In the pattern of daily work, we take many things for granted: A restful sleep, a bright new morning to jumpstart our wits and enthusiasm, plus re-energized vigor to tackle the day’s load. We focus on our own needs and priorities, shutting out the others, until we come across those who have made it their ‘business’ to take care of other’s ‘business.’ They come, full of hope and trust that with us holding their hand, any task will bear fruits. They are the Franciscans, OFM (Order of Friars Minor).
“They’re in urgent need,” said Jayme Blanco, a lay minister whom I met in Santuario de San Antonio Parish a couple of years ago. “Just as our world is growing in population and in years, the demand on their time and resources is steadily increasing,” he said.
When I turned the pages of the Parish Bulletin (www.ssaparish.com), I read the various ministries that remain at the core of the Franciscans’ drive: Hospital ministry, scholarship, prison, ecology, youth ministry, friendship home livelihood assistance, Basey Samar housing, the poor rural parishes in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, and many others. I find them closest in response to Jesus’ words that whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. This is the very reason why the Parish of San Antonio mounts a charity event every year. (Year 2015 marks the ruby anniversary of the Parish).
Our men in brown, aware that they are not adequately equipped, seek help from others who are better adept to take charge of philanthropic undertakings. At the center of this appeal for funds, they remain grateful and appreciative to the Working Committee and their assembly of volunteers. A sense of appreciation that is further expressed through the distinctive personalities who are blessed with immense talent and are equally inspired to share and help the Parish in their own artistic way.
This year, we applauded Cecile Licad and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the inspired baton of Gerard Salonga. In the realm of concert music, Cecile Licad makes the ebony and ivory keys take flight, carrying our passion with it.
In a film on the life of English author Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol), there was one scene I found most compelling:
The author was dining in a restaurant when a gentleman approached him, “Why is it we should help those who do not help themselves?” By those, he meant the many fallen women and their offspring, who rely on charity hospitals (similar to what we have around Manila).
Dickens replied, “These two grim nurses, Poverty and Sickness, bring these children before you and preside over their births, rock their wretched cradles, nail down their little coffins, and pile up the earth above their graves. Their unnatural deaths form one third of the annual deaths in our great town.”
“But what of God?” the gentleman continued. “What of Him?” Dickens retorted. “I feel sure God looks leniently on all vice that proceeds from human tenderness and natural passion.”
God is always entitled to our best. The best in our craft, in writing, in singing, in dancing, in playing, especially in the choices we make and what we hold close to our hearts.
FrancisFest 2015 deserved our best.
In praise of God and for His glory.
Cecile Licad in Concert SOLD OUT! Sponsorships and donations are still accepted. Kindly contact Bernadette Andulte of SSAP Office at 843-8830/31.