Philippines Historical Summary
Nine Passionists from St. Paul of the Cross arrived in Marbel, Philippines, in 1958, at the invitation of Most Rev. Gerard Mongeau, O.M.I., bishop of Cotabato. From 1958 until 1986, all 58 priests and four brothers, except one from England and another one from Canada, came from the United States to serve in the Philippines.
From 1958 until 1978, 13 parishes were established. In 1960 the Prelature of Marbel was created and Passionist Quentin Olwell was named Prelate Ordinary. Passionist Reginald Arliss succeeded Olwell in 1970. In 1966 Holy Cross Spiritual Center was dedicated. Since the mid-1960s, the Passionists have served in the Santa Cruz Mission for the T’bolis and in the Assumption Mission for the B’laans, indigenous peoples on the island of Mindinao. In 1961 Passionists dedicated their St. Gabriel’s Seminary in Marbel and in 1967 they were able to open a Passionist Theologate in Manila.
In 1970 Gabriel Baldostamon became the first Filipino to take final vows; he was ordained in 1971. In 1982 Marbel became a diocese and in 1983 the regional vicariate of the Philippines was established. On April 7, 1988, Father Carl Schmitz was murdered in his rectory at Bolul. In the same year Father Harold Reusch was elected general consultor and departed for Rome. In May 1993 Wilfredo Estraza was elected the first Filipino vice provincial; Apolinario Plaza was elected as vice provincial in 1997 and provincial in 2001. The vice province was raised to the status ofa province in 2000.
The Province of the Passion of Christ consists of 33 priests, one finally professed brother, seven students in temporary vows, six postulants, six novices and 38 college seminarians. Four expatriates from St. Paul of the Cross Province chose to remain working in the Philippines. There are nine houses, four in Manila, one in Cebu, and four in South Cotabato. Of these, five are parishes, three are formation houses, one is a retreat house, and one is the Mission Center.
In 1968 three Passionist Nuns established a community at Marbel. And in 1987 four Passionist Sisters of St. Paul of the Cross arrived to begin their community and ministry.