Santo Niño Pilgrim Center (Provincialate) Community (Cebu City)
The Provincialate Community resides at the top most floor of its namesake building: the Santo
Niño Pilgrim Center at the heart of Cebu City just in front of the centuries-old Basilica del Santo
Niño. The then Prior General of the Order, Fr. Miguel Ángel Orcasitas Gómez, OSA officially
created the present community on March 26, 1993. The community transferred to their new
friary on April 1, 1993 after the completion of all the construction works.
Prior to this, the Provincialate Community was integrated to the Basilica del Santo Niño
Community on June 1, 1990. Before its transfer to Cebu, San Agustin Center of Studies (SACS) in
Quezon City also served as the Provincial House from November 1984 to May 1990. After the
Province’s creation on December 25, 1983, the first Prior Provincial, Fr. Eusebio B. Berdon, OSA
together with Fr. Rogelio R. Obja-an, OSA (1 st Provincial Treasurer) and Fr. Melchor L. Mirador,
OSA (1 st Provincial Secretary) held office at the San Agustin Monastery in Intramuros, Manila.
They eventually transferred to SACS after its buildings’ inauguration in November 1984.
The community runs the Provincial Offices located at the 2 nd floor of the pilgrim center and
ministers to Colegio del Santo Niño, an elementary school that provides quality Christian and
Augustinian education to its students. The friary and school in Greenhills, San Fernando, Cebu is
also under the Provincialate Community.
Featured Photo: Santo Niño Pilgrim Center in Cebu City
Basilica del Santo Niño Community (Cebu City)
The Basilica del Santo Niño Community is considered as the first and therefore the oldest
Augustinian Community in the Philippines and in the whole Asia Pacific region. The community
traces its origins to the arrival of the first five Augustinian friars who arrived in Cebu together
with the Adelantado Miguel López de Legazpi. The friars were: Fray Andrés de Urdaneta, OSA;
Fray Martín de Rada, OSA; Fray Diego de Herrera, OSA (1 st Prior of the Community); Fray Andres
de Aguirre, OSA and Fray Pedro de Gamboa, OSA.
The community ministers to thousands of devotees who flock to the Minor Basilica dedicated to
Santo Niño de Cebu every day but most especially during Friday, the devotion day to the Holy
Child. The Rector of the Basilica is the official caretaker of the centuries-old, miraculous and
canonically crowned image of Señor Santo Niño de Cebu. He is also at the same time the chief
promoter of the devotion to Señor Santo Niño de Cebu and serves as the Spiritual Director of
the Cofradia del Santo Niño.
Featured Photo: Sala Recibidor/Sala or Receiving Area of the Convento del Santo Niño in Cebu
Santo Niño de Cebu Parish Community (Talisay City, Cebu)
Mohon, as this community is often called in reference to the name of the barangay where the
friars’ residence is located, was officially accepted as a house of the Order on May 2, 2000
during the time of Fr. Miguel Ángel Orcasitas Gómez, OSA as Prior General. The community’s
history can be traced to the Augustinian community that ministers to both the Santo Niño de
Cebu Parish and the Augustinian Novitiate and Prayer House (ANPH) both institutions located in
Mohon. With the development of the area around Mohon and the population growth in
neighborhoods and villages around the parish, a separate community was deemed necessary in
order to minister to the spiritual needs of the parishioners.
Mohon’s first Parish Priest was the late Fr. Ambrosio J. Galindez, OSA while the 1 st Local Prior
was Fr. Nicolas M. Echeveria, OSA. Frs. Galindez and Echeveria both enthusiastically promoted
the devotion to Santo Niño de Cebu and to Nuestra Señora de la Consolacion to their
parishioners. The friary or the friars’ residence was blessed in 2004 by the then Prior General
and now Bishop of Chiclayo in Peru – Most Rev. Robert F. Prevost, OSA.
Most Rev. Robert F. Prevost, OSA (in white habit), Former Prior General of the Order of Saint
Augustine and now Bishop of Chiclayo (Peru) during the Blessing of the Santo Niño de Cebu
Friary in 2004 together with (from left to right) Fr. Eusebio B. Berdon, OSA, Fr. Medardo A.
Durmiendo, OSA, + Fr. Richard L. Pido, OSA, Fr. Nicolas M. Echeveria, OSA and Fr. Jerome P.
Augustinian Novitiate and Prayer House or ANPH (Talisay City, Cebu)
San Agustin Center of Studies in Quezon City housed the Province’s novices from 1984 to early
1989. But upon the completion of the novitiate house building in Barangay Mohon, Talisay City,
Cebu in 1989, the first batch of Augustinian novices transferred there together with their
formators. On February 3, 1989 the then Augustinian Prior General, Fr. Martin T. Nolan, OSA
officially accepted ANPH as a house of the Order.
Some time ago the friars from this Community additionally ministered to the Santo Niño de
Cebu Parish, yet in the year 2000 when the Mohon Parish became an independent Community
it was halted. Beside the formation of the novices, the friars from ANPH likewise act as
Chaplains to the Augustinian nuns in nearby Santo Niño de Cebu Monastery.
