Sunday, November 27, 2005


The procession in honor of Mary, our Lady of the Miraculous Medal was to be at 5:00 AM. Today was her feast day, 27 November. In the Parish of St. Fabian, Pope and Martyr, the parishioners are the Blessed Virgin Mary’s devotees. They had to have a procession in honor of her Miraculous Medal.

Processions do not come always in the Parish. But when we have one, it is always well attended and participated in. They are greatly loved as well as so much appreciated!

The Parish had religious procession on the fiesta of San Fabian, 20 January. On this day, all the images of the Barangay Patron Saints are brought out and carried during the procession together with the image of Senor San Fabian. A procession is again held on Good Friday of the Holy Week. Literally, thousands would flock the procession of the Santo Bangkay. Another procession would be held during the feast of our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary following the month-long celebration of the Family Rosary Month in October. Finally, on the feast of Mary of the Miraculous Medal. This is one of the most attended processions mainly because the parish has about fifty-four coros with about 30 family-members each coro!

The individual images of each of the 54 coros were brought to the procession. Each is accompanied by the members of the coro. They are led by the Hermana, chosen by drawing of lots every year. Since there are 30 family-members, one’s turn to become a hermana would come only every after 30 years!

The images are put in a carriage, adorned with beautiful flowers. Some are put in make-shift carriages. Others in the padyak, a small tricycle, a “foot-powered” means of transportation popular in the country. Still, others are just carried in the arms of the hermana, or a member of the coro. The images are fairly small, generally. The oldest image dates back in the year 1936. That was the year the first coro of the Mary of the Miraculous Medal was established in San Fabian.

Except for the procession of the Santo Bangkay, the parishioners (especially the “akukoks”) would hold the processions early, early morning. Usually before the break of the dawn!

Candles are carried and lighted. These are the standard items to be carried. The band of the Parochial School accompanies the processions.

After the long procession, a mass was celebrated.

Then the sharing of food! Prepared by the hermana. Partaken by all the members. The drawing of lots is done to determine who will be next year’s hermana. It is a great honor and a wonderful privilege to be one. It is a responsibility which carries with it bountiful blessings and graces from God, through Mary of the Miraculous Medal.

It is an enviable lot to be considered as the hermana! A grateful hermana at the end of the year shares her blessings with the members of the coro. Thus, the bountiful and sumptuous meal!

Thursday, November 24, 2005


It was only about half past five in the afternoon but it was already getting dark. It is during these times that the night is longer than the day. I was surprised then to see several of the “old ladies” of the parish still inside the church. The old women usually go home earlier that usual during these times. I went over to them, and realized that they were members of the Mother Butler Guild. They were cleaning the church.

Everyday I see them religiously wiping the dust off the pews, sweeping the church floor, removing the cobwebs, arranging flowers. Everyday, without fail, these “old ladies”, who I endearingly call “akukoks” keep the church spotless, dust free, flower-laden! Without fail, every afternoon, they bring their brooms, wiping rags, dust bins and clean and clean and clean…

Dedication. Commitment. Humble Servie.

These are words that can best describe these “akukoks” of the Parish of St. Fabian.

Salamat ya balbaleg ed sikayo!

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Two aunts passed away within one week.

Tia Pat  collapsed while she was with friends in her favorite spot at the Public Market. She was rushed to the nearby clinic where she breathed her last.

Everybody was saying that her death was unexpected; that it came as a big surprise. The conclusion, however, was the same for all: if it was her time to go, nobody could do anything about it.

What everybody was saying were all true.

Death comes at a moment we will never expect. Death surprises us. Always. And there is nothing we can do about it. We are all going to die. Somehow. Sometime.

Every week, I celebrate Funeral Masses for one or two parishioners. Even in death, I can see the differences between the dead. Whether one is rich or poor, a politician or an ordinary parishioner. But, except for the kind of casket or the funeral service, death does not distinguish the poor from the rich. From the young and the old. Death is a great EQUALIZER.

