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Inside: p 2 Santas Coming to OG; p4 Programme; p5 Happy Birthday Jesus; p6 A Letter from Jesus’ p7 Guidelines to OG; p8 The Greatest Gift

The True Meaning of Christmas Sunday, December 18, 2011 2pm Blessed John Paul II Mass Centre. Massey University, Gate 4, Albany Highway

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The success of OG: Open Gathering is dependent on the support and contributions of people who believe that the true meaning of Christmas is through giving, sharing and caring. In 2010, Bro Sendo and Sis Claudia Menchavez were coordinators in seeking gifts to be given to new migrants attending the event. As they arrived in the social hall of Good Shepherd Parish Balmoral, one individual handed a wrapped gift, and for the next hour, only one gift was on top of the donations’ table. Just as the programme was about to start, people came into the venue, the Menchavez were astonished as many handed gifts to them, that as these piled up, nearly covered them. All the new migrants got their gifts, and all others who were present had presents as well. It was the miracle of multiplication of gifts, thanks to well-meaning and generous donors, real Santas. For OG 5, the organizers invited friends to be among the 12 Santas tasked to invite new migrants, bring gifts and share their favourite dish/dessert. The response was overwhelming, for most said “Yes”, and Bro Sendo & Sis Claudia will be less stressed knowing in advance that there will be gifts for the new migrants from the more than 12 Santas. This year’s Santas are: Sendo-Claudia Menchavez, Minda Prajes Villaver, Myriam Benito, Nani-Ching Mandawe, Oscar-Miriam Batucan,

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Erwin-Gingin Doctora, Peter-Jamelle Gayaman, Boy-Pat Amiscua, Tony-Cora Noblejas, Pilar Boyle, Nida Gray, Cyril-Rose Bas, Romy-Annie Loay, Bert-Rosana Adviento, Mikki-Len Guantero, Ramon-Joy Tonacao, Ogie-Lala Bonilla, Omar-Fiel Albinto, Rey-Jam Parado, Chico-Elvie Duhig and Vic-Avis Hebia. The Santa list is growing daily and we shall acknowledge the other donors in the final edition of OG News. Most of this year’s Santas just like the jolly ol’ man will be bringing gifts, but there is one who opted to be different: Ro my Loay. An avid gardener, Romy will bring 100 young vegetable plants all to be given away in support of another programme of TawagAwit – Sow & Harvest that encourages backyard vegetable gardens among members. It was Romy’s plan to invite TawagAwit members to his home where he’d distribute the plants, but when he learned that there will be more people in OG, so he decided instead of giving these away to as many people as possible during the event. To all our Santas this year, thank you. May the Lord bless you and your family always for your kindness, generosity and making a difference this Christmas.

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OG 5 PROGRAMME December 18, 2011 1pm 2pm 2:15 2:20 2:25 2:30 2:35 2:40 2:50 3:00 3:03 3:10 3:30 3:40 3:47 4:05 4:20

Registration Opening Prayer/Song Welcome Remarks Song Dance Song Song Sharing about PKB Game Gift to the Baby Jesus Song: Happy Birthday Jesus Snacks Songs Dance BQQ Gift-Giving to New Migrants Christmas Carols

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Fr Sam Pulanco Sis Nida Gray Sis Cecille Muhal JAC Bro Mel B Libre OBG Ka Uro T-Kids of St Mark’s Pakuranga KIS Jam Parado Bro Sendo-Sis Claudia Menchavez Community Singing

Happy Birthday Jesus

E C#m Happy Birthday Jesus

(Mel B Libre) E EM7 It seemed not so long ago AM7 E That you were born in Bethlehem AM7 E Only a few came to know B E Of that promised night so solemn

F#m B7 You are the Light, You are love divine


E EM7 Sheltered in a manger AM7 E Cared for by Mary and Joseph AM7 E Welcomed by poor shepherds B E As angels sang in worship CHORUS: E C#m Happy Birthday Jesus F#m B7 You are the Father’s gift to humankind

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E EM7 Today we recall Your birth AM7 E You fill the weary world with love AM7 E With hope, charity and mirth B E As You sit in the throne above CHORUS: F Dm Happy Birthday Jesus Gm C You are the Father’s gift to humankind F Dm Happy Birthday Jesus Gm C F You are the Light, You are love divine

