Tons

Few years back, I’ve never imagined that I will experience the blessings of travelling to the city of love but God has a way of surprising me with His loving angels sent from heaven to remind me of His greatness.

Special thanks to Ninang Racquel Reyes and Ninong Wilbert Reyes for their generous sharing of blessings. I will not mention the details but from the ampula of my pancreas, I appreciate all the love.

To a dear sister, fellow servant and co-pilgrim in World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid who toured us in Iloilo and gave us a taste of the Ilonggo hospitality at its finest, thank you so much Sis. Jo-An Mendez!

I felt God’s love in action.

Love and more love

The ‘pilapil’ walk going to the humble abode of Sis. Jo-An Mendez in the middle of a rice field and so many wonderful memories in Iloilo

May God reward you a hundredfold for sharing your blessings and valuable time.

Such kindness and caring gesture will forever be etched in my heart.

And I offer this simple prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus – every good and perfect gift is a blessing from You and You have blessed me with so much and I ask that You would use me to be a blessing to others who are in need or facing difficulties.

Make me a channel of Your blessing – a channel through who You love and peace and joy and love flow out from You through me to others. May I be Your hands to bless others – may You guide my feet to places where I can go and be a blessing… May my speech be seasoned with salt so that I may speak words of comfort and encouragement – and speak the truth in love, and give me the grace to be available when others are in need.

Lord that You may increase in my life and I may decrease – so that the blessings that You pour through me to others may draw each one closer into the arms of the Lord Jesus, in Whose name I pray,

Amen.

Wealth

During our gospel reflection today in the Diocese of Imus servant’s training, I reflected on this message, is it hard for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God?

The rich young man was an upright Jew who obeyed the commandments of the Lord all his life. Yet was attached to his wealth and could not follow Jesus as a disciple.

Wealth

Saint Paul tells us that nothing can outweigh the knowledge of Christ Jesus. But in this man’s case in the gospel, he had allowed something else to outweigh Christ. Comfort, security and material things beat the invitation of Christ to be perfect. Attachments lead to sadness; there is no room for God in a heart that is already full of the things of this world. Only detachment leads to true joy. God gives himself to the one who seeks him without any strings attached.

Wealth, if earned through honest means, is not intrinsically evil.

In fact, wealth can be used to do much good for others. Jesus does not demand that we give up all our wealth before we can become his disciples.

Jesus cautions us against attachment to our riches which limits our freedom to go where the Lord bids and do what the Lord asks of us.

I was inspired by the story of Sis. Siony, she was 84 years old, a retired public school teacher and chose to serve God more together with the senior catechist of the diocese.

They opted to serve God more than anything else and share the catechesis with children.

The Bible readings remind us that as Christians, we are called to go beyond just keeping the ten commandments to the point of being willing to surrender all that we have as we face trials and tribulations in order to follow the Lord Jesus.

We, too, are asked to do what is humanly impossible, but with GOD’s help is possible – to surrender our lives for the GOoD of others.

Let us be faithful to our calling to be disciples of Christ as we face the trials we face as His followers.

Let us also be willing to let go of our possessions so we can both follow the Lord Jesus more and also share with those who have less than us.

For us, it is impossible to love at all times, but not for God. All things are possible with God. If we ask the Father for forgiveness and lean on Jesus and seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit, we become more loving. We become more heavenly.

Bukid

Some of them are farmer’s children in the Kanluran (Western) part of Malagasang, Imus here in Cavite. They are caring and loving to each other.

I witnessed their kind and gentle demeanor during the parish’s outreach program held today.

Fr. Mel Sandoval, our parish priest initiated the activity. He shared the gospel today about being a child in God’s kingdom.

He emphasized to them that they are always loved by God and that the free school supplies were gifts from Jesus.

Bukid

Children represent for Jesus the weak and the powerless in our society. Only when we give importance to such as these we can be signs of the Kingdom of God. It is in becoming powerless that we become capable of belonging to the Kingdom of God and of serving those who are powerless. “To remain small means to acknowledge one’s own nothingness, to expect all from the Good Lord as a small child expects all from his father, not to be worried about anything” (St. Therese).

In the gospel today (Mark 10:13-16), people were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

The Gospel urges us to love. The disciples were protective of Jesus believing that they should decide who was worthy of his attention and objected to Jesus blessing the children.

Jesus intervened, invited the children closer, and laid his hands on them. He gave them two precious things that cost no money: time and affection.

In this time of prayer let us offer all our concerns before God, being careful not to let through only the ones that we think presentable.

Jesus asks us to take a lesson from the way in which a child receives. What can we learn from these people ‘to whom the kingdom of God belongs’?

It is the child in us who can most truly live in a state of becoming, always open to growth and change.

It is the child in us who can sense the perfection and stability of eternity, where there is neither time nor space, neither before nor after but, in Meister Eckhart’s words, “everything present in one new, fresh-springing now where millenniums last no longer than the twinkling of an eye.”

Our treatment of children and of the vulnerable, of outcasts and those with disabilities can fall far short of what Jesus demands.

The courage to reflect gently on past failings can give us wisdom and freedom to do better in the future.

Do I take the time to nourish and connect with my childlike qualities?

This will help me retain a sense of wonder, awe, gratitude and excitement in the small things of creation.

Jay-Jay

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”.

Jay-Jay Pondo ng Pinoy

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.

Donate now!
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
Metrobank: CA/SA#3-175-50800-8
Chinabank: SA#103-521881-1

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
Chinabank: CA#103-57972-19
Security Bank: CA#141-026133-002

For more information, please visit their official website: http://pondongpinoy.com

He Cares

Grace-filled.

Inspiring.

Empowering.

