True North - July 2014

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• ;u:24r • 9ul’

Set Apart


Come, Let Us Sing

1 Raising Leaders with Heart of Jesus


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ediToR-iN-CHieF Ramoncito dela Cruz MaNagiNg ediToR Aly Sulit-Placino ediToRiaL BoaRd Gary Mendoza (coordinator-in-charge) Berry Marfori Anna Sobrepeña Chito Sobrepeña aRT diReCToR Cleone Baradas

t74 3o“4r It was difficult to bring the three young professionals together for a photoshoot due to their busy schedules. But thanks to advanced technology, we were able to put them all in our cover spread. The three have known each other for a very long time, having practically grown up together. Our cover aptly captures the essence of their relationship as sister and brothers in Christ.


CoNTRiBuTiNg WRiTeRS Marc Joseph Alejo Judith Angela Alpay Lerma Evangelista Manny Manuel Ruby Lauren Manuel Mich Cruz-Villar Jun Viterbo

3 4 6

PHoTogRaPHeR John Rich Villas

TRue NoRTH BeaT 1


WHy TRue NoRTH? In navigational parlance, True North is a constant that guides travelers. In the course of our lives, our True North is Jesus Christ, the constant for all times. True North is a publication of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon ( ph) and its partners – Christ’s Youth in Action, Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon, and the Institute for Pastoral Development. LNP is a member of the federation of communities around the globe, Sword of the Spirit (

you aRe iNviTed True North is inviting all engaging storytellers—through words and pictures. We are expanding our pool of writers, editors and photographers for our forthcoming issues. Before we can write beautiful prose and compose inspiring pictures, we also need story ideas. Interested members of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon and all its outreach organizations are welcome to email or call Monching dela Cruz at ramoncitodelcruz@ or 0917 891 7644.

editor’s Note Called and Blessed Teachings Come, Let Us Sing youth Chat Yo, Bro in the House(hold)!



Emerging as One’s Own, Becoming God’s Own


My Take Destined for Sainthood

TRue NoRTH BeaT 2 16 18 21 24 26

28 30

Microfinance Bearing Heavenly Dividends Raising Leaders with the Heart of Jesus Higher Goal, Faster Speed, Stronger Faith Living Together in Peace and Harmony A Doddler with God's Messages a Christian’s guide Mass Distractions 10 Questions By God’s Grace

NoTe: All recent True North issues can be shared and read in Look for the True North page.


4D8tor S NoTe


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th 1nniversary, li—aya!

Today, we celebrate God’s faithfulness and enduring love for our Community. We were called to a deeper relationship with Him and one other, and we – at diferent stages in our lives – responded in faith, with hope and love. Throughout our journey, we have witnessed diferent people rising up to the call of being “set apart” for the Lord’s purpose. Some readily took on the challenge, while some took a while to embrace it. In this issue, we highlight three young professionals who are not just any “Community kids”, but are kids of Coordinators and Senior leaders. 2iboy leon— ;orth Sector , 9ordan 4cha—ue 3entra( Sector and 4rika 3ruz ;orth Sector) shared their pride and apprehensions in their growing-up years, and their search for their own identity as children of God pa—es to . ”hi(e they )ay have grown up under the love and guidance of the Community, they are the irst to admit that they are still “works in progress”. They will know us by the fruits of our work. Two organizations, managed mostly by Ligaya members, are featured in this issue because of their God-centered missions. true ;orth ta(ks to 4ddie Mendoza (Central Sector), who is the Executive Director of Tulay sa Pag-Unlad Inc., to know how the 6ospe(-driven ;6o is brin—in— the good news of Christ to the poor pa—es and . We are proud that many Ligaya members are part of Cradle of 9oy 3enter –or learnin— 3o9 , a Catholic progressive school dedicated to the holistic formation of students. We read about its history and future direction on pa—es to .

Our Community is known for our distinct way of life. We take a peek into the "household" experiences of single men and women (pages 6 to 8), as well as the “cluster community living” in the South Sector pa—es and . they show us how good and pleasant it is to live in unity with brothers and sisters. 8n our Questions section, we are privileged to see the “real” Grace Pulido-Tan (Central Sector), one of the toughest crusaders for good governance in the Philippines. Her candid answers will surely endear her more to us. It is a great honor to be part of this Community called and blessed by the Lord. Even if we know that God's love for everyone, in and outside Community, is equal and unequivocal, we still take pride to be known as people set apart by God’s love. Indeed we are, for we are called to be part of this Community and we are called to be part of God’s mission. Go then and pursue our mission in hope!




Sing by Joey Villamor


usic holds a vital role in the life of the Church. The Scripture recognizes music as a means for praise. texts in the ;ew testa)ent 3o( & 4ph are commands, not primarily to sing or make music, but to teach and speak with "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." Of course, there is that famous line often attributed to St. 1u—ustine 7e who sin—s we(( prays twice . 2ut what is the corre(ation o– )usic and son— to our spiritua( (i–e? to be technica( about it, a son— is )ade o– two basic parts the )e(ody and (yrics. 8 )yse(– have been a )usician –or over years and what really fascinates me is the fact that although there are only eight basic notes on a musical scale (seven if you really want to be technical about it), there have been millions of songs and pieces of music that have been written since the beginning of human music evolution. Music has a certain magical quality about it. It has the power to evoke every kind of human emotion. Picture the birth of moving pictures it started out with just a p(ain )ovie in b(ack and white, a shaky picture, and no sound. 2ut so)e —enius i—ured that the


movie would be enhanced by the addition of music in the background. Thus, movie houses started showing ilms with live piano players playing over the i(). ”hat did that do –or the )ovie? 1udiences were more engaged. They laughed not only because the visual was funny, but because the music that accompanied it evoked that particular emotion. The movie experience has never been the same since. HeaRTFeLT WoRSHiP So (et s —o back to )y question ”hat is the correlation of music and song to our spiritual life? Music efectively bridges the inner longing of our hearts –or the Divine. 2ut you )ay ask doesn t ora( prayer have the sa)e efect? ’es it does. 2ut )usic has the advantage of speed. Do you notice that you are able to get to the point of heartfelt worship more quickly when singing at Community prayer )eetin—s? that is another point 8 wou(d (ike to )ake communal worship gives us the encouragement we need to worship our God more fully. They say there is strength in numbers. Communal worship takes advantage of that strength. Words too have their strength. The words in the book of Psalms, for example, contain very powerful, thought-provoking and moving passages. We can )editate on the) and tru(y appreciate the). 2ut when you add the element of music, they take on a very diferent tone. It makes the words more meaningful to us because it can evoke certain emotions that bring us to the throne of God. That is the power of music—it is a universal truth. It speaks no particular language or dialect. It does not need a certain structure to be efective. It speaks to every human longing and desire. I believe that God gifted us with music so we can communicate with Him anytime, anywhere, and in whatever condition we are in. Do you ind yourself singing or humming a tune and your spirit is i))ediate(y (i–ted? ’our day see)s a tad brighter, a bit lighter and more joyful? That is the power of music and song. We have songs for every occasion under the sun—from birth to death, and everything else in between. Here are some lines from one of my favorite —ospe( son—s that —oes 8 sin— because 8 ) happy, I sing because I’m free, His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches over me. (Sing if you must!) readin— just the words are tru(y encoura—in— to one s spirit. 2ut i– you know the tune that accompanies these words, then you know what I mean.

7o” to pr1’ t”834 Be discerning with the songs you choose for your prayer time. Start with songs that are simple. Try to sing songs that are based on Scripture. That’s what I love about 3o))unity son—s they a(( are! ’ou —et the beneit of being able to express your worship through song and be able to memorize Scriptures at the same time. If you can ind a song that is part of the daily readings, that would be great. 8nstead o– readin— the responsoria( psa() –or the day, you can sing it! Or you can end your prayer time with a song that relects the Gospel of the day. 1void son—s that speak )ost(y about you or us . re)e)ber that worship shou(d be an expression of your adoration and awe of God. So it’s not about you! if you can play an instrument, use it. If you play the guitar or keyboard or even the violin, use these instruments during your prayer time. My only caveat here wou(d be i– you ind yourse(– bein— )ore invo(ved in playing the instrument rather than the worship, maybe you can just forego its use.


