Ancestry and Heritage
Our community has a lineage uniquely our own. Our ancestry has a good blood line and a birthright befitting that of children of God. Our heritage is our pride and inspiration toward building a Christ-centered Community.
Our heritage is rooted back to when the Apostolic Directorate of the Good Shepherd M.E. Community (GSMEC), four of whom were Lony Rhodora Bohol (Bukas Loob sa Diyos Metro Manila Class 4), Romy Remy Lagman (GSMEC Class 16), Bill Ding Zamora (GSMEC Class 29), and Fr. Pablo Encinas, OP (Servants of the Holy Spirit), passed a board resolution on March 18, 1991 that would eventually evolve to become our origin. The resolution in part states:
“After a series of meetings of the present Apostolic Directorate, the last of which was held at the PSME Bldg. on March 1, 1991, it was unanimously decided that it is to the best interest of the community that two independent and autonomous groups be created to undertake apostolate work of the community as mandated by its corporate charter.”
“….for purposes of identification, the groups shall be known as Good Shepherd M.E. Community, Inc. A or GSMEC A and Good Shepherd M.E. Community, Inc. B or GSMEC B.”
Those who immediately joined GSMEC B became the founders and the first Apostolic Elders of our community. They were: Lony Rhodora Bohol, Romy Remy Lagman, Vigie Nelly Ventura and Ray Sonia Zolina.
About forty-seven (47) other couples joined as soon as the Board Resolution was passed. Others followed after some time.
During the early days when the group was discerning what could be God’s reason for allowing this event to happen, we had Fr. Alex Hubilla, SVD as spiritual adviser until Fr. Pablo Encinas, OP joined us soon after to become our Spiritual Director.
In the same month of March 1991, the Apostolic Elders together with equally committed members of our community conducted the first Planning Session which was held at the Dona Pilar Elementary School. Those who were present were: Ben Elsa Palomo (Class # 12), Vigie Nelly Ventura (Class # 27), Lony Rhodora Bohol (BLD MM #4), Alex Melly Ado (Class # 26), Romy Remy Lagman (Class #16), Amang Lolit Mendiola (Class # 49), Domeng Dulce Baetiong (Class # 26), Hope Ochie Galang (Class #42), Bill Ding Zamora (Class # 29), Ray Sonia Zolina (Class # 26), Ding Susan Mayor (Class # 41), Willie Rose Montales (Class #28) and Nes Chit Cruz (Class # 36)
The most important matter that was taken up was the organization of our community’s four (4) apostolates, namely: Marriage Encounter Apostolate, Family Encounter Apostolate, Spiritual Growth Apostolate, and Outreach Apostolate. These apostolates were entrusted to Lony Rhodora Bohol, Vigie Nelly Ventura, Ray Sonia Zolina and Romy Remy Lagman, respectively.
The leadership of our community immediately proceeded to establish its goals, defining our vision and mission.
On April 5 – 7, 1991, we conducted our first M.E. Weekend (Class #66-B) at Las Brisas, Antipolo, Rizal. Two weeks later, on April 26-28, 1991, the first Family Encounter Weekend (Class #16-B) was held at SVD Retreat House, Tagaytay City. Not long after, the Sons and Daughters Encounter (SADE) weekend (Class #4-B) was held on May 24-26, 1991. The Ugnayan, a one-day Marriage Enrichment seminar for the underprivileged was conducted on a monthly basis.
In July 1991, Auxiliary Services was added to the Directorate.
With the continuing growth of our community, Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP, who has also been providing pastoral guidance and spiritual deepening talks to members of our community was requested to act as our second Spiritual Director in 1992.
On March 10, 1993, the Marriage Encounter Foundation of the Philippines passed a Board Resolution based on the decision of its founder, Fr. Ruben M. Tanseco, SJ, and a portion of which states:
“After prayerful discernment …… I am convinced that a change of name by the Good Shepherd M.E. Community B will be more liberating for them, and more promising towards developing their own identity as a group. A change of name by Good Shepherd B brings a conviction of hope for a more promising future for them……..”
