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The Mindanao Relation




The SSPX Mindanao Relation.

The Big Announcement.

Some Historical Background.

Mind boggling Testimony on the Mentality Shift of the 60s.

Corruption and Catholicism (mostly corruption).

The New Priory and the Work of Restoration.

The Situation of the Priory foundation Right now.

Summary of expat and Support Group Donations up to the Present.

The 3 Immediate Material needs and the big Spiritual need.




Dear Expat and Philippine Support Group member,


It is a great joy for us to be able to communicate to you good news about our Philippine Missions. Our only sorrow is that we are far too few for our huge task of bringing Tradition back to the Philippines, and though our resources in terms of talent and sanctity fall far short of the need, you are our consolation.  In all truth, our lacking of spiritual and material means is in great part alleviated by having you as part of our support crew, helping us both spiritually and materially.


The Big Announcement

Here in the Philippines, Traditional Catholics in Mindanao literally jumped for joy when Fr. Couture announced plans for planting a new Priory on the big Southern Island in the early part of this year 2011.  This move had been contemplated for quite some time because it was the next logical step to the restoration of Catholic Tradition in the Philippines.  The original Spanish Missionaries conceived the Philippines in three broad geographical areas, the North consisting of Luzon and its environs, the Middle consisting of the Visayas, and the South consisting chiefly in the Island of Mindanao. Thus, whereas the Society already had a Priory for the North in Manila, and one for the Middle in Iloilo, it made sense to establish the third one in the Southern tier of the Philippines. The new Priory will alleviate travel for the Priories of Manila and Iloilo, who took turns over the years attending to the 6 Missions in Mindanao. At the same time, it permits the possibility of reaching 10 other villages that are potential centers of Tradition.


Some Historical Background

It is very significant that Providence so arranged the Catholicization of the Philippines that the first Cathedral of the Northern sector was dedicated to Our Lady, under Her title of the Immaculate Conception, and the first Cathedral of the Middle Sector was consecrated to the Infant Jesus, and the first Cathedral of Mindanao was dedicated to St. Joseph.  Accordingly, it was only natural to choose St. Joseph as Patron of the new Priory.  Since the executive decision to open the Priory in Davao coincided with the Consecration of the District of Asia to St. Joseph on March 19th, 2011, the new Priory in Davao is in fact the first public act of devotion of the Asian District to St. Joseph.  This joyful coincidence is a great inspiration to us, and a powerful guarantee of divine assistance.

The beautiful Philippine Isle of Mindanao was Missionary territory up until the 1960s.  It was animated by such Missionaries as the Columban Fathers whose main work was reanimating and maintaining the Catholic Faith of a large Catholic population that had been converted by the Spanish several centuries earlier.  It is an incredible testimony to the intrepid Faith and sanctity of these Missionaries that the Filipinos retained the Faith they implanted, even though Priestly resources and assistance were so lacking after the initial Missionary campaigns.  In the 1930s and 40s, when the Columban Fathers first came to Mindanao, many villages had not seen a Priest for years.  The missionary would arrive in a village for the Village feast, would hear hours upon hours of Confession, rectify 10 – 20 Marriages, and then hold Mass.  After Mass, the waves of baptisms began: first a round of 30, then a round of 25 more, then a round of 45 more…until the Missionary would depart the village with a bundle of 150 certificates tucked under his arm.  Then, the Bishop’s confirmation tour had to be organized.  Such a tour through a particular sector could include something like 3000 Confirmations in 4 days.


Today, the Traditional Missionary isn’t so popular, nor are there great crowds waving palm branches to receive him. Something has been lost over time.  Unfortunately, during the 1960s, as the old Missionaries began to move towards better organization of the circuits and the people, as they began to realize economic reforms to better the poverty of their flock, Vatican II hit the Church, and everything was affected.  The situation they faced in the 1960s was that there were too few Priests for too many people.  It wasn’t uncommon to find one Priest saddled with 18,000 parishioners.  The natural solution was adopted and lay catechists were formed and they did great work in educating the youth and in maintaining the Faith so that the Sacraments of the Faith were fruitfully received.   This work of forming catechists was taken very seriously and applied with vigor.  For instance, the Catholic University in Osamis, was originally an institution for training a large body of well-prepared catechists.   Missionaries from St. Francis Xavier to Archbishop Lefebvre realized this necessity and carefully organised their teams of catechists.