Learn new songs. There are a myriad of )usica( resources out there. 1pparent(y, there are a lot of gifted contemporary Catholic artists and composers. One of )y recent inds is 5r. rob 6a(ea. 3heck out the videos of his songs. 2ukas pa(ad is a wonderful resource as we((. 1(( o– their son—s are a(so Scripture based and are widely used in liturgical ce(ebrations. ’ou can (earn son—s anyti)e and anywhere. Listen to songs while driving to work or on your phone while commuting. tur; to p164



YO, 2ro 8; t74 7ouS4 7olD ! As told to Manny Manuel III

Behold how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity. (Psalm 133:1) This verse comes to life during summer when young men come together and spend three weeks to a month living together in what is called the “summer training household”. The household is an environment where relationships among these young men are built and strengthened and where their relationship with the Lord levels up. Jet Tamin, a :ana—e)ent 4n—ineerin— )ajor at 1teneo de :ani(a university, was one such youn— )an who to—ether with others (ived at the Servants o– the ”ord house in Scout tobias, Quezon 3ity. this is 9et s househo(d experience one i((ed with expectations, (essons (earned, fears and memorable moments. We get a glimpse of what makes a household tick—from the chill and fun atmosphere amid bonding moments to the serious and deep relections and life-changing discoveries.


Every day, we had morning and evening discussions about the readings following our regular prayers and meditation. We also prepared meals for all brothers, and cleaned the pots and pans, utensils and dishes afterwards. We joined the 7anze( 2ui(d by 7abitat for Humanity and held outreaches for the Payatas community. We also got to help in setting up and cleaning the area for the Kairos Summer Games and other Christ’s ’outh in 1ction 3’1 events. FeaRS aNd aNxieTieS Initially, I had second thoughts on joining the household because I was required to take nine academic units during the summer semester. I also had two sports for the Kairos Summer Games – volleyball (where I was co-captain) and cheerdance. To top it of, I had two projects in my school organizations this coming school year. I think I got overwhelmed with things and was really having a hard time balancing all these commitments.

I had to let go of hanging out with my friends and some events in my organizations. The week before the Summer Games was the most stressful. I had to wake up at 6 am and go back to the household around p). 8 wou(d so)eti)es )iss the talks and prayers. There were nights when I had to study until a). there ca)e a point when 8 ca((ed )y )o) in 2ukidnon to pray –or )e. 2ut throu—h it a((, God always stood by my side. It was the irst time I really asked God for guidance in my studies. This summer really changed me to be more prayerful and trusting in God. FiNaL THougHTS 1(( 8 can say is the househo(d experience was never boring. The brothers themselves made the household experience unique and lively. I got to know them even more. I also got to meet new brothers from other schools like University of Santo Tomas and University of the Philippines

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t irst, I thought the household was serious business. I really thought the brothers act like monks in a temple, all silent and serene (Perhaps being from Malaybalay, 2ukidnon, where the 2enedictine Transiguration Monastery is located, contributed to such an i)pression . 2ut 8 discovered that the household was fun and chill. The brothers are really warm, friendly and helpful—making it easier for us to bond and build our brotherhood and friendship. There were also solemn and serious moments. During our daily discussions, the brothers were very open with their feelings as well as their meditations about God. I was amazed how sincere they were with their sharings. I also expected the household to have a lot of activities and I wasn’t disappointed. Such activities were instrumental in building relations with one another and with the Lord. They also helped us get to know ourselves in a deeper way.


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- Manila. I will deinitely cherish these memories. The most valuable thing I will take from my household experience is valuing district assemblies and prayer meetings. 2e–ore, 8 rea((y didn t —et the point of having these gatherings. I thought they were just a waste o– ti)e. 1–ter the househo(d, I became aware that such gatherings are necessary to continue to strengthen our bond with brothers and sisters in Christ. It allows us to be grounded by sharing our diiculties/troubles

and achievements/blessings –or the week. 1(so, it is a way in catching up with the lives of our friends and listening to their )editations and sharin—. 2ut above all else, it is a means to worship our God. Putting aside our worries, we take time to praise and honor our 1()i—hty 5ather for the great things He has done for us. Indeed, I can conidently say that I have experienced “how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.”

At irst, I thought the household was serious business. I really thought the brothers act like monks in a temple. 7


1. BRoTHeRHood I don’t have any biological brother but, through the househo(d, 8 —ained o– the). 8 —ot to experience the feeling of having brothers around me. The brothers can relate to me in a personal level since they knew and experienced what I’m experiencing. Everyone supported and prayed for me in my studies. They continually encouraged me to do my best despite my hectic schedule. They always try to help me even in the little things. If they know I have a lot of assignments, they would do my chores/tasks instead and let me focus on my studies. I really appreciate their thoughtfulness and concern.

2. MeN FoR oTHeRS The brothers are always willing to lend a hand. They put others’ interests irst before their own. 1(( o– the brothers were excited to he(p bui(d homes for the community in Payatas. Even though the sun was scorching hot and they were already covered in their own sweat, they continued mixing cement, lifting hollow blocks and aligning the blocks on the wall with smiles on their faces.

3. god aBove aLL In the household, we would always center our day on God. We pray irst in whatever we do. We have our morning prayers that usually start at 8 am. However, some brothers had to leave early because of summer classes and they coudn't attend the prayers. Fortunately, one of the brothers, ryan :ora(es, decided to take action and gathered the brothers who had to leave early )ornin— to pray around a). 8 was i)pressed with the initiative the brothers made to praise God in order to start their day right.


A SISTER'S HOUSEHOLD DIARY ri—ht be–ore 8 entered my irst Household experience, some people asked me to explain what it’s all about. I used to describe it as a 3’1 3hrist s ’outh in 1ction Dor) , as 8 thou—ht it was. 2ut a–ter three weeks in the retiro househo(d, 8 ca)e to know that 3’1 Dor) didn t capture the true essence of a household experience. 9ust as there are ive spokes in our 3hristian life, so does the household experience. In my view, these spokes are prayer, –e((owship, outreach, teachin— and chores. 1(( these are connected to God’s goal for us, which is to “be transformed from one degree of glory to another 3orinthians . Throughout my stay, I experienced a lot in all of these spokes. I treasure each experience for each one makes me appreciate all the more how God is transforming me with His love. The deeper and more consistent prayers have made me more connected to Him. The teachings have made me yearn to know how I can do and be better for His greater glory. The chores I’ve done, many for the irst time, have compelled me to go beyond my comfort zone for Him. The fellowships I’ve experienced made me even more eager to love Him through His people. The outreach has made me realized that it is in spreadin— the 6ood ;ews that we are able to remember it all the more. I see the household as a beautiful experience, not only because of the beautiful sisters I lived with, but more so because of how God showed me the beauty of living fully in His love. Truly, His love has transformed me from one degree of glory to another, in every single moment of those three weeks in retiro. The next time people will ask me what a household is, I deinitely won’t term it just as 3’1 Dor) any)ore. 8 (( say 3o)e and see how wonder–u( it is for siblings to live in unity.” May it make them curious, and may it make them come so that they will see how wonderful it is to be changed by and renewed in Him.

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4:4r68;6 1S o;4 S o”;,

BeCoMiNg god’S oWN by Marc Joseph Alejo




here’s an old saying, “Kung ano ang puno, siya rin ang bunga.” In the olden times, children were mere extensions of their parents. The vocation of the –ather beca)e the vocation o– the sons the ski((s o– the )other were passed on to the dau—hters. 1 chi(d was not ca((ed by his na)e a(one. 1 son s identity was predicated by his father’s name, thus, he was to be called Si)on, son o– 9ohn instead o– si)p(y Si)on . While this is no longer practiced at present time, a more subtle form of “parent-child comparison” still holds. Children are expected to live up to the name of their parents. 1nd chi(dren o– the 3o))unity, ri—ht(y or wron—(y, are held against higher standards of morality and wisdom because of the stature of their parents as Community members. Could this pressure be more palpable for children of Coordinators and Senior Leaders?