In July 2016, ANPH became the locus of the Asia Pacific Augustinian Novitiate or APAN. From
then on, ANPH became an international novitiate house with novices from the different Asia
Pacific circumscriptions of the Order of Saint Augustine staying on its hallowed walls.
The novitiate house’s oratory features a stained glass depiction of the Ecstasy at Ostia at its sanctuary area. In 2016 it was expanded and redesigned to accommodate the novices from the Asia Pacific circumscriptions of the Order.
Santo Niño Spirituality Center Community (Consolacion, Cebu)
The community that manages the Province’s retreat house was officially accepted as a house of the Order on February 5, 2010 and inaugurated on April 19, 2010. The pioneering community was composed of the following friars: Fr. Jerome P. Mesina, OSA, Fray Stephen O. Tan, OSA and Fr. Tarquin C. Gamao, OSA. On August 27, 2011, Feast of Saint Monica, the friars’ residence was solemnly blessed.
Built on a hilly five-hectare lot in Barangay Tolo-tolo, Consolacion, Cebu, the Santo Niño Spirituality Center (SNSC) was built in response to a great need of the Province to have its own place for spiritual renewal, retreats and other big gatherings. The construction of the retreat center started in March 2007 and became fully operational in 2010. The retreat house was solemnly blessed by the then Prior General and now Bishop of Chiclayo in Peru – the Most Rev. Robert F. Prevost, OSA on January 15, 2009, the day on which Province celebrated its 25th Inaugural Anniversary.
Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish Community (Socorro, Surigao del Norte)
The friars were first invited by then Surigao Bishop Miguel C. Cinches, SVD in 2001 to take over a parish in Bucas Grande Island vacated by his confreres, the Divine Word Missionaries. The Province accepted the offer the same year and sent Fr. Sisinio A. Paderog, OSA and Fr. Andrew P. Batayola, OSA to Socorro. Five years after the arrival of the pioneering Augustinian missionaries, “Socorro” was officially accepted as a house of the Order on September 11, 2006. The friary which also serves as the parish convent was finished during the term of Fr. Sisinio A. Paderog, OSA. The friars minister to the Catholic faithful of Socorro and also promote peaceful coexistence with members of other religious groups in the island.
Burgos in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte was accepted as a residence of the Province during the 8th Ordinary Provincial Chapter (April 16 to 21, 2012). In May 2010, the friars from Socorro Community started extending their ministry to Santa Ana Parish in Poblacion, Burgos. They were temporarily housed at a small rectory beside the parish church. In 2015, a bigger friary was constructed during the term of Fr. Fernando S. Cleopas, OSA as Local Superior. The friary was blessed on February 28, 2020.
The late Fr. Benjamin C. Unabia, Jr., OSA was officially installed as Burgos’ 1st Parish Priest during the town and parish fiesta on July 26, 2013 by Surigao Bishop Antonieto D. Cabajog. The Parish of Santa Ana will be under the administration of the Augustinians for 25 years based on the memorandum of agreement signed between the Diocese of Surigao and the Province on July 26, 2012.
Mati was accepted as a house of the Order on December 13, 2010 with Fray Efren R. Obja-an, OSA as 1st Local Prior and Frs. Alfonso D. Sedurifa, OSA and Ronald P. Siaga, OSA as pioneering Community Members. The Community, however, was officially inaugurated on May 26, 2011. On that day, the cornerstone of the future residence of the friars was blessed by the Bishop of Mati, Most Rev. Patricio H. Alo.
The community’s main apostolate is the administration of Colegio San Agustin – Mati which offers basic education to young students from Mati City and nearby towns of Davao Oriental. Nestled on a 20-hectare property, the school’s master plan includes a big chapel, auditorium and other buildings for its expansion in the near future. The school’s academic building was inaugurated and blessed on June 17, 2013. Mati Community is actually the 1st Augustinian Community located in mainland Mindanao as Socorro Community is located in Bucas Grande Island in Surigao del Norte.
With the opening of Colegio San Agustin – Mati, the Augustinians’ brand of quality Christian education is now available to all Filipinos in the three big islands of the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Ketapang is the Province’s lone Residence abroad. It was officially created as a Residence of the Order on July 23, 2018 upon the appointment of Fr. Victor F. Gonzaga, OSA as 1st Local Superior. Aside from Fr. Gonzaga, another friar is currently assigned in the residence – Fr. Yohannis Richard Yempormase, OSA, a friar from the Vicariate of Christus Totus Papua Indonesia. Ketapang friary was blessed on May 8, 2018 by the Bishop of Ketapang, Most Rev. Pius Riana Prapdi. The Prior Provincial, Fr. Andres D. Rivera, Jr., OSA together with some members of his Council were present during the inauguration. The friars serve as chaplains to the Augustinian Sisters of the Divine Mercy, teach English to the junior sisters and witness to their Christian faith in the midst of a Muslim-majority nation. Recently, the administration of a parish in Ketapang was entrusted to the friars.
ACCORDING TO ST. AUGUSTINE
“In order to promote deep communion of mind and heart among the friars in community, we should be mindful that our personal relationships require the same qualities that are needed in all genuine human relationships.”