Thursday, February 17, 2005

First Communicants in Brgy. Narvarte, Sabangan Elementary School


Everyday for the past two weeks, we have been going around the different barangay elementary schools to celebrate the first confession and communion of children in these schools. They have been taught the basic catechism by our dedicated volunteer catechists for the past ten months. This would be the culminating activity of these ten-month catechism classes. By the first week of March, we would have covered the more than 25 schools in the parish.

Our schedule usually begins at 8:00 AM. The first communicants are gathered in one room where they would pray, led by a catechist. Then one by one, they go to confession.

"In the name of the Father.... (Some out of nervousness would use their left hand, or start at the forehead, then go the right shoulder...) "Bless me Father.... (or Pari).

When I was a young seminarian, I was assigned in a certain town in the eastern part of Pangasinan in San Quintin to do my summer apostolate together with three others. One of our tasks was to prepare children for first communion, which implied that we would prepare them for first confession.

The big day came. There were these children all dressed up. The boys in white shirts and black pants (or short pants). The girls in their white dresses. One by one, they went to the priest to confess their sins. I was to guide them in praying the Act of Contrition and the penance given to them by the priest: usually one "Our Father".

This boy came. I asked him if he knew how to pray the "Our Father".

"Not very well, " he said.

"OK, then, "I told him, "Just repeat after me."

He nodded, relieved and pleased.

"Our Father", I said.

"Our Father" , came the reply. (I realized I had to say the prayer two words at at time for him to follow me).

"Holy be ..", I continued.

"Holy be..", was the reply, again.

"Your name..." , I said.

No reply.

"Your name...", I repeated in a louder voice.

The boy looked at me. Puzzled. "Your name...", I said quite irritated while I looked back at him.

In a soft but audible voice, he said, "JIMMY!".

Amen to that.

Har! Har!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Salt and Light

It takes one good deed for a community to start sharing and caring for one who is so much in need. Kuya Nick has been in the hospital for some weeks now. He has been in and out of the ICU. Medicines are needed and are to be bought. So are others that he needs, for him to recover his strength. But Kuya Nick does not have much.

It takes one person to get the community to pitch in and help. People has stopped and asked themselves, "If she who is not even related to Kuya Nick has been offering her time and money, why can't I? Why can't we?" So, money for Kuya Nick's hospitalization and other needs have been pouring in.

Only because one showed special care and concern for the "least of His brethren". God's mercy manifested in others will multiply a hundredfold. God's grace, received and shared, will bear fruit more than what has been sown!