About the Church
Our Lady of the Abandoned
The Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned (POLA) or Parokya ng Ina ng mga Walang Mag-ampon is located along Coronado St., Barangay Hulo, Mandaluyong City. It belongs to the Vicariate of San Felipe Neri, within the Archdiocese of Manila.
The ecclesiastical boundaries are the following: north-eastern part is the San Roque Parish, south-eastern part is the Pasig River, and in the north-western part is the Parish of San Felipe Neri. In terms of civil territory, it embraces four (4) barangays of Mandaluyong City, namely: Hulo, Barangka Drive, Plainview, and San Jose.
During the time of the Spanish occupation (around 18th century), POLA was part of the parish of San Felipe Neri. It was a small structure then, a chapel or “bisita” where the priest usually held sacramental services for the parishioners. This situation lasted through the time of the Japanese and the American occupation up to the late ‘60’s. In 1970, we became a part of the new San Roque Parish. During this period Fr. Emmanuel Sunga, Parish Priest of San Roque, introduced, subdivided, and organized the existing zones into smaller units called “Buklurans’ or Basic Christian Communities (BCC). Such ‘Buklurans’ were mostly focused on the “Marian devotion” whose main activity was the “Block Rosary”.
On June 19 1980, His Eminence, Jaime Cardinal Sin, signed a decree that established the sub-Parish of OLA as a full-fledged Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned.
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ortiz was the first parish priest of POLA. He prepared the new parish by organizing the parish programs. The POLA structure was somehow patterned after the organizational set up of San Roque Parish. When the Archdiocese of Manila implemented the inclusion of the ministries, POLA adopted it. This was the creation of the WESTY ministries: worship, education, service, temporalities, and youth. One of the pastoral programs developed and implemented was the Bible sharing.
Rev. Fr. Dionisio de Pedro was the second Parish Priest and was sent by Cardinal Sin to study in the United States. He was installed on August 24 1984. During his term, the WESTY ministries were carried on. A significant physical project was the construction of the parish church building, including the Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration (PEA) Chapel. It was under his term that a POLA parishioner was ordained priest, Rev. Fr. Daniel Sta.Maria as a diocesan priest.
On 12 March 1988, under the Archbishop of Manila, Jaime Cardinal L. Sin, the parish was placed under the care and supervision of the Mission Society of the Philippines (MSP) priests. While waiting for the permanent parish priest, Rev. Frs. Ruben C. Elago, Father Moderator; Floriano Roa, Council Secretary; and Wilfredo C. Borces, took charge of the parish for two (2) months.
On May 15 1988, Rev Fr. Edward Edpalina, MSP was appointed Parish Priest while Rev. Fr. Manuel Jadraque, MSP was designated Assistant Parish Priest (1988-1989). During the term of Fr. Edward and Fr. Alex, the parish programs became very alive, with the support of the parishioners. The dream then was to establish small communities, and create sub-parishes, so the Parish Pastoral Programs were intensified. The parishioners participated actively in the programs, attended meetings and consultations, and joint formation programs were conducted by the Parish Pastoral Council officers down to the ‘buklurans’. Through the support of POLA parishioners and friends, the Parish Formation Complex was built. During their term, the parish newsletter, Sambigkis, was launched in May, 1990 which also marked the celebration of the first decade of POLA as a parish. Another important event was the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II in January – February 1991) that intensified the role of the Basic Ecclesiastical Communities (BEC).
Fr. Soc Mesiona, the newly appointed Parish Priest had a strong inclination towards the BEC programs. The community started to renew according to the spirit of the Vatican II and PCP II. Fr. Soc Mesiona invited the Lingap Pamayanan group in order to start a program on Strategic Planning, Pastoral Management, and BEC Formation.
Based on the thrusts of the Vatican II and PCP II, the POLA community started its renewal. The Lingap Pamayanan group helped in the strategic planning, pastoral management and formation of BEC in the parish. Other significant programs were: the organization of the now existing buklurans; drafting of the POLA Constitution and By-Laws in 1991, and its approval on 16 September 1992 by His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin; conduct of the POLA General Assemblies in 1992 (when the Vocation Ministry was added to the Parish ministries, and in August 1993 when the POLA Vision, Mission, Goals, and Thrusts (VMGT) were discussed and approved; and the POLA Cooperative was formed. Moreover, the Parish Renewal and Formation Team were created to help in the launching and formation of the Basic Ecclesiastic Communities with the help of Lingap Pamayanan, an NGO.
Fr. Alvin Parantar, MSP, the outgoing Assistant Parish Priest, succeeded Fr. Mesiona as the next Parish Priest. Fr. Alvin zealously implemented the parish programs, especially the establishment of the BECs.
Part of the Parish Pastoral Plan was to create a group of Families called Munting Pamayanang Simbahan (MPS). The Family Ministry was then included in the existing team of parish ministries (WESTYVFa). The Fourth GA took place on 9 November 1996. From the 1994 consultation, several resolutions were made; one of which was the change of the name Bukluran to Munting Pamayanang Simbahan (MPS). Strategic Planning was held on 16 October 1996 – a 12 month plan for 1997 was formulated and approved. Parts of the plan were the strengthening of the BEC programs, as well as the creation and inclusion of the Parish Pastoral Council and Sub-Parish Pastoral Council structures. Linkages to various NGOs, congregations and formation houses were also reinforced. PPC policies for various Lay Groups that are interested to be involved in the parish were drafted. This period also saw the creation of two (2) major task forces: Task Force on Bukluran Organizing, and Task Force on Training and Formation. Panayam among the parish leaders and members was organized in January 1997. In May 1995, the POLA Multi-Grade Tutorial Center and the Play School were likewise established.
