The 5th Novaliches Diocesan Children’s Congress
(Highlights by Mrs Lian Balledos)
Last May 27, 2015, the Mission Animation Ministry together with the Vocation Animation Ministry and the Catechetical Ministry (all under the Faith and Formation Commission) organized the Fifth Diocesan Children’s Congress, which was held at the Santuario de San Vicente de Paul Shrine Parish. The theme of the Congress was “Bata, Bata, Mapalad ka”.
It was a day highly anticipated by the kids of the Diocese of Novaliches. A day where they would meet, pray and play; learn and be friends with the other children from different parishes of the Diocese. One thing that they have in common is that they are all attending catechism classes in their parishes, especially during the month of May for the “Flores de Mayo,” learning how God loves them and how they can express their love for Him in return.
And so bright and early on a Wednesday morning of May 27, 2015, the children of Novaliches- ages ranging from 8-12 excitedly rose from bed, had a quick bath and breakfast, kissed their parents goodbye, and trooped to their respective parishes where a service vehicle would take them to this year’s venue, the Santuario de San Vicente de Paul in Tandang Sora.
It was very refreshing to see the children. Their cute faces freshly scrubbed, in their jeans and shirts, wearing the sunniest of smiles; all in anticipation of a fun-filled day. It was indeed a fun day for all of them; even the skies proved to be cooperative. It wasn’t hot and humid, in fact, there was a light drizzle and a cool breeze, enough to make us comfortable, in spite of being in full summer.
Once inside the Santuario, the kids were attentive and cooperative during the whole program and somehow kept the place clean, as their contribution to a clean and green world, thanks also to the catechists who gave their precious time to prepare and accompany the Children.
The children of Santo Nino de Maligaya Community provided the animation and the rest of the kids joyfully joined them as they sang and danced to praise our Lord. A short formation talk followed, by Mr Mario Inojales, highlighting how Children really are blessed, in spite of life challenges. In the afternoon, the talk was focused on how the children can be, in their own little ways, a blessing to others. Fr Aris De Leon, the head of the Catechetical Ministry, together with the KALIPAYA group, creatively conveyed the message.
Fr. Joel Buenviaje, the Diocesan Vocation Promotor, celebrated the Mass, which saw the active participation of Children, from lectors to commentators, from altar servers to the children’s Choir of the Santuario de San Vicente de Paul Shrine Parish. It was really a moment of Children with Jesus in the Eucharist.
We concluded the event at 4:00 pm with a short paraliturgy presided by Fr Aime Mitengezo, sx, Mission Director, after which a simple token was given to each participant: a black nylon cord necklace with a green luminous cross as pendant, together with a candle that was supposed to be lighted once at home, with the other members of the family as they pray.
Light games were also part of the program to cheer up the children and games prices were provided by the Pontifical Mission Societies, to which we are very grateful.
With more than 830 kids in attendance, the 5th Diocesan Congress was a blast. This was mainly because it was a team work, the work of many who gave time, talents, and treasure in making this event possible. Some worked in the background and others were at the front line, and we are grateful to all of them. Most of all, we thank God, our Father Almighty for the providence, the good weather and the courage to do this mission with Children.
With God’s grace, we will meet again next year for the 6th Congress! Hopefully more participants will join. May God bless our Diocese!