TWO TESTIMONIALS FROM THE SYA WEEKEND

The SYA Weekend helped me to trust and understand God more.
by Mary Anne Rose Silagpo

The 31st weekend was my second retreat as an adult. The first one was around 2004. I learned a lot from it, but I did not become an active member of the group due to my lack of interest in their activities.

I found out about the SYA Weekend from my sister, Veron. She told me stories about her own weekend. Honestly, there were times when I was just pretending to listen, but there were also stories that really got my attention. Stories which made me realize that my problems in life are too simple compared to others. Before the 31st SYA Weekend came, my sister told me to free my schedule. She even registered for me. I was hesitant at first, but when she told me that her friend, whom I already knew, will be there also, I was convinced.

I went to the retreat because I was a bit of curious on what it really is. Being an introvert, I had a hard time opening up to people during the weekend. But I’m grateful that other people listened without judging me. I was truly blessed by the realizations I had that weekend.

I thought that everything ends when the weekend ends, but that wasn’t the case.. The Team A, and my sister also, invited me to attend different kinds of activites. Personally, I liked Payday Prayers the most.

Through SYA, I was also able to volunteer for a Prison Ministry outreach. It made me realize that I should be more grateful and prayerful. I was also inspired to help others more.

There are many SYAers whom I truly admire for being committed to the activities and the parish ministries. With the help of SYA, I want to be just like them and be able to serve others.

Trust in the magic of new beginnings.
by Criselle S. Mendoza

My weekend retreat at SYA last March 2016 was truly the mark of a new beginning for me.

I was invited by my college friend to join the September 2015 retreat but admittedly, I didn’t have enough courage to join then. So I promised myself that no matter what happens, I would join the very next scheduled retreat. Just a week before March 2016 retreat, I knew in myself that I was feeling lost and desperately needed guidance so I registered and just trusted God and His will.

I didn’t have any expectations of what the retreat would be. I didn’t know a single soul from SYA (aside from my friend who invited me) which I especially liked that so I could be myself, meet new people and gain new learnings from them.

I made friends quickly during the first night though I have to be honest that I was having doubts on joining the succeeding days. Maybe because I thought that SYA wouldn’t really be of much help to me. Maybe I thought it was just another retreat where you will be asked about general questions of life and forced to share sappy stories with people you hardly know. I had a lot of ‘maybes’ but I still went on the second day and I was actually grateful for that decision.

Few months before SYA retreat, I was already asking myself where my life is going and how do I even get THERE, wherever-whatever that is. It’s funny that the more I plunged myself into the SYA experience, it got clearer to me that the questions I have been asking myself for months already are roughly the same ones contained in the exercises. It was mind-blowing. But the harder part is where the questions or struggles I tried so hard to run away from are also there, forcing me to face it all with no escape. Well, I could choose not to take the exercises seriously, but then I knew I would just be fooling myself. It was extremely hard for me to open up. I am naturally friendly but I’ve always struggled in trusting people with the innermost ME. But the SYA exercises felt like it was drilling into my being that I just had to let everything flow out from me and simply trust the people around me in the retreat. With God’s grace and support from my fellow SYA-ers, facing these struggles and frustrations became less frightful.

Slowly I realized that it was comforting and heartwarming to feel NOT alone in facing life’s challenges. During the SYA, I realized that despite of our differences, we are all the same. We all have our own struggles and frustrations but we are ALL loved so much by the same God who not once did leave our side. In fact, I felt God and His love in every soul I met in SYA. I felt so privileged and humbled to have the chance to hear stories of hope and faith of my fellow SYA-ers. It was a gift that I was allowed to peek into their worlds and learn so much from their experiences. In the same way, I felt so appreciated when they would sincerely listen to my experiences and really connect with me. It made me feel that I matter and maybe they gain wisdom too from my mistakes and regrets. In sharing myself, I gained so much more back. I learned empathy, I gained strength and I took with me peace.

At the end of the retreat, I still have no clear picture of where I am going. And that’s fine, nothing wrong with that. But I can say that I have greater faith now; faith that tells me that I should not worry because all is in the hands of GOD. I just have to take my time and bravely follow His directions. But no matter where that is, I know it would entail me not letting anyone leave my side without feeling happier. It’s what really matters to me now, using my blessings and gifts in making others happy.

