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In its Annual Fellowship and pot-luck luncheon held last January 7 the SSAP-JPIC Scholarship Committee members honored its Spiritual Advisers Fr. Reu Jose C. Galoy, OFM, Parish Priest of Santuario de San Antonio who celebrated his birthday last January 26 and Sr. Marisa Lichauco, retired Grade School principal of Miriam College.

Sr. Marisa shared Joyce Rupp’s “A Christmas Blessing” by reading the first line, with each member taking her turn in reading aloud the “blessings,” an apt reminder to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, sometimes overshadowed by commercialism of the season and the rush to making our lists, shopping, gift-giving, food preparations, the party-hopping and family reunions amidst stress from the worsening Metro Manila traffic situation.


~ May there be harmony in all your relationships. May sharp words, envious thoughts, and hostile feelings be dissolved.
~ May you give and receive love generously. May this love echo in your heart like the joy of church bells on a clear December day.
~ May each person who comes into your life be greeted as another Christ. May the honor given the Babe of Bethlehem be that which you extend to every guest who enters your presence.
~ May the hope of this sacred season settle in your soul. May it be a foundation of courage for you when times of distress occupy your inner land.
~ May the wonder and awe that fills the eyes of children be awakened within you. May it lead you to renewed awareness and appreciation of whatever you too easily take for granted.
~ May the bonds of love for one another be strengthened as you gather with your family and friends around the table of festivity and nourishment.
~ May you daily open the gift of your life and be grateful for the hidden treasures it contains.
~ May the coming year be one of good health for you. May you have energy and vitality. May you care well for your body, mind and spirit.
~ May you keep your eye on the Star within you and trust this Luminescent Presence to guide and direct you each day.
~ May you go often to the Bethlehem of your heart and visit the one who offers you peace. May you bring this peace into our world.

– Joyce Rupp

Fr. Reu thanked everyone for the opportunity to gather together as one family, one community, and one parish. He talked of a wholistic approach of enriching ourselves in the context of the Ministry we are involved in through a celebration of friendship and community in helping others. Through our get-together, we celebrated not only our spiritual nourishment and social needs but also the care for our physical well-being as we shared in the table of God’s bounty.

The JPIC Scholarship Committee members present were Menchu Bautista, Millette Ocampo, Letty Laurel, Doris See, Girl Velasquez, Bambina Buenaventura, Dely Fernandez and Jean Chavez. Also present were Jackie Macasias, Nimfa Dumago and Alice Loto of the SSAP, our fellow workers in the Lord’s vineyard.

Fr. Reu and Sr. Marisa blew their birthday candles from two round cakes iced in green and lavender fondant. As in previous years, Mariza’s love for all shades of purple was elegantly played up in the decor: a Christmas tree decked in purple trimmings, a beautiful lavender mantle with matching lavender napkins neatly folded in coiled purple beads, a rustic centerpiece of twigs on which were intertwined lavender shades of vandas, other floral varieties in an interplay of purple hues interspersed with green berries to signify prosperity for the New Year. The all too familiar menu was superb — a specialty of each member. A recipe handed down from Mariza’s grandmother to her mother, Mrs. Rosie O. Valencia, the Lady of the House’s Pancit Luglog took center stage, topped with a radish condiment painstakingly diced and marinated in a vinegar–soy mixture, providing a tangy essence and crunchy texture. As we sipped our dalandan granita, Mariza’s efficient staff headed by Maritess kept an eagle eye on everyone’s needs. One couldn’t help but admire the sleek acrylic purple pitcher. “That pitcher was Maritess’ Christmas present to the family,” a beaming Mariza announced.

We were all in familiar surroundings, feeling so much at home, helping ourselves to heart-warming comfort food, with the bonds of friendship renewed “around the table of festivity and nourishment.”