UCA News


Vincentians in Philippines win Covid praise

Vincent Helps charity group bring relief to the poorest of Manila's poor

Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Vincentians in Philippines win Covid praise

A lay volunteer from Sorsogon Diocese gives food to a poor child. (Photo courtesy of Father Treb Futol)

Share this article :
The Congregation of the Mission, popularly known as the Vincentians, has received praise from church authorities and lay faithful for distributing groceries and giving spiritual direction to Manila’s poorest residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The aid was an offshoot of an assistance program called Vincent Helps started by seminarians from Manila’s Saint Vincent Seminary.

It was in response to a volcanic eruption in Batangas province, south of Manila, earlier this year that killed 39 people, according to Vincentian Father Geowen A. Porcincula, head of operations.

Fifty seminarians and priests are visiting Manila’s slums three times a week to give groceries and feed 3,300 families. The families are squatters who earn a living by scavenging among Manila’s garbage.

“We [Vincent Helps] have distributed 13.9 million pesos (US$278,00) worth of grocery packs, bread and food packs since the enhanced community quarantines began in March,” said Father Porcincula.

The congregation also parades the Blessed Sacrament in poor communities every Sunday and gives counseling to those affected by the hardships the pandemic has brought.

“We thank the Vincentian fathers for this mission. Preferential option for the poor and social responsibility are core values of their congregation. Thank you, fathers for responding to God’s call during this pandemic,” said Bishop Arturo Bastes, former chairman of the bishops’ Commission on Mission.

“We may not change the lives of these people [scavengers]. But at least we let them know the church cares for them. There are still many who care for the poor,” said Monique Alarcon, a lay missionary.

The congregation was founded by French priest St. Vincent de Paul in 1625. Spanish missionaries established the congregation in the Philippines in 1862.

The Vincentians also founded schools such as the Adamson University and Saint Vincent Seminary

Meanwhile, devotees of St. John Paul II have arranged an online rosary and novena in memory of the late pope on May 18 to mark the centenary of his birth.

John Paul II came to the Philippines for World Youth Day in 1995. Five million people attended his Mass in Manila, making it one of the largest papal gatherings in history.

“Today, we will include in our special intention the end of the coronavirus pandemic. St. John Paul II loved the Filipino people. He enjoyed his stay here and the Filipinos will never forget him as a great pope,” said Merlita Geronimo, a devotee of John Paul II.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM


Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."