First Decade (1976-1985): Parish and Focus on Formation

Heeding the advice of Cardinal Rossi, the Rogationists headed for the Philippines in order to inaugurate its presence in the Asian continent, which until now is often referred to as “The Far East”. On November 23, 1976, Fr. Antonio Barbangelo RCJ arrived in the Manila and a month later, Fr. Diego Buscio RCJ and Fr. Vito Di Marzio RCJ joined him to complete the missionary team. The primary objective of the mission was the remote and poor rural parish in Parang, Bataan which would become the residence of Fr. Diego and Fr. Vito in August 1977. At the same time, Fr. Antonio poured his energy on the animation among the Filipino youth, noting that vocations were abundant. In October 1977, the first group of Filipino aspirants came to reside at 1 Calcutta Street in Paranaque City.
The untimely and tragic death of Fr. Diego on March 10, 1978 terminated the missionary project in Bataan. Instead, the Rogationists consolidated their presence in Paranaque where Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila entrusted to them a parish and where the formation house was located. In the meantime, more Italian Rogationist missionaries arrived in the Philippines working mainly at two fronts: the Parish in Multinational Village (entrusted on November 30, 1979) and the formation of Filipino candidates. This situation would remain until the mid 80’s.
In the area of vocation formation, the first batch of three Filipino novices began on June 3, 1979, just over two years after the arrival of the Rogationist in the country. The following year the construction of the Fr. Hannibal Formation Centre on Carmelite Street in Paranaque began and was inaugurated on December 7, 1981. In the following couple of years the formation program would diversify into various stages and young Filipino Rogationist confreres would increase in number. The itinerary of formation, however, was considerably long and demanded formators. The local members were still in their formation stages. Thus, many more Italian missionaries arrived to work in the formation field. In the mid 80’s the number of Italian confreres in the Philippines reached its highest peak with a total of nine missionaries at one time. The formation of candidates would continue to occupy a special place Rogationist reality in the Philippines. A decade after the inauguration of the Seminary in Paranaque, a second St. Hannibal Formation Center in Cebu was opened (1990). Another decade later, a separate the Fr. Di Francia Center of Studies for Rogationist religious students was established in Paranaque (2000).
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