Best Friends Forever: A Story of Lasting Friendship by Tessie Castaneda

Friends may not only be found in school or work places, but also in church, where people come to pray.

I was professed as a member of the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO), now Order of Franciscan Seculars (OFS), in 1979. Together with Fredy Consunji (1982), Piting Sindiong (1986), Nena O’Pallick and Pet Lim (1994), we attended regular meetings every third Tuesday of the month and daily masses at Santuario de San Antonio at 7:30 am. Pet and I served as Lectors, while Piting led the rosary before mass. Every Saturday, we had breakfast at Intercon or Dulcinea in Makati after mass. Nena Moreno and Gloria Morada, Fredy’s neighbors and regular 7:30am mass-goers, usually joined us. We would even wear matching clothes with Fredy, who was always in white. Thus, we called ourselves “the White Doves.” Over the years, we became very close and would regularly planned lunches or dinners around town. We periodically went ballroom dancing, and visited to Fredy’s fishpond in Bataan every summer. We also raised funds for the flooring of San Nicolas de Tolentino chapel.

Marrot Moreno had another plan in mind— to make older people enjoy life, be it taking them to places out of town or merely having lunch together at a nearby restaurant. “The White Doves” eventually became part of “The Silvers”. Formed seventeen years ago, my father, Amadeo Valenzuela, enjoyed every outing organized by “The Silvers” until he passed away in 2002.

Though the White Doves eventually lost Piting and both Nenas, our numbers still grew as more 7:30am mass attendees and members of The Silvers joined us. Today, we still meet for breakfast every Saturday after mass. Marrot also initiated the building of the Grotto in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes. Every 11th of the month, a mass is celebrated at 5:00pm, which The Silvers attend and have merienda afterwards.

If we do everything with good intentions and pure hearts, nothing can separate us. We may sometimes disagree or have different perspectives, but our friendships remain strong as ever. Forever— no matter what— we will always be friends.

As published in the December 11 issue of the Parish Bulletin.