“My life in the service of Our Lord started at an early age of eleven…as a member of the children’s choir! Believe it or not, I was a soprano then. As I grew up, my voice changed…but I love watching concerts! I really appreciate all of these,” joyfully remarked the Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D. as he addressed the viewers of “Papuri At Pasasalamat”–a concert organized by the Diocese of Novaliches in celebration of the 75th Birthday and of the 50th Sacerdotal Anniversary of the Bishop–last May 28, 2016 at the Santuario de San Paolo, Casa Milan, Q.C.
Then the Bishop turned around and addressed the Philippine Madrigal Singers (Madz), the main performers of Papuri At Pasasalamat, as they sat elegantly behind him on the stage. He said warmly, “Thank you for telling the story of my life through your songs…I can sit for hours listening to your music!”
A heart-warming scene, the Bishop’s Closing Remarks lasted almost 10 minutes as he also recalled his Youth and reminded Parish Priests to be very thorough in their interviews for couples preparing for Marriage after sharing that he now spends the wee hours of the night reviewing petitions for the nullification of Marriage–something that came to his mind probably from the string of love songs sung by the Madz that night.
The Bishop was actually singing along with the Madz as they performed on stage for more than 45 minutes. The musical ensemble, under the baton of Mr. Mark Anthony Carpio, comprised of 14 songs that ranged from breathtaking Classical Filipino Songs to angelic renditions of Pop Songs like John Legend’s “All Of Me” and beautiful adaptations of Religious Songs like Jamie Rivera’s “Awit Sa Ina Ng Santo Rosario”. There was also the much-applauded rendition of “The Coconut Nut” of the now-defunct local band Smokey Mountain.
With the concert’s organization and staging prepared by the young Clergy of Novaliches headed by St. Joseph The Worker Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Aristeo De Leon, the emcees for the event were Sto. Nino De Congreso Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Jansen Ronquillo, MS and Nuestra Señora dela Paz y Buen Viaje Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Jose Eliseo Buenviaje. While Rev. Fr. Eric Estrada, ESHT gave a testimonial of how loving a father the Bishop is amidst being strict when it comes to financial reports and processes.
The Bishop also thanked the young Clergy who he “didn’t know” he inspired since all the while he “was just doing” his “best”.
Papuri At Pasasalamat began with Ryan Cayabyab’s “The Prayer Of St. Francis” sung by the Seminarians of the Novaliches Diocese (SEND), followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Ms. Cecille Molina before the Madz began their performance. The finale was “The Prayer” sung by the Clergy and Religious Men present that evening. The emcees then encouraged everyone to join in the singing of “Happy Birthday” to the Bishop.
The concert was a fund-raising activity for the construction of Bahay Pari, one of the flagship projects of the Diocese and the brainchild of the Bishop for retiring members of the Clergy. Bahay Pari will also serve as a retreat center for the Clergy of Novaliches.
According to Divine Mercy Apostolate (DMA) President Ms. Erlinda Villamor who was part of the Concert’s organizing committee, there were 1,000 persons expected to come during the concert based on ticket sales even though only almost half actually came.
The tickets, distributed to the parishes for selling early in May, were sold with prices ranging from Php500 (Bronze Sponsor) to Php20,000 (Corporate Sponsor). The concert was estimated to generate Php1.2M in funds that will aid Bahay Pari’s construction, which is 30% finished as of date. (~Minnie De Luna)