The roots of the Chiro movement date back to events which happened more than 150 years ago in Europe. It was the beginning of the industrialization of the Western world. Thousands of people poured into new factories to find work, and they spent 14 hours a day to earn money. Children had to work in factories in miserable conditions. A number of priests and lay people realized that they would perish in a world of exploitation, brutality and crime. They invited the children to play together on Sundays to recreate, to study, to worship and so Chiro was born. These were the needs of the past and until now these basic needs for a good and healthy recreation and formation remain the same.
On January 10, 1952, Fr. Francis Gevers, CICM, initiated the Chiro in the Philippines. Faced with a great number of children in the Mountain Provinces and looking for an alternative of the Scouting Movement which was operating in the public schools, the Prelature of the Mountain Province introduced in almost every parish the Chiro, through its Missionaries the CICM Fathers and ICM Sisters. It was felt that the Chiro was an answer to the need of liturgical, spiritual and social formation of the youth during the pre-Vatican and Second Vatican Council periods. Through the chains of CICM and ICM schools and parishes, the movement spread to other parts of the Philippines.
It made the youth acquainted with liturgical celebrations and sacramental life, during their induction as a 9, 12, 15 year old member. Christian values as honesty and commitment were imbibed through the many games they played. All these appealed to the children and gave formation to young leaders who were put in charge of these activities.
Source: The New Chiro Way, Ldr. Edgar Montiano and Fr. Gerry Bouckaert, CICM