Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dec 23, 2012: Advent in Sarangani Mission

Christmas Belen Contest 
Father Tim asked the people in our mission villages to make a belen for Christmas as they prepare spiritually to welcome the birth of Our Savior.  The village with the best belen would have a Holy Mass in their village during the Christmas season.  On December 23, Father made the evaluation visit to 4 villages.
Entry from Ladol, Alabel, Sarangani Province. Made by Sarbelita Paglinawan and Chardilyn Noro.  This belen was made of coconut products and dried grass.

Entry from Purok B'laan, Kawas, Alabel, Sarangani Province.  Made by Ricky Baton.  This belen was made of corn stalks.
This star hanging above the belen in Angie Village was made of paper cutouts from discarded magazines.
Entry from Angie Village 2, Kawas, Alabel, Sarangani Province.  Made by Ann and April Olog.  Different types of dried grasses were used in this belen. 
Entry from Purok 8-A, Poblacion Alabel, Sarangani Province.  Made by Emelia, Redina, Reyjean, Reyzilda, and Reymund Agno.  They used banana stalks and some coconut products in making this belen.

Three of the four families who participated in the contest were Protestants before the mission touched their lives and brought them to an understanding of the Catholic Faith and led them to the fold of the Good Shepherd.  The belen outside their homes is a public profession of their new-found Catholic Faith.

Viaticum procession in Kawas
Holy Mass was part of the program as Father visited the villages that day.  He offered the Mass in our mission chapel in Angie Village.  After the Holy Mass, there was a procession of the Blessed Sacrament as Father brought the Viaticum to two dying patients lying in their homes. During the procession, the children sang a hymn they learned a few weeks before:  Ecce panis angelorum..
Ave, sanctum viaticum, agnus Dei velatus, ave solamen cordium, fons pacis consecratum, ad te o Jesu, sitio, te quaero, te esurio. Qui sum in te renatus.
One of these patients died within a few days after receiving the Viaticum. 
A last-hour convert, she had left her Catholic Faith and professed an anti-Catholic religion for more than 10 years. One day in November, while she was in dire straits lying in her hospital bed, her relatives went to the mission office to beg  medicines for her.  Mission volunteers paid her a visit at the hospital  She kindly received them, allowed them to pray the Rosary beside her, and patiently listened to some catechism lesson.  By the grace of God, she decided to return to the Catholic Faith and asked for Extreme Unction...  Shortly afterwards, she asked to be discharged from the hospital saying she wanted to go home to die. While she was thus waiting for release from her earthly body, Father visited her in her home, heard her Confession, and gave her the Viaticum.  Now may we invite our dear readers to please pause for a while and join us spiritually in saying a short prayer for her repose.  May she rest in peace, Amen.

A little weary from the long day, Father sits with the children of the last village visited that day...
It was an ordinary mission day. 4 villages visited, a number of Confessions heard, a Holy Mass offered - attended by around 80 villagers, Procession made, Viaticum given to two dying patients, catechism given to villagers, houses and a motorcycle blessed...  Dinner at 10:30 pm.... And Father was not heard, even once, to complain that his wounded feet hurt... This is the mission life - care to join? You certainly can, by saying a few prayers for the mission.  Please do.  Thank you so much!!!

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