2ein— 3o))unity chi(dren does not necessari(y )ean that they will automatically embrace the way of life their parents have committed to for the rest of their lives. Issues and struggles are aplenty amid growing up in a community of disciples on mission. 9ordan 4cha—ue 3entra( university District , son o– ;oe( and Du(ce 4cha—ue ;orth District 3 , con–essed that his bi——est issue then was 8 –e(t that 8 inherited a responsibi(ity that I did not want to take on at that time.” Living the way of life even before they understand why we do such things is the irst hurdle to overcome. 8t s not easy, 9ordan su)s it up. 8 viewed co))unity activities as a hobby of my parents. I attended the gatherings and events out of obedience. I would always question and compare what we did as a family to what my peers were doing – why would my family take the whole Sunday morning for the Lord, while others would go to Mass for only one hour every week.” 1(i David 2iboy leon— ;orth university District , son o– 1(i and ;anique leon— ;orth District 3 , shares 8 –e(t (ike I was born into an environment that did not really exude an aura o– –un and –reedo) that 8 was –orced to cope, adjust and (ive with it a—ainst )y wi((. 1s a resu(t, 8 indu(—ed in vices I had no intention of getting into and became very attached to them.” He remembered being dragged along to community assemblies and events, which he enjoyed only because of his friends who were also there.

eaRLy FoRMaTioN If there were the not-so-happy times, there were also the happy and fun times. 5or 6ianne 4rika 1biva 3ruz ;orth university District , dau—hter o– 9un and :arion 3ruz ;orth District 1 , growing up in Ligaya meant “having people in your home from time to time for their men’s and women’s groups. I


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remember going to other people’s houses as well and gaining playmates at a very young age.” 2ut there is one thin— that )ost co))unity kids (ook –orward to the ca)ps. 1(ready nurturin— a heart –or service at a youn— a—e, 4rika said that she enjoyed the 9unior ’oun— 1du(t 9’1 and ’oun— 1du(t ’1 activities the best. She said servin— in the 9’1 and ’1 retreats, as ear(y as in her second year hi—h school, excited her a lot. “The only community event that had always consistently excited me, even though I would never admit it before, was the annua( ’1 ca)p. 8t was the on(y li—aya event in which 8 –e(t –ree and (iberated, 2iboy revea(s.

PaReNTaL aNd PeeR SuPPoRT Despite their misgivings about the Community, the three community children were encouraged by their parents and peers to investigate its way of life through open communication and mutual respect. “I was able to openly talk and discuss these with my parents. More than my issues and questions, I ind it vital and more important that my parents try their best to be open and listen to what I have to say and discuss my issues with me. That way, I’m assured that I’m given the freedom to be my own person and given the chance to articulate myself,” Erika explains. Some people have called her as “the future Senior Woman Leader of Ligaya . 2ut 8 ve (earned to ta(k to )y dad and shrug of these pressures with the knowledge that he loves me for who I really am, no matter what I do or don’t do.” Erika, who aspires to teach children and play music, says. 2iboy says his :en s 6roup has a positive inluence on hi). “Cliché-ish as it may sound, but it helps to be surrounded by people who somewhat share the same problems as me. My Men’s Group has been nothing less than supportive and encouraging.” The realization that he is not and will never be alone in his quest to become a better person is an eye-opener for him. “Everything changed when I decided to transfer to the Central University District because I wanted to investigate the Community life on my own terms. I now see the importance and wisdom behind our prayer meetings and gatherings. Since 8 —o to these —atherin—s a(one, it has beco)e :’ choice to attend, 9ordan says.

THe RoLe ModeLS If God inspires them best, their parents come in second. 9ordan takes pride in what his –ather is doin—. 8 a(ways hear the story of how my father served as the course servant in the irst - ever Pathways program. His desire to share his joy in Community made me see the beauty in service. This )otivates )e to serve in pathways 263 every :onday, 9ordan says.



recent(y hired to be a preschoo( teacher, 4rika shares that that seeing her mother help so many kids through their formative years inspires her to do the sa)e. 1s –or her –ather 9un 3ruz, 4rika proc(ai)s “My father inspires me to be accepting, patient, understanding, and loving to other people and to myself. He inspires me to seek God in my life and to just be myself.” 2iboy, who is current(y workin— in the hospita(ity industry, looks up to his father’s character and traits as the leader of the family. “My dad constantly inspires me to be a real man, and to denounce the false and worldly man that the society has created. My dad always confronted every wrong action, every wrong opinion, no matter what, no matter where, and no matter when.” He also said that no matter how busy and tired and stressed his dad is, he never fails to ind time for his family. 2iboy said that he s never pressured to beco)e (ike his dad. “If there’s anything I’d like to achieve right now, it is to strive to be ‘better’ than my parents, in a sense that I want to eventually surpass their level of knowledge in our faith, and surpass their hunger and radical service for God.” 9ordan, –or his part, said that bein— the e(dest son o– a we((-(iked Senior leader in ;orth 3, he is very proud o– his –ather. rather than –ee(in— pressured to (ead, 8 –ee( )otivated and inspired, he said. 9ordan, who now works for a real estate company, desires to take on a bigger role in the Community someday.

“I feel that God is working in my life by allowing me to grow spiritually with the opportunities that Community is giving me. I can honestly say that I am growing as a Christian man through Ligaya’s formation process, service opportunities and Christian obedience, 9ordan adds. Erika continues to see God’s faithfulness in her life, especially now that she is starting her teaching career. “God continues to work in me through giving me a loving and supportive family that helps me handle my adjustments in my new work and life’s uncertainties. Having the knowledge that my God is loving and faithful assures me that things will be okay in the end,” she says, as she pins her hope in her –avorite 2ib(e verse psa() our sou( waits –or the lord, who is our help and shield. May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in ’ou. Indeed, putting on the identities of being Ligaya kids can do a lot of wonders, but nothing beats putting on your identity as God’s precious children.


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MaNiFeSTaTioN oF god’S WoRk



destined Sainthood


Text and Photos by Aly Sulit-Placino

y latest pilgrimage was an experience of many layers. It was primarily a voyage to celebrate the double canonization o– Saint pope 9ohn pau( 88 and Saint pope 9ohn ‘‘888 in ro)e. 8t was also a walk with many other saints as we visited the cities where they lived their lives. Personally, it was a journey that led me from thinking that sainthood was just for an elect few to a possibility even for mere mortals. ;othin— can be co)pared to being amid the sea of Catholics at the Vatican on Divine Mercy Sunday (ast 1pri( . ;ever mind that we failed to position ourselves inside St. Peter’s Square because thousands had camped there the day before and body-to-body traic had made it impossible for us to pass through. We held fort at what seemed to be the rampart of Castel Sant’ 1n—e(o just outside the “atican walls, with a view of not one, but two, giant screens. 1r)ed with the co))e)orative prayer missals provided to the pilgrims, we chanted “Ora Pronobis” along with the international crowd during the litany, kept solemn throughout

Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. (Psalm 105:3)



the Latin mass and cheered when the sainthood was conirmed. During the proceedings, Pope Francis said that the new Pope saints "lived through the tragic events o– the th century, but were not overwhelmed by them because for them, God was more powerful." They could have chosen paths that were less controversial and less stressful but they knew that God was on their side and that was enough to make them bold and brave. We went home that day tired yet feeling blessed because of the little miracles we experienced. rain did not pour down durin— the ceremony despite the warnin— none o– the pi(—ri)s in our —roup —ot (ost and everyone, even those who were frail and advanced in age, survived the kilometers of walking. Fr. Dave Concepcion, our pilgrimage chaplain, said that to beco)e a saint, one )ust . love God with all your heart, soul and stren—th. . love the 4ucharist, the only one that can nourish. 3. Love Mama Mary, the teacher of faith. Our journey taught us by the example of the saints how these three loves were expressed.

Love god WiTH aLL youR HeaRT, SouL aNd STReNgTH 8n 1ssisi, we encountered St. Claire and St. Francis, both born to a life of comfort and wealth yet sought nearness to God by choosing lives of poverty and prayer. Something about God hit them so hard that they were wi((in— to (ive 9esus words in :atthew rS“ , 8– any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.” They also taught us to choose our friends well. St. Francis was a great inluence and spiritual father to St. 3(aire. St. 9ohn pau( 88 was a friend to Mother Teresa and


St. Padre Pio was his confessor. It matters who our friends are because they can bring us to heaven.

Love THe euCHaRiST, THe oNLy oNe THaT CaN NouRiSH Going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist daily will never be the same after coming to Santuario del Miracolo Eucharistico in Lanciano, Italy. We were told that a monk who was consecrating the bread and wine with doubts in his heart about the real presence of Christ witnessed the bread changing into living lesh and the wine changing into blood. Evidence of that miracle still re)ains years a–ter. I have always known that Christ is present in the Eucharist but that was something abstract to me that I just believed in faith. Today, receiving Christ’s body is a union experienced and yearned for more fervently.