A LETTER FROM JESUS Peace be with you. I am thankful that you continue to recall and celebrate my birth more than 2000 years ago in the little town of Bethlehem. I came as a gift from the Divine Father to humanity, conceived in the womb of Mary and cared for by Joseph. It was difficult for them, as they would have wanted me to be born in a decent place, but as no one welcomed them in their homes, I was born in a manger, in the company of sheep, cattle and donkey. If you thought that the world failed me, when I was born, erase such thought, for truly I was full of joy. The embrace of Mary, the support of Joseph, the adoration of the shepherds, the songs of the angels, the gifts of the Magi, all these made me welcome into this world among the children of the Father. Every moment of my life, from birth until the ascension, I cherish, and I shall return to reward all who have kept the faith, as I will punish the wicked and unrepentant. This Christmas, I ask you to have a welcoming attitude, a charitable spirit and a caring heart to all especially the least of your brethren. As you share with your family, your friends, your associates, do share as well to the dying and the destitute, to the migrants and their children, to the beggars, the prostitutes and even the sinners. Think not about receiving gifts, but rather of giving yourself, your possessions and your time for others. It would mean so much to those who receive, it would mean so much to me. I love you! Merry Christmas. Yours in faith, hope and charity, Jesus Christ

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Guidelines to OG: Open Gathering: VENUE: Blessed John Paul II Mass Centre, Gate 4, Massey University, Albany Highway Enter Eastbourne Road then take Hokowhitu Place (Marked X) REGISTRATION TIME: 1PM SHOWTIME: 2PM – 4:30PM TRANSPORT: Free parking is available in Hokowhitu Place inside the University DONORS: The organisers encourage brethren who have established themselves in New Zealand to donate food/drinks and gifts to new migrants, and toys to children. Kindly wrap the gifts. For food/drinks, kindly deposit at the Mass Centre c/o Cyril/Rose Bas For gifts to new migrants, kindly deposit at the Social Hall c/o Sendo/Claudia Menchavez For toys to children, kindly deposit at the Social Hall c/o Ching/Nani Mandawe NEW MIGRANTS: For those who have arrived in New Zealand within the period of two years or less, please register at OG Issue 2/page 7


The nativity scene is the most important display to remind us of the essence of Christmas. All the characters have important symbolic roles in the Catholic faith. Angels. God’s messengers, angels announced the birth of Jesus Christ to the shepherds. Their singing and praising meant God’s presence and joy in fulfilling His promise to send His Son to save humankind. Animals. The camel, donkey, sheep and cattle are in the nativity scene not merely for ornamental purposes, but for their significant contribution to that faithful night. The camel brought the three magi; the donkey carried Mary and the unborn child; the sheep came along the shepherds; and cattle were housed in the stable. The animals are God’s creatures, all meant to serve humanity, but never meant to be abused.

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Shepherds. Ordinary people, the shepherds were witnesses to the prophecy that Israel had long forward. The angels did not announce it to royalty or priests – but to simple workers, for Christ came to bring the Good News to the poor, the unwanted, the sinners. Star of Bethlehem. The miraculous star signalled the fulfilment of the prophecy of the birth of the Messiah. The star led the three wise men to where Jesus was born. It means that God delivers what He promises; and that He leads us always to the path of salvation. Manger. The feed of animals are placed in the manger; and on it the Christ child rested. Jesus is the Bread of Life, the Food of our souls. When we eat the Body of Christ and drink His Blood, we become one with Him, and become connected to each other; for we all partake of the One Loaf. Three Wise Men. The Magi, also called the Three Kings, were of pagan faith, yet they traversed deserts to find the Christ and brought Him meaningful gifts. God is inclusive, and seeks out all peoples who are His children. Mary. The Mother of Our Lord, whose obedience to the Lord, made her Queen of Heaven and of Earth. She lived a life of sacrifice and devotion, witnessing the Son dying on the cross. She felt the joy of mothering the Holy Child, and shared that joy to all who embraced Him as Saviour and Lord. Joseph. Joseph acted as the father of Jesus on earth. He listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who accepted God’s command without question. He accepted God’s will, knowing that the way of faith, is obedience and hope. Jesus. The Son of God was made flesh, to be amongst humankind. He is the meaning of Christmas, the Mass of Christ. Jesus the Christ is the greatest gift from the Father to us, His children. Jesus’ birth shows the humility of God, by not only allowing Him to live with His people though at times they were disobedient, sinful and doubtful; but most importantly for Christ to suffer and die, so we could be saved.

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YOU CAN BE AS TALL AS SANTA Invite a new migrant, bring food stuff and gifts – as we sing Christmas carols and play games


Open Gathering

The True Meaning of Christmas Sunday, December 18, 2011 2pm, Blessed John Paul II Mass Centre. Massey University, Gate 4, Albany Highway OG Issue 2/page 10


Official Newsletter of Open Gathering 2011

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