Italian missionary is 2017 Saint Theresa of Calcutta awardee

Fr. Peter Geremiah, PIME, photographed on April 5, 2016. MindaNews file photo by TOTO LOZANO

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/11 September) – An Italian missionary is this year’s recipient of the Saint Theresa of Calcutta Award.

Father Peter Geremia of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Mission (PIME) was chosen for the award for his humanitarian works in Mindanao, PIME announced through its Facebook account.

Geremia, ordained priest in Detroit City in Michigan, USA 53 years ago, has worked in Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat and towns in North Cotabato, in poor communities where basic services like health are lacking.

During the 1980s, he was arrested three times, received death threats became the target of liquidation for defending victims of human rights violations.

The priest arrived in the Philippines in 1972, when Martial Law was declared by the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.

In 1992, he and 19 others were imprisoned for allegedly ransacking the warehouse of the National Food Authority in Columbio at the height of drought.

The Award

Geremiah received the award on Sept. 6 from the AY Foundation, in collaboration with the Junior Chamber in Manila, according to PIME’s post on Facebook.

The web page of the AY Foundation said the Blessed Theresa of Calcutta Award, formerly known as the Mother Teresa Award, is a recognition dedicated to the late Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 1979 and known worldwide as the “Living Saint” for her humanitarian work and the ideals which she embodied in her entire life.

Mother Theresa died in 1997.

The award search and selection is an annual project of the AY Foundation, Inc. and the Manila Jaycees since 1983.

At present, the search committee is searching for lay individuals who, like Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, have dedicated at least 25 years of their lives to humanitarian work among “the poorest of the poor” and have served, and shall continue to serve, as an inspirational, living example to the world.

Other recipients of the award

Among the recipients of the Saint Theresa of Calcutta Awards were Justice Leonor Ines-Luciano, who championed the rights of the poor, underprivileged and oppressed since 1960’s and organized various programs for youth offenders, abused women and abandoned children;

Sr. Carmen Locsin, a Filipina missionary nun in Japan for 30years who has ministered to the spiritual and psychological needs of Filipino migrants and entertainment workers in Japan, especially those who were abused by their Japanese employers and husbands; and

Jaime Cardinal Sin, the country’s most influential cleric in his time who played a key role in the ouster of Marcos and former president Joseph Estrada.

Recipients of the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Award shall receive a plaque and cash award in simple ceremonies given in their honor. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)