The Catholic mission of Our Lady of the Philippines, together with Archbishop Christian Lépine, celebrated on Sunday, Dec. 7, the 30th anniversary of its establishment as a mission.

Last Sunday, the Catholic mission of Our Lady of the Philippines celebrated its 30th anniversary of canonical installation in the presence of Archbishop of Montreal, Christian Lépine.

At 11 o'clock the church of St. Thomas the Apostle was packed to capacity, and young and old had put on their best attire. Full of joy, the Filipino Catholic community had made the trip in great numbers to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its canonical installation in Montreal. Filled with gratitude for this mission, plentiful were the families who had asked for the assembly's prayer for themselves and their loved ones.

First installed in 1989 in the parish of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges, the community then moved to the church of Saint-Denis to finally settle and stabilize at St. Thomas the Apostle. The FCMM (the Filipino Catholic Mission of Montreal) offers Filipino Catholics many ways to live their faith: such as Eucharistic celebrations every Sunday, the teaching of the Catechism, activities of the Legion of Mary, participation in the World Youth Days, activities of Kings and Queens of Angels ..., and so on and so forth.

Groups for families, but also for couples and for young people are always very active, offering various activities, such as conferences, shared meals, concerts, retreats and prayer time. All throughout the year many Marian processions are organized and the Easter holidays are celebrated in a particularly fervent fashion. Youngsters and children are very involved in the Parish, as last Sunday's celebration clearly demonstrated.

Indeed, altar server played an important role in the beautification of the celebration. The albs they were wearing, the bouquets surrounding them, the singing pace set by the group, it was all truly impeccable and allowed everyone to enter into prayer. The beautiful albs of the celebrants, all in white embroidered with leaves and bamboo stems, had been patiently sewn for the occasion! The church was decorated with exquisite wreaths and beautiful beds of white flowers.

Gospel read by parish priest Rev. Francisco Alvarez

The Sunday celebration also sounded splendid thanks to the choir and the songs especially composed for this anniversary by Father Nicolas Sengson of the Society of the Divine Word. Whereas most of the Mass was celebrated in English, the songs and the First Reading were delivered in Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines.

In his homily Archbishop Lépine particularly emphasized the beneficial beauty of the gift of faith. After asking the assembly who was present at the Philippine mission 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago or less, Archbishop Lépine emphasized the importance of transmitting the faith.

Transmission of the faith that is provided by God in the first place, then by the priests but also by « our families, by ourselves: Faith is a bizarre and strange gift that God gives us: because it transforms us and passes itself on to the generations ».

Thanking the community for this Philippine mission that everyone brings to life Most Reverend Christian Lépine emphasized the importance of prayer and the presence of God at our side. On this feast day of the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Archbishop Lépine also spoke at length about the important role of Mary in the transmission of the faith. « It is she who has received Jesus Christ, and who gives Him to us: she did not receive Jesus for herself but she offered her son to the world! ».

In a world where the presence of God is not evident, in a world where young people do not know God or do not seek the absolute anymore, it is difficult to offer Jesus Christ again. But by the constant intercession of Mary, everyone can do it.

Prayer to Mary, Mother of God

And so, during the offertory and after the Eucharist, the faithful were able to pray to Mary thanks to the « Ave Maria » which was superbly interpreted by the choir.

The celebration then ended with a prayer specifically written for the anniversary of the mission. And a final, thunderous applause concluded the morning before the parishioners posed for the pictures with Archbishop Christian Lépine.

A festive banquet, to which everyone was invited, was then offered.

Archbishop Christian Lépine, Father Sengson and the choir