As published in the September11 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

THE WORSHIP MINISTRIES: MUSIC MINISTRY

Music and Lyrics
by Xandro Castañeda
(As published in the July 31 issue of the Parish Bulletin)

Our Music Ministry is tasked with providing music for our Sunday and weekday masses and for major feasts such as last year’s Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception to the recently concluded Fiesta 2016. To make masses more meaningful, we strive to choose liturgically-relevant songs that fit the season (e.g. Lent, Easter), and we have started a music catalog and digital archive to facilitate this endeavor, which we plan to eventually expand to selecting songs for weddings and other church-based events.

As of today (and as way of re-introducing ourselves to the Parish family), here are the current song leaders, accompanists, and choir representatives from A to Z: Babing Abella (1st Sunday, 12pm); April Agregado, Four B’Sparks (3rd Sunday, North Forbes); Mary-Ann Baclao (1st and 5th Saturdays, 4:30pm; 2nd Sunday, North Forbes); Lita Banson (3rd Sunday, 9am; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 7:45am); Cielo Buan (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 7:45am); the CCD choir (3rd Sunday, 10:30am); Cathy Cantada-Dizon, Dasma Youth Choir (Saturdays, 6pm, DVA); Maribel Cantada (2nd Sunday, North Forbes; 5th Sunday, 4:30pm); Meldy Capulong (Sundays, 7:4am; various weekday masses); Lulu and Xandro Castañeda (1st and 5th Saturdays, 4:30pm); Liza Chan-Parpan and Mike Chan (4th and 5th Sundays, North Forbes); Christian Del Los Reyes; Lester Delgado, Tig-Awit (Sundays, 6:30am) and Vocalismo Choral Group (2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays, 9am); Jerry Fullido (various masses), Urdaneta (Sundays, 7pm) and Pacific Plaza (Saturdays, 5pm); Antonio Go, Psalm 47 Male Chorale (1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays, 10:30am); Kian Gonzaga, Eastern Chamber Singers (3rd Saturdays, 4:30pm) and Koro Ilustrado (2nd and 4th Saturdays, 4:30pm); Amelita Guevara, Coro de San Antonio (Sundays, 6pm); Pin Guingona, Inday Mallari and kids (1st Sunday, North Forbes); Sam Gutierrez, Coro Ecclesiastico (3rd Sunday, 12pm); Andy Huang, VOSA (Saturdays, 6pm); Andro Lesaca (4th Sunday, 10:30am; 5th Sunday, 12pm); Edmund Lim (1st Friday, 6pm); Minguita Lopez (Sundays, 7:45am); Jet Pampolina (2nd Sunday, 4:30pm); Marie Puyat (2nd and 4th Sundays, 12pm); Robbie Santos (3rd Sunday, 4:30pm); Benny Soliven (4th Sunday, 4:30pm); Erick Sta. Maria (2nd and 4th Sundays, 4:30pm); Uwa Tambunting (3rd Sunday, 9am); the Youth Choir (Antioch and Luke 18; Thursdays, 6pm); and Milette Zamora (1st Sunday, 10:30am; 2nd Sunday, 9am).

We are truly blessed to have such a large collection of motivated individuals and groups sharing their talent with us, and of all the ministries here, the Music Ministry would most likely be the largest if one were to consider every single member, including those from the choirs. However, as not all our weekday masses are covered, we are always open to anyone interested in wholeheartedly volunteering their time and service to the Parish. Please contact the Parish office for any inquires. We look forward to hearing from you.

THE WORSHIP MINISTRIES: LECTORS AND COMMENTATORS

LeComs Year in Review
by Letty Lopez and Eleonore Gutierrez, with Isa Gutierrez
(As published in the July 31 issue of the Parish Bulletin)

In November 2015, Dee Chan informed Eleonore Gutierrez and Letty Lopez that they’re the newly elected chairpersons of the LeCom Ministry to serve for two years, 2016 & 2017. “We’d rather follow than lead,” both replied. However, the die was cast when Father Reu responded, “Things will sort themselves out, in time.” Eleonore, under Dee’s wings, hit the ground running (Letty was unavailable until Dec. 2015).

On November 10, 2015 the new officers of the Parish Pastoral Council were installed (LeComs Edmund Lim, Tina Teehankee, Suzette Gatmaitan and Girlie Sison as head of Worship Committee) followed by the Feast of Christ the King on Nov. 22nd, with prayers and procession organized by Zari Poe. On Nov. 28th, a half-day recollection on the Year of Mercy was held followed by an early Christmas Party. The schedule for the Misa de Gallo was finalized followed by the traditional masses for Christmas and New Year.

