With the theme “The Filipino Family: Missionary Disciples of the Eucharist”, the Diocese of Novaliches’ Commission on Family and Life held its 1st Diocesan Family Congress last May 21, 2016 at the Commission on Audit (COA) Airconditioned Gymnasium in Batasan Hills, Q.C. with the aim of echoing learnings from the recently-concluded Synod On The Family and in celebrating the Year Of The Eucharist and the Family.
Resource Speaker Rev. Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ encapsulated these in his talk entitled, “Ang Pamilyang Marangal at Maka-Diyos: Anthropologic Perspective of the Filipino Family” where he emphasized the importance of putting order in one’s relationships–with God, with others, with society, and with Nature. Fr. Albert or Paring Bert, as he is commonly-called, challenged those present to resolve to do this and to teach their children about this as well.
“Magmula ngayon, ayusin natin ang pagtuturo sa mga bata…ayusin natin ang ating mga relasyon,” he said before ending his richly-diverse talk that captured the attention of the 509 Congress participants for more than an hour.
In his live interview with Radio Veritas after his talk, Paring Bert emphasized this aspect noting that the family remains as central unit of society that reflects, to a large extent, the actual state of society, and as such, is vital in addressing the problems of society.
“Ang sitwasyon ng bansa ay nakaugat sa sitwasyon ng pamilya. Ang maraming problema ng bansa–maraming problem rin sa pamahalaan–may kinalaman din yan sa uri ng pamumuhay natin sa pamilya. Kaya kung ang pangunahing problema natin ay korupsyon, may sinasabi din yan sa korupsyon na nagsisimula sa pamilya. At kung ang korupsyon sa lipunan ay nagmumula sa pamilya, kaya ang pamumuhay na marangal na may dignidad ay dapat magsimula rin sa pamilya,” he said, drawing from his doctorate studies in Anthropology at the University of London’s School of Oriental Studies and his experience as leader of EHEM!, the Jesuit Nationwide Anti-Corruption Program.
In addition to being a gathering of sorts, the Congress served to live out the recently-released exhortation of Pope Francis, “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy Of Love), through its tagline “#We Live Simply, We Love Generously” that resource speakers Nelson and Maria Soccorro Villafania–one of the families chosen to attend the Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome last October 2015–shared in their talk, “Good Practices In Evangelization of Families”.
Commission on Family and Life Lay Coordinator Maria Fe Belizar said that their tagline should also be the motto of any one wishing to serve in the Church. She notes that many would like to serve but would often have restrictions in their service to the Ministry they belong. Belizar, who carried her youngest child as she attended to the needs of the Congress, said she has started inculcating this in their children through simple chores at home. All four children, including the one she carried, were present with them during the Congress.
To avoid any restrictions for participants to actively join the Congress, the Commission on Family and Life actually setup a makeshift Day Care Center in the COA Gymnasium that was manned by five representatives of the Commission on Youth (COY NOVA) headed by Marlyn Cababay.
The Day Care Center registered 60 kids for the Congress who spent the day doing various activities such as parlor games, artwork, and crafts. The children were also given prizes for parlor games and for having the best artwork. There was also a story-telling session after lunch time.
The Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D., who was present from the start of the Congress, visited the Day Care Center during lunch time and mixed with the kids who flocked to him to bless before returning to their games. The Bishop was assisted in his short encounter with the kids by Commission on Family and Life Priest Coordinator, Rev. Fr. Daniel Allan Samonte.
The 1st Diocesan Family Congress was attended by various parishes from the 11 Vicariates of the Diocese with the bulk of participants coming from the Good Shepherd (76) and Sto. Nino (71) Vicariates. The next Congress will take place after two years. (~Minnie De Luna)