta. Teresita was constructed. In 1975-76 the church and the convent in Sta. Ana were
constructed with donations solicited by Fr. Fortunate de Pellegrin. In 1977-1978
the regional house was erected in Sta. Teresita. In Gonzaga, Fr. Giovanni Piva,
OFM enlarge and reinforced the church and made a large and new convent out of the existing parish hall.
the constructions mentioned above were done by Brother Benedetto Dalla Pozza, OFM, and Brother Giacomo Cattazzo, OFM, who
worked hard with patience and with true missionary spirit.
Personnel in the Foundation (Past and Prest)
1952 – 1978
Fr. Gerardo Filippetto,
Fr. Angelo Pamponi,
Fr. Martino Concato,
Fr. Valerian Schot,
Fr. Carmelo Paludetti,
Fr. Gernasio Rossato,
Fr. Antonino Sernagiotto,
Br. Benedetto Dalla
Pozza, OFM 1959
Fr. Fortunato de
Pellegrin, OFM 1962
Fr. Donato Soliman,
Fr. Luigi Morao,
Fr. Giacomo Cattazzo,
Fr. Giuseppe Prandina,
Fr. Nestor Almazan,
Fr. Ponciano Macabalo,