January 12, 2016 ushered the 1st General Meeting of LeComs where the Budget was approved (P51,500) with topics discussed like the LeCom organizational structure, services to villages and condos, substitutes, proper attire and the Buling-Buling with a Dekada Theme. Rehearsals for Buling-Buling went underway in mid January. Cynthia Menchaca, Jeannie Bitanga, Micki Poe, Jaja Ledesma, Karen Blanco, Isa Gutierrez, Estee Cerilla, with Father Reu and Jayme Blanco danced to rock and roll and twist music.

February 9th was Buling-Buling highlighted by dinner and a musical variety show and capped by the burning of palms.

February 10th Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Season of Lent.

March 12-24 LeComs attended the Ongoing Formation seminar conducted by the Archdiocese of Manila.

Seder Meal on March 14th, a Jewish tradition celebrated by the Parish with dinner, prayer readings and
songs. The family of Jun Rodriguez led the celebration.

Palm Sunday March 20th with Dee, Edmund and the Coro led by Mrs. Amelita Guevarra with the dramatization of the Passion of Christ.

Holy Thursday March 24th had the vigil at the Garden of Repose with LeComs holding a one-hour meditation with video slides prepared by Caron Macasaet and Javier. The adoration altar was adorned with flowers by Wilma Huang’s group. Also, Father Jesus Galindo and Father Serge Santos celebrated their 50th year as Franciscan friars.

Good Friday March 25th featured the 7 Last Words as shared by members of different ministries during the mass followed by a Santo Entierro procession around the village. Jun Rodriguez and
EMHC Ministry designed a diagram to ensure the smooth flow of devotees during the veneration of the cross.

Easter Vigil March 26th High Mass in the main altar with Commentator Melon Recto and Edmund Lim, Jun
Rodriguez, Anton Conejos and Ricky Sison as Proclaimers of the Word. Aside from the traditional church music, the Coro added two songs during Communion Be not Afraid by Taylor Davis and Hesus ng Aking Buhay. Three adolescents from South Africa were baptized, confirmed and for the first time, received the Holy Eucharist. The image of the Risen Christ was set up on a rock garden by Wilma Huang. The Salubong followed right after the Easter Vigil.

April 2nd – 12 LeComs attended the Ongoing Formation (OGF) at San Carlos Seminary.

April 9th – 6 Lecoms attended the OGF.

April 3rd Divine Mercy Sunday.

April 24th, the directive from CBCP on kneeling from Consecration until the Great Amen, was reintroduced to the Faithful. A portable microphone helped in reminding the Faithful.

May 14th – 11 Lecoms attended the OGF.

May 17th was the 2nd General LeCom Meeting where topics discussed covered the OGF Renewal, updated Lecom Directory (with photos) and three new LeCom candidates(Norman Camungol, Ivy Lim, Zyrene Valencia). Caren Torres Rama from Ormoc City was welcomed as a visiting LeCom. And back into active service as LeCom are Fortune and RJ Ledesma.

May 28th – 4 Lecoms attended the OGF.

May 29th Feast of the Corpus Christi. The CBCP directive on Kneeling was discontinued.

June 1, start of the Novena to St. Anthony. There was early morning breakfast sponsored by LeCom and served by Alice Guerrero who brought 200 eggs, Eleonore and Isa Gutierrez, Dee Chan, Cathy Goquingco and Rachelle Wenger. During the 6pm mass, three (3) new LeComs—Sean Cannon, Mercy Dauz and Sheryl Malit—were commissioned by Father Reu. Mass was presided by Father Jhoan Pader, OPM, focusing on the virtue of Humility.

June 13th Feast of St. Anthony. High Mass with Coro followed by a sit-down dinner catered by Via Mare with music, raffle and dancing. Generous donors and sponsors enabled the Parish to engage a company to digitally scan and assess the structural integrity and efficiency of the (church) building.

Single Young Adults (SYA) By Rosy Adriano

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As published in the July 24 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

Single Young Adults, or SYA, is a parish-based group that caters to the needs of single adults between the ages of 21-35 years old, bringing Jesus into the hectic lifestyles of today’s young Catholics. In SYA we aim to strengthen one’s relationship with Jesus through a sense of community. It is where conversion and training leaders for ministry takes place.

Last March 11-13, 2016, SYA had its 31st Weekend Retreat welcoming 28 new single young adults to the community. This 3-day stay-out weekend retreat provided an avenue for busy professionals who wish to pause from their hectic lifestyle and discover or rediscover their relationship with Jesus. This was done through a series of talks and exercises catered to the needs of single young adults. What makes this retreat special is that the talks are given by single young adults themselves, so the participants will really feel that they are in the presense of peers instead of experts. It creates a more open environment, which leads to a more meaningful experience.

