Photo Credit: Photografia de Santa Ana
On February 7, Sunday, all parishes in the Archdiocese of Manila formally launched the celebration of 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines with the theme: “Gifted to Give.” There were a lot of different preparations on how the communities will celebrate a treasured milestone in our history.
The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Abandoned celebrated this launching in the form of a Eucharistic Mass presided by the Parish Priest and Rector, Rev. Fr. Esmeraldo T. Enalpe, OFM at the 8:00 am livestreamed mass. Members of the Parish Executive Committee and Parish Pastoral Council, together with other parishioners were present.
In line with the parish celebration, we witnessed the commissioning of parish leaders as they gave their “yes” to the Lord. Fr. Enalpe emphasized that constantly saying YES to do mission is brought upon by the grace that God has given us. He also pointed out the methodology that St. Paul used to preach the Gospel—to adjust ourselves to various life situations, making ourselves felt by the parishioners through pakikisalamuha. All of us are in mission to preach God’s Good News free of charge, without expecting anything in exchange.
Fr. Enalpe thanked our generous benefactors who continuously say YES in supporting parish activities such as the feeding program and the assistance during the time of lockdown. He emphasized the significant work of parish leaders, actively living out Buhay Katiwala (Spirituality of Stewardship)—reaching out to the people in the communities, making the parishioners feel that Christ is with them. He encouraged us to be missionaries despite our current situation—that we can be missionaries in prayer for our brethren who are still suffering because of the pandemic and for those who are slowly losing their hopes, like Job in the Old Testament. Lastly, another way of being a missionary is sharing the Word of God through social media. Sharing the Word of God helps see the worth of our lives, that there is meaning and worth to be thankful for.
After the communion, Fr. Enalpe blessed the Mission Cross given to the parish leaders commissioned to do the mission of upholding the Gospel and bringing the people to Jesus. Each leader received the Mission Cross and professed commitment. At the end of the mass, during the recessional, the choir, Chorus Angelicus sang the theme song of 500 Years of Christianity “We Give Our Yes” composed by Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo and sung by Jamie Rivera while the Animation Committee of the Youth Ministry performed for the congregation to follow.
Truly, as I was handed my Mission Cross, and signified my full commitment as a youth leader of our parish, I say YES to the mission entrusted to me by God to accompany my fellow youth in ministry towards Christ, for all of us in mission to bring the people of our community to Jesus.
By Edward Esguerra
Currently the head of the Parish Youth Ministry,
a YSLEP scholar and member of the Lectors and Commentators Ministry.