I was at Lorenzo Mission Institute (LMI) for an Easter Recollection when I noticed the statue of Jay-Jay.
He is Pondo ng Pinoy’s First “saint”.
Pondo ng Pinoy is a movement to develop a Filipino culture rooted more deeply in love of God and neighbor, especially the poor, through little but repeated acts of compassion, solidarity and sharing. Pondo ng Pinoy is also a community foundation born out of the daily contributions of concerned people that will support programs benefiting the poor. As a movement and as a community foundation, Pondo ng Pinoy calls on all Filipinos to care for others so as to attain fullness of life in God.
What is Pondo ng Pinoy and why is Jay-Jay hailed a “saint”?
The Catholic Church’s Pondo ng Pinoy is one of the country’s most effective humanitarian movements.
The movement allows each Catholic to do something about his or her duty to show love for God by caring for the needy. In a concrete way, everyone, even a relatively poor person, can do this act of love for God through service to neighbor by using a plastic drinking water or soft drink bottle as a kind of piggy bank and depositing 25 centavos in it daily, or in the case of really poor person, as often as he or she can spare 25 centavos until the bottle is full. Which is when he or she turns it over to the parish and begins again.
In some parishes, the faithful with filled Pondo ng Pinoy plastic bottles are invited to march toward the altar behind those carrying the bread and wine at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist during the preparation of the gifts.
Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales started Pondo ng Pinoy before he was made a cardinal. He was driven by his resolve to get the Catholic faithful to realize that each of them should help solve our country’s problem of massive poverty.
He gathered the priests and religious of the Archdiocese of Manila, as well as delegates from the dioceses of Antipolo, Cubao, Imus (Cavite), Caloocan, Malolos (Bulacan), Novaliches, Parañaque, Pasig, San Pablo (Laguna), Taytay (Rizal) and Puerto Princesa (Palawan), at the Folk Arts Theater in Pasay on June 11 and on June 12, 2004. The assembly launched Pondo ng Pinoy.
Cardinal Rosales saw in Pondo ng Pinoy a way by which every person, “no matter how poor, no matter how humble, can enjoy the freedom to give, to help and live fully.” This is because Pondo ng Pinoy aims to cultivate the culture of giving and helping another, through saving as little as 25 centavos a day as an act of love for the poor and as symbol of one’s good works. The money, Cardinal Rosales said, would be meaningless without the Spirit of Love generated by the act of saving it daily. Cardinal Rosales summed up the Pondo ng Pinoy principle in this motto, “Anumang magaling kahit maliit basta’t malimit ay patungong langit.” [Every good thing and act, no matter how small, if it is done often leads to heaven.]
“We can do no great things,” said Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, “only little things with great love.”
The story of young Jay-jay is, in essence, the story of Pondo ng Pinoy, a story of little things, done with great love. Jay-jay, a child in the 5th grade, in all his youthful wisdom understood the theology of Pondo ng Pinoy – of how small things, given with great love and concern for others, can change the world for the better.
Each day, he would gather all the 25-centavo coins he could find, to drop into a small, empty mineral water bottle that stood on his mother’s desk at her office.
Remembering his teacher’s admonition that the bottles should be filled with small amounts every day instead of in a rush at the last day of submission, he would fill it slowly, day by day, with whatever amounts he could offer as a small sacrifice for the sake of others.
He even went as far to refuse the payment of P5.00 from a friend of his mother for a little service he rendered, “Beinte singko na lang po, para sa Pondo ng Pinoy” was his rejoinder to the offer.
Heaven, it seemed, could wait no longer to have this dear child in the company of the angels. A disease similar to leukemia spread quickly through his body. Yet even when confined to his sickbed at the height of his illness, Jay-jay’s thoughts were never far from his little bottle of coins.
Murmuring to his mother, he would ask, not for toys or books or food but for his little bottle: “Mommy, akin na, pupunuin ko ‘yun para sa amin ni Jesus.” His mother learned to see, through her son’s eyes, the slowly-filling bottle not as a discarded piece of refuse, but as a vessel of love and a symbol of compassion.
Today, Jay-jay sits at the feet of Christ, and is embraced by the arms of the Savior he loved with all his innocent and trusting soul.
His memory lives on, though, not only in his beloved mother’s heart, but in the hearts of all those who see in Pondo ng Pinoy the chance “to do small things with great love”, and to change the world one small loving step at a time.
Jay-jay’s love story – for it is indeed a story of love – inspires everyone to look upon the humble containers bearing the Pondo ng Pinoy logo as the Hand of God extended in abiding love and unfailing mercy.
His story caused Cardinal Rosales, the father of Pondo ng Pinoy to declare joyfully, “We have our first “saint!” as he asked us to commit to our hearts the gentle words of innocent faith”: Pupunuin ko ‘yun, para sa amin ni Jesus.
For more than 10 years, Pondo ng Pinoy continued to make a difference in the lives of many.
One of the numerous successful livelihood projects that came into being thanks to Pondo ng Pinoy was Eco-Uling project in Taguig City, which both gives a livelihood to persons with disability and promotes environmental protection and enhancement. The project produces charcoal briquette from a combination of water lily, coconut husks and shell.
Some 20 persons with disability and their young Muslim friends run the Eco-Uling project. They gather the materials, do the technical production and market the product. This project has enabled the PWDs to earn a living by themselves.
The project wipes out the water lily-caused problem of clogged waterways that causes flooding during the rainy months. Pondo ng Pinoy initially granted the project P300,000 and then gave an additional P280,000 to expand the operation.
Pondo ng Pinoy has sponsored more than 300 health, livelihood, development, alternative learning and housing projects and the Hapag-Asa subsidized feeding program. All these projects and programs have cost more than P200 million.
The Pondo ng Pinoy movement operates through the Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation. Its members, aside from the Archdiocese of Manila, are 18 dioceses, two apostolic vicariates, and the Military Ordinariate.
You can help Pondo ng Pinoy continue its legacy.
Account Name: Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation, Inc.
Bank of the Philippine Islands: SA#3063-6086-52
Banco de Oro: SA#2200-45555-0 / SA#2630-01627-3
HAPAG-ASA INTEGRATED NUTRITION PROGRAM:
Account Name: PONDO NG PINOY CFI (HAPAG-ASA)
Bank of the Philippine Islands: CA#3061-0858-22
Banco de Oro: CA# 2638-00407-0
Metrobank: CA# 175-7175-50963-8
Security Bank: CA#141-026133-002
For more information, please visit their official website: http://pondongpinoy.com