If you live in Kamuning back in 1939, you will receive a comment like this from a Manilenyo: “Sa Kamuning pala kayo nakatira? Kawawa naman kayo. Walang hanap-buhay dyan. Para kayong itinapon sa gitna ng gubat. Hindi ba taguan yan ng mga tulisan? Hindi ba kayo natatakot? Wala daw kuryente at tubig doon.”
A remark like this seems so strange in our time today because Kamuning is now the complete opposite of what it used to be before the Second World War: no market, no drugstore, no medical clinic, no school, no church, and no public transportation. You might laugh but really, no one in Kamuning owned a motor vehicle in those days. Bicycle and carretelas, however, were the only means of transportation.
By December 1940, there were 469 families living in Kamuning, mostly immigrants, hardy provincianos from all over Luzon, with no roots in Manila, but they were newly hired by the Commonwealth government. These pioneer families soon discovered “the castle,” – that is, the Christ the King Mission Seminary in E. Rodriguez where the SVD missionaries were residing. Soon after, the novices had found a new place to visit on weekends 🙂
On December 22, the people expressed their desire to celebrate Media Noche Mass but it was turned down by Msgr. Michael J. O’Doherty, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Manila. According to him: “It is easy to give a permit if the Pope were only here in the Philippines. We need a permit from Rome and it would take a week or more, even by cable.”
The SVDs and community were saddened by the news. Mrs. Purificacion dela Paz approached the then Apostolic Delegate to the Philippines, Msgr. Guilleme Piani, and appealed in behalf of the people of Kamuning. Fortunately, he granted the permit. Everybody was surprised and overjoyed as permit for an open air Mass is rarely ever given.
From that time on, Masses on Sundays and holy days of obligation were celebrated. Mrs. Purificacion dela Paz became the first president of Kamuning Catholic Women’s Club. The organization’s first mission was to request for an erection of a parish in Diliman and Kamuning. On October 1, 1941, the parish was erected and Fr. Theodore Buttenbruch, SVD was installed the first parish priest.
Credits: Sanlakbay, 2001; @fielsvd