Can you offer an overview of the school, Mary Immaculate Parish Special School?

It is with humility and gratitude that Mary Immaculate Parish Special School sees itself again featured in your informative and evangelizing New City magazine. MIPSS is
an educational institution with a vision to transform the youth and the stakeholders, through timely, appropriate, excellent, context-wise-relevant curriculum that is God-centered, excellent and with great emphasis on social responsibility… and a preferential option for the poor… Be the first to love!

Bishop Jesse Mercado, D.D. of Parañaque Diocese with MIPSS director Fr. Fidel Fabile
Bishop Jesse Mercado, D.D. of Parañaque Diocese with MIPSS director Fr. Fidel Fabile

What is the specific mission for which MIPSS was established?

MIPSS is here to serve, that is to provide education for all! Our programs include adult night school, Special Education (for students with learning disabilities, Down’s syndrome, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism spectrum disorder, etc. We care for the least, and these are the least of our brothers and sisters. We quote from the speech of MIPSS director Fr. Fidel Fabile at the CEAP (Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines) National Convention held in SMX Convention Center, Pasay City last October 2018:

MIPSS students & teachers during a Living Rosary
MIPSS students & teachers during a Living Rosary

“Our mission for special children started with Fr. Pierino Rogliardi, an Italian priest who was assigned as parish priest to the ‘Nature Church.’ To acquaint himself with his new parish, he first visited the communities and discovered the great disparity existing between those who could afford to send their children to school and those who could hardly make both ends meet.

Fr. Pierino believed that children, whether from a rich or poor family, are entitled to equal opportunities, most especially education. Thus, Mary Immaculate Parish Special School was born with this sense of mission – to help the poor and this became part of the charism of the school.”

It is said that the “aim/purpose of education is to raise children into productive citizens who use their knowledge, talents, and learned skills to sustain themselves and help others while pushing the human race forward in areas of equality, equity, and harmony.” Concretely, how does this principle of education reflect in your mission-vision and goal?

MIPSS is an offspring of the parish, thus it is parochial in nature. It is parochial in the sense that it performs some of the duties of the parish, that is, it aids the parish in evangelization. But how? By putting a premium on our curriculum. We value and embed in our curriculum, Gospel values – Christian living. “Wika nga, Godliness is next to cleanliness… of heart…” We prepare all our students to know, love and serve God.

As these values have been instilled into and assimilated by the students, we hope that they’ll live by them, as they get into the thick of the battle… Life’s a struggle. Without proper grounding, one can simply be uprooted and become rotten…
But with Gospel values, they’ll see others as equals, share what they have, and live in harmony with themselves, with others, and even with nature.

Concretely speaking, in MIPSS, I could say, regular students co-exist with the SPECIAL children, without any “prejudicial incident.”

Anthony Perez Venus has a Ph.D. in Education, major in Educational Leadership and Management.
Anthony Perez Venus has a Ph.D. in Education, major in Educational Leadership and Management.

Many institutions of learning fall short of achieving holistic education due to various challenges they encounter. Is this also true at MIPSS? How do you cope with the challenges that come along the way?

The world has changed, the community too has changed (We now have the virtual community). We changed it in our favor, but apparently, we have become victims of our information-technological-virtual success.

I say this because these are factors we consider in holistic development. Holistic in the sense that we form the entire human person to become the best version of himself/herself. But challenges evidently come into play offering constructs that are considered fleeting and pleasurable. How do we cope with it? We remained constant in adhering to our ideals.

The Catholic Church admonishes the faithful to have a preference for the least, the last and the lost. Being a Catholic institution of learning, how committed is MIPSS to this preferential option of the Church in the implementation of its program?

No doubt that MIPSS was purposely established for the poor. As a matter of fact, we have PRIMULA, a preschool that offers quality education with “socialized tuition.” We have accommodated a substantial number of students with discount-scholars. Then we are connecting with our community through our pastoral-campus ministry programs.

What distinguishes MIPSS as a Catholic institution of learning from many other schools around the area, thus making it the preferred school of parents where they enroll their children?

MIPSS is here to serve, as an evangelizing arm of the parish. We aspire to be an excellent, God-centered and socially responsible institution.

Students of MIPSS performing in various school activities
Students of MIPSS performing in various school activities

Let’s go to something more personal. Can you share with our readers your most significant moments here and how you wish to bring ahead your most desired “project” for MIPSS? 

Every day is a good day to learn. The school is an institution that is organic, changing and progressing every day. My most significant moments come when… well, when I see students live free, feel at home, where respect and trust mutually exist among students, and among employees as well.

If you were to address a word to other educational institutions, what would it be?

Well, be a purpose-driven institution. We exist to take care of the minds of our “younglings.” Our purpose is to form the students/employees and transform communities into the image of Christ. We don’t go for “earnings” because that is not our purpose. We have a mission. We live out our core beliefs, that is, to love our neighbors, through a quality, God-centered and socially responsible education.

Interview by Romeo Pelayo Vital
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