Italian priests in North Cotabato IP mission is St. Theresa of Calcutta awardee

Church • Mon Sep 11, 2017 04:51 PM  •  44   0
By Malu Manar
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Father Peter Geremia of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Mission (PIME) (Malu Manar)
Father Peter Geremia of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Mission (PIME) (Malu Manar)
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Father Peter Geremia of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Mission (PIME) is this year’s Saint Theresa of Calcutta awardee. 

He was chosen for his humanitarian works in Mindanao. 

The PIME announced the award through its Facebook account. 

Geremia, since his assignment in Mindanao, has been to difficult missions.  
 

Among the mission areas he has served for several decades now included the town of Columbio in Sultan Kudarat and Arakan in North Cotabato.  
 

These areas are dominated by poor, disadvantaged, and underserved indigenous peoples (IPs) because of their inability to access health care, education, among others. 

Geremia’s life as priest
 

Geremia, ordained priest in Detroit City in Michigan, USA 53 years ago, was once a target for assassination in 1980s, arrested three times, and received several death threats for siding with the IPs who had become victims of human rights violations. 

He arrived in the Philippines in 1972, when Martial Law was declared by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

He was imprisoned in 1992 when he, and 19 others, many of them lumads, allegedly ransacked the warehouse of the National Food Authority in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, at the height of drought. 

The Award
 

On September 6, Geremiah received the award, which was given to him by the AY Foundation, in collaboration with the Junior Chamber in Manila, according to PIME’s social media account. 

Based on the web page of the AY Foundation, the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Award, formerly known as the Mother Teresa Award, is a recognition dedicated to the late Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 1979 and known worldwide before her death in 1997 as the "Living Saint" because of her selfless humanitarian work and the ideals which she embodied in her entire life. 

The award search and selection is an annual project of the AY Foundation, Inc. and the Manila Jaycees since 1983. 

At present, the search committee is dedicated to seek for lay individuals who, like Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, have fully and selflessly dedicated at least 25 years of their lives to humanitarian work among "the poorest of the poor" and have served, and shall continue to serve, as an inspirational, living example to the world. 

Other recipients of the award
 

Recipients of the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Award shall receive a plaque and cash award in simple ceremonies given in his/her honor. 

Among the recipients of the Saint Theresa of Calcutta Awards were Justice Leonor Ines-Luciano, who championed the rights of the poor, underprivileged and oppressed since 1960’s and organized various programs for youth offenders, abused women and abandoned children; Sr. Carmen Locsin, a Filipina missionary nun in Japan for 30years who has ministered to the spiritual and psychological needs of Filipino migrants and entertainment workers in Japan, especially those who were abused by their Japanese employers and husbands; and Jaime Cardinal Sin, the country’s most influential cleric who was instrumental in the defeat of the Marcos and Estrada regimes and in the installation of two women presidents, first in 1986 and later 2001. 
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