Last January 15, 2017, on the occasion of the Feast of Santo Nino, the Indigenous Peoples Ministry (IPM) Office was blessed after the Eucharistic celebration at Our Lady of Salvation Parish, Timanan, Romongaob, South Upi, Maguindanao. The IPM office is a visible sign of the continuing commitment of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Archdiocese of Cotabato and the whole Church for the Indigenous People here in South Upi, Maguindanao.

During the blessing, Fr. Jurambelle SACIL said that “the feast of the Santo Nino is a timely reminder for all regarding the divine simplicity of children. The simplicity of the Holy Child is seen in the simplicity and littleness of the Indigenous Peoples. The blessing of the office during this feast day reminds me and our IP staff, Parish and those involved in this apostolate, that in God’s love, no one is so little so as not to be included and loved. The office has a native accent (“amakan” walls [ed. woven bamboo]) and color telling us that we are embracing the wonderful and earth-friendly products of the Indigenous Peoples.”

The blessing started with an opening prayer ritual by a Teduray “k?mamal kaadatan” (community prayer leader) with the “Dulang” (Teduray- Lambangian term, similar to a Christian altar). It signifies that the IPM office respects and recognizes the beauty of their faith traditions. An image of the Santo Nino from Cebu is enthroned in the office as a consecration to God of all our little efforts for and with the Tedurays.

The establishment of an IPM office is also in line with the 2-year road map plans of last November 7-11, 2016, at the National Convention in Roxas City, Capiz by the different Archdiocesan/Dioceses IP Apostolates.

The event was also witnessed by Fr. Boyet PALOMO, parish priest of Our Lady of Salvation Parish of South Upi, parish Pastoral Council officers, local government representatives and regular church goers. (By Fr. Jurambelle John C. Sacil, OMI/Archdiocesan IP Apostolate Director in  OMI Philippines, April 2017)