FATHER BERNABE BOLASTIG SISON
FILIPINO PASTORAL MINISTRY
When we think of hard work, we think of one person who sacrificed his time, energy, effort even his health to the very end in order to see the Filipino Pastoral Ministry running in full force. Father Bobby Sison, recognized the need of Filipino migrants for spiritual guidance, cultural identities, expression of faith through the patron saints of their hometown, legal and social counseling and to experience a different sense of “church home” which they could not express in their respective parishes.
The inception of the Filipino Pastoral Ministry dated back in 1983 when Father Bobby was then an associate priest at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa Park in Long Island, New York. The Santo Nino Prayer Group of Nassau was first organized to form and redirect devotional orientation among Filipino Families. Later, as Father Bobby was transferred to Our Lady of Pompei Church in Manhattan, he felt motivated to form another Santo Nino Prayer Groups of different boroughs. This difficult mission of overseeing that Filipinos be able to spread the devotion was supplemented by another novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help which is now known as Baclaran sa Village. Other devotions were followed through Father Bobby’s initiative such the devotion to Our Lady of Manaoag, San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila, Poon Hesus Nazareno, St. Bartholomew, the Apostle, Blessed Pedro Calungsod and Madre Ignacia and Madre Francisca del Espiritu Santo.
What was just a devotion extended to different activities validating a program for Filipinos enabling them to convey their cultural practices such as the traditional Flores de Mayo and Santakrusan, Pabasa during Holy Week, Sinulog and Pre-Cana. The Bible studies, Healing Ministry, Choral Singing, Line dancing and the latest OLP-FPM Running team were among the ongoing growth the Pastoral Ministry has accomplished so far with the presence of our dear founder, Father Bobby.
Father Bernabe Bolastig Sison was born on February 21, 1940 in Catbalogan Samar Philippines to Bernabe Arteche Sison and Soledad Bolastig. He was the third in the family of five children. He started at the minor seminary of Saint Vincent de Paul in Calbayog City. Completed his Philosophy and theology at San Carlos Major Seminary in Cebu. Served as diocesan Oeconomus and was a professor at Saint Vincent Seminary in Calbayog. He was ordained on May 30, 1965 in Gandara, Samar Philippines. Father Bobby migrated to the United States on October 5, 1979.
His early years after ordination to the priesthood was dedicated to the services of local community in Samar. He visited remote and poor villages in Southern Provinces of the Philippines, preaching the word of God. He was a Parish priest at the Cathedral Parish of Calbayog City. He was school director and pastor at Saint Michaels Church in Samar and Pastor and Team Minister in San Jorge, Samar Philippines.
Here in the United States, he first worked at Maria Regina Church in Seaford, Ny in 1979 to 1983. He became Associate Pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes in Massapequa Park, NY in 1983 to 1986 and in 1986 to 1987 he was Associate Pastor at St. Joachim Church in Cedarhurst, NY. From 1987 until the time of his death, Father Bobby was the Pastoral Vicar of Our Lady of Pompei Church in Manhattan.
He was the Director/Founder of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Association of America, Inc., Good Samaritan Foundation Partnership in Mission, Inc. Filipino Catholic and the Filipino Pastoral Ministry of Our Lady of Pompei Church under the auspices of the Society of St. Charles (Scalabrini Fathers).
He was the Spiritual Director of the Katbaloganon Association, USA, Waray Association, Santo Nino Prayer Groups of New York, Infant Jesus Prayer Group of Nassau, Filipino Catholic Group (Filcag) Long Beach, NY, Calbayognon and Friends, USA , Basaynon Group, St. Martin de Porres Healing Ministry of Sr. Josie Dichoso.