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History of Socorro under the Augustinians

Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish - Socorro

(Editor’s Note: Mr. Warlito Noguerra, a parishioner and once long-time PPC president of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish – Socorro, wrote this article. The article’s original title is “2009: OSA in Action” which is the writer’s observation and narration of the different activities and friars assigned since the Augustinian took over the parish in 2001.)

Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish, Socorro, Surigao del Norte was under the stewardship of the SVD Fathers for many years. Rev. Fr. Alejandrino A. Plaza, SVD was the first parish priest assigned to the parish in 1986. He encouraged and motivated the parishioners to actively participate in the different church activities, projects and programs.

                The year 2001 marked the beginning of another epoch in the history of the parish. The friars of the Order of St. Augustine (OSA) took over the pastoral administration of the parish, which was started by the SVD missionaries. The first OSA parish priest assigned to Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish was Rev. Fr. Sisinio A. Paderog, OSA with Rev. Fr. Andrew P. Batayola, OSA as the parochial vicar. When Fr. Andrew left in 2002 for Australia for further spiritual studies, Rev. Fr. Pacifico “Jun” Nohara, OSA assumed the post as the parochial vicar. The initial task of the OSA missionaries was to reorient the Catholic faithful whose social and spiritual life needed to be reinvigorated.

                The OSA friars through the leadership of Fr. Sin with the assistance of Fr. Jun and the cooperation, material support, and donations from the parishioners, created a new and beautiful Catholic Church that was constructed and finished. The new church is transferred to Brgy. Taruc from Brgy. Navarro. When Fr. Jun left for a mission abroad in South Korea in 2004, Rev. Fr. Donato E. Ellezar, OSA was assigned as the parochial vicar.

               The old church, located in Brgy. Navarro, was renovated and improved. It is now called San Agustin Pastoral Center (SAP-C). Something and spiritual activities of the parish are held in the center. Others who want to avail the place for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and others are allowed with minimal rental for maintenance. However, political conventions/rallies and religious activities on non-Catholic religions are prohibited per approved implementing rules and regulations formulated for purposes of clarity.

                Fr. Sin and Fr. Donutz knew that the old convent should be demolished and replaced because the termites were slowly eating the structure, which is already dilapidated. Hence, a new three-story convent is constructed at the site where the old convent is located. The construction work was still halfway when the Augustinians effected their reorganization and reshuffling last May 2008. Fr. Sin and Fr. Donutz were transferred to their new assignments. Fr. Sin became the parish priest of the mission station in Gubat, Sorsogon, while Fr. Donutz became the prior and novice master of the novices in the Augustinian Novitiate and Prayer House in Cebu. Fr. Benjamin Unabia, OSA, became the second parish priest of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish, and Rev. Fr. Leo Mario F. Singco, OSA was the parochial vicar. Fr. Ben and Fr. Leomar were very compatible and worked hard to finish the convent’s construction. In 2009, the convent was finished.

                The presence of Fray Ericson M. Borre, OSA, and Fray Vincent Liwag, OSA had helped much in the pastoral work of the parish. By that time, Fray Ericson was already a solemn professed friar and became the third member of the community. Fray Vincent was at that time on his pastoral exposure for six months. Fray Ericson, who is very good at music and plays musical instruments very well, has helped strengthen the church’s choir and other related activities. On the other hand, Fray Vincent has equally done a magnificent job assigned to him by the parish priest.

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