Mind boggling Testimony on the Mentality Shift of the 60s

But something really changed in the 1960s, and to give you a closer impression of the doctrinal mental shift that has had disastrous Missionary consequences, I would like to make an extended quotation from Mindanao Mission published in 1978.

                “Patrick Cronin’s generation were pioneers, builders of Churches and schools, but the tendency now is to spend more money on social action programs, for the young missionaries want to see the good things of God’s world better distributed.  The older men stressed the need for vocations, while the younger ones are concerned with developing a priesthood of laymen.  The pioneer poured into his parishioners what he had brought with him; the new missionaries say they seek enrichment from the goodness found in their people.  The early missionaries approached other religions as competitors, but the younger ones stress the value of all religions, searching out the inspiration in each.

                “These shifts in attitude were much discussed at a conference of Asian Bishops, Priests, Religious and laity held in Hong Kong in the spring of 1977.  They said, for example, that one of the Church’s problems is learning “how to enrich its Christian identity and life by opening itself to the great religious traditions of Asia.”  They believe the Church will have to become allied with other religions in a fight against atheism; it will need to become really “catholic” by introducing into its life the riches of all nations.

                “Missionaries realize that the Church should not just teach; it should learn too.  Many are learning to enrich their own lives within their own religion by drawing inspiration from the spiritual experiences of those in other religions.  The time is right for this.

                “Cardinal Bea, when head of the Vatican Secretariate for Christian Unity, said in January of 1964, “The Counter Reformation is over.”  It had been a long siege, four hundred years of militancy, rigor, and uniformity, characteristics of any organization that is attacking or counterattacking. Now the period is past when the Roman Catholic Church is conditioned to react to Protestantism.  ( … )

                “Father Walbert Buhlman, a Swiss Priest with years of experience in the missions, said, “When we do come to the Baptism of an individual, this should not entail a final break in his loyalty to his social, cultural, and religious past. As Hinduism is, in the first place, a form of social community and leaves plenty of room in matters of faith, we could in the future think of “Catholic Hindus”.  These would be persons, or preferably whole families, who have become Christian but continue to celebrate Hindu rites, interpreting them in a new way and receiving Christian sacraments in addition . . . just as the apostles continued to attend the synagogue and celebrated the Eucharist in addition.”” (Mindanao Mission, Edward Fisher, 1978, pp 141-142)


Corruption and Catholicism (mostly corruption)

The fruits of the novel attitude laid out above by an objective Edward Fisher are all too evident to the Missionary today.  Protestantism and the sects are as prolific as the Catholic is ready to receive them. Keep in mind that the Philippines are supposedly 80% Catholic.  But the distinction and definition of the Catholic catechism has been lost to an ecumenical-sociological spin on the Faith that enables it adapt to any religious denomination.  In the villages, it would appear that Catholics simply follow the religion that the fellow most interested in him will impart.  As a Priest from Manila told me:  “People follow Religion based on their relationship with others.  Protestants are forming those relationships.”  In practice, the new missionary method developed in the 60s was that laymen went into the villages, almost like the catechists of old, but they would gather the people for Bible reading and the “Liturgy of the word”, rather than clear catechism and distinctly Catholic prayers.  Though they were instructed to unite themselves to the Mass in the distant Parish in the 60s, they began simple “priest-less Masses” later on.  The current practice in one of our Villages is for a lay minister to come, read the Bible and distribute communion once every two or three months.  The faithful in this village have not been to confession in years.  In this context, a common abuse was that the lay minister, running out of hosts, would touch un-consecrated hosts to consecrated hosts in order to “consecrate” them, and then give them as communion to the faithful. With this transformation from catechist to lay minister presiding over a Protestant style liturgy, all distinction of the Catholic population from the heretical denominations was lost, and so Catholics continue to pass without a murmur to the Protestant sects, often without even realizing what they are doing.


