That the Philippine Community Berlin has its roots in Heilig-Geist Kirche (Bayernallee 28, Charlottenburg) could be taken as a fascinating turn of events. That the moving force which convinced the top SVD directors in Rome to put a Filipino chaplain in the community was the spiritual answer to the Pink Sisters’ perpetual prayers!
FACT AND INTERPRETATION
What, after all, is a fact? The word is usually used with great confidence and without reflection, as if its meaning were obvious. But so-called facts are not that simple. When, for example, an earthquake happens we can certainly call it a fact. The “fact” of an earthquake is fairly clear. It can be described in straightforward terms. And yet such description already contains more than a fair amount of interpretation: correctly and supposedly. The recovery of the course of events always involves interpretation from the very start. And which interpretation will triumph in the end? Who is the authoritative interpreter? Join us in tracing the 30 years of the Philippine Community in Berlin.
Fr. Gene Bacareza, a Bol-anon, was then in 1986 the first chaplain of the small Philippine community. Organizing several religious and civic clubs, establishing community events, and starting the first community newsletter, Fr. Bacareza slowly developed the community as a center where Filipinos in Berlin can congregate and hold celebrations. He stayed on in Berlin until 1996 when his good friend, Fr. Erasio Flores, took over his pastoral tasks.
Fr. Erasio Flores encouraged the members of the community to develop further their talents in music and leadership. He inspired them to maintain their most important role in Germany as the modern-day missionaries. With another mission awaiting Fr. Flores in the Philippines, he left Berlin in July 2004.
The dynamic young priest, Fr. Adonis Narcelles, Jr., became the third community chaplain. In his first few months engagement, the community experienced first-timer events. The Basic Bible Seminar were inspired by his spontaneous thematic opened discussions. His photos of the Philippine landscapes during the Philippine Week were breath-taking. His series of cultural shows was a success: the pantomine of the SVD missionaries who were the first to arrive in the
Philippines, the advent retreat which enlightened the first ten attendees while in silence, and the revival of Simbang Gabi.
On this fately year, 2011, Fr. Bacareza passed away on an Easter Sunday, April 24, then after a month Fr. Flores and later in July Fr. Adonis. Strange in a way, they all succumbed to cancer. In 05. August, Fr. Simon Boiser SVD, took over the pastoral duty as the chaplain of the Philippine Community in Berlin.
With Fr. Simon Boiser as our mentor, 2012 ushered the revival of the Migrant newsletter which was stopped in December 2005. With regrets, on November 10, 2013 the Philippine Community in Berlin had to say goodbye to Fr. Boiser who has been chosen by his SVD superiors to head the Philippine Community in Hamburg. An informal turnover rite coincided on the occasion of the Philippine Community Foundation Day with members of the Philippine Community bidding farewell to Fr. Simon Boiser and welcoming the new chaplain, Fr. Jun de Ocampo from Pangasinan. The community has witnessed the comings and goings of many chaplains. We are pretty much sure that Fr. Jun will certainly become a beloved chaplain in the community just like his predecessors.
Text: Alan Valdez
Editor, The Migrant Newsletter (2002-2018)
Webmaster, filipinos-in-berlin.de (2006-2018)