Beneficiaries of the Annual Francisfest

The sole beneficiary of the annual Francisfest is the Santuario de San Antonio Parish Foundation Inc. (SSAPF). This was organized and registered as a donee institution on May 6, 1982 for the purpose of promoting the growth of Christian faith in the community, developing spiritual growth among its members and beneficiaries and giving assistance to every individual by promoting and sponsoring programs and projects. SSAPF supports the following ministries of the parish:

An Overview

Sometime in 1996, then parish priest, Fr. Romeo Abesamis, discovered some unused funds – about P400,000 – in the coffers of the parish. He mentioned this to some parishioners, and the idea to start a scholarship program for indigent youth who had finished high school but had no means to continue further studies, was born. After ground rules for the program were established, it was decided that the funds would be used to provide young men with one year vocational/technical skills so they could immediately earn a living for their families. With Don Bosco Technical Institute as our first partner school, 12 carefully selected indigent young men became our first batch of scholars, taking up Automotive, Electrical, Airconditioning & Refrigeration courses. Thus was born the Santuario de San Antonio JPIC Scholarship Program, an outreach program under the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Ministry.

Through the years, the program has grown and developed to include ladies, ages 16 to 25, as long as they passed the intensive interviews given by the Scholarship Program committee members. Then the program was enhanced with monthly spiritual and moral values formation so that our scholars would become, not only economically self reliant, but also responsible Christian citizens living with dignity in society. Twice a month English tutorial class, conducted by two prominent English professors who are also parishioners, have greatly increased their command of the language, giving them further
edge when applying for jobs. Seventeen years after its birth, for school year 2013-2014, the SSAP JPIC Scholarship Program has increased to 85 the number of its scholars – 60 taking up vocational/technical courses, such as Fitter Machinery, Automobile Mechanics, Refrigeration & Air-Con Mechanics, and Electro-mechanical Technology at Don Bosco Technical Institute, and Heavy Equipment Technology and Industrial Office Management at Monark Institute. The ladies go to Punlaan School or Maligaya Institute (both Opus Dei institutions) to study Food & Beverage Preparation Service or Culinary Arts & Institutional Services. Those who have the aptitude for care-giving are sent to Our Lady of Guadalupe School for Care- Givers.We have 25 college scholars taking up various college degrees in the Metro- Manila.

Funds raised from Francisfest 1996 (the year we started the scholarship program), were allocated to the Scholarship Program. Since then, the yearly budget given by the parish for vocational/technical scholars, has come from Francisfest Fundraising events. Scholarship for College students are solicited by the SSAP Scholarship committee members, through letters to parishioners and friends and through appeals in the Parish Bulletin.

The SSAP JPIC Scholarship Program has, since 1996, graduated hundreds of scholars and many lives have been changed. Parents are oh so happy to attend graduation rites of their son or daughter, most of them for the first time ever. Jobs became possible, and finishing a vocational/technical course or college degree opened up better opportunities for them. The scholars’ dream of uplifting the lives of their families (“maiangat ang buhay ng aming pamilya”) has become a reality – food has been put on the table 3 times a day, siblings have been sent to school, their quality of life has greatly improved. Some who have worked as OFWs even own their own houses. Our scholars have many true-to-life stories to tell of their struggles and successes.

All these came to fruition because you – our parishioners and friends – listened and responded generously, with caring hearts and open hands, whenever appeals were made. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Proudly we can say that God’s words to St. Francis, “Come, build my Church” is alive here in Santuario de San Antonio Parish!

THE HOSPITAL MINISTRY (with the Health Care Ministry)

The Hospital Ministry was formed in 2011. It’s forerunner was the PGH Adopt-A-Child which started in 1990. The development came about when other hospitals were added to the list of beneficiaries. The first chairperson of the Hospital Ministry was the late Mr. Steve Lopez (1990 to 2013). At present, it is Mr. Vicente Pacheco who heads the ministry, which is a unification of the hospital outreach programs of the parish namely; PGH Outreach Program, Our Lady of Porziuncola Hospital Inc (OLPHI) in Samar both under JPIC and the Rizal Medical Center under the Health Care Ministry.

The mission of the Hospital Ministry is to identify through the Social Workers the poorest of the poor patients who have good prognoses to get well if given the proper medicines.

A.) PGH Outreach Program ( Adopt – A – Child) has been in existence for the last 23 years. It was started in 1990 with Mr. Steve Lopez, Mrs. Marrot Moreno, Maria Clara Canoy and the late Marisa Oreta as members. It serves Pediatric Charity Wards 9 & 11 and the Orthopedic Ward. PGH has recognized our ministry for its consistency of providing medicines to the poor by giving us yearly awards. The latest one “Katibayan ng Pagkilala” was given last August 14, 2013 at PGH Science Hall.

For 2013 it has served 171 patients with mortality rate of 7.6% and a budget of P977,341.75.

B.) Rizal Medical Center (RMC) was started in 2009 by Mrs. Susan Chung, then head of the Health Care Ministry with the concurrence of our then Parish Priest Fr. Tony Rosales, OFM. The pediatric ward receives both medical assistance and pastoral care. The Social Worker of RMC assists in identifying the most deserving patients (the poorest of the poor with good prognosis). The visit by the members is every Friday.

