Tidings of Joy: Christmas Party 2017 By Kristine Anne D.C. Balza, SSAP College Scholar


This year’s Christmas party was a blast! It started with a Holy Mass presided by Fr. Reu Galoy, OFM. Some current SSAP scholars joined their voices in singing for the Lord as the choir for the Mass. The Mass concluded with a message of joy. After that, the program proper started. Balloons accented with white, green and red were designed as little Santas while colorful paper flowers filled the background of the stage.

Fr. Reu led the opening prayer of the party, followed by the singing of our National Anthem led by Ivy Borja, an SSAP scholar. After the welcoming remarks of the Scholarship Committee and inspirational message of Fr. Reu, a special surprise for Mrs. Menchu Bautista took place. A touching message by Mrs. Jean Chavez and by Mrs. Margot was said in order to commemorate Mrs. Menchu’s 21 years of service. A gift of memories and touching messages were compiled in a handmade scrapbook and a big certificate was given to Mrs. Menchu. It was then followed by recognition of scholars who had won awards from their respective schools and those who had passed the Board Exams.

Traditionally, the whole program was filled with a hearty dinner, fun and games, raffles, lots of gifts and a special number performed by current SSAP scholars. The night wrapped up with smiles on each face and memories worth keeping. It was indeed a blessed night because it was not only about gifts but also about Christ who came to this world as a Child.

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OFM-JPIC STATEMENT

We, the OFM JPIC Animators of the Province of San Pedro Bautista, gathered in Puggio Bustone Spirituality Center, Brgy. Benneg, Botolan, Zambales in October 13, 2016 support the government’s dictum of CHANGE; changing the corrupt governance, lowering the crime rate, stopping the illegal drug trade, and uplifting the poor Filipinos.

We pray for the success of Duterte’s government peace initiatives with the National Democratic Front (NDF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

We support the honorable men and women in cabinet positions whose programs and projects are beneficial to the Filipino masses especially the poor, the weak, and the underprivileged.
We support the campaign against illegal drugs. The menace of this illegal drugs should be cut at its roots. Our support for this campaign is anchored on the sanctity of every human being.

We abhor the ongoing killings in the war against illegal drugs. Killing will not bring true change and peace in our country. “Thou shalt not kill” remains the basic tenet of our loving relationship with God and our neighbors. Only God has the right to take the life of each individual person.

Let us destroy illegal drugs, save the victims and bring healing to them, their families, and our nation.

Sgd. Bro. Al Villanueva, OFM
OFM – JPIC Provincial Animator
Oct. 15, 2016

As published in the November 06 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

The Challenge of Social Justice

by RJ Limpo

Social Justice is defined as the fair and just relation between the individual and society (source: Wikipedia). It is easy to imagine that in an ideal world, administration of such fairness would be easily attainable. However, looking closely at the local setting, we would be hard pressed to find such an ideal. Specially if we look into the social services that our government has to provide for.
For example, let us look closely into the workings of our local jail facilities.

Each municipality has a city jail. This is supposed to be the “holding area” for an accused aka PDL (persons deprived of liberty) to await promulgation as to whether he or she will in fact be convicted or otherwise. In the meantime, should the PDL be reliant on the PAO or the Public Attorneys Office for representation, (unless they can afford a private attorney) and find a schedule at the local courts for the hearings to be heard, It will take no less than a couple of months up to a couple of years to reach a decision.

Meanwhile, as one enters the facility, their world stops. Instantaneously finding oneself in a room full of strangers, sharing a 30 square meter with anywhere between 50-60 people in it. Sharing only one bathroom with only one bath allowed per day with one timba of water as your ration.

Most of the day is spent here. Inside the cell. Day in and day out.

This absence of Social Justice is what drives our efforts at the SSAP – Prison Ministry to keep servicing the needs of PDLs in terms of Spiritual building through weekly catechism classes and quarterly social integration programs to keep them in touch with what is going on outside the iron bars and the concrete walls.

And among the most recent projects that have gotten off the ground is the bakery at the Makati City Jail. Through your generous donations, PDLs are now able to produce their own bread products which they use to generate funds to supplement their basic needs in the facility. Since most of the donations came from our parish, we aptly and fondly call the bakery Pan de San Antonio.

Projects like these keep the PDLs busy, productive and made to feel useful instead of wallowing in midst of their suffering.

Incidentally, October 24-30 is National Corrections Consciousness Week (NACOCOW) which is a nationwide campaign of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to showcase talents and uplift the spirits of PDLs. In line with this, we will be offering some of the bread products produced at the MCJ bakery during this weekend. We pray for your continued support to the SSAP ministries.

