Colegio Filipino needs our help-A A +A
By Luci Lizares
Thursday, February 27, 2014
IT WAS by God’s design that our trip was diverted to spending a few more days in Rome instead of just a day tour on board our cruise ship.
Rome was fully booked. There was a big convention ongoing and accommodations were hard to find even with a local who knows Rome like the back of her hand.
That local is familiar to many being a tumandok, Negrense, Naty Ortaliz Lombardy. Naty has been a family friend for the longest time and Rome became home when she married Romulo many years ago.
Naty tried all hotels from 5-star to whatever but couldn’t get a reservation. By some Eureka moment, we suggested, why not Colegio Filipino? She said she will call Fr. Greg immediately.
Again, by God’s design, Fr. Greg is Fr. Gregory Ramon D. Gaston of the Silay’s Gastons and the nephew of Msgr. Gigi Gaston. Fr. Greg is the Rector of Colegio Filipino. After trying to scramble their occupancy, we had a roof over our heads for the next two nights.
Colegio Filipino is the Pontificio Collegio Filippino but everyone calls it Colegio Filipino. Officially it is the Pontifical College Seminary of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. It was Cardinal Rufino Santos who proposed establishing the college in 1959.
Through a Papal Bull by Pope John XXIII the institution was established. Pope John XXIII personally blessed and inaugurated the edifice on October 7, 1961 on the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.
When our priests go to Rome for studies, they usually stay in Colegio Filipino. These priests are diocesan priests chosen and sent by the bishops. In Colegio, they live like a community. Together they pray their Liturgy of the Hour followed by Mass in the morning, which are all in Italian. This is to make the priests more adept and proficient in the language.
We joined them for breakfast. Some had to rush because they commute daily to the Pontifical Universities they are enrolled in. When we were there, some had exams so they had to excuse themselves earlier.
As per their formation, after two to four years, obtaining their Licentiate or Doctorate degrees in their particular Ecclesiastical fields, and completing their formation, these priests return to their home dioceses to train future priests in the seminaries or to collaborate with their bishops.
In its more than 52 years of existence, Colegio Filipino has produced more than 500 alumni and among them are 50 bishops, archbishops, and papal nuncios.
However, the long years of existence has also taken its toll on Colegio. Its main source of income comes from the students’ board and lodging fees and small donations from friends, which shoulder its day-to-day operations and expenses.
There are no funds for major repairs, which are badly needed. We saw and experienced this in the few nights we lived there. Bathrooms needed upgrading, elevators were not functioning.
Colegio Filipino, therefore, is embarking on a global attempt at fundraising to address this need.
The areas that need upgrading are the heating system, the flooring of corridors, rooms and bathrooms, the roof deck, windows, potable water system, malfunctioning kitchen and laundry appliances, elevator, refrigerator and vehicles, library expansion, facilities for mass media training, garden and ground, etc.
Actually the whole institution is in bad need of repair. Although priests can adapt to the simplest living conditions, they do need the necessities that can provide them with the minimum structures to facilitate their spiritual life and intense studies away from home.
A well-maintained building with properly functioning components creates an environment for excellence, transmitted to the other facets of day-to-day life, and transmitted to the seminaries, parishes and other ministries the priests will serve in the future.
Colegio Filipino appeals for assistance from generous benefactors. The help extended will redound to the good of the Philippine Church and the Universal Church.
Colegio Filipino is in Via Aurelia 490 00165 Rome, Italy. Its telephone and fax number is: +39 06 6604 1602. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website is hhtp://www.pcfroma.org.*
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 27, 2014.