Through the past 27 years, Greenbelt Chapel, the spiritual home of the Sto. Niño de Paz Community, has been a vibrant center of joyful worship, continuing formation, healing and loving service. Here is a quick look on its past as it continues to be an oasis of spiritual sustenance to a growing community in the heart of Makati.
Inspired by St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the late Fanny del Rosario-Diploma and her husband, Atty. Nordy P. Diploma, presented plan to build a chapel to Rev. Fr. Edgar Saginsin, who facilitated a meeting and consultation with the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila.
Sto. Niño de Paz Community-Greenbelt Chapel was blessed and inaugurated on July 28. First chaplains were the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB); succeeded by Msgr. Jose “Chito” Bernardo (1986); Msgr. Jaime Mora (1989) assisted by Fr. Jim Ferry, MM; Rev. Fr. Jose Mario “Jojo” B. Maximiano (mid-1991); Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual (late 1991); Msgr. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara (mid-2000); Fr. Pericles “Prex” Fajardo (2001). Present chaplain, Rev. Fr. Rufino “Jun” Sescon, Jr. assumed office in 2005.
Greenbelt Chapel opened its doors to volunteers, eventually called servants.
Homegrown charismatic community, the Emmanuel Catholic Charismatic Community (ECCC), was formed on May 16.
Love-A-Parish Program (LAPP), flagship project of the FRD-Greenbelt Sto. Nino de Paz Foundation, was launched to provide financial support to poor parishes in the country and institutions of charity.
A memorandum of agreement, the guiding instrument in running the pastoral and administrative affairs of the Chapel, was ratified and signed. 7pm Mass on weekdays and 7:15am Mass on Sundays were added. Sacrament of Reconciliation became available from 7am to 8pm on weekdays and 9am to 8pm on weekends.
LAPP beneficiaries reached 400, including charitable institutions like the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa, Caritas Manila, Poor Clares, Verbum Dei, Tahanan ng Mabuting Pastol, Carmelite Sisters of Bacolod and the Makati District Catechetical Ministry.
Servants’ Mass, instituted by Rev. Fr. Jun Sescon, was originally celebrated every first Monday of the month. Now held every first Wednesday, the Mass gathers servants for thanksgiving and introduces a service group (Group in Focus) and its roles and functions to the community.
Greenbelt Chapel celebrated its 25th anniversary or Silver Jubilee from July to August with thematic and novena Masses, Jubilee eve and day Masses, inspirational talk, musical presentations and tributes to the foundress and silver jubilarians and sports competitions participated in by servants and community.
Greenbelt Chapel continues to be a place offering God’s presence and presents through 31 Eucharistic celebrations and 90 hours for confession every week, community talks, retreats and pilgrimages and charismatic worship, healing and renewal. It now has more than 600 servants and provides support to more than 413 LAPP beneficiaries, including charitable institutions and poor parishes in 79 dioceses nationwide.
- by Ma. Chona P. Salvaña, Evangelization of the People of Makati Continues, taken from the chapel newsletter Greenleaf Anniversary 2010 Issue