MERCY AND COMPASSION: A TIMELESS AND AGELESS EXPERIENCE An Interview with Mrs. Chloe C. Romulo-Perqiuet By Jonathan Cruz

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For most people, the loss of a loved one is unbearable. The death of a parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse, or a relative can be a traumatic experience; one that may seem almost impossible to overcome. It has the power to shape your identity, your actions, your outlook, and thus your future. So it is only logical to imagine that having lost not just one, but two husbands from separate marriages, Chloe C. Romulo-Periquet would be distressed and embittered about life, love, and the Lord.That, however, could not be farther from the truth.

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Her first husband, Gregorio V. Romulo, had been a childhood friend she had grown up with since her teenage years. Their friendship flowed naturally into a relationship and they decided to wed when she was 24 and he was 29. She and Greg lived full lives together raising three children and practicing their professions as a ballet instructor and performer and as a member of the diplomatic service, respectively. Their marriage lasted more than 30 years when Greg passed away. He suffered a stroke several years before which left one side of his body completely paralyzed. She remembers that his favorite phrase was to “keep on keeping on.” “Don’t think I’m going to cripple your lives too. Let’s go on ahead with what God gives us,” she recounts him saying.

After his death, her prayer to help her cope with the pain was, “Lord, I think you are sending me this emotion. If you are sending me something, I can only be able to carry it with your help.” She continues, “I accepted it and it eased the pain because it [was] the natural thing that [would] happen. All of us will go through the same thing.”

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She met her second husband, Jose J. Periquet, Sr., seven years later through her future daughter-in-law. She was in her 60s and he was in his 70s.They started out as friends and their relationship progressed with the urging and support of their own families. They were married for seven happy years and spent their time together travelling and enjoying life and retirement.Jose eventually passed away due to natural causes.

When asked how she has managed to get through the loss of both husbands, she attributes it to her sense of faith, “My calling throughout all this is, ‘Whatever God sends, I accept.’ I pray for the strength to accept the things that the Lord sends [me].” It has been that total trust in God’s plan that has allowed her to let life unfold and lead her where God wants her to go. She believes that the key to getting through any challenge in life is to have that trust in the Lord that everything will be ok. She prays, “Give me Lord the strength to keep where you want me to stay.” She says that you never know what the Lord will send.

When asked what she feels is the most important attribute for a happy and successful marriage, she answers, “Patience. No matter what it is, just stop and hold yourself from saying anything and wait. Don’t volunteer opinions. Just wait and see and pray that whatever your actions that are going to react to whatever they actioned…is correct. Wait and ask always; don’t do right away. Wait, sometimes you wait too long but it’s better to wait than make a mistake and hurt others.”

Her faith has helped her navigate through the ever-changing seas of life. It is difficult to believe how Chloe has gone through love and loss twice and still come out ever-so joyful, kind-hearted, and peaceful. And if you were to ask her how she did it, surely her reply would be that it was all in a Lord’s day and that she is looking forward again to tomorrow.

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ECUMENICAL THANKSGIVING SERVICE by Jayme Blanco

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Last November 22, 2015, our parish hosted the Ecumenical Thanksgiving service. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions in the United States and Canada, this annual event is the gathering of the representatives of the Anglican/Episcospal Holy Trinity Chuch of Manila, McKinley Road, Forbes Park, Makati City, the Evangelical Protestant Union Church of Manila, Legaspi Village, Makati City and Catholic community of our parish.

Our parish priest Fr. Reu Jose C. Galoy, OFM led the beautiful prayer service together with Senior Rev. Charlie Pridmore and Rev. Noah Kennedy of the Union Church of Manila, Rt. Rev. Arthur L. Jones of the Holy Trinity Church of Manila and our parishioner Deacon Luis Rivilla who was also the homilist. The aforesaid service was accompanied by glorious music by the three different church choirs led by our very own SSAP CORO De San Antonio conductress Ms. Amelita Guevara.

Aside from the visitors of the different religious groups, esteem guests include the United States of America Ambassador Philip Goldberg who gave a short thanksgiving message from US President Barack Obama, India Ambassador to the Philippines Lalduhthlana Ralte and Bangladesh Ambassador Maj. Gen. John Gomes, PSC. Also present were SSAP PPC President Jayme Blanco and incoming PPC Officers Edmund Lim – President, Cristina Teehankee – Vice President and Suzette Gatmaitan – Secretary.

Moreover, we would like to thank the following food sponsors: Holy Trinity for the delightful salad, Union Church for the scrumptious apple and pumpkin pies, Joe and Marivic Concepcion, CCD through Kathy Cua and PPC Edmund Lim for the mouth-watering turkey and lechon.

