IFI celebrates 117th Proclamation Anniversary

Community News & Features Aug 9, 2019 at 3:14 pm
117th proclamation anniversary celebration of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, antiimperialist people’s church. Members came from IFI Greater Toronto, Hamilton & Niagara, Montreal, with visiting IFI priest from the Church of Sweden and the Episcopal Church in the GTA.

117th proclamation anniversary celebration of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, antiimperialist people’s church. Members came from IFI Greater Toronto, Hamilton & Niagara, Montreal, with visiting IFI priest from the Church of Sweden and the Episcopal Church in the GTA.

Iglesia Filipinia Independiente

TORONTO–The Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI, Philippine Independent Church), Parish of the Holy Child in Toronto hosted August 3, 2019 the celebration of the 117th Proclamation Anniversary of the IFI. At the All Saints Kingsway Anglican Church, a Mass was concelebrated by Rev. Frs. Art Calaycay of IFI Montreal, Christian Rey of IFI Hamiton and Niagara, Dante Coloma of the host parish with Rev. Fr. Allan Forcado, visiting from the Church of Sweden, and Rev Fr. Wilner Dangwen of the Episcopal Church in the GTA with over a hundred of its members in attendance. A sumptuous meal and a program followed the service where greetings shared and musical and dance numbers performed.

It will be remembered in Philippine history that the Philippine Independent Church was born out of the Philippine Revolution of 1896. Filipino historian Teodoro Agoncillo (History of the Filipino People) says: “Born of the Revolution, the movement for a Filipino national church independent of Rome was a reaction of the nationalistic priests to centuries of disparagement and prejudice.” (by the Spanish friars). Also, it was proclaimed the month after the founding of the Union Obrera Democratica (Democratic Labour Union) by Isabelo de los Reyes. The UOD, Agoncillo states, “gave a broad basis to the religious movement to which the masses were favorably disposed.”

Above photo: Co-celebrants (from left): Fr. Art Calaycay, Fr. Christian Rey,  Fr. Dante Coloma, Fr. Allan Forcado and  Fr. Wilner Dangawen.

Co-celebrants (from left): Fr. Art Calaycay, Fr. Christian Rey,
Fr. Dante Coloma, Fr. Allan Forcado and
Fr. Wilner Dangawen.

In his Pastoral Message Obispo Maximo (Supreme Bishop) Rhee Timbang declared that this 117th anniversary celebration will highlight “the IFI’s firm resolve to persist … despite the continuing vilification against it for being a church that supports the people’s struggle simply because its life is associated with advocating for and accompanying the farmers, workers, fisherfolk, urban poor, Lumads, Moro community and other sectors of the Filipino people that seek justice and peace, human dignity and an abundant life.”

Further he spoke of the challenges in society that the IFI must confront – “the culture of impunity marked by extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests and unjust incarcerations; the culture of violence demonstrated by regular employment of excessive, brute and fascist power of state security forces against the poor; the culture of corruption that bleeds government funds dry, deprives the public of basic social necessities and plunders our natural and mineral resources; and the culture of indignity promoted by our inaction to defend our national independence, territorial sovereignty and people’s integrity.”

In its message of solidarity, Migrante Ontario stated: “The IFI will always be one with groups that promote the welfare of people and dignity of the common man, especially the workers and peasants in our country and different parts of the world. This church is a beacon of comfort and spiritual support to the thousands of migrants abroad. We take our stand with the Iglesia Filipina Independiente as an integral part of the national-democratic movement in the Philippines to effect social change for the benefit of the Filipino people even if we are among overseas compatriots. We appreciate and respect the IFI not only for its continuous and unwavering support to us in monthly Migrante masses but in understanding and being one with us in our plight.” (RE)

IFI co-celebrants with  Migrante Ontario members

IFI co-celebrants with
Migrante Ontario members