Eastern Visayas Redemptorist Mission Team (EVRMT)
The island of Leyte and Samar lie farthest east in the Visayas islands in the Philippines. The also compose Region VIII of the Civil and Political administration of the country. The islands have a combined population about 3.4 million. Region VIII is the most poverty stricken and least develop region in the country. One major reason for the lack of development is that these islands are in the direct tract of the typhoons. Over the years, the island of Samar particularly, has been hit repeatedly by typhoons. Because of the lack opportunity, there is a heavy migration from these areas to Manila and overseas.
In the region, there is one Archdiocese and five Dioceses. All the Dioceses, with one exception, are under the Archdiocese of Palo. Over 88% of the population is Catholic. Shortage of priests, a spirally increasing population, ignorance of the faith and the growth of fundamentalists, all militate against the Church.
The Redemptorists established themselves in Tacloban City, the capital of Leyte, in 1950. For over twenty-five years they served the church by giving Missions to the towns and barrios reaching the remotest areas. In 1967, the Archbishop of Palo appointed them as Parish Priest of one-third of the City of Tacloban. With the drop in vocations and the ever increasing demands of the Parish, the Redemptorists forced to withdraw from their mission work. The mission work gradually and finally ceased around the year 1976.
Twenty-five years later, the Redempotorists felt the urge and believe that the work of the Missions is even more urgent than in the past. Vatican II, PCP II, the Genral and Local Chapter of the Congregation. All give first priority to the work of direct evangelization.
Today’s mission must take the format of Integral Evangelization. In reality, this means, the strengthening and establishing of the Basic Ecclesial Communities and the building of the faith through retreats and other programs.
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