Love MaMa MaRy, THe TeaCHeR oF FaiTH Poland struck me as a spiritually charged country. Despite the oppression it had undergone as a country, % o– its popu(ation remains practicing Catholics. 1dversity p(ayed a )ajor ro(e in encouraging such faith and this was sustained by their deep devotion to Mother Mary. 5or over years, po(and had been intimately associated with Our Lady of Czestochowa, an icon of the holy mother who directs attention away from herself, and gestures with her ri—ht hand toward 9esus, the source of salvation. With such a great teacher of faith, it is no wonder that Poland became fertile ground for raising these —reat saints St. Faustina kowalska, a mystic and visionary who, in a time marked by terrible tragedies received 9esus' )essa—e “Humanity will never ind peace

until it turns with trust to the Divine Mercy.” St. Maximillian Maria kolbe, a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar who volunteered to die in place o– a stran—er in the ;azi 6er)an death ca)p o– 1uschwitz, po(and during World War II. Saint John Paul ii, best remembered for his exhortation, “I plead with you—never, ever give up on hope, never doubt,

never tire, and never become discoura—ed. 2e not a–raid. 7e went down history playing a major role in helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. He is also best remembered for taking the youth seriously, and harnessing their power as evangelizers. What about me? I realized that God does not ask me to go about my work

bearing the wounds of Christ just like Padre Pio who heard confessions from early morning till dusk despite the pain from those wounds. He simply asks me to bear my ordinary life with joy. God is not giving me the option to die a heroic death so that someone might live as St. :axi)i(ian ko(be did in 1uschwitz. He just wants me to die to being inconvenienced and to stop complaining about diicult people, and my bodily aches and pains. 1s 5r. Dave puts it, 7o(iness is not measured by the number of things we ask for and receive from God, but the number of times we say yes to God even if it is not what we want.” Our cares may be small compared to what the great saints endured, yet there are times when we believe that our own situations are the most diicult. It is then that we must remember that God did not promise us a life without pain, sickness and sufering but that He would be there always for us “until the end of the age.” The grandest souvenirs I brought home from this pilgrimage is a greater desire for heaven to be with the God I love and a song with just three words to sustain )e unti( then “9ezu u–a) tobie.” They are the words found on the Divine Mercy sta)pita, )eanin— 9esus, 8 trust in you.” 9ezu u–a) tobie. In spite of who I am and what I think I am capable of doing, sainthood is a possibility because I am not aiming at it by myself. He is with me.



:83ro58;1;34 Bearing Heavenly dividends by Jun Viterbo


very )ornin—, the e)p(oyees ho(d minutes of praise, worship and guided relection before they go out to ieldwork. the 2oard o– trustees spends to minutes of prayer and relection time before their meeting starts. This is a typical day at Tulay sa Pag-unlad Inc. (TSPI), a Gospel-driven microenterprise development non-government organization, with a mission is “to participate with the rest of Philippine society in alleviating poverty, and to join forces with the Church in brin—in— the 6ood ;ews o– 3hrist to the poor.


With that mission, TSPI is basically “a huge business organization that is irst and foremost Christian in its calling. How more unconventional can one get?” asks Eddie Mendoza, TSPI’s Executive Director who is also the 1n— li—aya n— pan—inoon s l;p District 3oordinator –or 3entra( District 2 and the 1n— lin—kod n— pan—inoon s Chairman of the 2oard. What sets it apart from any other microinance ;6o is tSp8 s desire to see the poor (ead se(–suicient, responsible and digniied lives, and ultimately, become disciples of Christ. 5ounded in , tSp8 can be –ound in branches all over Luzon with an additional four branches in ;orthern :indanao. 8t now has )ore than , e)p(oyees and has (ent out over one bi((ion pesos to )ore than , c(ients which they visit once a week. TSPI’s inancial resources come from individuals and corporations who participate in their mission either by giving inancial grants, by participating in enterprise mentoring programs, or by being partners in the discipleship ministry. ”hi(e there is no –or)a( re(ationship between l;p and tSp8, so)e –oundin— )e)bers were –ro) l;p. throu—h the years, so)e l;p )e)bers who took on prominent positions in TSPI include Dennis Isidro, 4(i lade)ora, ruben de lara, 1rchit 2arto(o)e, and 9un 3hipeco. 1t present, –our o– tSp8 s trustees are l;p members, with current Senior Head Coordinator Spanky :eer servin— as the 3hair)an o– the 2oard, whi(e kune 6ison, 1be pascua(, and lito 5ider serve as Trustees. 8t is )ost he(p–u( that the 2oard o– trustees of TSPI is composed of men and women who are, not only excellent business practitioners, but more importantly, strong, mature Christians,” Mendoza opines. In addition, four other brothers and sisters na)e(y :ario 6a(vez 3entra( 2 , tess per–ecto

South Sin—(es , 7enry ;azareno 3entra( 3 ,and Cecilia Magistrado (South Sector) also work full-time in the ;6o.

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FLagSHiP PRogRaM TSPI’s lagship livelihood assistance program is the TSPI Kabuhayan Program (TKP) where collateral–ree (oans are —iven in a)ounts ran—in— –ro) to , pesos to individ(s who join other borrowers in —roups o– to )e)bers. the borrowers, as a group, have to pay the six-month loan every week. The loan payments are guaranteed by the group members themselves in order to instill discipline and solidarity. This is complemented by the TSPI Discipleship Program where TSPI’s mission of love for Christ and neighbor is emphasized. That is why integral to its programs and services are activities spreading the 6ood ;ews to both their e)p(oyees and c(ients. These are made possible through center meetings’ “Usapang Paglago”, daily devotions, discipleship groups and intercessory prayers and retreats. From the loan programs, notable triumphs have emerged. The Housing and Sanitation Loan Program has earned –or tSp8 a reco—nition at the p14;6 1wards, a nationwide search –or )icroinance institutions that carry out exemplary work worthy of emulation. The beneiciaries have been recognized too. TSPI c(ient 1de(ia pa(acios, a water(i(y ba— )aker –ro) pina—buhatan, pasi— was a Se)i-5ina(ist –or the 3iti :icroentrepreneur o– the ’ear. throu—h a city councilor, she assisted in starting a livelihood program in her community which has now expanded to baran—ays. There is a pervading theme through all these victories. Through TSPI’s programs, their clients have been able to discover their self - worth when they learn that other people can trust them with a loan and realize they can contribute to their family’s livelihood. BeaReRS oF good NeWS With such a scope and the amount involved in microlending, running TSPI then has numerous challenges that require good control procedures. Foremost among these challenges is balancing the enforcement of their lending procedures while at the same time witnessing to their borrowers to be radical disciples of Christ. Without the latter, TSPI loses its relevance and impact, its reason for being. TSPI sees its loan oicers as modern-day Good Samaritans who go out of their way to help clients deal with their personal and health struggles, and

with trials brought about by crime and calamities. Kuya Eddie thinks that “making any meaningful change or improvement happen in a huge organization is tough. It’s like turning a huge ship with a s)a(( rudder to —o a—ainst the current. 1nd we need to be creative and boldly courageous about ensuring that we remain steadfast in making a diference in the lives of our clients—not just economically, but more importantly spiritually.” TSPI’s decision to be counter-cultural is in direct conlict with the world’s standard of measuring the efectiveness of a microinance institution – net income. “I need to constantly emphasize to our organization that our primary calling comes from the Lord, and therefore, we need to constantly fan into lames this Spirit so we can become efective bearers o– 6ood ;ews. there is no —reater cha((en—e than that because there’s the constant tension between making money and serving God,” Kuya Eddie explains. With its considerable accomplishments, TSPI is most fulilled when people declare that it was through TSPI that they irst learned about God’s love for them, resulting in their personal transformation in faith. In their eforts to gain the world through microinance, TSPI has been able to gain more souls for God in the process.





�8t7 t74 741rt o5 94SuS We would like to see these children grow to become men and women leaders who will make an impact, a positive inluence in the society someday. 18

p7oto 5ro: 3r1Dl4 o5 9o’

by Ruby Lauren Manuel


rad(e o– 9oy 3enter –or learnin— 3o9 , a Catholic progressive school dedicated to the holistic formation of students, was established by members of 1n— li—aya n— Panginoon co))unity in , with on(y students in attendance. Through the years, donations from generous hearts poured in – a bungalow house then, became a two-storey structure, and later expanded into a fourlevel building. It is here where students are developed not only by academic theories and teachings, but also through Christian life experiences. "It’s our desire for our students to be honed in academic excellence so that they can be built up into creative and critica( thinkers. 2ut )ore than a(( these, it is our desire that each student be formed in Christian character and virtues,” Marion Cruz, the School Founder, says. “We would like to see these children grow to become men and women leaders who will make an impact, a positive inluence in the society someday. They will be able to contribute to the social transformation and change of this country so that they can use all the gifts and talents that they have been given for the greater glory of God."

