Newsletter of the District of Asia

 April 1997

Bishop Fellay Meets General Santos


On February 27, 1958 General Paulino Santos founded the city which now bears his name, having the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated there for the first time.  Thirty-nine years later, on the very day, His Excellency Bernard Fellay Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X made the first visit of a Society bishop to the “boom town”, singing the Mass and giving a conference to our faithful from throughout Mindanao.

His Excellency, accompanied by Fr. McMahon (the priest in charge of the Mindanao missions of General Santos City, Marbel and the most recent Davao) got an early start leaving Our Lady of Victories Church at 4:15 a.m. in order to catch the only direct flight from Manila to General Santos City at 5:45 a.m.

Warm, as usual, was the welcome as Bishop Fellay and Father McMahon were met by a crowd of faithful with the traditional garland of flowers being placed upon the clerical visitors.  A video recorder was busy catching the historic moment, while His Excellency was given the place of honor in Mr. Mariano Deocampo’s car.  Mr. Deocampo is the official driver for SSPX priests in General Santos City, and his car is well-known to all the priests who have ever visited.

The cavalcade sped off to Cambridge Farm, owned and operated by Chris and Ellie Dearne, good friends of former superior Fr. Paul Morgan, for a brief rest and refreshment before the festivities began.  His Excellency departed for Mount Matutum Hotel, to join Fr. McMahon in hearing confessions.  The hotel’s conference hall was beautifully prepared to worthily celebrate the Holy Mass.  The altar was simply adorned, as is fitting during the Lenten season, and a beautiful statue of Our Lady overlooked the scene from the right corner.

His Excellency sung the Mass of Thursday of the Second Week of Lent, before a crowd of more than 200, with members of Fidelis, GSC’s youth group, serving as choir (believe it or not Fr. McMahon also sang with them!).  Mention here must be made of the devoted and tireless service by Fidelis members in preparation for the bishop’s visit, as well as the faithful of Gen. Santos and all of Mindanao.  Preaching on the Holy Mass, Bishop Fellay pointed out the antiquity, the majesty and the doctrinal purity of the Traditional Mass of the Roman rite, canonized “in perpetuity” by Pope St. Pius V.  “The Mass and the Priesthood are the very center of our Catholic Faith; thus, we must protect them, must cherish them, must fight to preserve them.  This is what the Society of Saint Pius X tries to do.”

Mass over, the long-awaited conference began, with His Excellency speaking on “Ecumenism and the Catholic Church”.  His conference, although over two-hours long, was extremely enlightening on the disastrous and far-reaching effects of the false ecumenism advocated by the current hierarchy of the Catholic Church.  Some of the blasphemous results of this “new theology”, as cited by Bishop Fellay, brought startled gasps of discontentment from the faithful.  Its evil tentacles are unfortunately, stretching world-wide, from the heights of the Vatican to the smallest parish in the Philippines, causing everywhere an indifferentism and loss of faith, resulting in the denial of even the most basic Catholic dogmas.  Audience questions followed the conference, which were either asked by the person from a microphone or submitted in writing to be read by Fr. McMahon.  Again, His Excellency responded with clarity and grace to the concerns of Mindanao Catholics, worried about keeping their faith.  A loud and exuberant applause and a rush for photo opportunities with the bishop followed the concluding remarks and thanks giving by Fr. McMahon.

Back at Cambridge Farm, Bishop Fellay and Fr. McMahon, followed by a group of faithful, ate their first meal of the day at 3:30 p.m.  After lunch, His Excellency blessed the chapel currently being built at Cambridge Farm and spend more than one hour informally chatting with the faithful.  A brief tour of Cambridge’s exotic zoo of birds, reptiles and monkeys concluded the long and eventful day.

The bishop’s visit to General Santos, attended by faithful, friends and interested others from General Santos, Marbel, Davao, as well as surrounding villages, was like a light in the darkness and a sure sign that the “Good Shepherd” is still watching his flock.  While laymen, priests and even bishops are falling and losing the faith, and even leading many into Protestants sects or no religion at all, there are still good bishops and good priests, faithful despite their personal weaknesses, to the one true Faith, sealed by the Blood of Our Lord.  These men, against overwhelming odds, relying solely on the grace and power of Almighty God, continue to teach, preach and administer the Sacraments as the Holy Church has always done.  This was the most profound and poignant message when Bishop Fellay met General Santos on Foundation Day 1997!


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