Catholic Priest Fr. Kenneth Caligdong

Catholic Priest Fr. Kenneth Caligdong, a native of Palawan, has made significant strides in his mission work in Sierra Leone, notably establishing the first Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity (FSAR) in Africa.

Fr. Caligdong, who arrived in the Kamalo region in 2017 during his diaconate, returned after his ordination and currently serves as the local parish pastor, overseeing 46 centers and collaborating with five local chiefs.

Despite the challenges of a language barrier, with multiple dialects spoken in his parish area, Caligdong has remained dedicated to his mission.

“It is difficult to express our ideas to these people, especially when proclaiming the gospel, so that they abandon bad habits and become good people,” he explained.

On April 6, the first group of friars organized by Caligdong and other Agustinian priests in Sierra Leone, made their promises before the Prior General, marking a significant milestone for the Catholic Church in Africa.

Reflecting on his mission, Fr. Caligdong finds inspiration in the work of his missionary predecessors.

“People see us as role models and highly value our presence in the community, especially in the church,” he said.

His personal dream is to maintain his health to continue serving the people of Sierra Leone and to see his community develop a decent House of Prayer, becoming a true spiritual family.

The Augustinian Recollects have been active in Sierra Leone since 1996, initially taking over the parish of Kamabai in the northern province of Bombali.

Managed by the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno, with support from the Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, the mission has faced significant challenges, including the civil war that began in 1991. The Recollects had to leave temporarily in 1998 due to violence but returned in 2004.

Since their return, the Recollects have made substantial contributions to education, health, and infrastructure, gaining recognition for their positive impact.

Despite the language barriers and the dispersion of the Catholic population in a predominantly Muslim country, the Augustinian Recollects have significantly influenced community development and the strengthening of faith.