DAGUPAN, Philippines - From June 15 to July 11, 2021, the five scholastics: Bro. Samuel M. Gonzales, SMM; Bro. Lester C. Bonete, SMM; Bro. John Michael G. Uy, SMM; Bro. Lord Ansel Glenn N. Bongcas, SMM; Bro. Christopher S. Mejia, SMM, headed by Rev. Fr. Benjie A. Notarte, SMM, had their summer exposure and helped the Chaplaincy of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, Dagupan, Pangasinan under the guidance of Rev. Fr. Rene S. Bustillo, SMM, the Chaplaincy Director.
At first, they had a three-day quarantine as being asked by the local government of Barangay Salisay, Dagupan City. The scholastics stayed at the house of Mrs.Tita Maramba, one of the parishioners of the Chaplaincy. After the quarantine, they transferred to the house of Mrs. Eusebia Fernandez, one of the Mother Butlers and a chapel officer. They started the short ethnographic study of Barangay Pantal, the farthest barangay that belongs to the Chaplaincy of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. The study was made to see the situation of Barangay Pantal; to have a picture of the spiritual life of the faithful within the barangay; to bring the Church to God’s people of Pantal, and to make them feel that they are not being left behind; not alone in facing and fighting the pandemic.
Four of the five chapels of Barangay Pantal were under the patronage of St. Ferdinand de Dilao (Pantal West, Centro, Muyrong, and East), and one chapel at Pantal Guibang was named Holy Cross. The barangay is surrounded by water (Pantal River) and usually flooded, especially during high tide.
The scholastics, with the guidance of Bro. Willy Pontawe, the overall coordinator of Pantal, together with the chapel leaders, waded into the floodwaters to visit the families, greet them, and ask some important matters in line with the Sacraments like baptism, confirmation, first communion and marriage. They were openly welcomed by the people of Pantal. The house-to-house visitation in each chapel ended up with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by Fr. Rene S. Bustillo, SMM. During the visitation, sick parishioners received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, and many houses were blessed.
On July 10, 2021, the scholastics presented the result of their study in front of all the chapel leaders, Parish Pastoral Council, and some of the parishioners of the Chaplaincy of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. They shared the history of the place, the data regarding how many Catholics in Pantal who had no baptism, first communion, confirmation, and those who are not yet married in the Catholic Church. They also mentioned the visible issues that they encountered in their thirteen-day house-to-house visitation and interview. The scholastics recommended some actions that can be done by the chapel leaders together with the Parish Pastoral Council and by the Chaplaincy Director to address the issues.
In the end, the faithful gathered together and partook the felicitous food prepared by the people of the Chaplaincy of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort.
Glory to God alone!
Bro. Lester C. Bonete, SMM