Friday, October 9, 2009

St. Michael Parish, Mahinog, Camiguin - The Brief History

MAHINOG became a parish with a titular St. Michael the Archangel in 1870. The first priest was Fr. Anecito Grima who served the parish until 1897.

The first recorded baptisms were: 1) Francisco Virtudazo Odchigue; 2) Jacinta Paca; 3) Ana Yamba Cagulada; 4) Valentina Cocamas Labadan who were baptized on July 28, 1877.

There were 6 other priests who served with Fr. Grima either as acting or assistant priests. They were Fr. Tomas Casado, Fr. Celistino Ballesteros, Fr. Cefriano L. del Carmen, Fr. Vitores Dies, Fr. Mariano M. del Carmen, Fr. Francisco Echano Jaurequide.

Priests who followed after Fr. Grima were: Fr. Teodoro Aranas, 1897-1902; Fr. Demetrio Hoc, 1902-1905; Fr. Nicolas del Carmen, 1905-1919; Fr. Nicasio Patangan, 1919-1926; Fr. Tomas Goya, 1926-1928; Fr. Quiterio Sarigumba, 1928-1929; Fr. Joseph Mc Gowan, 1929-1931; Fr. Octavio Gonsalves, 1931-1941; Fr. Vicente Magto, 1941-1950; Fr. Raymundo Lutz, 1950-1952.

During this period, on June 29, 1951 the Archdiocese Cagayan de Oro was established, the first archdiocese in Mindanao, thereby separating Mindanao from the Ecclesiastical Province of Cebu. The first bishop was the Most Reverend James Hayes, S.J. D.D.

The following years saw the turning point in the parochial history of Mahinog.

In 1952, a Columban priest Reverend Fr. Patrick P. Cashman was sent and became the parish priest until 1957. To indoctrinate Christianity among the youth, in 1954, Fr. Cashman founded the now Columbia, St. Michael’s Parish High School, a parochial high school ran by the Columban Priests. In 1975, or 22 years later, however, the administration of this institution was relegated to the Religious Sisters of Mercy, based in Cork, Ireland, up to this day.

The next priest was Rev. Fr. Thomas Holohan, SSC who served the parish from 1957 until 1963. It was during this time that the present concrete convent was built replacing the old and dilapidated one built in 1930s during the time of Fr. Octavio Gonsalves.

Fr. Daniel Baragry, also a Columban, followed from 1963 up to 1964. This time he established a religious group now known the Holy Name Society of Jesus.

In 1964 another Columban Rev. Fr. Thomas Brennan came and served until 1972. This time another milestone in the Christian lives of the people in Mahinog unfolded when he built the concrete church which stands today replacing the old chapel made of mixed materials. Mahinognons owed much this edifice to Fr. Brennan and for his missionary zeal his memory remained indelibly in the hearts of every Mahinognon.

In 1972 up to 1974, Fr. Michael Donohue, also a Columban, came to serve the parish. Before being sent to Mahinog he became the Columbian superior in Mindanao in 1956 and in 1959 he was appointed Director of the Philippine Region. When he came to leave the Philippines in 1999 he was greatly missed for his human kindness and common touch.

He was followed by Fr. James Moynihan, SSC in1974 up to 1978. It was during his time, in 1975, that the administration of the parochial school, CSMPS, was turned over from Columban Fathers to the Religious Sisters of Mercy. The formal turn over and acceptance was witnessed by Most Rev. Patrick Cronin, D.D., Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro.

Fr. Gabriel Keohane succeeded from 1978-1982. He built a dome like bell tower which still stands today which is being developed into a candelabrum. He was the last Columban and foreign priest to be assigned in Mahinog. The ensuing years saw the coming of the Filipino priests in the offing.

The first Filipino priest in Mahinog following three decades of Columban era was Fr. Elpedio Alilin, SSJV who served for a short term from 1982 up to 1983.

He was succeeded by Fr. Mario Arazo, SSJV, who served from 1983 up to 1989. He was the one who pioneered the fencing project in the church.

He was followed by Fr. Walter Tabios, SSJV, from 1989 to 1995. He established the Formation Center and continued the fencing project.

The next priest was Fr. Remar Dagoc, SSJV who served from 1995 up to 2001. His major projects include: renovation of church altar, enhancement of its interior and facade, installation of additional ceiling fans and lighting units, improvement of sound system, varnishing of pews and upholstering of kneelers, including the completion of the first perimeter fence project around the church. He established the short lived St. Michael Parish Kindergarten School that struggled financially which finally led to its closing down two years later.

In 2001 up to 2007, Fr. Benecio Andohon, SSJV, became the next parish priest. Fr. Andojon constructed the now elevated bell tower and image of St. Michael at the face of the church, and installed floor tiles inside. He also established a low cost housing project at Jang benefiting some parishioners left homeless by typhoon Nanang that devastated barangay Hubangon in November 7, 2001, killing about two hundred people, the worst disaster that happened in Camiguin after the major volcanic eruption in 1951.

Currently, the parish priest is Rev. Fr. Marlo S. Acenas, SSJV who has been in the parish since June 10, 2007. He hails from Kinuguitan, Misamis Oriental.Before coming to Mahinog, he was the parish priest of Our Lady of Consolacion in Opol Misamis Oriental. After he was ordained in 1995, he then became the Parochial Vicar of Sta. Rita Parish in Gingoog City (1995-1996); San Antonio de Padua of Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro (1996-1997); San Agustine Cathedral, Cagayan de Oro (1997-2001). He also became the Youth Director of the Archdiocesan Youth Apostolate.

For less than two years, Fr. Acenas has accomplished the following projects: improvement of the church fa├žade, beautification and landscaping, improvement of the altar, installation of two chandeliers, improvement of the confessional and function room, renovation, repainting of the convent and completion of the shrine of our Lady of Lourdes. At present, the construction of perimeter extension fence at the plaza is almost complete under the stewardship of the newly created Parish Finance Council.

According to the records of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, in the year 2000, Mahinog has a population of 11,298. Out of this, 11,050 are Catholics.

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