As the Diocese of Novaliches closed the Extraordinary Jubilee Year Of Mercy last December 9, 2016 during its annual Three-In-One Celebration at Mary The Queen Parish, Q.C., its Faithful gratefully testify that miracles and great blessings abounded during the year.
“Ang encounter ko was, the Lord has been so gracious and merciful to me,” said Rev. Fr. Juan Bosco Abellana referring to the health problems he experienced during the Jubilee Year.
“He has been compassionate in that He allowed me to live,” he added gratefully, “Kaya masasabi ko na I am still alive and kicking. This is so great and wonderful of how the Lord has shown and manifested His concern, His love for me.”
A testimony so truthful since Fr. Abellana has lost a lot of weight and undergoes dialysis twice a week. He is currently housed in the Diocesan Bahay Pari in Visitation Parish at Sacred Heart Village, Q.C. to ensure he is well-rested.
Meanwhile, Sr. Linda Palumares of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and under the Ina Ng Lupang Pangako Parish of Payatas, Q.C., shared her own extraordinary experience in the Jubilee Year that happened during her pilgrimage to Jubilee Shrines.
“What I felt was very extraordinary kasi upon entering the Manila Cathedral, looking, facing the Jubilee Cross I felt something, what do you call that–a grace moment, I want to cry because of the unworthiness that Christ was crucified because of my own sinfulness. It was really a great experience in this Jubilee Year of Mercy,” she recalled.
Mercy In Every Day Life
Although God truly works miraculously and extraordinarily, His mercy is actually most felt in the ordinariness of life that several lay members of the Diocese of Novaliches willingly testified to.
“Sa buhay ko po ngayon, masasabi ko po talagang sobrang naexperience ko yung mercy ni God kasi po kahit na hirap na hirap ako makapasa, ang ginagawa ko lang po magdasal at nakakapasa naman po ako,” shared Yna, a Youth from the Santuario de San Paulo or St. Paul Shrine in Casa Milan, Q.C.
While Diocesan Catechist Sr. Erla Dalen echoed, “Alam mo kasi yung life ko is ordinary life eh. Kaya yung every day lang talaga–siguro yung strength lang every day sa pagtuturo, yun lang talaga.”
“Pero yun yun eh, wala talagang particular na sobrang extraordinary na pangyayari kundi…sa bawat umaga na pagpasok mo sa school…masaya ka pa rin magturo sa kanila kasi nakikita mo si Christ,” she said pertaining to her daily experience as a teacher to children belonging to the Divine Savior Parish in North Fairview, Q.C., where she is currently assigned.
Mercy In Life’s Struggles
Aside from daily life in school, God’s Mercy is also felt in the most trying moments of one’s life–especially in family life, as mothers Maricar Labiano of the Diocesan Pastoral Office, Janevee Dumrique of the Chancery Office, and Imelda Ileto of the Commission On Worship experienced during the Jubilee Year.
“Actually wala namang major na nangyari,” Labiano quipped, “Wala lang nagkakasakit sa family. Blessing na iyon sa amin. Financially, okay naman. Nakakasurvive kahit single mom.”
While teary-eyed Dumrigue attested, “Sa Jubilee of Mercy siguro naramdaman ko siya nung times na dumating yung punto na nawalan ng trabaho yung asawa ko. Pero kahit ganoon pa man eh hindi naman niya kami pinabayaan. Hanggang ngayon wala pa siyang trabaho pero survivor kami. Nagkasakit yung anak ko pero kinakaya pa.”
“Ang experience ko po for the Year of Mercy is last August po nung naconfine ang aking anak, nadetect siya as dengue patient,” said Ileto of her similar experience. “That time po sobrang hirap po sa akin kasi hindi ko alam kung paano ang gagawin at the same time po kulang po kami financially.”
To which she added, “Sa awa po ng Diyos, nakalabas naman po siya. At sa dami naman po ng tumulong financially and spiritually, sumobra-sobra pa po yung mercy and compassion na narecieve ko ng mga panahon na iyon–sobrang siksik at liglig po ako.”
Yet there are also the unexpected moments and surprises that came in the Jubilee Year that ushered in joy in one’s relationships, whether it be spiritual, familial, or professional.
“Akala ko okay na kami pero pagdating dun sa isang formation na iyon, nailalabas yung mga hinaing at ibang sama ng loob ng anak ko para pala sa akin na hindi ko alam,” quipped Mary Ann Jeanette Nicanor of Ina Ng Buhay Parish in Damong Maliit, Q.C. on attending the Parish Renewal Experience.
Although surprised by the unexpected revelation, that moment paved great blessings to her family. She noted, “At sa pagkakataon na iyon, nagkakaroon ng pagpapatawaran at nagiging malago lalo yung Word of God para sa amin, within our family. Ang resulta noon ay yung pagseserve namin ay hindi lang ako, pati sila ay nakikibahagi na sila sa amin sa pagkakaroon ng mga activity sa Church.”
“Itong year 2016, Year of Mercy, there are so many instances where I encountered our Lord,” began Papal Awardee Estelita Macalaguim. “First, during our–sa business ko where I was assessed a Million Pesos na wherein, during that time, mahina ang negosyo…But now, coming from the mouth of the examiner…We were assured that we will not be assessed.”
“And, of course, naencounter ko rin si Lord ng deeply nang mamatay yung kapatid ko,” she continued. “And then my brother and my sister-in-law, nagkaroon ng hindi magandang relation, nagkasakitan ng loob. Yung kapatid ko nadepressed and he loses 25 pounds…Now sabi niya, nagreregain na siya ng health niya ang thanks daw for my prayer.”
Truly, God’s Mercy is in every circumstance of our lives that is experienced fully by one who lives with an open mind and heart. As these testimonies recall the Mercy of the God in the previous Jubilee Year, may it usher in renewed communities in the current Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities.
The Three-In-One Celebration of the Diocese of Novaliches also officially closed the Jubilee Year and the Year of the Eucharist and the Family in the Diocese while celebrating the 14th Foundation of the Diocese on December 7 and the Bishop, Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D., 51st Sacerdotal Anniversary on December 21.
Previously, the Diocese of Novaliches held a Theological Pastoral Conference on the Parish as a Communion of Communities in the St. Paul Shrine, Casa Milan, Q.C. last November 19, 2016. The Conference aimed to prepare the Faithful of Novaliches for the opening of the Year of the BEC.
The Diocese also launched, through its Social Communications and Media Ministry (SocComm Nova), a blog site for the Jubilee Of Mercy entitled Encounters of Mercy, to document its Faithful’s experiences on the love and mercy of God. (~Minnie Agdeppa)