The Philippine district was founded in October 1981 with the arrival of an international team of four Marists. This team began a ministry of helping in rural parishes and in running retreats before taking over the care of a few parishes for some years on the large island of Mindanao.
Over the years the number of foreign Marist increased and soon too Filippino young men began to show interest in joining the Congregation. At present there 15 priests, five of whom are local. The first Filipino to join is at present working on the mission in Peru. There are 8 seminarians who are members of the congregation, one of whom is a deacon. There are other young men due to begin their novitiate.
All the Philippine Marists live in community, and engage in a variety of works, including a mission outreach at Ranong on the border of Thailand and Mynamar.
One community is dedicated to a mission to the tribal people in a distant mountainous area. The members of another community in the rather troubled city of Cotabato work with homeless children, women in difficulty, and in peace and dialogue work with Muslims while caring for a section of a parish which is in a largely Muslim area. From the two houses which are for the training of the seminarians there is a great variety in outreach: jail chaplaincy, ministry in a mental hospital, a centre for abused girls, rehabilitation centres, and disadvantaged youth. Some of the priests too are involved in the teaching of philosophy and theology to seminarians and lay people.
There are also very active groups of lay Marists close to our communities.
The Marists form a tightly-knit group. We try to opt for a simple life-style in open and welcoming communities.
Our work is chiefly with the more abandoned and neglected people. We meet regularly as a whole group to share our life and work out our plans together. There is a great sense of life and confidence in the future that we will continue to grow and work for the Kingdom of Christ in the spirit of Mary.
Link: Marist Mission Ranong