Even though things are really bad, it is important to realize that out of all of Asia, the Philippines stand alone as a country reportedly 80% Catholic.  One of the largest English speaking countries in the world, it retains the deeply Religious Eastern spirit lost to the Asian countries dominated by Communism.  At first sight, the Philippines can impress with its Catholic devotion.  Even in the airport, Our Lady of Fatima is honoured and it is not unusual to see people praying the Rosary there before Her statue. And, throughout the country, Catholicism is in evidence, and it is publicly practiced.  Nevertheless, its Catholicism is chiefly of the popular and devotional quality that is poorly enlightened.  And so while many Philippinos pray the Rosary, their country is well on the way to implementing a massive and aggressive Birth control bill that will prosecute uncooperative Catholics.  As they publicly visit statues, they privately practice contraception. Meanwhile, the Bishops have publicly stated that, should it pass, they will protest the birth control bill in public disobedience, but their public reason is to safeguard human rights.  They neglect to take up the weapon of Revealed truth and sacred theology, choosing to fight with the enemies’ weapons with which they can only lose.  Given this situation, it is unlikely that the tide of materialism and immorality can be stemmed, unless dogmatically doctrinal Catholicism is quickly restored.  And that means re-educating 75.5 million Catholics just to begin with.….


The New Priory, ACIM and the Work of Restoration

And that work of restoration through Catholic re-education begins with Priests in the bastions we call Priories. Davao was definitely a good strategic move because while on a map it looks like it’s on the corner of Mindanao, the perceptive eye will understand (with a little geographical knowledge in mind) that it is actually the logistical travel center for Mindanao. It provides easy access to any Mindanao city via bus, and provides a decent airport with daily flights to all the big cities in the Philippines.  The new Priory itself is located about 3 km from the airport terminal at the North end of the city and 20 minutes from the Southern downtown bus terminal that links us to our Gensan and Marbel Missions.

The new Priory of St. Joseph will serve 6 Missions regularly, 5 more once or twice a month, and in addition will pray and ponder on what to do for nearly 9 other villages that require our real presence.  Roughly 660 souls scattered throughout our missions attend our Masses, and more than double that number are on the fringes to be gathered in.  The most encouraging part of these numbers is that we have about 10 Praesidia of the Legion of Mary at work in our Missions, and 3 clans of the Apostles of Mary, and from these strongholds, we can do the double work of consolidation and new conquests.  For instance, just two weeks ago, in following up the work of our Apostles of Mary, I baptized a sick child who died 3 days later, gained for the Kingdom of heaven through the zeal of our Apostles in the nick of time!


Our steady  Missions comprise the following:   1. Island of Bohol:  San Miguel (1ce a month), Dagohoy (1ce), Tagbilaran (2-3 per month),  Island of Cebu: Cebu (2-3 a month), Island of Mindanao: Camiguin (1ce), Cagayan de Oro (1ce), Butuan (1ce), (these last 3 cities are served by Iloilo 1 – 2 per month),  Marbel (3 per month, sometimes every Sunday), Gensan, (3 per month, sometimes every Sunday), Davao (every Sunday).  7 Missions contingent upon the Medical Missions aided by the ACIM and the Legion of Mary need our attention, as does 2 other villages clamouring for our help to the North of Davao.


One of the great blessings that falls within the purview of our new Priory is the HQ of ACIM, “Association Catholique de Infirmieres et Medecins”, located in General Santos, one of our Mission centers.  This Association which runs a Medical Mission every year in needy parts of the Philippines, staffs their Gensan office year round. This small office represents real follow-up on the yearly Medical Mission and maintains links to over 14 villages in Mindanao wherein souls are assisted both medically and spiritually.  ACIM works in close connection with both the Legion of Mary and the Apostles of Mary in these South Cotabato and Sarangani Province villages, and as such ACIM is a precious “clef-de-voute” of an incipient Traditional Catholic Social infrastructure.  May it please God that this great initiative continues to grow and bear ever abundant fruit.


Another key component of our Philippine-wide Priestly plan calls for collaboration with Manila and Iloilo in preaching consistent and frequent Ignatian Retreats.  This Island hopping strategy envisages going to the different Islands periodically and organizing local retreats accessible to the Missions of the concerned Island in order to provide ease of access for Catholics throughout the Archipelago.


A part of the original plan for the foundation of our new Priory in this Southern tier was to simultaneously relocate the Bethany Sisters from their current, but temporary location near Iloilo.  Since the implementation of this plan involves a donation of 1 hectare and the construction of a suitable building that will serve as a Novitiate for Oblate Sisters of the Society, the move of the Bethany Sisters must wait until their new building can be constructed.  And this brings us to our current situation with our Priory building.