THe PRogReSSive Way 3o9 uses a pro—ressive way in teachin— and developing its students. One principle of learning used is the Multiple 8nte((i—ences 1pproach which —enerates diferent methods of teaching based on each child’s specialty. Is the child “nature smart”? “musical smart”? “people smart”? “number or reasoning smart”? “body smart”? “picture smart”? or “word smart”? 1nother princip(e o– (earnin— used is the learnin— Sty(es 1pproach. 7ere, it re—ards each chi(d has a diferent style of development, depending on his environment and preferences. Does the child learn more efectively in dim light or under bright lights? Does he like to learn alone, with a partner, or with a group? Does he learn better with young people or adu(ts? ;ear the window or by the wa((? This principle is the reason why there is a shoe rack outside every classroom. They keep the loor clean for the kids who prefer to sit on the loor. 1nother )a—niicent way o– teachin— in this schoo( is the insertion of faith aspects in every lesson they have as long as the chance permits it. 3o9 3hair)an and 2oard o– trustees 1(i leon— exp(ains take Science –or exa)p(e. 1 typica(

teacher can discuss about the planets in a plain in–or)ative way. ’et, –or a 3hristian teacher, it can also be discussed in the context of marvelling at God’s creation. Math can simply be discussed as :ath. ’et, a 3hristian teacher can te(( his/her students, ’ou are so b(essed by the lord with intelligence to understand Math’.” 9en— Quitain, the “a(ues 4ducation teacher, doesn’t just tell the children to memorize prayers. She conveys to them what they say in those prayers. She divulges the signiicance and purpose of why they do certain things. In fact, Grade 6 students are even presented with The Purpose Driven Life book. Students are formed through their Personality Type and Love Language, both of which steer them to become more considerate and understanding of others. 1(( these )ake the chi(dren very i))ersed in God’s presence. His will is being carved in their hearts to the point that they bring it even to their parents at home. “Knowing the Lord and having this kind of evangelizing environment doesn't really happen in most schools. Here it is very diferent. That is what we are trying to do. It is a school where children smell and feel Christianity. It’s not only on paper and in books. they —et to know 9esus 3hrist in a very personal way—through others. They see Him through their teachers, the way they are treated, and the way they re(ate to their c(ass)ates, 1(i adds. One of the strengths of the school is the Character First program. They have a set of good character traits to be taught to the children, and they focus on one attribute every two months. Each child is highly encouraged to ask questions. This is very efective to the point that sometimes teachers need to mirthfully stop them from asking questions for lack of time. With this, one can see that everyone here is valued—a bright way of emulating the way 9esus treasures each one o– us.

a diFFeReNT eNviRoNMeNT School employees have their own diferent regimens. They start the day diferently every day of the week. There are days for worship, –or intercession, –or 2ib(e study, –or rosary, and for relection. Employees, either from religious communities or not, are assigned to small groups where they can share about the Gospel. They are also constantly reminded about God's purpose for them in the school. They also conduct a staf assembly every month when there are no c(asses. 8n 3o9, the peop(e who are expected to



teach children are being stirred and transformed each day as they receive God’s love irst - hand so they can impart it naturally to the children. Friday is the day almost everyone looks forward to. This is the end of the week where the students are joined together for a long period. Every other Friday, there is Mass and Confession. For the other Fridays, children are gathered to practice songs, which is also a time of praise and worship. Teachers use this opportunity to pray with the children. there are a(so occasions when they do the 9ericho Walk with the kids. This is where they line up and walk around the campus to pray over the whole school, for the ones who need healing, and for the concerns of their hearts. Praying over is a natural practice at the Cradle o– 9oy. 4very year be–ore the schoo( year starts, employees go around the campus to pray over all the school areas such as the playground, the classrooms, the oices and the corridors. The spiritual formation doesn't only reach the students and teachers. The school facilitates a ’aya Deve(op)ent Se)inar ’DS to the —uardians waiting by the shed. Here they are also guided into 2ib(e study sessions as they are re)inded o– their value and place in the family, and how they matter to the society. Similarly, there is a counterpart program for the students' parents called the Parent Development Seminar (PDS). 3rad(e o– 9oy can be seen as a ho)e o– a solicitous family, an environment of brothers and sisters. 3o9 principa(, 6ina 1sis, who is a li—aya member, recalled one of the times when they prayed strongly for each other. "”hen our —rade student, 1(ab, had an accident, the state)ent 'pray –or 1(ab' was disse)inated to everyone and we prayed together every day. 2ecause o– the cu(ture o– prayin—, the prayer –or her didn't only happen in the school premises, but also in our own homes. Personally, I prayed for her at home with my family. When the announcement came that she might undergo a surgery, we prayed even )ore. ’ou know what? 8t resu(ted in —ood news - no sur—ery needed. 1–ter a week, everythin—'s we((." like any other acade)es, 3o9 a(so experiences regular diiculties. The board and employees deal with inevitable challenges like inancial needs, children's behavioral concerns, unexpected damages, and other thin—s beyond their contro(. ’et, what stands out is the way that everyone come together to help solve the problem. Every step of the way is guided by prayer and obedience to God's words. Every decision comes down to the conviction,


"What's best for the child?" because it has been carved in their hearts that this is their "service".

THe BuiLdiNg oF HiS SPHeRe CoNTiNueS 3o9 current(y provides a )onth(y todd(er 3(ass, on top o– its re—u(ar schoo( years –or 9unior ;ursery to 6rade pupi(s. ;ow, with the new k- syste), it is now oferin— c(asses unti( 6rade and is p(annin— to increase a wider scope. 1side –ro) extendin— the student levels, there is also an emerging idea of spreading out more branches in diferent places. ;everthe(ess, as o– the )o)ent, everythin— is sti(( under discernment. “We are still praying for these developments. 1–ter a((, everythin— is a –ruit o– prayer. last ti)e, God spoke to me through the ‘ive loaves and two ish’. We even used a song inspired by this story during Family Day to pray for the plans of growth –or 3o9. 8 be(ieve that it is about —ivin— what we have and letting God multiply our resources. It is all God’s work. We are just the instruments who do His plans. We are just following the expansion God is telling us,” Gina shares. 8n addition to this, kuya 1(i expresses his –aith on the lord s providence a)id cha((en—es 8t is God who called this sphere’s existence through our founder, Marion Cruz. When the Lord calls something to existence, it will prosper for He is behind it. 1side –ro) this year s openin— –or 6rade , we aspire to extend to —rade , a(thou—h it )eans setting up more buildings. In faith, I believe that the Lord will provide.” It’s a humbling privilege to glance on a radiating hope. It was a pleasure to fathom God’s amazing works throu—h the existence o– 3rad(e o– 9oy, an ordinary school set apart for an extraordinary )ission raisin— (eaders with the heart o– 9esus.


HigHeR 6o1l FaSTeR SPEED STRoNgeR 518t7 by Lerma Evangelista

p7oto 3r4D8t 9o7; r837 “8ll1S

I have fought the good ight to the end; I have run the race to the inish; I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4-7)


ports has a special place in our Community life. Every summer, young people look forward to the highly anticipated Kairos Games for fun and fellowship. Outside of this, occasional frisbee, basketball or badminton pick-up games are used as venues for peer evangelization. In the lurries of high-ives and group hugs are mostly weekend players and some serious athletes. 1nd within the —roup o– ath(etes, there s a sub-—roup o– li—aya kids who are serious(y into co)petitive sports. The rigid schedules and the harsh discipline of training are just par for the course for them. 1s they train their )ind and body with their coaches, these ath(etes are a(so bein— honed by their li—aya parents to possess the right attitude and uphold Christian values in competition.


TRUE NORTH BEAT 2 giancarlo “gio” Ferrer Misa, Parents: Stephen “Tep” Misa and Hazel Ferrer-Misa Sport: cycling, tennis, swimming, soccer, basketball age he started: He got his irst bike at the a—e o– . 6io was ab(e to bike without training wheels when he was 6.

prize. He is very gracious even in defeat. Winning is just icing on the cake. For him, it’s not all about the winning, it’s about having fun, giving it his all and inishing. What values has he developed through sports? HM: Discipline, sportsmanship, perseverance and the "can-do" attitude are what he has developed in sports. He has this "never-give-up" attitude which is quite admirable.

How did gio get into sports? Hazel Misa (HM): 1t an ear(y a—e, 6io wou(d see his dad bike every weekend with his cycling teammates. They (Tep and his teammates) would ride through 1ntipo(o, teresa and even a(( the way to la—una and back. 1s –or )e, 8 started trainin— –or triath(on in and this encouraged Gio to try out the sport as well. recent(y, he has been joinin— events in cyc(in— that cover his age group. He has been hoping to join a duathlon one of these days, since he inds training for swimming too tiring.