As published in the October 23 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

The Prison Ministry, Headed by RJ Limpo

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If there is one word to describe the Prison Ministry, it would be chances. This is where the ministry draws its energy to execute its programs. From the many instances in the Bible that Jesus gave which showed a countless number of chances for people to change.

There’s the story of the adulteress, where Jesus asked that he who is without sin to cast the first stone. Jesus is clearly extending a change for change. All he asked from her is to repent and change her ways and in turn she would be saved. Also in the story of the penitent thief who asked Jesus to save him at the last hour during the crucifixion, he too was given a change and was saved. These are just two clear examples of the changes that Jesus extends to us. Jesus tirelessly gives us changes to change.

Instead of looking at our sinfulness, He sees the potential greatness in us as we learn from our mistakes. This is what drives the Prison Ministry to fulfill its mission to bring Christ to the inmates. To make them feel that there is a world out there that is giving them a chance at life despite the sins they have committed. All our efforts are guided by the principle of showing the face of Christ through the various activities we have set up for them.

We highly encourage all the parishioners to join us in the many enriching activities mapped out through the year!

Read more about the Prison Ministry>>>>>

CARRYING THEIR CROSSES By: RJ Limpo

IMG_4899Here is a quick look into the day-to-day crosses that a prison inmate carries:

ACCOMMODATIONS
The average size of a prison cell is about 30 square meters (about the size of a condo studio unit) Each cell usually houses about 50 people, sharing 1 bathroom. Beds are arranged in double decked and in some cases situated inside the bathrooms.

MEALS
All meals are single pitched, either sautéed vegetables or fried fish at best. Rice is of the lowest quality and the utensils of the worst kind. Plastic plates and unmatched silverware and thick-lipped glasses are what are normal in jail situations.

RECREATION
Some jail cells have it better than others. But during the Christmas Outreach in Taguig City Jail (TCJ) last December, one inmate was thankful for our mass and activity at the quadrangle as she said she has not been outside her cell since 6 months prior to our coming.

MASSES
In TCJ, due to the absence of a chapel, masses are only held once a month. And attendance is also by chance as only about 20% of the population can be accommodated to hear mass at the quadrangle.

THE ICING ON THE CAKE
All these crosses though weigh much less than the cross of judgment. Living with guilt and the feeling of being judged is perhaps the heaviest cross anyone can bear. Ours is a harsh society —quick to judge and convenient to neglect. Some inmates experience abandonment even from their own family members. There are inmates who do not have “dalaw” from years on end.

This Lenten season is a reminder of the aftermath of judgment. The result of judgment is the cross itself. Jesus reminds us not to condemn but to forgive so we too may make our own crosses lighter for ourselves.

Should you wish to donate or participate in any of the Prison Ministry affairs please get in touch with RJ Limpo () or Teng Jorolan ().

CHRISTMAS KNOCKING by JPIC Scholarship Committee

1Is it almost Christmas again? Where did the all the months after June go? When half the year is over time seems to fly and once more we are confronted with the thought of Christmas and all the joys, preparations and hassle that accompany the season. But as the saying goes “you never cross the same river twice” and this is so true for our most celebrated and wonderful season of Christmas.

Traditional rituals stay but there is always something added or lacking or just different. Whether it’s as trivial as a new place or décor or as painful as the passing of a loved one, Christmas calls for thinking about its essence and vitality – celebrating with loved ones, sharing, and the thought of making it better, happier, more meaningful and even more organized knocks at our consciousness.
20At the JPIC Scholarship Program we have our traditional Christmas party on the first week of December and we try to make each year a Christmas to remember. For the scholars past and present reunite, hear mass, sing, play games, offer a program, mingle and joyfully receive gifts offered to them by our parishioners. Gifts not heavy on the pocket but given with love and effort just to make things fun and playful for our scholars who are almost strangers to gifts.

So come November we solicit idle items from your closets and chests, things perhaps forgotten, unused items just awaiting a life more vibrant and useful than sleeping and occupying space inside the four walls of a cabinet. SO PLEASE EXPLORE, UNLOAD AND SET ASIDE things big and small and enjoy more space! Give it life and spread joy by sending them over to the Parish office care of JPIC Socio-Pastoral worker Ms. Jackie. They become raffle gifts, and prizes for games and we try to have everyone bring home a gift that brings smiles on their eager faces. Did it last year? Do it again! Cross the river but with new spirit.

In advance, our heartfelt thank you!

Note: Guideline for gifts – shirts, caps, belts, bags and backpacks; socks, towels, pillowcase; ball pen, notebook, hairbrush, home and kitchen utilities, corporate and airline giveaways – but new and unused. Ms. Jackie tel. 8438830 loc. 7
SSAP JPIC Scho. Prog. Comm. / M.O