Both the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus (SJ) and its school in the Davao Region, Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU), garnered recognition in a grand celebration in Mati City, Davao Oriental this week.

The Bishop of Mati, Most Reverend Abel C. Apigo, DD, cited the Jesuits for

sowing the seeds of Catholic Christian faith in Mindanao and constructing and finishing the San Salvador del Mundo Parish Church in Caraga in 1884. Caraga Church was the base of the Jesuit mission in the 19th century.

In the 21st century, the Diocese also recognized Ateneo de Davao University for its “historic and noteworthy contribution in the digitization of the Caraga Church Records.” The digitization project was undertaken by the University Archives in 2021. The University Archives project team consisted of Denzell Santos, Arngelie Sotto, and Nalini Guno (digitizers); Edgar Giguiento (quality controller); Igy Castrillo (trainer); and Pam Castrillo (project leader).

Rev. Fr. Antonio M. Basilio, SJ, Rector of the Davao Jesuit Community received both awards on behalf of Rev. Fr. Primitivo E. Viray Jr., SJ, Provincial of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus and Rev. Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, ADDU President.

The awarding ceremony was part of the Culminating Celebration of the 500  Years of Christianity in the Philippines of the Diocese of Mati. The event consisted of a Holy Mass at the St. Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral, a Procession (Walk for the Catholic Faith) to the Baywalk at sunset, and a Cultural Presentation about the history of the faith of the Church in Davao Oriental. A fireworks display capped the event.

Held on 25 April 2022 in Mati City, it was participated in by 1,200 fully vaccinated Catholics representing 19 parishes, two quasi-parishes, ten diocesan and congregational schools, a seminary, and a hospital.

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