How much time does he spend training? HM: For Gio, I would take him to rides with me to train with my coach. This would span weekly rides for at least three to four weeks before the actual race. We tried having him train with a mag trainer but his bike is still not big enough to it the regular bike trainers available, but we’re working on this. How does the family integrate sports in your daily lives? HM: Since my husband and I are both into triathlon, training or working out is already part of our lifestyle. It gets busier when there is an actual race that we are preparing for, but we try to maintain a schedule so that it will not intervene with commitments with community, unless of course the race itself falls on a day when there is a sectoral assembly or district gathering. There are schedules that are kept sacred, which are set dates allotted for service in the Community. How do you deal with disappointment when he does not win? HM: Gio has always had a very positive attitude. He is elated and proud when he or his team wins, but he is also well-mannered if he does not bag the


Raphael Luis “Ralf” R. Manuel, Maria gianina “Nina” R. Manuel, kirsten Marie “kimi” R. Manuel, Parents: li)ue( 2on— :anue( rina lorena rina reyes-:anue( Sport he engaged in : Triathlon relay, basketball age they started: ra(– - , ki)i - , ;ina How did they get into sports? Who inluenced them? Bong Manuel (BM): It all started with their swimming lessons. They were introduced to one novice co)petition. ”e were surprised that ki)i and ;ina won. Seeing their potential, their coach encouraged them to train formally. The three then joined a triath(on re(ay. 8t was on(y (ast year when ;ina and Kimi concentrated on swimming after they became part o– the San 2eda Swi))in— “arsity. ra(–, a–ter trying swimming and running, is now enjoying the dynamics of basketball. How do you support them especially during competitions? BM: When they have an event, we take a leave from work to bring them to the venue, prepare the things they need, malaking bearing yung presensya ng magulang when they compete. We have a reward system - a monetary reward - para mas tangible. If they win there is a corresponding amount, iba pa yung reward if they improve on their personal time, so that they will compete with themselves. The reward system serves as a jumping board for them to excel. We also see this as an opportunity to teach them to manage their own money. With what they earn, they have the option on how to spend it. We also teach them to set aside money and invest it.

p7oto 3r4D8t 9o7; r837 “8ll1S 1;D :1;u4l 51:8l’

How do you support him especially during competitions? HM: 2ein— present durin— his co)petitions or events is very i)portant. 1t their a—e, they anchor on their parents for support and guidance. Weeks before the race, we ensure that he is prepared in terms of training, i.e. getting enough saddle time and being able to ride the expected distance. His dad would train him for the transition in triathlon. We also pray with them and encourage him to inish.

We also pray over them before we leave the house and before the race begins. We encourage them to do their best. In that way, it will glorify God. Seeing them do their best, even if they do not win, is enough for us. How much time is spent on training? BM: they train twice a week –ro) a) to a) and p) - p). ;ina is a sprinter )eters while Kimi is a long distance swimmer. She knows how to pace - re(ax at / o– the (ap then hihirit siya sa last part of the lap. They were more serious with training now since they are competing on a national level like the Palarong Pambansa. In a school year, they have ive to eight competitions. How does the family integrate sports in your daily lives? BM: We try to do it more as a family. We also swim with them. That’s when we realized mahirap pala yung ginagawa nila. What character have they developed through sports? BM: Perseverance and discipline. The kids are now )ore aware o– their persona( ti)e. 1t ti)es, sila na rin nagsasabi that they need to improve, especially now that they are competing on a national level. We always start and end with a prayer. Pag nasa jumping board na sila, they would often do sign of the cross several times—parang naka-imprint na sa kanila that they have to lift the race up to the Lord and that they are doing it for the Lord.

within reach. Formal triathlon training was introduced by a friend and a swim coach who lives in the area. How do you support/encourage them especially during competitions? gM: 2esides the practica( support they need –or training and for the race day itself, I always remind them to just enjoy and have fun and race safely. Kids tend to be very competitive and that is scary especially during the bike leg. We lift every race for God’s glory and pray that everyone wi(( be sa–e. 8 put 2enedictine )eda(s in their tri suits for protection. How much time do they spend training? gM: It’s a year-long training of one to two times a week. 1 )onth prior to race day, trainin— takes two to three ti)es per week. trainin— starts at a) and ends around a). they usua((y tar—et a tota( o– )eters to ki(o)eter in swi))in—. How does the family integrate sports in your daily lives? gM: The sport from the very beginning has been a bonding and fellowship time for us. It is one thing that we share and I believe deines us as a family. They know at a young age that health is wealth and prevention is better than cure. Thanks be to God, the kids seldom had serious sicknesses and minimal cases of severe cough and colds. For some time now, swimming has been a regular weekend routine for us. Wherever we go, we look forward to swim. Then we bike or run. How do you deal with disappointment when they do not win? gM: The good thing in multi-disciplinary sports is that persona( record )atters. 2ein— it –or the race says a lot. Finishing the challenge is a personal victory. 2ein— in the podiu) is a bonus.

Matthew gabriel "gab" Munarriz, Micaela Raziel Therese "Raz" Munarriz, 9 Parents: :ichae( :ike :unarriz re—ina 6ay de Guzman-Munarriz Sport they engaged in: Triathlon age they started: :atthew - , razie( How did they get into sports? Who inluenced them? gay Munarriz (gM): 2ein— a )u(ti-discip(inary ath(ete seems natural for both my children as they have disp(ayed interest in the outdoors ear(y on. 1t three years old, both were great basketball shooters in their play goal. We are blessed to live in an environment conducive –or sports trainin—. 2oth kids (earned ear(y to bike and run around our village. The swimming pools were

What values have they developed through sports? gM: First and foremost, discipline in all aspects. Waking up early for training and race day is very challenging for young kids. They learn to wake up early each training and racing day - always looking forward to the joy of inishing the challenges. Through time, their self-conidence developed and he(ped the) be(ieve in their capabi(ities. 1s they enjoyed and learned to relax, they achieved a better performance. The kids also know that their bodies and their strengths are gifts from God, and that they should be truly grateful. Proper nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle have become a family way of life to give glory to God. We are always reminded by the passa—e –ro) 3or. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who) you have received –ro) 6od? ’ou are not your own you were bou—ht at a price. Therefore honor God with your body,"



l8“8;6 to64t74r 8;

Peace & Harmony by Mich Cruz-Villar

felt the strong desire to be together beyond their service. They toyed with the idea of actually living together, taking the passage ”Love thy neighbor” to another level. Pat de Dios found a vacant lot in Marcelo Green Village, Paranaque and invited the rest of the service team to share in the lot. He wanted that he and his wife Lita would have company in their twi(i—ht years. 1s i– the lord had paved the way –or this arran—e)ent, 9un 1be((o, then new(ywed, had transferred to a new job in Canlubang, Laguna and needed to )ove to the South 4))a de Leon received an inheritance and was looking for a property to buy, and the rest sold their existing houses to move in with the group. Their coordinator Henry Fernandez gave them his blessing to proceed in living as a cluster, as this would allow the service team to quickly respond to the needs of the Community. 9ust (ike the irst co))unity o– apost(es, the cluster community shares resources with one another. One’s property is everyone’s property. “There will be no one in need. Hindi ka na magsasabi, kusa na lang lumalapit sa’yo yung tulong 9un 1be((o says. This applies from daily needs like borrowing


wo families, an elderly lady, a widow, a sin—(e wo)an. 1(( o– the) are (ivin— together inside one compound with several houses without fences, connected by a shared pathway and a clubhouse. They are people from diferent backgrounds, but they share many things in common, foremost is their love for the Lord. Meet the irst cluster community of Ligaya ng Panginoon. the 3(uster traces its roots in when the former Central D service team composed of Dick and Mel Dagelet, Pat and Lita de Dios, Emma de Leon, tony and “i((ie :acahi(i— and 9un and Sy(via 1be((o


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“sibuyas” when a family has run out of it in their kitchen, to lending a car when a brother needs to go out of town. Tony Macahilig recalls that when he fractured his leg after a hard fall, the cluster members attended to his hospital needs and even provided moral and inancial support. “In certain ways, I was able to experience people who are willing to lay down their life for you.” The cluster also forms one men’s and women’s group, currently with South C. They hold weekly meetings and celebrate the Lord’s Day in their clubhouse every Saturday. They go to Community gatherings together in one vehicle. They also serve to—ether in a )ission tea) to support an 1eta community in Pampanga. 1s nei—hbors, they do their hobbies to—ether such as going to garage sales and reconstructing junk, swimming and watching movies. They go on annual outings and celebrate special occasions (ike 3hrist)ases and ;ew ’ears as one bi— –a)i(y. Their children grew up together as if they were blood brothers and sisters. They even studied in the same schools. “1n— da)i )on— parents, an— da)i )on— tito and tita, ang dami mo ring kapatid na nakikita mo everyday, 9ohn 1be((o says about —rowin— up in a cluster arrangement. His brother Timothy adds, "Mas na-appreciate namin yung community life kasi we grew up in it. Hindi lang sa sector or district gatherings, pero sa araw-araw na encounter.” 5or their –ather 9un who is now workin— in Singapore, this is particularly comforting because he knows that his children are in good hands with brothers and sisters in the Community. Today, three generations have lived the cluster way of life. While some original members have passed away, new members have joined like Ding and tess 1be((era and 9a)es and 5e labayo. Unbelievable as it may seem, the members cannot reca(( any incident in the past years o– anyone having a rift with another member in the cluster. In fact, one of the greatest blessings they consider in living in a cluster environment is the pruning of character. Villie Macahilig says it has taught her to be selless and to be sensitive to the needs of others. “’un an— gift ng Panginoon. Unique ang relationship. We treat each other more than blood brothers or sisters.” Their children can attest to this. Her daughter, ’a), says 6rowin— up in a very supportive environment, it was very light, very positive. It’s a blessing to know that you have people who love you and support you. ;ot a(( –a)i(ies have that. “ery unique siya.” the c(uster exe)p(iies the li—aya vision ’ou wi(( be known by your (ove –or )e. 1s 9un apt(y puts it, “Kung naghahanap ka ng buhay ng Ligaya, dito mo makikita.”