The week after the SYA 31st Weekend Retreat, the community began its Holy Week celebrations by visiting beautiful churches around Antipolo for our yearly Bisita Iglesia. This event was attended by various member of the parish, and served as a great avenue for parishioners to mingle. Aside from the Bisita Iglesia, SYA actively participated in the parish various Holy Week activities such as 7 Last Words and the Holy Thursday Vigil. SYA was also there to witness the 6am Chrism Mass in Manila Cathedral on Holy Thursday, which is a very moving experience as the mass was for the priest and an avenue to thank them for their many contributions. It was wonderful to be cheering on our parish priest, Fr. Reu, as he is always there to cheer us on.

Aside from the bi-yearly weekend retreat and Holy Week activities, we kick off the month by celebrating mass as a community every first Thursday. We call this our Birthday Mass, as the SYAers who are celebrating their birthdays are in charge of this gathering. The mass usually ends with a blessing of the celebrants, and a fun night filled with tons of food and laughter.

Every second and fourth Fridays, SYAers gather at the Adoration Chapel for our Pay Day Prayer session. The easiest way to describe this is like a “Holy Hour” wherein we look back on what The Lord has done for us these past few weeks. We do this through songs, hymns, meditation time, and prayers. This is a very relaxing activtiy, and you will leave the Adoration Chapel feeling renewed and ready to face next 15 days.

Every third Thursday of the month is our Prayer Meetings. This is an avenue for a chosen SYAer to give a talk on a topic relevant to today’s society and our Catholic faith, especially in the context of being a single young adult. This is a great avenue to meet the rest of the community on a more personal level, as group sharings are very much encouraged.

After these activities, SYAers are usually fond of hanging out at board game cafes, karaoke places, and newest must try restaurants – another way to show the bond of community. We also make our own events to foster community bonding. To welcome the latest batch of SYAers, we had a Welcome Party for them in the beginning of April in a restaurant in Bonifacio Global City. It was attended by the new and current SYAers, and was a night filled with music and dance offs! We also organized a Star Wars themed Summer Party, as a way for the community to geek out together as well as to just come together to bond.

As part of the Santuario de San Antonio Parish, SYAers are usually found helping out with the various ministries of the parish as well us with other activities of the Youth of San Antonio (YSA). An example is the 6pm Youth Mass at the Main Church, sponsored by the Youth of San Antonio, every third Saturday of the month. SYA is also looking forward to spending time with the rest of YSA for our upcoming Sports Meet, Game Night, and Youth Concerts! We have a lot of things planned for the rest of 2016, and we cannot wait to share it with everyone in the community.

SYA is here to remind single young adults that their time can be very fulfilling, especially if one shares one’s time, treasures, and talents to do God’s mission of helping out others. A faith family is not just a community that helps you pray, it is also a community that helps you be a better Catholic to other Catholics around you.

If you wish to part of the Single Young Adults community, you can contact Marly Laraya or any of the SYA Council and Team members. Our next retreat is on September 16-18, 2016.

Christmas, the Giving of Self OFS Advent Recollection By Cristina Teehankee

P1140860We refer to Christmas as the season of giving and party celebrations. Most of us try hard to prepare party food that we often like to eat rather than the food friends and family would want to eat, say our Recollection Master, Fr. Reu Jose C. Galoy, OFM Parish Priest during the OFS Advent Recollection held November 17 at Munting Kanlungan, the Prayer House of OFS professed member, Sis Lily Manalo in Tagaytay City.

Fr. Reu summarized our Advent preparation for the coming of Christ in key words that allowed the Secular Franciscans to grasp its meaning:
1) Prayer – is being aware of God. Every creature is a representation of God. We therefore must be authentic and sincere to where God assigned us to be to be Christ to others.

2) Listen – When we listen, we are not an empty space. The way we listen is normally picked up by who we are and the way we are. But rather we should listen to the way God wants His message to be conveyed to us in an atmosphere of prayer.

3) What is it that our Lord Jesus wants us to give – not necessarily material things but may be time, attention, forgiveness, visiting the sick, talent, treasure, service, self.
4) Move out of our comfort zone where necessary as our blessed Mother Mary set up herself serving Elizabeth.

In summary, prayer leads us to listen to God as He invites us to give the highest form of giving, the giving of self. The Theology of the Incarnation is the expression of God’s love for us in giving Himself to us through Jesus.

