By Fr. Charles Manlangit (FIN)
Turin, Italy, 16 November 2022 -- Four years after their Founder, Fr Benna, SDB, passed away (11-11-2018) the Filipino community based in one of Don Bosco's Churches - Saint John the Evangelist - is as alive and dynamic as in the past. The current pastor of the Turin-based Filipino Catholic chaplaincy, Fr Charles Manlangit shares his heart four years after arriving in Turin:
"My ministry for the Filipino migrants in Torino is truly a great privilege as a Salesian priest because I could say that I am standing on the shoulders of two great people: St John Bosco and Don John Benna.
Torino had been the place where Don Bosco began his magnificent work for the young, poor and abandoned by the society that time. So the times I get to visit Valdocco and the Basilica of the 'Ausilliatrice', are truly inspiring and recharging moments in my Salesian vocation.
Chiesa San Giovannino [St John the Evangelist], on the other hand is the center of my ministry among the Filipinos. The basement, where the Filipino Chaplaincy is located has been the seat of many activities – religious, social and recreational of the Filipino Community. Don Benna was firmly convinced that this is the place which Don Bosco “desired” the Filipinos to gather and grow in their catholic faith.
Now, I believe that my ministry is to continue what the great “founder” of the Chaplaincy has started with much love, care and dedication for the good and welfare of the Filipino people. As the Chaplaincy completes 25 years in September 2023, there is reason to remember the legacy of the past, celebrate the modest achievements of the present and commit to bear abundant fruits in the future.
Mabuhay si Don Bosco sa puso ng mga Pilipino sa Torino!"
Every Sunday in the morning hours some 120 Filipino youth gather for their catechetics sessions in Italian, run by the Filipino catechists. At the same time some 20 other adults are involved in Bible study and Bible sharing. The ordinary Sunday Mass celebrated at noon (12:00) is attended by more than 400 faithful, with a wonderfully prepared liturgy, animated by some 50 altar servers (boys - Savios and girls - Lauras), many lay ministers, with beautiful songs and music. The whole liturgy is usually in Tagalog. After the shared lunch in the afternoon hours the youngsters continue in the Oratory with their basketball tournament and a large group of the adults who are involved in the Legion of Mary or the 'El Shadai' charismatic movement. Amidst the secularized large European city this Filipino community contributes the fresh air of family- and community-based dynamic faith.
The Filipino Turin chaplaincy is based in one of the 6 churches built by Don Bosco himself, some 3 kilometers from Valdocco. It is one of the dozens of large Filipino Catholic communities around Italy. Filipinos are mainly in 6 cities (Rome, Milan, Florence, Modena, Turin, Bologna) with 60 Filipino Associations around the country. Another FIN province Salesian is ministering to the Filipino community in Milan.
We pray that the Salesian ministry to the Filipino overseas community may help the families and especially the younger generations to keep their Catholic faith and also find their vocation as witnesses to Jesus Christ. The inscription on the wall of the Filipino chaplaincy in Turin paraphrases Ephesian 2:19: "We are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of his household".
- Filipino Chaplaincy Torino FB
- Related news article: AustraLasia news 5035 (I) Fr Benna - Inspiration for many Italians and Filipinos (2019)
- SDB website Focus 2008