Naked we came into this world; naked we will leave it.

Our wealth and power. Awards and Recognitions. Anything and everything  that we own and try to keep for ourselves will be left behind for friends and relatives to fight over and keep for themselves. Death is an EQUALIZER.

Death reminds us that we are just passing by in this world. To think that we will stay here forever is foolish. To live as if we will never leave this place is even more imprudent.

Then why are we living as if powerful positions will be with us forever. That we can do whatever we want to gain more money and power, and more wealth and more power. Even at the expense of the people, the community, the country.

The highest official in the land, the lowest laborer in the country. The most powerful jueteng lord and the very poor who place their bets. The thieves in the government and the liars in public office. The saints and the sinners. ALL WILL PASS AWAY. Death makes everybody equal. We will all die, and nobody can stop it from visiting us. Today or tomorrow. Anytime.

We are just passersby in this world. Let us make the most of this temporal stay. For we will pass this way but only once.

Now, what happens after we die? What will be God’s judgment over us? Remember: this God can never be bribed, can never be bought, can never be intimidated. Death will have the last laugh. God will have the last say, after all.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Behold the Kingdom of God is among you!

“Behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”
Lk 17,20-25

There are three things we always consider when we speak of a kingdom.

A kingdom is ruled by a king.

A kingdom is guided by its laws.

A kingdom is populated by its people.

The king rules for the good of his kingdom and its people. The king and the people to have progress and peace must observe its laws. The people of the kingdom must be cared for by the king, guided by the laws; and in return, they serve and dedicate their lives to their king and the kingdom.

What is the kingdom of God? It is ruled by God. Its laws are very few: love of God and love of neighbor. And we are the citizens of this kingdom.

This kingdom is found already among us. How? We ask three questions: Who is our King? What commandments are we following? Are we serving our King and the other members of this kingdom?

Thanking God ...

"Occasionally" is the frequent answer to the question: Do you thank God always? Why are we not thanking God more than we ought to?

Because: we have been so busy doing so much for God. Great things. Magnificent things. Wonderful things.

Result: we think God owes it to us that we have been doing all these things for Him. He owes. God should thank us!

Instead, let us pause from these wonderful things we are doing for God, and pray. And reflect on what God has been doing for us.

Result: a life of constant gratitude to God's loving mercy!


Friday, November 04, 2005

Only God ...

You cannot serve God and mammon.
Lk 16, 9-15

Money in itself is not bad; wealth in itself is not evil. But then, we can desire money so much, it becomes the moving spirit behind our actions, and thoughts and dreams. And even our prayers.

But we have only one God. He is our master. And as our Master, He is the source of our life-direction, how we think and do and live. He is our Master whose life we want to become.

Not money. Not wealth. Not power.

Then why do we cry so much when we lose our wealth and money and security and power? We even say, “What will I be now that I have lost my wealth and power? I am nothing. It’s better that I die!”

We cannot serve God and wealth together.

But we can use wealth to serve God through others. Look at what the Good Samaritan did. How about the Zacchaeus who was more than ready to part with his wealth to the poor he has deceived?

There is only one God. He alone we should serve. All the rest are just means for us to glorify Him and serve others.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Children of the Light

“For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.”
Lk 16,1-8

We tend to be very protective of the things we possess; the trophies we have earned; the honors we have reaped; the wealth we have so guarded well. These have given us satisfaction, security and happiness. We prayed for them; cried over them; fought for them.

No matter what we do and how much we wish: these, however, will not last. They fade away; they lose their glitter; they waste away in time.

We so foolishly believed that the things of this world, if we deal with them prudently, will be with us for as long as we want.

If only we can be so possessive over the words of Jesus; the values of love and charity; honesty and truthfulness; service and availability; mercy and forgiveness.

For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.

“Make us, Lord, true children of the light. Amen”.