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The Franciscans in the Province of Cagayan
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Map of the Diocese of Tugueraro



By:  Fr. Martino Concato, OFM


Fr. Alphonsus Schnussenberg, OFM, in his "Historia Missionum", rome 1967, writes the following about the origin of  Foundation of Buguey, Cagayan, Philippines:


This mission began because His Excellency Alejandro Olalia, bishop of Tuguegarao, and His Excellency Mauricio Rosa Archbishop pf Hankaw (Shina) wanted it.


The 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.


Acceding 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.


For 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.


Immediately 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.


Little by little, the work increased.  Other Franciscans came, so that by 1961 the three parishes were well staffed with parish priest and assistant.


Since 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.


In 1968 a branch of Saint Anthony was opened in Gonzaga by Fr. Antonino Sernagiotto, OFM, parish priest for 15 years in that municipality.


Fr. 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 in 1969.


In 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.


In 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.


All 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


                                                              Arrived                  Left

Fr. Gerardo Filippetto, OFM                  1952

Fr. Angelo Pamponi, OFM                     1952                     1965

Fr. Martino Concato, OFM                     1952            

Fr. Valerian Schot, OFM                        1952                     1953

Fr. Carmelo Paludetti, OFM                   1953                     1962

Fr. Gernasio Rossato, OFM                    1955                     1957

Fr. Antonino Sernagiotto, OFM              1957                    

Br. Benedetto Dalla Pozza, OFM            1959

Fr. Fortunato de Pellegrin, OFM             1962                     1977

Fr. Donato Soliman, OFM                       1963                     1965

Fr. Luigi Morao, OFM                             1967

Fr. Giacomo Cattazzo, OFM                    1968

Fr. Giuseppe Prandina, OFM                    1969

Fr. Nestor Almazan, OFM                        1976

Fr. Ponciano Macabalo, OFM                   1978