Thus, a dramatic process of name selection was pursued.
On May 3, 1993, the issue of name selection was presented to the general membership for ratification. The name MATER DEI MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER COMMUNITY became the overwhelming choice and this is what we are called to this day.
In 1995, Worship Ministry and Community Life Apostolate was added to the Directorate.
On June 7 to 9, 1996, we launched our first provincial chapter in Catbalogan, Samar.
On July 30, 1996, the Mater Dei Marriage Encounter Community, Incorporated was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a full-fledged religious organization with a legal identity. Under its By-Laws, governance of the Community was by delegation given by its Board of Directors composed of fifteen (15) couples to a body called Director Couples, who then handled each of the 7 Apostolates and Ministries of the Community. All class shepherds acting as a representative assembly elected them every two (2) years.
On July 10, 1997, as a result of the restructuring and realignment of programs, the Director Couples relinquished their responsibility as head of the Apostolates and created the position of Head Couple for each Apostolate in order to address the growing needs and new challenges of the community.
On February 21 to 23, 1998, our second provincial chapter was launched in Tabunok, Talisay, Cebu.
With the ever-growing number of its graduates coming from various parishes in and outside Metro Manila, and so that it could provide a venue for apostolic action by these members in or nearer to their respective parishes, the Community launched a program dubbed “Balik-Community.” The program was mainly intended to encourage the holding of prayer meetings in parishes and get member-parishioners to attend these. Through this program, old members of the Community were re-activated. From this same program later arose prayer groups that operated in nearby provinces like the Mater Dei – Bulacan group that met at Fatima Parish and parish-based prayer groups such as the Sto. Nino Parish (Meycauayan, Bulacan), Holy Cross Parish (Gen. T. de Leon, Valenzuela), Christ the King (Llano, Caloocan City), Mater Divinae Gratiae (Bagong Silang, Caloocan), Immaculate Conception (Dasmarinas, Cavite), and Sto. Rosario (San Pedro, Laguna), among others.
On January 5, 2001, as a result of the ratification of the Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws of the community, the number of Board of Directors was reduced from fifteen (15) to nine (9) couples and the functions and responsibilities of the Director Couples were merged with the Board of Directors. The nine couples who were elected by the members were: Lony Rhodora Bohol, Romy Remy Lagman, Yoyong Cora Mangalindan, Ding Susan Mayor, Barry Chriss Ortiz, Stan Bimbo Santos, Jun Adel Tambasacan, Rudy Remy Valentin and Bill Ding Zamora.
Our community also helps parish priests organize their own parish-based M.E. groups through the initiative of its committed members in such parishes, and the full backing of the Elders. Examples of these are the member-parishioners of the Christ the King Parish (Llano) at Vista Verde, Caloocan City currently known as the Mater Dei Christ the King (Llano) Chapter, the Banal na Sacramento Parish M.E. Community in Talipapa, Novaliches and the Holy Mother of God M.E. Community of San Bartolome Parish also in Novaliches. On the other hand, a number of Mater Dei members from the Pasig, Cainta, Marikina and Antipolo areas also formed the Ina ng Diyos M.E. Community after seeking the blessing of the leadership of the Community. They now operate in these areas independently together and in cooperation with other M.E. groups.
On October 13, 2003, our community was duly accredited by the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC) as a donee institution. As such, donations received by the community entitles the donor/s to limited deduction and exemption from donor’s tax.
In March of 2004, a new set of Board of Trustees was installed to serve for the period from March 2004 to 2007. They were Samie Lulou Asia, Lony Rhodora Bohol, Pris Vicky Contreras, Neil Letty Gepilano, Boy Linda Gloria, Willie Rose Montales, Boy Nonie Quiambao, Jun Adel Tambasacan and Bill Ding Zamora.
As the years went on, her name -
Mater Dei Marriage Encounter Community drew the very people she vowed to live for. Around them, her life revolves. And she would not have it any other way. That is because they are everything to her. For them, she went against all odds…. ever after.
Minutes of the Board of Directors
Meeting of Good Shepherd M. E. Community, Inc. held on March 18, 1991