2015 Feast of St. Anthony of Padua Novena Mass Offerors

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A BIG THANK YOU, TO OUR 2015 NOVENA MASS OFFERORS:

1) June 4, 2015, Thursday
a. Fr. Napoly Pasion, OFM – St. Francis of Assisi, Caliat, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya
b. CWL

2) June 5, 2015, Friday
a. Fr. Emerson Bumagat, OFM – Pope Pius X Mission Church, Virac, Catanduanes
b. Belle Poe & Family
c. Dee Chan and the Lectors & Commentators Ministry

3) June 6, 2015, Saturday
a. Fr. Cristino Tibong, OFM – St. Clare Mission Community, Dagat-Dagatan, Navotas
b. Severino & Letty Roxas Chua
c. Mike & Karen Limpe & Family

4) June 7, 2015, Sunday
a. Fr. Oscar Ante, OFM – Secretary, Mission & Evangelization, Sampaloc, Manila
b. Judge & Mrs. Cesar Cruz
c. Menchu Bautista & Family
d. Lilia Tantoco & Family
e. Edmund & Beryl Lim
f. FOSA

5) June 8, 2015, Monday
a. Fr. Bernardo Agarpo, OFM – St. Mary Magdalene, Palanan, Isabela
b. Grace Padilla & the COP Contemplative Ministry
c. Mrs. Marge Tambunting
d. Mrs. Marrot Moreno & Daughter
e. Mr. & Mrs. Xavier Loinaz
f. Mr. & Mrs. Ramon Manoloto
g. JPIC Prison Ministry

6) June 9, 2015, Tuesday
a. Fr. Jerome Ponce, OFM – Mother of Perpetual Help Parish, Sta. Fe. Nueva Vizcaya
b. Friends & Members of the St. Anthony Fraternity of the Order of Franciscan Seculars
c. Petrona Lim
d. Chit Montoya
e. Maxie Martinez
f. Nenette Jalandoni
g. Carina Lebron
h. Loreta Galang
i. Emma Estampador
j. Baby Barba
k. Paquito Tankiang
l. Remy Maceda Berris

7) June 10. 2015, Wednesday
a. Fr. Andy Litigio, OFM – Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, Brgy San Antonio, Donsol, Sorsogo
b. Consul General & Mrs. Mike & Alice Guerrero
c. Mrs. Helen Ong and Daughter, Czarina Ong-Camus

8) June 11, 2015, Thursday
a. Fr. Jhoan Pader, OFM – St. Joseph, Spouse of Mary, St. Tomas, Isabela
b. Mr. & Mrs. Jose Mari Chan & Family
c. Mr. & Mrs. Arnold Mckenzie
d. Vicky Chan & Family
e. Baby Ledesma

9) June 12, 2015 Friday
a. Edmund Lim & Chung Family
b. Mike Limpe
c. Men of the Sacred Heart

HAPPY FIESTA 2015!

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Thank you to all who made all the Fiesta activities possible especially to our sponsors, volunteers and those who attended the different events! Thanks also to all who submitted their photos:
Crissy Castillo
Bingbing Quiros
Jayme and Karen Blanco
Cres Rodriguez Yulo
Rocky Chan
Doy and Jeannie Bitanga
Alli Raval
Chuchi Quevedo

Philippine Diary: St. Anthony Shrine in Forbes Park by Friar Jack Wintz, O.F.M.

My previous Friar Jack’s E-spiration (May 28, 2008) told of the tragic 1945 bombing and destruction of the old Church of St. Francis in Intramuros, Manila’s old walled city. Because the old church had become a popular center of devotions to St. Anthony, the sudden absence of that church had an effect on other Franciscan sites in the Manila area. For example, the old Franciscan church in Sampoloc, also destroyed by the bombings, changed its name to St. Anthony Shrine upon being rebuilt (see the previous E-spiration: “Philippine Diary: How St. Anthony Came to Sampaloc”).
06_08_IMG_1798In this month’s E-spiration, we will look at a second popular shrine of St. Anthony located in the metro Manila area, known as Santuario de San Antonio. This shrine also came into existence because of the disappearance of the old St. Francis Church in Intramuros. The task of building this shrine to St. Anthony was entrusted to a Spanish Franciscan, named Father Jose Martinez, O.F.M. I personally remember encountering Father Jose during my first tour of duty in the Philippines (1969-1972) to teach English and literature at our Franciscan seminary in Quezon City. Father Jose told me that he remembered clearly how in 1945 he was standing in the bell tower of St. Francis Church in Intramuros watching the American bombing raids going on in the distance—obviously some days, weeks or hours before the church’s actual destruction.

After the Church of St. Francis in Intramuros was destroyed, the friars of the Manila-based Franciscan province decided to replace that church and build a new one somewhere outside Intramuros. And Father Jose Martinez was the friar commissioned to supervise the construction of the church. Father Jose’s intention from early on was to build a shrine to St. Anthony. The money for funding the construction of the church came from the sale of the lot where the old, revered church once stood in Intramuros.

Building a second St. Anthony shrine
When Father Jose first saw the swampy grassland on which the future Santuario de San Antonio of Forbes Park was to be built, he was quite disappointed. It seemed to him like “a lonely place, far from the center of population.” In the early phases of construction, Father Jose visited the work site daily from the Franciscan friary in which he was living. But progress was clearly being made. The cornerstone was blessed in August 1951, and the new Santuario de San Antonio was solemnly blessed by Archbishop Rufino J. Santos of Manila on December 8, 1953.