On May 18 1997, Fr. Agustin Jugadora was installed as the new Parish Priest. In his intense desire to embrace the BEC, he carried on the implementation of Parish Programs.
Rev. Fr. Socrates C. Mesiona, MSP, was appointed again as administrator of POLA. Then on December 19 1999 the Second Youth General Assembly took place at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel. Before this, there were consultations with the youth throughout the Parish as preparation for this event. The Assembly made use of workshops to enable the youth to formulate their V-M-G-T.
In November, 1998, an Ad Hoc Committee for the Flooring Project “Pirma Mula sa Puso” was formed to look after the beautification and renovation of the physical facilities of the church. The Flooring Project was completed on December 31 1998. Renovation of the Sacristy and Refectory was done in March 1999 while Construction of the Choir Loft began in December 1999.
Rev. Fr. Cesar O. Tablon, the outgoing Assistant Parish Priest, was appointed to be the next Parish Priest starting May 15 2000. Several Pastoral Programs were developed and implemented as follows: March 2000 Launch of dawn masses every 1st Saturday of the month in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary; PPC Recollection in September 2000; Parish Recollection “Third Look at Jesus” with Fr. Gil Abesamis in Tagaytay last October 2000; Launch of the Parish Holy Hour every first Thursday of the month; Parish Recollection twice a year; MPS masses on Tuesdays and Thursdays; Parish Annual Recollections and Retreat for Advent and Lent; Intensive Leaders’ Training; Sustenance of the MPS Sambahaginan; Children’s Festival every month of May; Launch of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) in coordination with MSP JPIC Director – Fr. Jimmy Lalaguna, MSP; Marriage Enrichment Program, a 3-days seminar attended by couples who are looking for an enhancement in their love and commitment, it produced 3 batches with 50 couples – because of this program more brother-husbands are encouraged to serve the parish;
Projects for the physical facilities improvement in the parish were in the form of: Raffle of the millennium in October 2000; Purchase of the computerized Church bell; Transfer of the Parish Adoration Chapel to the ground floor; Construction of the POLA Multi Purpose Hall and Office renovation; rehabilitation of lighting facilities inside the church; and purchase of a musical organ. This period also saw the Ordination of MSP priests Frs. Ricarte S. Galo, MSP and Senador S. Lumandas, MSP
The next Parish Priest was Rev. Fr. Wilfredo C. Borces, MSP. The current BEC structure was maintained. However, an improvement in the Parish organizational structure was the creation of the Finance Committee to finance church-related matters. In terms of Pastoral Programs, the following were implemented: Deepening of the MPS Sambahaginan which was based on “Kataga ng Buhay” (Word of Life), a Focolare material; Launching of the Archdiocese of Manila’s Pondo ng Pinoy; Active participation in His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal B. Rosales’ project, MAGPAS or Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly; Creation of the POLA MAGPAS Team. The POLA Play School was closed due to lack of resources.
On the physical facilities side were the following: Renovation of the POLA Office and Refectory; Upgrading of the church sound system; Construction of the Confession / Counseling Room; repainting of the interior and exterior of the church. June 11, 2005 was the 25th year of POLA as a parish; thus, that year was the Celebration of the Parish’s 25th Silver Jubilee; purchased of Mitsubishi van from the proceeds of the Dinner Dance Concert –for-a-Cause held at the Christ the King Parish in Green meadows with the support of Msgr. Dan Sta. Maria;
The current Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Eladio B. Oliver, MSP, was installed in POLA last 15 May 2006. So far, he has the longest term as Parish Priest of POLA. With regards to the Parish organizational structure, Fr. Lads and the Parish Pastoral Council have been maintaining the current Basic Ecclesiastical Communities (BEC) structure. Lay empowerment is maximized where the Parish Priest gives direction and the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) executes and implements the programs aligned with and supportive of such directions. PPC Officers were retained but some of the Sub-Parishes elected their new set of sub-parish officers; the Finance Council is being empowered down to the Sub-Parish Level; Munting Pamayanang Simbahan (MPS) have become more active and visible by requesting the MPS leaders to deliver their respective ‘State of the MPS Address’ (where they report their status during the MPS Mass); Formation of a more established Ad hoc Committee on the church construction.
(References: “The Concept of Lay Empowerment and POLA Experience” by Mario R. Manaois (September 1996); “History of POLA” by Rev. Frs. Ricardo C. Bugas, Jr., MSP and Salvador V. Marcaida, MSP)
Parish Priests of the Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned:
- Emmanuel Ortiz (1980-1984)
- Dionisio de Pedro (1984-1988)
- Ruben Elago, MSP (Parish Moderator) (1988)
- Edward Edpalina, MSP (1988-1991)
- Soc Mesiona, MSP (1991-1994, 1998-2000)
- Alvin Parantar, MSP (1994-1997)
- Agustin Jugadora, MSP (1997-1998)
- Cesar Tablon, MSP (2000-2004)
- Wilfredo Borces, MSP (2004-2006)
- Eladio Oliver, MSP (2006-present)