The idea of establishing a Servite presence in the Philippines started in 1982 after Fra Ettore M. Turrini made a long trip to various countries in Asia.
In previous provincial chapters, the Province of Romagna had discussed the possibility of founding a community in a new missionary territory. The idea did not meet with general agreement, especially for two reasons:
On the one hand, they feared – considering the personnel decline – that a new missionary commitment would lead the Province to neglect what was happening with the Brazilian mission of Acre and Purus; On the other hand, not a few friars in the Province distrusted a foundation – in a nation like the Philippines – that was mainly concerned with recruiting vocations.
In 1983, after long discussions in the Provincial chapter, the Province of Romagna decided, by a very slim majority, to push through with an opening in the Far East, specifically in the Philippines. The first Servite friars: Gerardo Maestrami, Ettore Turrini e Luigi Ilari e Tarcisio Roffi left Italy on August 23, 1984 bound for Manila, the capital of Philippines. After a brief stay with the Camillian Fathers in Makati, Cardinal Sin, the Archbishop of Manila entrusted them with a newly-constituted parish in the city of Muntinlupa – St. Peregrine Laziosi Parish. The first eight candidates were officially received in the Order on June 12, 1986. Fr. Gino Leonardi was the first Master of the prenovices.
In a decree dated February 2, 1996 signed by the Prior Provincial, Fra Andrea Lino M. Acquaroli, the Servite foundation in the Philippines was to be a Delegation effective February 1, 1996 with Fra Tarcisio M. Roffi as the first Provincial Delegate. When Fra Tarcisio died on February 17, 2001, the Solemnity of the Our First Holy Founders, Fra Rhett M. Sarabia was elected as the first Filipino Provincial Delegate.
As early as 2000 there had been a talk of elevating the status of the Delegation to Vicariate. In the General Delegation Assembly of 2003, it was decisively formalized. The 2003 Provincial chapter of the Piedmont-Romagna Province approved the decree of erection of the Philippine Vicariate after having been a delegation for about five years and a foundation for fifteen years. The capitulars of the first Vicarial Chapter (May 31 – June 5, 2004) held at the St. Alexis Center of Studies in Tunasan, Muntinlupa City chose St. Pregrine Philippine Vicariate for its name and elected Fra Rhett M. Sarabia as its first Vicar Provincial.
On December 4, 2004 the St. Peregrine Philippine Vicariate was canonically erected in a rite at which the Prior General, Fra Angel M. Ruiz Garnica, presided. In the succeeding years, collaborative efforts with the mother province saw Filipino friars being assigned to communities in Italy and Albania. From 2005 a series of consultations regarding the possibility of Filipino friars taking over a community in Italy were discussed during canonical visits of the priors provincial and in various general assemblies and meetings in the vicariate. The celebration of the Provincial Chapter of 2009 was chosen to inaugurate the new community of Filipino friars at the St. Peregrine Shrine in Forlì. On Wednesday, June 10, 2009, participants in the chapter traveled to Forlì to welcome the young Filipino friars: Johnas Murallon, Jesus Diaz and Roger Cabillo. Another collaborative effort is happening with the sending of three friars to the community in Genoa. Apart from mother province to date Filipino friars extended their services to and collaboration with other jurisdictions of the Order: East Africa, USA, Australia, United Kingdom and the Generalate communities.
Pioneers of the Philippine Foundation (Fra Luigi M. Ilari (RIP), Fra Tarcisio M. Roffi (RIP), Fra Gerardo M. Maestrami (RIP) and Fra Ettore M. Turrini with Cardinal Jaime Sin (RIP), the Archbishop of Manila – c. 1985)
The Philippine Vicariate is engaged in various forms of the apostolate: teaching ministry (with Marianum College owned and run by the Vicariate and other institutions), parish and shrine ministry, compassion ministry, preaching retreats and days of recollection, laity formation, etc.
We are still blessed with local vocations from the different parts of the Philippines. In 2014 the vicariate welcomed its first candidates from Vietnam. To this date there are five Vietnamese simple professed and another four in the pre-novitiate program.
There is a vibrant and active Servite family in the Philippines that meets regularly for the Servite family day, common formation and updating. It works and collaborates in the different ministries. We have five religious congregations of Servite sisters: The Compassionist Sisters Servants of Mary, Sisters of the Mother of Sorrows of India, Sisters Servants of Mary of Pisa, Riparatrix Sisters Servants of Mary and the Sisters of Mary of Sorrows of Naples. We have also the Regnum Mariae (Secular Institute), the Secular Order of Servants of Mary (OSSM), Servite Young Missionaries of the Philippines (SYMPre), Youngsters Servants of Mary (YSM), St. Peregrine Healing Ministry (SPHM), St. Alexis Benefactors Association (SABA) and the St. Peregrine Children Clinic.
To date, the Philippine Vicariate has 34 Solemn Professed, 15 Temporary Professed, 2 deacons (Rev Ryan Ma. Ipili, OSM and Rev Ricky Ma. Sister, OSM) and 7 communities: St Peregrine, Seven Holy Founders, St. Mary of the Servants, St Philip Benizi Community, Surigao (parish), St. John the Evangelist, Infanta, Pangasinan (parish) and the St. Peregrine Parish (Sanctuary) in Muntinlupa.