To date it has served 512 patients (2009 – 2012) spending
Php 1,550,941.85

C.) Our Lady of Porziuncula Hospital Inc (OLPHI) was started in 2011 and was recommended by Fr. Joel Sulse, OFM to JPIC Ministry under the Hospital Ministry. The project is primarily focused on the supply of medicines and cost of procedures prescribed by their physicians for indigent patients both adult and pediatrics. Patients served came from all over Samar. The Social Worker of OLPHI identifies patients who are in most need of medical assistance and then approved by Bro. Dennis Tayo, OFM, MD, the Hospital Director.

For 2013 it has served 27 patients and spent Php 112,712.29. We would like to thank all our DONORS for their continued support. We would like to encourage our parishioners to join the ministry. It is a venue where one can store up treasures in heaven by helping the poor and the sick. God bless.

For those who would want to be donors, please call parish office 843-8830/31 (Nimfa or Maela).

Health Care Ministry
By Barbie Young

Every Friday morning, the Hospital Ministry and the Health Care Ministry members of San Antonio commit their time and effort to the sick and needy patients in the pediatrics ward of Rizal Medical Center.

A typical morning starts with the compilation of all the records of the patients truly deserving of monetary aid. These patients were first screened and interviewed by the social workerin- charge, whose job is to gather all the information necessary for proper documentation and to assess the legitimacy of the needs. After all the necessary paperwork is in order, the group heads to the pediatrics ward to visit the patients in the list. The main purpose of the visit is to provide pastoral and spiritual care to the sick and disabled, and sometimes to the aged, following the footsteps of St. Francis. Spiritual direction is provided to the parents and guardians present. For example, if in the course of the conversation, it is discovered that the parents are not married, then advice is given on the importance of the sacrament of marriage in family life. Or, if the parents are uninformed or unaware of the natural family planning methods, then advice is given on the moral means to regulate birth such as the Billings Method, and on responsible parenthood. However, if upon seeing the patient and in consultation with his doctor, it becomes evident that financial assistance is necessary, then funds are provided to immediately purchase the medicines. The patient’s guardian is later accompanied to the nearby drug store. These funds are allocated by the church council at the beginning of every fiscal year, as part of the pastoral and mission programs of the parish.

Visiting the sick is a corporal work of mercy. Instructing the ignorant is a spiritual work of mercy. The Hospital and Health Care Ministry are both concerned with the human body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and a gift from God. But they also understand the important task of nourishing the
soul as well as the body.

The twin projects Santuario de San Antonio Parish Foundation (SSAPF) built in September 10, 1991 Re: the St. Francis Friendship Home and the La Ermita de San Nicolas de Tolentino in West Rembo, Makati City has entered a new season of ministry with the inception of the St. Francis Friendship Home Livelihood & Spirituality Center on September 10, 2011. The Center, continues to be the venue where the Secular Franciscans and Parishioners of Santuario de San Antonio Parish and Parishioners of West Rembo and surrounding communities meet, a mix of rich and poor coming together, becoming the agent of change of one another. Our Almighty God has assigned St. Francis Friendship Home Livelihood and Spirituality Center to the Secular Franciscans and Parishioners of SSAP and the West Rembo surrounding residents to learn from each other about life’s never ending difficult lessons thus journeying in faith to become brothers and sisters in Christ, to care for one another, to spiritually grow.

The Center has opened its doors to residents of all ages from 4 years old to senior citizens, making St. Francis Friendship Home vibrant, with interactive community activities enriched with spiritual, physical and character values formation such as: free access to CCD National Book Store for Kids and Youth weekly Bible sharing, summer activities for kids and youth, read-along projects and free screening of movies with important life lessons to be learned, access to La Ermita de San Nicolas de Tolentino spiritual journey experience and daily prayer visitations, interactive fiesta celebrations, daily community prayer of the Angelus and 3 o’clock prayer habit, livelihood opportunities for Missionary Entrepreneurs, opportunities for job placement and counselling services, and opportunities to buy bargain goods at the New Kamalig Ukay-Ukay Thrift Shop. It’s amazing indeed, how our Almighty God continues to shape the St. Francis Friendship Home Livelihood & Spirituality Center to become a safe haven where the Parishioners of Santuario de San Antonio Parish and the West Rembo communities meet, praying, serving, working, playing, listening and resting, becoming friends of Jesus and St. Francis’ little friends.

A Francisfest Beneficiary

By Fr. Joel E. Sulse, OFM

The Franciscan Missions here and abroad have been lauded because of the effects it has made on the lives of the people, whom the brothers serve and with whom they work. It has influenced a lot of communities as well, through the help of the lay faithful, who have been generous of their most valued time, material resources and best efforts, leading the Church into a realization that truly the Kingdom of God can be achieved through a unified action empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Records of the history of the Franciscan Missions, written by John Moorman on the History of the Franciscan Order (From Its Origins to the Year 1517) tell us that there was a time when,“Christendom was greatly troubled.” There were dangers that beset the Church –the heretical movements, invasion of the Moslems, Holy Land needing protection, among others. Many Franciscan brothers died. There were records even of Poor Clare sisters who were massacred. Despite the heavy loss of lives, they continued to organize the communities of the faithful. In the midst of uncertainties and great danger, they stood their ground and offered their lives in “building the Church” true to the commitment left by St. Francis, their inspiration.