God is the one who is at work in us. We open our head – heart – hand in preparation for Advent and welcome Jesus to do His project and work through us. Our life is a continuous preparation to receive Jesus using our head-heart-hand.

There is an invitation for us to provide a home for Jesus. Jesus did not have a home and was born in a manger. Can we create a home for Jesus in our heart, Jesus’ home? How are we going to prepare our heart to be a home for Jesus? What’s in our heart to make it a most precious place?

Our home needs hospitality that will include the hand. It is our hands who do the job. Work collectively to make the environment of our home hospitable and respectable in the spirit of friendship. Our code of conduct in the Parish should be a hand of hospitality to be a helping hand to others. Doing this gives hope to humanity. The Manger is our hope.

The Manger reveals that we all are not perfect. The coming of Jesus is not because we are sinful. But because of God’s love for all of us. Jesus is the crowning glory of God’s creation. If we are not perfect, I can still be a better person.

Let us prepare our head-heart-hand for the coming of Jesus “fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)

“I WAS IN PRISON AND YOU CAME TO ME.” – Matthew 25:36, by Alli Raval – Prison Ministry Head


October is Prison Awareness Month. We are celebrating the National Correctional Consciousness Week (NACOCOW) with The Taguig City Jail (TCJ) inmates this coming week October 26-30, 2015.

Once a year we place our focus on the prisoner. Look at how often criminals were mentioned in the bible, how they are looked down upon by society, yet the prisoners were among the special ones that Jesus mentions in his final discourse in Mt. 25:36. The last person who spoke to Jesus was a prisoner. Pope Francis has always found time to visit prisoners. Perhaps it is because almost all of the prisoners are from the poor. We see the poor all around us with palms opened knocking on our car windows, but nobody can see the inmate who is locked away from society and whose palms can only extend beyond the small opening of a prison bar.

The San Antonio Prison Ministry brings the touch of Jesus Christ to these inmates. We have various activities for them throughout the year like medical and dental missions, master chef cooking contest, sports activities, film showing, aside from our masses, recollections and catechism classes. Our biggest project in the Prison Ministry is to bring Christ to the home of the prisoners through a chapel.

We helped build a chapel in Makati City Jail (MCJ) and it has changed a lot of lives. Many of them attend the Saturday masses and the weekly catechism classes. They developed a hunger to get to know Christ more and through the years we have witnessed their deep devotion to God and Mama Mary, and the conversion of their hearts. Today we have been called to help build another chapel in Taguig City Jail.

There are 1,000 inmates in the TCJ facility. There are 20 cells for the men and 4 cells for the women. A small cell of around 50 sqm.,accommodates 40-50 inmates. They have triple deck make-shift beds and 1 bathroom which they all share to take showers and wash their clothes. They have no privacy, no visitors and not much time to move around. They do not even have a visiting area. Their families are all cramped in the corridor if they ever come to visit.Their twice a day mealsare small portions of fish or pork and on better days they have chicken necks and rice.

But the saddest part of all is that the time it takes to solve their cases. A simple case takes years, mainly because they have no lawyers. Seeing them, sitting in their personal space, with blank stares and tears in their eyes, hearing their stories and feelings of uncertainty, fear and abandonment deeply touch and break our hearts and our volunteers as well.Most of the inmates in TCJ are abandoned by their families and so they are very excited and happy to see new faces and new people to talk to, to comfort them and pray for them.

We would like to invite any interested parishioner to join us in our activities and spend a couple of hours with the prisoners. You can also donate some toiletry items and food and most of all share your monetary blessings as we work to build God’s church in prison.

When Pope Francis’ visitedinmates in the USA he went down to greet every one of them and embraced some of them. “It is painful,” Pope Francis said, “ when we see prison systems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain, to offer new possibilities. It is painful when we see people who think that only others need to be cleansed, purified, and do not recognize that their weariness, pain and wounds are also the weariness, pain and wounds of society. The Lord tells us this clearly with a sign: he washes our feet so we can come back to the table. The table from which he wishes no one to be excluded. The table which is spread for all and to which all of us are invited.”

“This time in your life can only have one purpose: to give you a hand in getting back on the right road, to give you a hand to help you rejoin society.”

“All of us have something we need to be cleansed of, or purified from. All of us. May the knowledge of this fact inspire us all to live in solidarity, to support one another and seek the best for others.”

“He comes to save us from the lie that says no one can change, the lie of thinking that no one can change. Jesus helps us to journey along the paths of life and fulfillment. May the power of his love and his resurrection always be a path leading you to new life.”