More than 200 kids from the poorest of the poor in the neighborhood of Quezon City taught me today the deeper meaning of true love.

Every Saturday, they looked forward to the feeding party led by Bro. Joe Dean Solas, a lay missionary who devoted his life in fulfilling God’s call of faith and hope.

He Cares Mission, a street children caring center started in 1996 with a humble promise made by Bro. Joe Dean to two little street children that they will never be hungry again.

 

He Cares

Together with our Light Group, Bro. Joe Dean Sola (seated in cap) was a source of inspiration to many. He founded He Cares, they takes care of street children, offering five programs that cater to the children’s spirituality, health, family, life, education, and livelihood.

The day started with prayer and thanksgiving through worship songs.

Then a short program followed. I took charge of the games.

It was not easy at first.

It was difficult.

Very challenging.

But, I learned to let go.

I just smiled a lot and I let God took full control.

I knew they enjoyed it.

Their smiles and loudest cheers took my breath away.

They have been to a lot of challenges.

A few minutes of fun and laughter was all that matters.

They are still kids after all.

It was the first outreach activity for 2018 of our Light Group (LG).

I was grateful to Bro. Mark and Sis. Lorrie Calangian together with their children Lance and Chase for sharing their service love.

They tagged me along for a road trip from Cavite to the City of Stars and it was a memorable journey.

After the short program, the volunteers prepared for a sumptuous feast of spaghetti, fried chicken, rice, water turned into iced tea, fruit salad and a mini pancake with choco fillings donated by a generous Japanese businessman who visits the center monthly.

The feeding party was organized by Bro. Joe Dean with love.

Lots of it.

He encouraged the volunteers to always smile.

Every table were assigned to a feeding facilitator that helped the children on their needs.

I met Kathleen, a kindergarten student who had difficulties finishing her food. Her seatmates encouraged her to wipe out the fried chix and rice. She brought home the fruit salad.

After the feeding party, the volunteers were led to a short thanksgiving prayer and had lunch. I met other volunteers who have the same passion of serving others.

A short presentation about a new vision for He Cares in the coming years was shared.

Help build the He Cares Mission Promised Land – a sustainable farm community that aims to go beyond feeding and giving shelter for a day, towards giving a meaningful and abundant life day after day after day.

To know more about the program visit http://www.hecaresmission.com and find ways on how you can make a difference.

Bro. Joe Dean toured us around the He Cares Mission Center and mingled with the fulltime workers.

Their story of selfless love was inspiring.

I encouraged you to volunteer now.

Visit them at No. 9 Mines St., Project 6, Quezon City or contact them at (+63) 02 928-8910 or (+63) 02 453-0100. You can also email: hecaresfoundation@gmail.com.

They also accept donation thru bank account name:

He Cares Foundation, Inc.
Bank of the Philippines
Savings Account #1953093053

Tria

“Tria, our little missionary, everything will be alright.”

This is our little missionary Tria, 8 year old daughter of our Couples for Christ missionaries Onnel Tolentino and Maia Salcedo Tolentino

Onnel and Maia are faithful and exuberant missionaries for CFC having been assigned to different areas while they were still single. Onnel was a missionary in Taytay, Manila and Mongolia while Maia was a missionary from Agusan, UAE (Middle East) and China.

When they got married they decided to pursue mission work and just when Tria was 10 months old, their family journeyed to Kenya in Africa. They stayed there from 2010-2013.

Tria is her young age adjusted to the missionary life of their family- she got used to many meetings, conferences, mission trips, talks, activities and events that her parents did for CFC. Her toddler years were not ordinary – days and nights were spent doing mission with her parents. They travelled a lot, talked to a lot of people, faced danger and many crisis in their missions.

Tria

She was a delight for all our brethren in Kenya, a darling to the priests and a stress reliever for the other missionaries there.

She grew up and fell in love with the mission as well. So much so that at her tender age she would sing and dance in front of people, behave when needed and serve as asked.

It was not an easy life for her and her family and yet they were joyful and peaceful.

From Kenya, her family’s next assignment was in Manila. Onnel and Maia continued their mission work here doing mission work for Ancop and CFC.

Tria became an Ate to Robi and started schooling in Manila.

She is now 8 years old.

Days ago she got fever then, suddenly she couldn’t walk nor talk properly. When rushed to the Medical City they put her immediately in the ICU and diagnosed her with GBS.

“Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. The first symptoms of this disorder include varying degrees of weakness or tingling sensations in the legs. In many instances the symmetrical weakness and abnormal sensations spread to the arms and upper body. These symptoms can increase in intensity until certain muscles cannot be used at all and, when severe, the person is almost totally paralyzed. In these cases the disorder is life threatening – potentially interfering with breathing and, at times, with blood pressure or heart rate – and is considered a medical emergency. Such an individual is often put on a ventilator to assist with breathing and is watched closely for problems such as an abnormal heart beat, infections, blood clots, and high or low blood pressure. Most individuals, however, have good recovery from even the most severe cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, although some continue to have a certain degree of weakness.”

Everything went fast and hearthbreaking.
Tria wasn’t able to breathe on her own thus they intubated her and just today she contracted Pneumonia.

It’s a tough battle against GBS.
Medically it is very aggressive and rare that’s why her medication is much complicated.
The Medical fees are too high and for a missionary family impossible to raise.

We ask our friends and family to pray for Tria and share in any way in this challenging times. Tria is counting on our prayers and help. Let us help them raise funds so Tria can be healed, recover and serve with us again.

Our little missionary needs us, let us hold her hand and tell her, everything will be alright.

God is in control!
Amen

To help Tria, please click this link:

https://www.gofundme.com/z8zta5-help-save-tria

Niñaliz Donaire

Reposting from Sis. Grace Acla of SFC – UAE

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