One of this year’s Francisfest beneficiaries is the Franciscan Mission Parishes. The Province of San Pedro Bautista is doing its best in order to respond to the demands of the missions here and abroad. Having accepted new pastoral commitments in the various dioceses, we, Franciscans continue to respond to these demands despite the financial issues involved. Perhaps the spirit of the Lord is moving us to continue the sublime work done by the Order as commanded by the Lord to St. Francis, “Build the Church!”.

However, an urgent issue has to be faced. Despite our (Franciscans) willing spirits, our meager resources are not enough. Unlike the other religious communities, we don’t have enough economic backups to sustain us in continuing the missions. Our financial records show that every month, our Procuration’s office needs an average of 2.8M to run it. The share we get from Santuario de San Antonio (which responds to 95% of our needs in the congregation) is not enough. This is the reason why almost all of the other funds of the Province are depleted and a clear view of deficits becomes evident year after year. In a situation like this, how can we respond to the many demands in the missions?

We believe that the providence of God is there for us, in the same way that we have been taught how to be fully committed to the missions despite the difficult situations we will be facing. But while we have this spiritual inclination and energy, we are worried as well on the demands of the many impoverished communities who need our help. Most of our mission parishes receive an average collection of P900 a week. Seven years ago, we received a commitment in Dagat-dagatan in Malabon and Navotas. But until now we cannot even build a chapel. Thus, people celebrate the mass in a covered court.

While the brothers can sustain themselves with vegetables, fish and root crops generously offered to them by their parishioners, they are caught in a difficult situation on how they will implement the pastoral programs needed by the people. They have been very creative in their own ways, even going to the extent of giving talks and retreats outside the parish to be able to augment their finances. Some of them have experienced burn-out. Others have gone into a crisis and we don’t have the resources to help them regain their spiritual composure. Thanks to the wisdom of our Holy Father Francis, who was convinced that no brother should be left alone in the community, that there should always be two or three brothers who should be assigned to compose a community.

We, Franciscans, are forever grateful because of the generosity accorded to us by you, our parishioners. We are oftentimes not expressive of all these pastoral needs. Perhaps, our religious culture has something to do with it, or maybe St. Francis wants us to be so. But we are very thankful that as the parish celebrates the 60th Diamond Jubilee of the founding of our community here, you have chosen the Franciscan Missions as one of the beneficiaries.

Please sustain us in our missions and let us continue to work in building the Church of God, which the Lord said to Francis “ … is falling into ruin!” God bless you all for your generosity.

A Francisfest Beneficiary

By Tricia Canapi

It was in 2011 when the Prison Ministry was introduced to the Single Young Adults (SYA) of Santuario de San Antonio. Steve Lopez was the Prison Ministry Head back then but he had a bad accident, which prevented him from continuing his service to the ministry. It was a surprising opportunity for the SYAers to serve a sort of
unpopular ministry. There were fears at the beginning, from sheer ignorance, of what serving the Prison Ministry meant.

We started with an activity with the inmates during the holy week, where we had about 6 groups headed by about 3 SYAers each, where they were asked to reflect on a Station of the Cross picture and share their reflection with the group. We also prepared some giveaways back then. The giving, the sharing and the whole Prison Ministry awareness during that time started the relationship of the Makati City Jail (MCJ) and SYA. I was tasked to head the ministry after Steve Lopez.

That year we had several fun activities such as soccer with the Philippine Team, dance lessons from a professional dance instructor, and a cooking contest which we called Master Chef sa MCJ where we had real chefs to judge them. Continuing with the service, we now host annual activities such as; Holy Week Cenaculo and Recollection in April, Flores de Mayo in May, St Anthony Fiesta in June, Medical and Dental Mission in September, Francisfest Activities in October, and Christmas Party and Christmas Gift Giving in December.

We also helped in their building of a chapel by providing 250 chairs and some paint for the structure. Beds and fans were also donated for the conjugal rooms.

It has not been easy to solicit for support, but in a really wonderful way, support was somehow always available at the exact time it was needed. Each smile, each high five, each hug, each tear of happiness has enriched me in several levels and I am sure that I am not the only one, who feels this way.

At this point, Jolly Gome continues to be the prime mover for projects to happen for the Makati City Jail inmates, Fr Joel Sulse and Nimfa Dumago continue to guide SYA Volunteers, I have been limited to actively participate in the activities as I have an auto-immune disorder called Myasthenia Gravis. Luckily, Prison Ministry is no longer the unpopular ministry to support. More SYAers have responded to the call of Prison Ministry service and there is a continuing effort to solicit for MCJ activities. Currently, SYA also leads a weekly Cathechism class of 100. We are grateful for the opportunity to love and to serve and it is my hope that SYA continues this loving service in the years to come.