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Simbang Gabi

Submitted by: rgsphil
On: 19/12/2014

December 16 was the first day of the Simbang Gabi-Misa de Gallo, or early morning Masses to mark the nine day novena to welcome Our Lord Jesus Christ on His birthday on December 25th.  This is a tradition that is long-awaited by many in the Philippines and expatriates all over the world.  Many take the time to awaken early in the morning, at cock’s crow in order to troop to the Parish Churches and participate in the Masses celebrated all over the Philippines.

           

In our compound on 1043 Aurora Boulevard, we have observed the tradition of celebrating the first day only with a dawn Mass at 4:30.  This year our priest presider was Fr. Vic de Jesus, SJ.       J.  When he accepted the invitation to celebrate the Mass, he requested that the Sisters prepare someone to share first before he delivered his homily.  The Heart of Mary Villa community was able to invite their social worker, Katherine Rodriguez. 

Here are excerpts from her sharing:  

           When I was a child, my teacher asked what we remembered about Christmas. Some of my classmates spoke about Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Yes, it is true there is Mary Joseph and Jesus, but they forgot the THREE KINGS and the GUIDING STAR.

          I have my three kings. They were my father, my ‘’Kuya Boy’’ and my friend ‘’Thad”. My father took care of me and loved me; while my mother was at work in another province. When my father went to work, he left me with his sister-in-law and fetched me after work. One day, I came home and I never saw my father. My parents got separated. Graduation day came and my parents were not there. I went up to the stage alone. They didn’t witness how I delivered my valedictory address.

          Thaddeus or ‘’Thad’’ as I called him is my special friend. We were both six years old when we first met. Thad and I became a member of the youth choir and we both played the guitar. We had shared precious moments and we dreamt together. On September 27, 2005, Thad passed away. He suffered from Acute Myeloid leukaemia.  I was there when he bid his last goodbye and took his last breath.

          After Thad died, my cousin Kuya Boy, my big brother was always there for me. I grew up with him. He loved and cared for me. He consoled me when I was in pain with the loss of Thad. I never wanted to go in our church to play guitar again. On November 30, 2006 a year after Thad died, I lost my Kuya Boy. He was missing after Typhoon Reming hit Albay.

          I asked GOD, .WHY? WHY Kuya Boy? WHY Thad? WHY did my father leave us? Why persons I loved depart and have to die. I asked HIM, who’s next? and what’s next? The loss of them makes my life so heart-rending. I was alone. From then on, I lived my life full of misery. I never cared anymore. I could not concentrate on my studies. I pursued my peers to forget everything.

          I took the social work board exam even without having a review class. Fortunately, I passed. I got work at DSWD for almost two years but decided to resign when I got an offer to work here at Heart of Mary Villa. Someone asked me why I left DSWD, I answered I am happy to be with HMV.  The truth is, HMV serves as my GUIDING STAR. When I entered HMV, I prayed and I asked GOD, “’is it your way for me to be good again? Did Thad and Kuya Boy ask you to lead my way here?’’. My mother told me that when I stayed at HMV ‘’bumabait daw ako’’.  Recently, I got a text message from my father. He asked me how am I? I told him that I am afraid for my life and how can I be a good mother to my son? My father told me, he was so sorry for not being there when I needed him and he promised that he will always be with me and my son. And for the first time, he said ‘’I love you’’.

          I still have my three kings in life. Though Thad and Kuya Boy are gone, I feel their presence. I have my son, he looks like my Kuya Boy and he behaves like Thad.

          Am I healed now? Not really,.. but I know I am on the right path. I am grateful for Heart of Mary Villa, my Guiding Star, a priceless gift,….to discover my way back HOME.

          Last night, I talked to God. I told him I am sorry for all the insecurities, jealousy and selfishness I have from the past. After all, he’s so good to me. I have lost two important persons in my life but he gave me more. I have my workmates, the Sisters, a family.....the Heart of Mary Villa. It’s just like I only asked him for a bread, but he gave me a bread..with ham and cheese. Lord said, kung gaano daw kasarap ang tinapay na may ham and cheese ay ganun din daw kasarap magmahal ang mga taga-Heart of Mary Villa.

 

Father then continued with his homily and he picked up from the bread shared by Katherine.  “At this Eucharistic celebration we will receive once again the Bread of Life.  Jesus the Bread of Life whose birthday we celebrate on Christmas Day.”  He gave a most interesting linguistic lesson on “Merry Christmas” compared to the Pilipino “Maligayang Pasko” which connects it to the Paschal mystery, which connects it to our Easter Greeting, “Maligayang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay”.   For us Filipinos then, Christmas and Easter are integrally connected through our greetings during these holiday seasons of Christmas and Easter.

 

-          Sr. M. Tarcila Abaño RGS