The Situation of the Priory foundation Right now

At the moment, we are accommodating for our use a loaned house located 1.9 km from our future Priory.  Over the next few months we must do fund-raising for the two-fold task of completing payments on the property purchase and to remodel this house for our Priory use.   The house, known as the German House in honor of Walter, its German owner of much building talent and of true German character, is approximately 544 square meters on 3 floors, and is located on a property of 30 meters deep by 27 meters wide.  We purchased it for 5.5 million, though the asking price was 10 million, and though nearby development is causing property values in the area to rise rapidly.  In some places near our Priory it can average 4,000 PP a square meter and in some places can rise as high as 8,000 PP per square.   The purchase was vintage SSPX, a great idea and a good bargain for which we don’t have the money, but which we bought anyway.  Now let the fundraising begin!  The next phase will be the building of the Sisters’ Novitiate… and the next a 500 capacity Parish Church!  And this is without considering the plans already begun for a 300 capacity Church in Gensan, a project whose initial funds have already been pledged by a generous French benefactor…


Summary of expat and Support Group Donations up to the Present

Up to the present moment, expats and support group friends have donated around 327,849 Pesos to the cause.  Of this, approximately 50,000 supported the 500 strong Bohol Pilgrimage in May, 175,000 helped in the third payment for the new Priory in July and 108,000 is laid aside for purchasing a Priory vehicle.  Originally, we had thought to purchase a scooter, but when the Knights of Singapore assisted us with 108,000 Pesos, we were able to think a little bit bigger.  We have just begun shopping for the best bang for our Philippine peso.


The 3 Immediate Material needs and the big Spiritual need

     1) We must pay off 3.8 million on the Property. Since we are obtaining private interest free loans, we plan on making 60,000 PP payments monthly for the next 5.3 years.  In this scenario, we desperately need 12 volunteer loan carriers who can pledge 5000 or more Pesos per month, so that we can pay off the interest free loan and to enable all our Philippine side fundraising to generate the cash in hand needed for the continuing remodelling and construction, firstly of the Priory, and secondly of the Novitiate.  This computes to either 120 USD or 150 SGD, or 90 Euros per month.  We would coordinate a monthly or bi-monthly payment either to our US account, or to our Singapore District account, and in this manner, so organize transfers of funds as to minimalize transfer fees. We will be paying off our future creditors in a similar manner.


      2)  Purchase a vehicle (we already have 108,000 on hand this, thanks to the Spore Knights).


     3) Remodel the Priory.  The remodelling entails transforming the German House to go from 3 bedrooms to 10; to accommodate 4 offices, a laundry room and workshop on the ground floor/basement; to accommodate a refectory, and a recreation room on the middle floor; to turn the  78 square meter porch into a small but beautiful Priory chapel. Though I haven’t been able to make official estimates on this work, I am guessing that it will all cost between 1 and 2 million Pesos.


Our most pressing spiritual and cultural need is to save and foster the Philippine family. Infamous RH 96 has not yet become law, but seriously threatens to do so.  But even if it does, most Catholic families have become contraceptive anyway.  In your daily rosaries, and in your extra rosaries for the current SSPX Rosary Crusade, think of the Philippines and pray for your fellow Catholics struggling to fulfil the law of God in a very difficult economic and social situation.  If there is any chance of salvaging Catholic Philippines, we must come up with a real practical plan to help the Catholic family find meaningful and useful employment for the Father and to reorient the Mother to virtuous domestic motherhood. The general situation is a broken family backbone with the father forced into domestication and the Mother forced into breadwinning. Our expat and support group can make significant contributions in this regard, but firstly, we need Divine inspiration to proceed to fixing a situation so systemically bad that it almost seems hopeless of solution. Nevertheless, when matters look the worst, divine Grace works the best.



At the moment of this newsletter, my two collaborators, Fr. Alexander Hora and Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer have not yet arrived in our temporary quarters, but by the end of July, our Priestly team of 3 Priests will be fully assembled and operational.  Your prayers and support are necessary ingredients to keeping us going and we are deeply appreciative.  May St. Joseph both enable you and inspire you to help in some way.

To help, contact me by e-mail at, or by phone at +63 905 291 7032.  Soon, we will have efficient structures in place to facilitate the process of aiding our Philippine Missions.


May St. Joseph bless you and reward your generosity with longevity and divine blessings.


In Our Lord,

Fr. J. Timothy Pfeiffer.


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