BERLINews  Online News Service of the Philippine Community in Berlin - Nr. 74

21 Years of Philippine
Community: An Exultation

November 9 is a historical day. 18 years ago the Berlin Wall was opened. 21 years ago the Philippine Community in Berlin was officially established. The first Holy Mass was celebrated in Bayernallee with Fr. Hermogenes Bacareza SVD. 21 years ago, there were only a handful of faithful who were present – during the course of time, the community has grown and developed into one of the most lively communities in Berlin

Pinoys and guests savored the evening buffet with 21 Filipino dishes... "Halina sa Kommunidad!"
       The generous efforts, time and services offered by many Filipinos have supported the visions of the Community. They opened their hearts and souls to many Germans and other foreigners, who like themselves are in search for a home away from home. What is celebrated is not just the anniversary of a church or a community, but more so, a home and a family. This is the reason why Filipinos and Germans from near and far, from Lichtenrade and Lichterfelde, from Prenslauerberg und Pankow, from Neukölln, Kreuzberg, Spandau, Wedding to as far as Blankenfelde and Brandenburg, have found a family in Bayernallee. Many travel for more than an hour with the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, bus and cars to reach the church. Several Filipinos from neigboring cities also come to experience this “Pinoy Mass” every Sunday at 3:30 in the afternoon.

       Many Germans have also found in the community and in the celebrations “something different” which movitates them from coming regularly. The multi-lingual Liturgy aims to reach out to the multicultural community. This openness to other people regardless of their origin and culture is one of the thrusts of the community. A welcoming attitude is always encouraged and fostered by the usherettes who greet the massgoers. The attitude of hospitality and joy - positive characteristics of Filipinos, are also reflected in many religious and non-religious celebrations.
       The Philippine Community is first and foremost a religious community which serves as a spiritual oasis for people in the city of Berlin. The religious events and activities take priority in their weekly and daily schedule, be it in Bayernallee, in order parishes, in homes and families. Sunday is the day when people gather together to “recharge their batteries.” Bayernallee has then become a “Philippine Center” where people feel a piece and smell of a homeland far away. The cultural activities, including the inevitable culinary aspect, occupy a vital role in the life of the community. This was again manifested during the 21st Anniversary celebration where 21 (or more) Philippine cuisines were served; and enjoyed especially by the German guests. This time, it was not only the usual Pansit Palabok, Puto and Pansit, there were also Pinakbet, Pichi-Pichi, Kare-Kare, Adobo and Dinuguan.

       As the Philippine Community celebrates 21st Anniversary, the mission goes on- to be a beacon of light and an epitome of Christian values. Each member has an internal mission, namely: to be a part of each other’s joys and to share each other’s pains. Externally, they are challenged to shed a ray of hope in a society beset by social pessimism and religious apathy. There is much to be done, especially in line with what the German Parish Priest, Fr. Rüdiger Brunner mentioned during the Anniversary: “You widen our horizons, you enrich our lives.”            Fr. Adonis Narcelles Jr. SVD

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