Compose your own songs. Who knows? If the Spirit works mightily in you, a song might be the fruit. Keep an open mind and heart during your prayer time. The Holy Spirit might just surprise you. Sometimes you can sing in the Spirit and that could be the basis of a new song. Keep a journal handy and don’t be afraid to explore! don’t make your prayer time a worship concert. re)e)ber it s not about you! One or two songs would be ine. Having too many songs within your prayer ti)e can be very exhaustin—. 1(thou—h 8 wou(d recommend singing more songs if time is of no object and will heighten your worship of God. 1—ain, the beauty o– sin—in— Scriptures is that it is easier to memorize them.


use technology to your advantage. If you are musically challenged, sing with a prerecorded son—. 9ust –o((ow my guidelines above in choosing them. ’ou )ay a(so be ab(e to down(oad )inus one o– son—s. ’ou can use your tab(et, s)artphone and whatever —ad—ets you own to p(ay the). ’ou can probab(y —o to ’outube and (earn to p(ay an instrument as well. 9ust re)e)ber why we worship. ”e want to give our all to our God who gives us His all! We want to give the best that we can give and also be the person He meant us to be. So be brave! Explore new ways to enhance your time of prayer. 1((ow 6od to speak to you as you sin— a new song to Him!






GOD'S MESSAGES by Ellen U. Viriña giving lectures at his alma mater, and is now a marketing director for the country's leading business paper. But he never let go of his habit of doing quick sketches or "thumbnail sketches", as he ponders an idea and uses these to illustrate a point. “I doodle because I need to. It’s like air in my lungs. Doodling is my own peculiar language. I doodle at work. I doodle at home, in cafes, parks, inside churches, at the beach, in corporate meetings. Anywhere. And I doodle with anything, and on any surface,” he candidly admits. "Doodling makes me happy. I was doodling long before I learned

that what I was doing was called doodling. Doodling makes me most connected with myself, my art, my dreams, my life, my faith,” he adds. HIS SOULBOOK Conrad's day can start as early as 3:30 am depending on his schedule for the day, although most of the time he is awake at 5:00 am. With his freshly brewed coffee, he goes into his DND (Do Not Disturb) mode as he reads the Bible, the readings for the day and the meditation guide. This is his daily routine that precedes all other activities.



pencil, a ballpoint pen or a marker is never far from him. When a compelling thought or inspiration strikes him, with or without a clean sheet of paper, Conrad Viriña will commit that idea to a short note or some form of glyph or doodle for future reference. A Visual Communications major in college who made a career in the creative field of advertising strategizing, writing, producing commercials and campaigns, Conrad has since moved on to other ventures and consultancies. He has been

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Place is no obstacle—so long as it is coo( and quiet enou—h. 1t the recent 1d Su))it, he hied of to a quiet place only to be approached by a pack of monkeys that saw him as an intruder to their turf. He prays for a message for him or an inspiration from the Lord. That message or inspiration is often what leads him to the visua( that speaks to hi). 1nd that is what he puts down in his Sou(2ook his own unique prayer journal. "I started my Soulbooks almost eight years ago,” he recalls. 2e–ore that, 8 was writin— and doodling my prayer relections on just any sheet of white paper, intermediate paper, paper napkin, Post-It note, or even behind long grocery receipts and empty envelopes. It can be any blank or a lined paper that I could ind at that time. Unfortunately, I kept losing most of them so I decided to keep a dedicated notebook as a prayer journal which I call my Soulbook.” Conrad started to share his doodles on his Facebook wall in . 8t be—an with a s)a(( intimate group of relatives and friends in Facebook. Most of them were the same people I have been sharing my short relections via SMS for countless mornings,” he says. Why is he sharing his daily relections with friends? “I really don’t know. Maybe because I ind some joy in sharing my joy, my love for the Lord, my wonderful conversations with my Lord God. 2ut not a(( conversations and relections are shared. Some are just meant to be between God and me.”

sketches ri—ht of his Sou(2ook. Conrad is always surprised when people react to his posts with more than just clicks on the “like” button. His word from the Lord is actually read and shared by others. "Walang tapon (nothing’s thrown out)", he quotes his best buddy's favorite line on his doodles. Indeed, Conrad’s knack for drawing out his thoughts,

observations and insights have found ways to speak God's Word to those who like it light, yet deep.

Conrad viriña is a covenanted member of North Sector 2 district a. He is married to the writer, and they have three children.

I ind some joy in sharing my joy, my love for the Lord, my wonderful conversations with my Lord God.

iNSPiRaTioN To oTHeRS Whenever he feels the nudge to share his message, Conrad would whip out his phone and take a shot of his doodle and upload it on his Facebook status. He doesn't ink, paint or clean it up anymore with any software for presentation. These are plain



MaSS diSTRaCTioNS How to focus on God's presence by Jun Viterbo We all have our own litany of “unique” experiences and observations made during Masses in our parish church. Some are funny, some are vexing, others are annoying—they all distract us from the celebration of Christ’s transubstantiation. So, how do we make sure that we are not distracted from our focus on the Lord? Let us examine some of the sources of distraction and how we can avoid them.


THe HoMiLy Common Complaint. If a priest gives a short homily (less than )inutes , he s jud—ed as not prepared. 1 (on— ho)i(y )ore than )inutes usua((y (eaves us bored and restless. Too many jokes and he’s lacking in content. 1bsence o– jokes and he s stif. Too many anecdotes and he’s too folksy. Too much criticism of government and he’s crossing the line of the Church-State separation. The right length for a ho)i(y is said to be )inutes. on the th )inute, our )inds see) to wander of. 1t this sta—e, a topic on St. 9ohn o– the 3ross is heard instead as 9ohn l(oyd 3ruz. What must a Catholic do: 2e prepared –or the :ass. 1 prayer time scheduled before the Mass will do wonders when we’ve “preread” the gospel and relected on its )eanin—. ’our advanced


Common Complaint. In our years of mass-going, we are bound to have heard them all. There is the new choir whose voices are pure but still lacking in harmony (and perhaps, practice). There are the Madrigal Singers wannabes who perform rather than (ead the con—re—ation. 1nd there’s the “golden girls” choir who can earn that 1 –or ayfort” but whose voices sound more “colorful” rather than a “coloratura”. What must a Catholic do: We suggest a variation of the “hate the sin, not the sinner phi(osophy Love the song, ignore the singer. If we are so enamored with the singing that it leads us to admire the singers rather than the words of the song, then we are not making ourselves part of the communal gathering of the Mass. The choir is supposed to jump start the singing and lead us into prayer. the —reat St. 1u—ustine is often quoted as having said “He who sin—s, prays twice. 2ut as

per Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog, the Latin phrase cited for this quote “Qui bene cantat bis orat” is properly translated as “He who sings well prays twice”. Hence, even St. 1u—ustine back in the th century had the makings of a music critic. Sin— we((, pray twice. ;ot sin— we((, no dice?



Common Complaint. Despite the countless church bulletins reminding us on how to dress properly before our Creator, some Catholics still don’t get it. Tube tops, spaghetti straps, backless, low-cut dresses are getting to be more the rule rather than the exception. It has even become de rigeur for men to attend Mass in their khaki shorts (regardless if they are designer brands or not). What must a Catholic do: Let’s dress appropriately. Let’s bring back into vogue the concept of Sunday s 2est. one shou(d he(p the others in focusing on the Lord (rather than distracting them from the Lord) during the Mass. Gone are the days when we thought that going to mass was like meeting the most important person in our life. Perhaps it is time to have a )antra on dressin— up –or church I shall dress to show my respect for the Lord. I shall not lead

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knowledge will allow you to appreciate the readings more. 1–ter a((, the 6ospe( is the ”ord of God and it should not matter how it is exp(ained. 2y a(( )eans, intercede rather than criticize the priest. He’s a man of God after all.

