By Lilu Aliño
Powerful, invigorating, moving! This is how parishioners described the testimonies and sharing of delegates and parishioners during the Parish Encounter held on January 27, 2016.
Concepcion Martinez Narvios
Sharer, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart – Capitol Parish
For Concepcion, wife and mother, honoring the Eucharist is following Jesus by loving the less fortunate and marginalized among us. She delivered her sharing in Spanish to benefit the majority of delegates who came from Spanish-speaking countries. “I did not prepare anything, it’s hard to put into words over thirty years of work with Sr. Isadora and the nuns at the Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer,” said Cep. In 1982, she became an interpreter for the sisters from Spain and what started as a temporary undertaking became a lifetime of service work. The goal of the Oblate Sisters was to uphold the rights of prostituted women and those who are sexually abused, to save them from exploitative conditions and work on their social transformation. Her close encounters with the women made her understand them, love them and care for them. “I remember Sr. Isadora, telling us, ‘give them love, give them hope and a new life.’ For Cep, understanding and listening to these women and making a difference in their lives is a source of happiness. With them, Cep is closer to God.
John shared that the Catholics in Ireland are learning to live in an increasingly secularized and pluralist society and are facing many challenges to their strong Catholic beliefs. According to John, the vocation to the priesthood and religious life has had a dramatic decline; attendance in masses, especially among young people continues to decrease. However, John thinks, “there are green buds of hope appearing through the Trojan work of priests, religious and laity.” In his travels around Ireland to promote Eucharistic Adoration, he has encountered many stories of people who have experienced amazing graces and blessing. He would like to think that the Apostolate of Eucharistic Adoration is playing its part in creating credible witnesses, especially to the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament – helping to open minds and hearts to the amazing love of Jesus. He said we must remind ourselves that there is one thing that our most secularized society expects in a community of believers: that we are witnesses to how Christ’s message can lead people in their search for meaning of why we live and how we should live.
Cathechist, Redemptorist Parish
Samalia’s appreciation and love for the Holy Eucharist started when she got married at the Redemptorist Church. She and her husband were blessed with 6 children so they had to work hard. As a catechist and community leader, Samalia tried her best to raise her children to be closer to God and to the Blessed Mother. When the children were young, she would attend mass twice – first for the children so they would learn to behave well in church and the second mass for her to fully concentrate in the Holy Eucharist. Perhaps, according to Samalia, “Jesus gradually prepared me for the worst to come.” She later found out that her husband was having an affair with another woman. It became the most traumatic experience of her life. Feeling abandoned, she couldn’t get a full night’s sleep for a long time. Despite the storm and the pains that she and her family went through, “God healed me and strengthened my family,” she said. For her, God has been merciful and loving and God gave her hope during her darkest moments. God gave her bread – His body as her strength to go on with her journey. The Eucharist has been an inspiration and source of sustenance. She actively organizes her neighborhood into a Christ-centered community where there is love, peace and cooperation. With the help of God, Samalia knows she will be able to overcome any struggle and trial of life.