(As published in the July 31 issue of the Parish Bulletin)

Family and Life Ministry by Jayme Blanco

The SSAP Family and Life Ministry (FLM) conducts a one day Pre-Cana seminar every first Saturday of the month. The Family and Life Ministry also offers family/marriage counselling and Bethany program.


Men of Sacred Heart (MSH) Santuario de San Antonio Parish Chapter
by Jayme Blanco

On the occasion of its 40th Anniversary, the MSH Recognition Award was given to Mr. Francisco V. Tankiang for organizing the Santuario de San Antonio Parish Chapter of the Men of the Sacred Heart. Per records, Mr. Tankiang requested the permission of the then Parish Priest, Fr. Urban Plachcinski, OFM and on July 04, 1976 the Santuario De San Antonio Chapter was organized with Fr. Urban as its Spiritual Director. They held their first organizational meeting on August 01, 1976 wherein they elected their first set of officers: Mr. Amadeo C. Valenzuela – President, Carmelo D. Gomez – Vice President, Bernardo Lopez – Treasurer, I. Christian G. Monsod – Secretary and Eduardo E. Eligir – Auditor. The SSAP Family and Life Ministry (FLM) conducts a one day Pre-Cana seminar every first Saturday of the month. The Family and Life Ministry also offers family/marriage counselling and Bethany program.

Mr. Tankiang was also instrumental in organizing the following chapters of the Men of the Sacred Heart:
1. Our Lady of Remedies Parish Chapter – Malate, Manila.
2. Nuestra Senora de Guia Parish Chapter – Ermita, Manila.
3. Espiritu Santo Parish Chapter – Tayuman, Sta. Cruz,
4. Our Lady of Fatima Chapter – Bacood, Sta. Mesa, Manila.

Mr. Tankiang is also a member of the Executive Council of the Men of the Sacred Heart.


Contemplative Ministry by Marge A. Tambunting

Aside from the weekly Monday prayer sessions the following formation classes were held in 2016. (All classes and retreats are open to parishioners)

February 13, 2016 — Speaker: Father Phil Estrella, OMI
9:00-12:00 noon; Santuario de San Antonio

April 16, 2016 — Speaker: Father Phil Estrella, OMI
“Encountering the Risen Christ in the Gospels”
9:00-12:00 noon; Santuario de San Antonio

June 11, 2016 — Speaker: Father Phil Estrella, OMI
“Ascension/Pentecost” Laudato Si and the Cosmic Christ
9:00-12:00 noon; Santuario de San Antonio

July 25, 2016 — Speaker: Father Orly Sapuay MS
9:00-12:00 noon; Santuario de San Antonio

Retreats were also offered on March 17-19, 2016 & June 17-19, 2016;
All on “Introduction to Centering Prayer.”



“LET THE CHILDREN COME TO ME…. and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14


Every Sunday during the 1030 am mass, a classroom full of 4-7 year olds gather together at the parish center for Magnifikids, a program under the Family and Life Ministry. It is a class where kids learn about the Sunday Gospel through fun activities like arts and crafts, story telling, games, song and dance.

As a volunteer teacher, I have witnessed how the above verse is made concrete through this program. Jesus indeed calls on everyone as His beloved children.

In a world where media and popular culture greatly influences the mindset and the lifestyle of even kids, it is very refreshing to have children equally talk about Easter as Christ’s resurrection and the egg hunt and bunny with so much gusto!


In a universe of violence and uncertainty, it is amazing that kids without hesitation sing the sorry song and reflect and pray for mercy for their sins.

Sure, these kids are not angels 100 % of the time. Sometimes they fight, call each other names and refuse to share crayons but in the end they make up, play and pray together.

As I end each class with these amazing kids, I am reminded to be childlike….loving and forgiving. They are truly gifts of our Lord not only to their families,but to our church as they serve as inspiration of love, joy, peace and hope to our imperfect lives.

SSAP Pre-Cana

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After months of research, training, formation and preparation, Family Life Ministry launched SSAP’s own Pre-Cana Program on November 7.