A CHRISTIAN'S GUIDE others into sinful thoughts by the way I dress.

THe aCCeNTS Common Complaint. We are a country of more than , is(ands with an esti)ated dia(ects –ro) 1parri to 9o(o. 3hances are the accents emanating from these dialects are something we’ve encountered durin— 4n—(ish )asses. readers, commentators, or even the priests may not have the perfect enunciation –or the Queen s 4n—(ish . ;ot even a —ood and c(ear 2ose speaker cou(d he(p us decipher what we are hearing. What must a Catholic do: 1—ain the idea of “pre-reading the Gospel” will help us transcend the accents altogether. Honor and thank the Lord for the courage of these servants to come before you—accents and all.

THe BazaaR Common Complaint: We’ve seen them gleefully lined up —from new clothes to old clothes or dependin— on the se((er “export overruns”), from fruits to vegetables, from puto bumbong to puto seko—all in the name of fund-raising. There is a gray line in the propriety of having the church’s businesses outside the church, while we’re indulging in God’s business. Sometimes these distract us from the main reason for being in Mass. One dreads a repeat o– :atthew where 9esus overthrew the tab(es o– the money changers and those that sold pigeons for desecrating His Father’s house. What must a Catholic do: Support these fund-raising activities but also be discerning if they just become too much.


THe aMeNiTieS

Common Complaint. ;owadays, the –actor o– church attendance is determined

by the –o((owin— questions 8s there enough parking space?”, “Does it have air-conditioning?” or “Is there a mall nearby?”. Twenty-irst century churches now have to consider location, parking space and ventilation in their construction designsomething that was unheard of a generation ago. What must a Catholic do: Given the mobility of people, these seemingly mundane considerations are becoming more crucial for the church to keep up with the times and bring the 6ood ;ews to the peop(e. 1 new pheno)enon the rise o– “transitory churches” where a community is formed not because of where they live but rather where they work (or shop) have sprun— up (ike the 4DS1 Shrine, the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (SM Megamall) and the Greenbelt Chapel. Somehow, this set-up has spawned very active communities. Still, if our worship of God is solely driven by these amenities, then the Lord who we are serving will be the taipans Sys, Gokongweis, 1ya(as and no (on—er 9esus 3hrist.

THe LadieS aNd THe geNTLeMeN Common Complaint. They are here, there and everywhere. Clad usually in red, white or blue dresses, these ladies ideally can be counted upon to be the collectors, lectors, servers, ushers, prayer leaders, and church choir. 2ut they so)eti)es rush the parishioners during collection period because they don’t want to be late for their procession in the middle aisle “to ofer” their collection to the Lord’s altar. Equally distracting is when they converge at the back of the church and whisper among themselves while the Mass is ongoing. Their collective noise could drift through the church pews. 1d)itted(y, there are )en

too, who as a “favor” to their wives and girlfriends, attend mass but stand at the back of the church talking, smoking, playing Candy Crush and imagining what lunch would be. What must a Catholic do: ;ot wanting to be shot at with their senior IDs, the feminization of church service has also happened because Catholic men have not responded to the call to serve, leaving the women to take the slack and in roles that men should lead or equally share in. Catholic men should thus be more active in this service, consistent with their roles as priests and presiders of their families. They should not be fence-sitters (or more appropriately, back seaters) who do not involve themselves in the (i–e o– the church. 1s –or the (adies, we honor the service, but not the distractions. Being a Catholic at these times is becoming more of a challenge. Still, let’s be thankful that we are in a country where attending Mass is never a crime. While technology and conveniences have responded in making the Mass experience more convenient, we cannot digress from the fact that the worship of the Lord, sans all the shimmer, is still a holy and sacred experience that should be above all our complaints and distractions.



2’ 6oD'S


The greatest misimpression about me is that I’m very rich and I wear expensive stuff. The truth is that I always buy cheap – usually sa mga sale and promo. I go for classic and uncluttered style, so my clothes do not go out of style. I can wear them over and over again. In fact I still use clothes and bags more than ten years old. I always joke na “nasa nagdadala lang yan!” Kahit damitan mo ako ng sako, kaya kong dalhin na maganda at elegante. Haha!


What were you like growing up? What were your hobbies, passion?

I was always—and still am—the big sister. I’m the take-charge, ever-dependable and responsible sister. My routine was “home-school-church” - as I grew up in a small rural town where there was no electricity and telephone. I’m used to doing house chores and taking care of my siblings. I was a model daughter—obedient, outstanding student, respectful, hindi layas, masipag. My hobbies were reading, collecting stamps (I still have some of my albums), gardening, crocheting - really "manang" stuff! I cannot think of any "passion" then as I now know the ter) to )ean. 2ut perhaps prayin—, —oin— to Mass, receiving the sacraments and making novenas to our Mother of Perpetual Help were my passions. I was very diligent in doing them and took them very seriously. I would look forward to them with great anticipation - I even made a list of sins to confess, took down the dates of my confession, made sure to wear my best dress to Mass, etc. I also hang around a lot in the parish convent and church, helping out with cleaning, decorating, learning Mass songs, etc. This is why I’m very close to the S“D –athers they who run our parish and )y high school. I was so into prayer and Catholicism that in my second year high school, I wanted to become a missionary sister.


Grace Pulido-Tan joined Ligaya in the early 1990s. Before that, she and husband Atty. Nonoy Tan were with Couples for Christ (Greenhills Chapter). They have ive children (Trisha, Felicity, Valerie, Noynoy and Borgy). Trisha, the eldest is now a wonderful Catholic gentleman from Long Island, and they are expecting their irst child (irst grandchild for Nonoy and Grace) this September. All their children are on their own and now live abroad. They have all turned out to be responsible, highachieving and driven individuals. They are truly the pride and joy, and God’s greatest blessing to Ate Grace and Kuya Nonoy.

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What's the greatest misimpression about you?

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Who are your Biblical heroes? 7ands down, the 2(essed “ir—in. 7er co)p(ete and unhesitatin— sub)ission to 6od's wi((, as memorialized in the Magnificat and other biblical passages, is what I think "cemented" my faith. To this day, I endeavor to do the same. To this day, I continue to be devoted to Mary.

You project a fearsome character (at least in the media). But do you have any fear?

Definitely, I fear the wrath of God and the pains of hell.

What books are you reading right now?

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How do you relax? 2y doin— so)ethin— (ike this, answerin— your questionnaire. Haha! I do Sudoku a lot, watch Food ;etwork with )y dau—hter “a(erie, and bond read chat, shop, watch plays, cook, clean house) with my children abroad whenever I can.

When was the last time you cried?

Durin— the 9udicia( and 2ar Council interview, when I was asked about my source of strength and how I deal with pressure at work. I talked about wanting to continue serving the poor by giving them better access to justice, and my faith in God. I usually well up when I think about God’s faithfulness and generosity, especially to me and my family.

I just inished "Predictably Irrational" and "The Upside of 8rrationa(ity" both by Dan 1rie(y. ’ou shou(d read the) and see yourself in them – how we make decisions and why we defy rational behavior, and how conlicting or opposing directions can actually beneit us. I have also just read “Like the 5(owin— river o– pau(o 3oe(ho, a brilliant and very insightful collection of his thoughts and relections. They express deep faith in God (he is Catholic), the inherent goodness of man and how God is in control of our destiny. I like books like these because they help me understand human behavior better – including myself – and how yielding to God’s will at all times is our greatest call and redemption. In the process, it makes me more at peace and forgiving of my own and others' limitations and failures. 2edside readin— are )ore re(i—ious in content, like novenas and spiritual books.

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If you were to write a personal psalm to the Lord, how would the first lines go?

Thank you, Lord, for all your blessings to your unworthy servant, especially those I take for granted and waste away. Take me by the hand and use )e –or ’our honor and glory. Grant me obedience and complete sub)ission to ’our wi((, so that where ’ou (ead, there 8 sha(( —o. 1(ways keep )e and everyone who) ’ou have put in )y care under ’our protection and headship, and fill us with love for each other.

Who were your idols growing up?

Mama Mary. 1n— (akas niya sa Diyos! re)e)ber the –irst miracle at Cana. He turned water into wine anyway out of his great love and respect for Mary. I wish everyone would appreciate why Mary is, indeed, the great Mediatrix, and that is why she is truly our best kakampi kay 9esus.


What would you tell your 18-year old self?

God loves you and will always be with you.