Bishop Bernard Fellay is no longer Superior General, but he certainly has not gone into early retirement. On an “apostolic tour” in south-eastern Asia from August 30 to September 12, 2018, the General Counselor of the Society entrusted FSSPX.News with his personal notes taken during a journey rich both in graces and in the number of miles traveled...
I arrived on August 30 in the Philippines, in Cebu, where I was received by Fr. Emerson Salvador, a Filipino priest stationed in Iloilo. Cebu is the country’s second most important city economically speaking, but historically, it is where Christianity began and developed.
That evening I was able to celebrate Holy Mass in our chapel for our faithful.
The next day, on the feast of St. Rose of Lima, a boat took me early in the morning to the island of Poro in the Camotes archipelago, where Confirmations were scheduled for 10:00 a.m. for a recent but constantly growing group of faithful.
The pouring rain took me by surprise – I had left my umbrella and coat at the hotel – and discouraged some faithful from attending the ceremony, but 80 of them still braved the bad weather.
After the ceremony, we were served a convivial local meal: crab and pila pila go well with sea snails, a dish the natives love.
On September 1, after returning to Cebu, I had the joy of conferring the sacrament of Confirmation on 44 faithful in front of a large assistance. Fortunately, the weather had improved, and it was “only” 94°F...
In the afternoon, on board a Bombardier Q400, I flew to Iloilo, where Fr. Coenraad Daniels welcomed me and led me to the majestic novitiate church that the readers of FSSPX.News have already read about.
The next day, Sunday, September 2, 16 people became soldiers of Christ by receiving the sacrament of Confirmation.
Monday, September 3, feast of St. Pius X. We rose at 4:45 – a little earlier than on a feast day in the priories of our dear Society – for we had to hurry back to the airport where a morning flight would take me to Davao, in the south of the Philippines, on the island of Mindanao.
We have a priory there, as well as a community of Oblate Sisters that should soon become a novitiate.
I was able to visit the Domus Mariae where the secretariat for the Militia Immaculatae is located; the association currently has 58,000 members in the Philippines, 3,000 of whom are knights!
That afternoon at the Priory, there was a three-hour meeting – in question-and-answer style – on the crisis, with two youth groups interested in defending the Faith.
They were groups from the official Church. They are very active and apostolic; they go to public places and speak against the Protestant sects that are a true plague in the country.
After barely enough time to catch my breath, I had the joy of conferring 26 Confirmations and celebrating the Mass of St. Pius X for 180 faithful.
On September 4, the morning was spent traveling to General Santos in a pickup.
The road was brand new, like a four-lane highway without a divider, but paved in concrete, very rough, very bumpy, and it shook myself and my fellow priests like sacks of potatoes the whole way.
I arrived in General Santos around noon and saw our new church that is not yet finished but that can already hold more than 500 faithful: this is where ACIM – that collaborated in the construction – has its headquarters and offices.
That evening, there were 38 Confirmations followed by the Solemn High Mass of the Blessed Trinity. A meal was then served in the temporary shelters that will in time become the catechism rooms.
The community of faithful in General Santos has about 400 people, 220 of whom regularly attend Sunday Mass.
Wednesday, September 5: rose at 4:20 a.m. Some faithful came to get me at 5 to take me to the airport, for my flight to Cagayan-de-Oro, in the north of Mindanao.
Splendid welcome at the airport, with a banner in my name. The Confirmations were scheduled for 5:00 p.m.; 57 people, mostly young people, received the sacrament, and then assisted, along with 200 faithful, at the Solemn High Mass in a gymnasium rented for the occasion.
After a little “snack” – that proved to be a banquet – and several photo sessions that seemed interminable, I returned to the hotel a little before 10:00 p.m.; I had to leave the next morning at 4:30 for my next destination: Tacloban.
After a day spent in the plane and then the car, I celebrated an evening Mass in Bato, where our Mass center is located. The next day, I had the joy of imprinting the character of Soldiers of Christ upon the souls of 42 confirmands: mostly young people once again.
I found the community of Bato most endearing; most of our faithful are simple, true people from the countryside, very devout and well-instructed.
The next day, September 8, feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I took off at 5:15 a.m. for Manila, where my trek through the Philippines would come to an end. In the capital, 37 confirmands would receive the Holy Chrism on their foreheads in the presence of 400 faithful.
That same evening, I had to leave for Indonesia – for Balikpapan, to be precise – where 18 faithful would receive the sacrament of Confirmation the next day.
On September 11, the final stop of my summer apostolate in Asia was in Singapore, in order to confer yet again – but with as great a joy as ever – twenty confirmations and get to know the faithful of our dear Society a little better.
At last, around 2:00 a.m., on September 12, 2018, I took off from Singapore on my flight for Zurich, exhausted but happy to have been able to bring Tradition to the ends of the earth, to ardent souls thirsty for Jesus Christ and His Church.
O Lord, grant our Society holy missionary priests!