Bishop Rusack Celebrates New PIC Parish

Episcopal News Service. December 1, 1977 [77382]

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- "We are making history today for the Philippine Independent Church in the United States and for the Episcopal Church in America" were the words uttered by the Rt. Rev. Robert C. Rusack, Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles on the occasion of the formal recognition of the Philippine Independent Church and installation of the four Filipino clergy in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

The Filipino group was led by the Rt. Rev. Dionicio Vilches, director of Christian education, Joint Council PIC-PEC who was the personal representative of the Most Rev. Macario V. Ga, PIC Supreme Bishop, and the Honorable Armando C. Fernandez, the Philippine Consul General in Los Angeles. Besides Bishop Rusack, other Episcopalians present included the Rev. Canon Oliver Garver, assistant to the bishop; the Rev. Canon John H. M. Yamazaki, chairman national and diocesan Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry, and the Rev. Walter G. Loesel, rector of the Parish Church of All Saints.

The need for a Filipino priest to minister to the members of the Philippine Independent Church has been a longing for some time especially by those who are residing permanently in Los Angeles and suburbs. Through the initiative of national and diocesan Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry and the presence of some PIC clergy who are also permanent residents of the area an answer to that need was found.

The Filipino congregation was first organized by the PIC clergy with the help of a Filipino Episcopal priest, the Rev. Magdaleno Bacagan, assistant to the rector of the Church of the Atonement, Washington, D.C. who patiently went around looking for the scattered faithfuls. Names of members and their respective addresses were known either through the telephone directory or the information of other members. Pastoral visitations and prayers were done for five weekends.

In November of last year, Fr. Loesel welcomed the Filipino congregation to meet and worship together for the first time as a worshiping and serving community, and offered his parish as their second home.

The Philippine Independent Church clergy who were installed were: the Rev. Greg G. Bayaca, vicar and priest in charge; the Rev. Raul Tobias, the Rev. Restituto Valenzuela, and the Rev. Dario Polintan as associates. Aside from their priestly duties, they are also doing secular work in Los Angeles.