Church’s vision, reiterated on the celebration of the feast of San Ildefonso de Toledo

“O maluwalhating San Ildefonso, aming pintakasi,” was every parishioners’ invocation during the novena to San Ildefonso de Toledo leading to his feast day on the 23rd of January.

San Ildefonso, lived during the 7th century A.D., born in the year 607 in Toledo, Spain. He was part of the Councils of Toledo in 653 and 655 and became the Archbishop of Toledo in 657 until hisdeath on 23 January 667. Though born to an affuent family, he did not choose to lead a life marked by socio-political prestige but instead lived in nurtured piety by entering a monastery. He is known for his sublime devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary that he passionately propagated through his scholarly writings.

The authorship of the book, “De virginitate perpetua Sanctae Mariae adversus tres infideles,” (On the Perpetual Virginity of Mary) is attributed to him, and is considered to be the most important Marian monument of Hispanic patristic literature. On this work, he defended Our Blessed Mother’s Perpetual Virginity and praised her always in reference to her Son. The venerated image of San Ildefonso in San Ildefonso Parish (SIP) in Makati City, now more than 200 years old, was brought by Spanish Jesuit missionary priests around 1781 when they established a mission station. In the 1870’s, the Jesuits built a chapel and enshrined the image. San Ildefonso de Toledo then became the locality’s patron saint. On 11 August 1951, Archbishop of Manila, Most Rev. Gabriel Martelino Reyes (+1952), established SIP Makati in Barrio Culi-Culi, Municipality of Makati, Province of Rizal (now Barangay Pio del Pilar, Makati City NCR). Today, SIP Makati has under its jurisdiction, the portions of barangays Pio del Pilar and Bangkal.

This year’s main theme for the fiesta is “Parokyang Sama-samang Naglalakbay at Nagsisikap Maging Banal, Misyonero at Maka-kalikasan,” a reiteration of SIP Makati’s vision statement. Daily subthemes for the Novena Masses on 14–22 January 2024 aimed to provide insightful perspectives to enable parishioners to reflect on how each one, gifted with his own charism, can be a part of the parish’s synodal journey towards holiness and mission. Most of the Novena Mass presiders were once parishioners–fruits of the prayerful support and guidance of SIP Makati’s community of Salesian priests and laity.

The Holy Mass celebrating the Solemnity of San Ildefonso on 23 January 2024 was presided by Most Rev. Patricio Abella Buzon, SDB, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Bacolod with concelebrants, Rev. Fr. Alexander Garces SDB (Parish Priest); Rev. Fr. Eliseo Santos SDB; Rev. Fr. Renato Molina SDB; Rev. Fr. Jarmy Roxas SDB; Rev. Fr. Antonio Molavin SDB; and Rev. Fr. Albert Lenon, SDB.

Bishop Buzon began his homily mentioning that his diocese has a similar vision to the fiesta’s theme and proceeded to share their synodal journey. The vision brought about by their diocesan pastoral assembly was, “We envision ourselves to be a listening church journeying together towards holiness.” The Bishop explained that both the hierarchical Church and the synodal Church are dimensions that comprise all of us as one “Body of Christ,” and that each of us, having received the Holy Spirit in baptism, are empowered to participate and contribute to the life of the 2 Church. He mentioned that the Holy Father emphasizes that the clergy should also listen to the laity as the Holy Spirity speaks through all.

In the journey together towards holiness, Bishop Buzon reiterated that all parish projects should therefore help us to become holy. The journey however, should not focus solely towards holiness but that participation in the life of the Church should also be towards mission, proclaiming the Gospel and sharing the God we have met in the church. Outside the church, lay people are called to be missionaries in their own spheres of influence being holy, missionary, and stewards of creation as they lead their everyday lives.

The solemn procession in honor of San Ildefonso following the Mass was led by Fr. Garces. The images of San Ildefonso and parish patrons, Saint John Bosco, and Mary Help of Christians were prayerfully accompanied by devotees and parishioners. (By Julio Villadolid/ San Ildefonso Parish Makati | Photo from SIP Facebook Page)


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