A team of facilitators, composed of married couples Ian and Tricia Monsod, Simon and Rina Villalon, Rocky and Yen Chan, Jaime and Karen Blanco, Mike and Monette Gomez, Doy and Jeannie Bitanga, take turns presenting the different modules designed to prepare engaged couples for the challenges of married life.

The seminar aims to provide the couples a better understanding of the commitments they make in a Catholic Marriage and how they can strengthen it. The topics covered are Catholic Marriage, Theology of the Body, Marriage Rite, Family of Origin, Marital Relationship including Sex, Parenting, Financial Stewardship, Communication in Marriage, Responsible Parenthood, Contraception and Natural Family Planning.

Parish Priest Fr. Reu Jose C. Galoy, OFM, gives an exhortation on the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and getting involved in their chosen parish to enrich their marriage. He gives the participants an opportunity to go to confession before the group is moved to the main church for the 6 PM mass.

The day concludes with the recognition of the engaged couples at the mass where they are given a special blessing and awarded a certificate of completion.

SSAP Pre-Cana seminars are scheduled on the first Saturday of the month. Pls. come at 8AM, program starts at 8:30 AM and ends at 7PM. Register online, here, or with Susan at the Parish Office, 843-8830 to 31 #4 and provide your preferred schedule, individual full names, nicknames, contact numbers and email addresses. If your wedding is not going to be held at SSAP, pls. seek permission from your wedding’s church before signing up for SSAP Pre-Cana.


SSAP Pre-Cana Seminar is set to begin November 7

UntitledA core group of volunteer parishioners underwent a one-day formation seminar on September 26, 2015 with top faculty from the Franciscan formation center to equip them with the basic knowledge and tools to give Pre-Cana seminars to couples scheduled to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish.

Noted Theology professor Dr Jose de Mesa lectured on the Theology of Marriage, – charting out how marriage has evolved over the years – from the era in which marital relations were regarded as inferior to an ascetic lifestyle – until the present day in which Catholic marriage bears the challenge of discipleship or being authentic followers of Jesus.

Canon lawyer Father Eugene Canete outlined the historical perspective of marriage in the Catholic Church and discussed the values upheld by theChurch in marriage, and the possible impediments to or grounds for nullity in a valid Sacrament.

Franciscan professor Rev Andres (Chito) Ranoa, OFM elaborated on the marriage rites including the choice of scripture, music, and accoutrements to be used at the wedding ceremony. Upon SSAP parish priest, Fr. Reu Galoy’s behest, participants were equipped with the necessary knowledge and guidelines to be able to conduct Canonical interviews as prerequisite to undergoing the Pre-Cana Seminar.


Parish Gears up for Pre-Cana Program
By Mike Gomez

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Engaged couples scheduled to join hands and hearts in Holy Matrimony at Santuario de San Antonio shall soon be able to undergo their Marriage Preparation (Pre-Cana) seminar with the Family and Life Ministry of the Parish. Read the full story…..

Parish Gears up for Pre-Cana Program By Mike Gomez

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Engaged couples scheduled to join hands and hearts in Holy Matrimony at Santuario de San Antonio shall soon be able to undergo their Marriage Preparation (Pre-Cana) seminar with the Family and Life Ministry of the Parish.

The Ministry, co-chaired by Doy and Jeannie Bitanga and Jaime and Karen Blanco, is preparing seminar modules based on guidelines set by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Archdiocese of Manila’s Ministry of Family and Life.

In line with these preparations, select family and life workers from SSAP observed the conduct of a Pre-Cana seminar given to 22 couples undergoing marriage preparation at the San Alphonsus Liguori Parish in Magallanes Village, Makati. This seminar was conducted by Magallanes Family Ministry heads Jojo and Gina Gloria, and their associates in EDUCHILD, Jeff and Joy Barreiro; Noel and Inez Gamboa. The module on the Sacrament of Matrimony was facilitated by Jack and Meg Trinidad.

The Pre-Cana seminar is a strict requirement for engaged couples aiming to marry under the aegis of the Catholic Church. It acquaints couples with the various issues to be dealt with in a marriage, focusing on their relationship as husband and wife, as well as their duties and responsibilities as responsible parents in a Catholic family.

