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Welcome House-Paco marks 50 years of service

Submitted by: rgsphil
On: 16/04/2020

Welcome House marked on April 16, 2020, its 50th year of foundation, in various ways following the lockdown in Luzon.

Welcome House in Paco, Manila was founded by Sr. M. Dominica Long and Sr. Mary James Wilson upon the request of then Fr. Bob Garon, a La Sallette priest who had a radio program and who encountered women with family problems.


THE STORY OF WELCOME HOUSE

“It is an evangelical spirit of WELCOME, kindness, understanding and loving service which gives witness that one person is more precious than the whole world.”    
 - Constitutions, Sisters of the
   Good Shepherd 

“The House that says welcome,” as one of its co-founders and early supporters, Bob Garon, described the center when it marked its first-year anniversary, set a new direction in social work when it opened in its first location on 1254 Peñafrancia Street. 

Recognized as the first crisis intervention center in the country, Welcome House was founded by Srs. Mary Dominica Long and Mary James Wilson.

Established by the Good Shepherd Sisters in April 1970, the center presently located at 1641 Zamora Street in Paco, Manila serves individuals with personal, family and social problems, conflicts and difficulties.

(Read full text, 100 Years, 2012 Centennial Book of the Religious of the Good Shepherd)

Currently located at 1641 Zamora Street in Paco, Manila, Welcome House serves individuals with personal, family and social problems, conflicts and difficulties.

It is run by Sisters and staff who are all professional guidance counselors or social workers able to provide impartial and competent outside help for people in crisis or emotional trouble or distress.

Welcome House in its 50 years existence has also given birth to several programs. Besides the residential care to women and children, Welcome House has outreach programs among them : Zone One Tondo Organization (ZOTO); to Leveriza, with Sr. Christine Tan and Vinya Borromeo,  that eventually became the Malate community; Rose Virginie Residence in Makati; Ibon Foundation was also started by Sr. Soledad Perpinan in WH and so was Pro-Life Philippines by Sr. Pilar Verzosa. Sisters in Caritas Manila's Morning Glory Program were also part of Welcome House Community.

Other programs under Welcome House are Welcome House Assistance to "Riles" Families (WHARF) started by Sr. Maryanne Terrenal for families living along the railroad tracks in Paco.

Disaster relief activities of Welcome House in the early ’90s, which focused primarily on the victims of the 1990 earthquake in Caranglan, Nueva Ecija and, only a year after, the Aetas whose homes had been damaged and thus displaced by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption

During the 50th year celebration, sisters in the Welcome House-Tahanan community celebrated differently because of the Enhanced Community Quarantine  (ECQ) and the construction that is on hold because of the lockdown in Luzon.

In Paco, Sr. Bernadette Guzman, local leader said they cooked noodles for the frontliners in the two barangays  near Welcome House. They also prayed for the people served by the community and were in solidarity with the whole world in praying for the end to the pandemic Covid 19.

In Tahanan, in San Andres Bukid, Manila, Sr. Nenet Dano also offered prayers for the 50th year of Welcome House. Sr. Myra Atian while in Naga is in solidarity with the community.

In Quezon City, where the other members of the community are-- Srs. Genny Dumay, Concepta Bellosillo, Aida Casambre, Emy Malasmas and Rivkha Rogacion, a simple  and meaningful celebration of the golden year of Welcome House was held. They invited sisters in the different communities to gather and share remembrances of the 50 years of WH.

The program began with a prayer led by Sr. Emy Malasmas, followed by Inspirational Message of Sr. Gina. Sharing of sisters assigned in Welcome House added color to the occasion. Sr. Jamesy recalled the beginnings of Welcome House and how grateful she is that she also witnessed the 50 years of the community. Other sharers were Sr. Ailyn Binco, Sr. Gemma Dinglasan, Sr. Joan Salamanca, Sr. Marcelline Riosa and Sr. Victoria Joson.

Sr. Genny facilitated games that included crossstix of names of sisters assigned in Welcome House.

The sisters who have passed on to eternal life were also remembered in prayers and flowers were offered in a makeshift altar. Names of benefactors and sisters were written on paper as a sign of gratitude.

Wishes for the girls and women, the lay mission partners and benefactors were also written by sisters. Everybody is looking forward to more loving service to women and children during the next 50 years.