GOD’s LOVE (even at shopping malls!) as a Youth Catechist

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. (John 6:44)

I am so excited with our class project in our Catechetics and Organizational Planning at Don Bosco Center of Studies last Saturday! We are to interview a group of parents assigned to us at BSP Gawad Kalinga, Paranaque City in order to know if a catechesis for parents would be possible in the area to be proposed to the parish of Mary Help of Christians; and also to serve as an outreach service of the school in the future.

Another thing that makes me excited about this project, is the fact that all of us are doing this for the first time. Furthermore, we also have the opportunity to work with our professor Fr. Rafael dela Cruz, who is our classmate for this project?! In our group Fr. Vic Cervania assigned me with my groupmates- Fr.Rey, Sr.Ma. Cristina Guevara and Mylene Icamina. How can this be more exciting?

Or so I thought…

Our group was able to interview five (5) households that Saturday afternoon and discuss with them if they are open with the possibility of catechesis for parents at their area. The first two households are open to the program, even they are coming from other religion or is non-practicing Catholics. The last two households are already having their catechesis and formation program as active members of Couples for Christ (CFC) in the nearby parish of Mary Help of Christians.

At the end of the activity, Fr. Vic asked me, “Bakit mukha kang pagod?” (Why do you look tired?) Hahaha, I just smiled; I knew I told him something but I just can’t recall it now. I asked my other classmate then Sr. Loren Briones on our way home what I felt after the activity (if it is normal?).

Me: Why do I feel so down after the activity especially on the 3rd household we’ve went to interview?

Sr. Loren: Why what happened?

Me: In the 3rd household, we were able to interview the mother and most of the questions we asked her- “Should there is a possibility of catechesis program for parents in the area, will she attend?” she only says “Hindi ko alam” (I do not know). We all felt (or maybe just me!) felt so low energy at that household. I just lighten up the mood by asking her again, “What is your bonding activity in the family?” and she told us, with a slightly higher tone (maybe happy?) “We go to SM ( a popular shopping mall in the country), ‘pag may pera” (if we have money). I’m not sure why I was surprised to hear her polite answers of uncertainty (or maybe discomfort with the topic). Am I expecting too much if I say that I expect that all the households we go to will welcome this initiative. I should have recovered from this feeling because there is already two (2) households who are actively involved in the church and trans-parochial community such as CFC but you know what I feel? I feel really down or sad that there is still one (1) household who does not know Him. I recall what Jesus told us in the parable of the lost sheep.

Jesus said, If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? (Luke 15:4)

I then went home with that feeling, thank God the next day- our family decided to spend an afternoon at Trinoma Quezon City to watch the new film Bourne Legacy. It showcased our country- the Philippines in the big screen. And since it is Sunday, we will also catch the Holy Mass there at one of the shopping mall we have here.

We ended up catching late the Holy Mass at Landmark Department store, in time for the homily. During the mass, while singing with the choir, I was in tears the whole time as the Lord reminded me of His love through all the people that heard ‘His call’ to be in the assembly of new venue of church for most of us- which is the shopping malls. (Many thanks to http://www.robandrew.com and http://www.estancabigas.com for the photos below!)

I have this realization (while crying at the Holy Mass) that it is the LORD who led our family to know His face and His Son thru His Spirit. The class project experience the day before, though not what I was expecting would turn out to be; just strongly reminded me what I learned last Friday during the Theological-Pastoral Symposium on New Evangelization on the particular topic-‘ The Canonization of Beato Pedro Calungsod de Cebu’ by Msgr Dennis Villarojo. The Philippines is now celebrating not only because we have long scenes in Bourne Legacy (hehehe…) kidding aside, because we have now two saints in the country. The canonization will happen this coming October 12, 2012.

And in line with that celebration, he shared to us this video of the second saint in the Philippines who is a youth catechist when he sacrificed his life as a martyr to be able to share the Christian faith in the islands of Guam long time ago:

I can easily recall my groupmate Mylene during the interview we had at that 3rd household when she asked the daughter:

Mylene: Do you have catechist at school?

Child: Yes we have (smiling).

Mylene: Do you know her?

Child: Yes she is from St. Antonio de Padua church (she even mentioned the name of her catechist).

Lord I pray that you continue to show Your face in all of us in our daily lives especially those who do not still know You. Beato Pedro Calungsod look on us from where we are, pray for us also as catechists to fulfill this mission of directing the children to a deeper encounter with His Son Jesus Christ and through the aid of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord called me to be a youth catechist so I can share His love to every family who still do not know Him through their youth. And from there I have a glimpse of hope…


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