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In this week’s Parish Bulletin….
Opening a Window, Extending a Hand
By Mariza V. del Rosario
For much of the last 24 years — the SSAP Foundation Inc.’s Scholarship Program Committee members — would start the new year with much excitement — focused on the upcoming School Year. We get ready by reviewing application forms, interviewing applicants and having Deliberation meetings to determine who would be accepted. Finally, we budget our scholarship assistance to include tuition, minimal food allowance, and a transportation allowance.
Our pride and joy is a Spiritual Moral Values Formation Program — which we implemented during our 1st and 3rd Saturday Monthly Meetings — workshops & seminars, and cluster groupings to allow us to get to know our scholars better. We also provide English tutorials, and Catechism modules offered by the Single Young Adults. We had an Annual Recollection, a Christmas party and a Graduation Picnic. We had our roadmap all worked out, year in an year out. Our formula worked!
However, in this pandemic year, we found ourselves a little disturbed, and more challenged than usual. Anticipation was replaced by some trepidation, enough doubts, and more than a little anxiety. We also found out that our applicants and their families had the same fears, but magnified. How would their children’s dreams be fulfilled if there were to be no or few scholarships granted this year?
Not wanting to leave anyone behind — we decided to start with the reapplications of our continuing scholars — numbering 23. We pondered whether we should even stay wth that and not consider the new applicants. There were many — including 10 from needy communities — who were recommended by our Friars. We discerned, we prayed, and with Fr Reu’s approval, we decided to step up to the challenge. We would support our continuing scholars — and then take in some new appliicants as well.
We wondered how to continue with open lines of comunication; how to achieve close monitoring by our Socio-Pastoral worker, and allowing our scholars the exposure to our formation activities, at this time. For many of us non-techies, we decided to utilize cellphone calls, email, and Zoom meetings. Where there is a will, there is a way!
In this pandemic year, things are no longer the way we have been used to. We all need to be more innovative, creative, and more flexible in order to adjust to the new normal.
The Lord has said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find.” We entrusted all to Him and He helped us find a way.
Building the Legacy of St. Clare of Assisi By Fr. Joel Sulse, OFM
St. Clare of Assisi became very famous in the history of the Church because she was the first woman to write a Rule of Life. Considered as one of the towering figures in the field of spirituality, she gave her life for the Church and lived inside the monastery in total submission to the will of God. In the very famous letter of Clare — to Ermentrude of Bruges, daughter of the mayor of Cologne, who lived as a hermit for twelve years — she wrote: “Faithfully return to God what you have promised and He will reward you.”[Epistola #8]. Clare truly is a total embodiment of spiritual encouragement and concrete prayer. Account says, “until she became prayer herself.”
It is in this path that the parishioners of St. Clare of Assisi keep the courage to follow her footsteps. Among the many saints considered by the community to become their patron, the spirit of St. Clare preoccupied the hearts of all. They want to follow her and emulate her fragrant and shining example even in her poverty. When they come to know about her spirituality most especially having renounced everything that she possessed for the poor, the more that they love her. The Privilege Poverty of Clare which she fought for and waited for the approval of the Holy Pope, became the apex of her dream to follow Christ wholeheartedly. She received the approved Rule, and two days later, she died. Yet, her mission prospered down through the ages.
The parish of St. Clare in the Diocese of Kalookan started as a mission community. The presence of the Franciscans in the area brought some encouraging changes in the lives of the people. The residents have progressed reasonably well and their active participation in their pastoral needs convinced everyone that they were now ready to face the challenges of having to stand on their own as a quasi-parish. On April 17, 2017, it was elevated as such. Gifted with hardworking and faithful leaders, the community involved their families to organize — the church as a living testament of God’s presence — despite being economically disadvantaged. Finally, it was elevated to a Parish by Bp. Pablo Virgilio David, DD, on December 8, 2018.
It was on March 20, 2007 when the Minister Provincial, Fr. Baltazar Obico, OFM, wrote a letter to Bishop Deogracias Ynigues, DD, about some priests’ desire to serve the urban poor communities in the diocese. In 2009, Fr. Jose Reu Galoy, OFM, its first Administrator, together with three other student friars, arrived in the mission area. They started the presence in Barangay Longos, Malabon. They helped in organizing the two big barangays, one in Navotas, that is, Brgy. North Bay Blvd. South, and one in Malabon, that is Brgy. Longos. The community decided to embrace St. Clare as their official patron.
Why build the Church despite the challenges of the pandemic that is affecting all of us? This inquiry challenges us all the more, that despite the crisis, the spirit of the people will show that God’s grace can never be stopped, and the more that it should be shown during moments of crisis. The incident of the multiplication of the loaves, an evident crisis moment, produced openness of the hearts and minds of the people gathered around Jesus, and they were able to collect some more. In the many trying moments in the lives of the people in St. Clare in the parish, it is through this, that the generosity of God and His holy miracles worked well for this purpose. The miracle of the loaves is a proven testimony — that with our faith — everything is possible. The plan to build the church had been laid out even before the pandemic. People cannot be accommodated well for their worship. The need to respond to the many pastoral concerns of the community is an encouragement that is being hindered because of our lack of a physical structure. This is the reason why we are begging.
I have written also in my previous article that it is the desire of the community that in celebration of the 500 years of Christianity in the country, a new church will be built that will cater to their pastoral needs. This is their dream, and they want others to share in this dream of constructing the home of St. Clare for her impoverished children in Malabon and Navotas, the way St. Francis built San Damiano for Clare and her sisters.
Please read through the information provided in our Parish Services page before sending your inquiries to the following individuals:
WEDDING: Fe Fernandez – firstname.lastname@example.org
CRYPT c/o Ma. Belen R. Salano: email@example.com
FUNERAL CHAPEL & PARISH CENTER: Alice Loto – firstname.lastname@example.org
BAPTISM services & MASS CARDS: Edna Limpiada – email@example.com
Parish Bulletin Ads: Rachelle Wenger – firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call us at:
SSAP Foundation Office: (02)8240-1546