The marriage preparation or Pre-Cana seminar is not to be mistaken for the family planning seminar that municipal and city governments require engaged couples to undergo prior to the issuance of their marriage licenses. This is also not to be mistaken for the engaged couples retreats or encounter weekends that are designed to help couples discern if they are truly meant for each other.

Prior to undergoing the Pre-Cana seminar, the engaged couple needs to accomplish all the necessary documentation required by the Church and undergo a canonical interview by the parish priest of the church at which they plan to be wed. Through this interview, the parish priest ascertains that the requisite conditions for valid marriage shall all be met before allowing the couple to attend the seminar and be married in the parish.

Doy and Jeannie Bitanga are assisted by Mike and Monette Gomez, who are longtime family and life workers with the Archdiocese, and have been conducting Pre-Cana seminars at the Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life parish at the Mall of Asia compound for the past eight years.

Abbreviated marriage preparation seminars have been given to couples participating in mass weddings or “Kasalan Bayan” sponsored by the Parish, especially during Fiesta celebrations. Soon, however, all engaged couples wishing to be married at Santuario de San Antonio, whether they are parishioners or not, will be made to undergo in-house Pre-Cana sessions conducted by the Ministry of Family and Life.


“Santuario de San Antonio Then” by Carina C. Lebron

Shortly after Fr. Hugh Raymond Zurat, O.F.M., was designated Parish Priest of Santuario de San Antonio in the early 1980s, he visited me at my place on Palm Avenue. It was a surprise but he was then getting to know the parishioners. He also invited me to be a member of the Education Committee of the Parish Pastoral Council which was being organized.

After expressing a few reservations, I felt honored and, thus, I accepted the invitation.

Thereafter, we were introduced to the bigger membership of the Parish Council who were parishioners / residents of the area: Susan and Rene Concepcion (†), Winnie and Christian Monsod, Amelita and Cards Guevara (†), Ito and Bill Velhagen, Marilou and Manny Arteficio, Eddie Elegir (†), Sebe Ledesma (†), Linda Villanueva, Ellie and Tony Esteban (†) and many others.

The office was manned capably by Bernadette Andulte and Petronilo Palomo (†). They operated from a counter and a desk did their best to respond to the demands of parishioners. Some of us in the Council “worked” in the office, as needed, with enthusiasm and dedication in the various committees to which we were assigned. There was no air-conditioning but there were electric fans. The “office” was cool enough because the back of the office was open and led to the garden.

The first weekly Parish Bulletins were written by Sebe Ledesma (†) and mimeographed on newsprint at my place.

Parish Renewal Weekends drew many parishioners to re-learn how to appreciate the importance of keeping one’s faith alive and centric in their daily lives.

Not only were parents involved in many team building and actual renovation projects, our children were often with us, their school schedules permitting. Inevitably, they also became good friends, members of one big, happy family with many “titas” and “titos”. Family and church life blended so closely together that it was difficult to think of one without the other. After Masses, parishioners lingered a bit to talk happily with new-found friends.

Winnie Monsod was into everything that needed to be done, such as being a lector, organizing the first group of singers for the choir. They sang from the choir loft with their voices wafting into the church.

Amelita Guevara, then and now, organized the first honest-to-goodness choir like it was a professional group. There were rewards and recognition for the excellence of their music in the parish and in other places.

Big projects were successful because cooperation was pervasive. The Parish Center was built in record time during the term of Rene Concepcion as President of the Parish Council. It served the community as a suitable and well-located town hall during the time when there was much clamor for changes in government. Topics of great interest, both in religion and in socio-civic concerns, were discussed in the Center by well-known and respected resource persons invited by the Education Committee.

Linda Villanueva and Susan Concepcion were tasked with looking after the finances of the church. Susan also managed the construction of the first crypts and the mortuary.

It was a time to remember for us, many delightful memories that are too numerous to recall now. Until now, we can sit together and endlessly reminisce joyfully about those days and thank God that under the stewardship of Fr. Hugh, we were called to serve in Santuario de San Antonio and have become participating members of the Parish Family.