06_08_IMG_1780By the time the church was built and in operation, Father Jose was appointed pastor of the growing congregation. Ironically, what was built on lonely, swampy grassland would in time welcome an affluent congregation. Many members of the congregation would become top-ranking officials, businesspeople and politicians, living in beautiful homes with wide streets and tree-studded lawns. Thus, the area eventually known as Forbes Park became synonymous, in the minds of many, with wealth and prosperity.
06_08_IMG_1795And yet, the popularity of St. Anthony, as well as the family-creating skills of friendly friars and staff, have encouraged thousands of people—rich and poor alike—to flow through the church’s doors and feel at home in the parish family. Week after week these people participate in the Masses and devotions and many other functions of this popular parish and shrine of St. Anthony. For more than 50 years, Franciscan friars and co-workers have striven, with God’s help, to minister to the needs of all who seek help, whether they are affluent or disadvantaged.

Visiting the Forbes Park shrine
When I visited Santuario de San Antonio last February, I had several opportunities to see the beautiful church and friary, as well as the various images of St. Anthony and other art work. I also witnessed the immense crowds participating in Sunday Mass. In addition, I had a chance to meet several of the friars who live or minister there and to sit down and chat a bit with Father Joel Sulse, O.F.M., head of the Franciscan community there.
06_08_IMG_1791Father Joel explained that a nine-day solemn novena leads up to the feast of St. Anthony (June 13) each year. “This novena is very popular,” the 38-year-old friar told me. “The faithful come in large numbers. Between 700 and 800 people attend each of the four Masses and devotions each of the nine days.” This means that as many as 3,000 or so people might come for Mass on each day of the solemn novena. The 6 p.m. Mass is designated as the daily solemn novena Mass. “Of course, on the feast of St. Anthony itself, all the four Masses are well attended,” he said. In addition to the solemn novena before the feast, people can attend during the year the ordinary novenas for nine consecutive Tuesdays—and these are also quite popular, affirmed the friar.

There are other popular customs associated with the feast of St. Anthony, according to Father Sulse. For example, on the feast day, there might be an orchestra playing festive music after one (or some) of the Masses. Also, there is a colorful procession that goes around to a designated village in the vicinity of the shrine. The procession goes for about 2½ miles, and a statue of St. Anthony is pulled along on a carosa (or float). Tables are placed along the route with statues of St. Anthony on them. Another tradition at the shrine is the blessing of bread at all Masses during the feast day itself.
06_08_IMG_1777Another custom that many anticipate, most especially the workers in the villages, is the free breakfast served by members of the Secular Franciscan Order and the Catholic Women’s League. These meals, often a great blessing for the poor and disadvantaged, are served each day during the entire nine-day novena after the 6:15 a.m. Mass in front of the church. Normally, between 600 and 700 people are served each day. Among the workers enjoying these breakfasts are maids and gardeners employed by the well-to-do, security guards, construction laborers and workers in nearby shopping malls, as well as taxi and jeepney drivers.

More about Father Joel
Father Joel was born in Pandacan, Manila, but has lived a good part of his life on the Island of Samar in the Visayas. He was ordained in Santuario de San Antonio, where he was later given his present assignment. He also served earlier at the St. Anthony Shrine in Sampaloc, Manila, and at San Pedro Bautista Parish in San Francisco del Monte.
06_08_IMG_1800“St. Anthony is a very attractive saint,” said Father Joel, “because he is a miracle-worker. I believe St. Anthony became very popular because he touched and continues to touch people from all walks of life—rich and poor, young and old, scholar and simple person. And in contemporary times, many people come to pray to him because they feel lost.”

Copyright © Franciscan Media. Taken from Friar Jack E-spirations on http://www.AmericanCatholic.org and used with permission. All rights reserved.

Thanksgiving Dinner & Celebration of the Holy Eucharist by Newly Ordained Franciscan Priests, by Cristina Teehankee

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On behalf of Fr. Reu Jose Galoy, OFM Parish Priest and his Pastoral Team and the Parish Pastor al Council, headed by Jayme Blanco, President and Edmund Lim, Vice President, we congratulate the Order of Friars Minor, Franciscan Province of San Pedro Bautista, Philippines for their three newly ordained Priests: Rev. Fr. Emerson F. Bumagat, OFM from Camiguin Island, Calayan, Cagayan, Rev. Fr. Fernando B. Radin, Jr. OFM from Camotes Island, Cebu City and Rev. Fr. Angelo M. Dizon, OFM from Sampaloc, Manila.

Santuario de San Antonio Parish was fortunate to be one of the Parishes visited by the newly ordained priests for their Thanksgiving Mass, held Monday, May 4, 2015. A Thanksgiving Dinner celebration immediately followed at the Convent Garden attended by Parishioners who have journeyed with them through the years in Spirit . . . in prayer . . . and assistance. Although the Parishioners did not get to know much about the newly ordained priests, their smiles, kind words, prayer and diligent work, sparkled as sons of light.