JOYFUL CHRISTMAS AND A GRACE-FILLED NEW YEAR!

Dear Co-missionaries,

Wishing you the light of hope

That keeps the future bright,

Wishing you a Christmas

Grace with God’s eternal light.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

In the Divine Word made flesh,

Fr. Emil

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NEW PRIESTS! NEW MISSIONARIES!

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SILVER JUBILEE CELEBRATION IN LUBA, ABRA

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish (Priests, PPC, Religious Organizations, LGU, Parishioners) and Luba-Tubo Catholic High School, Luba, Abra did it again! Twenty five years ago on January 6, 1984, I came home to celebrate my Thanksgiving Mass and through the well coordination between the above mentioned Parish and the school it was very memorable and missionary invigorating.  The late Fr. John Heer, SVD was then the Parish Priest and Mr. David Asencio the school Principal. The memory accompanied me through the twenty six years of missionary life which half of it was spent in Botswana, Africa and the other half here in the Philippines, SVD PHN North in particular. On November 26, 2009, I went back to offer my belated Silver Jubilee Thanksgiving Mass…once again the parish (Priests, PPC, Religious Organizations, LGU, Parishioners) and school    (Administrators, Faculty, Staff and Students) showed the undying cultural bond of working together (without compensation) and demonstrated unequaled cooperativeness from the time of preparation until the last item of the so many activities. Indeed, the celebration of the Holy Mass was very solemn and the cultural program that followed right then show casing some of the ageless cultural dances and rituals of the Maeng Tribe of Abra was something one can never forget in a lifetime. This time, Fr. Sylvester Wada, SVD, is the Parish Priest, Fr. Bernard Nzuli, SVD, Parochial Vicar, Mr. David Asencio, PPC’s Chairman and Mrs. Rhoda Asencio, the School Principal. My profound gratitude to all the above and to all the people who have contributed in one way or the other to the success of all the activities. For all the prayers said, gifts and donations, offering of different kinds and most especially personal presences, thank you so much. To the OFWs in Hong Kong, thank you for you spiritual and material support. Ti Apo ti mangbendisyon kadakayo amin.Then the most awaited day came with cloudless sunrise on the 26th November.  This time the Thanksgiving Mass was held at the parish church unlike the Thanksgiving Mass I offered twenty five years ago which was held under the shade of a big mango tree. The parish church now which was built few years ago is standing on the same foundation the old church stood before. Confreres who took their time to come and to concelebrate with me for this memorable day were: Rev. Fr. Jerome Adriatico, SVD, SVD PHN Provincial Superior; Fr. Manolito Barona, SVD, Abra SVD District Superior; Fr. Sylvester Wada, SVD, Parish Priest; Fr. Bernard Nzuli, SVD, Parochial Vicar; Fr. Rod Ardaniel (Diocesan); Fr. Lunes Tao-il (Diocesan); Fr. Antonio Alagao, SVD; Fr. Felipe Flores, SVD; Fr. Edgardo Mendiguarin, SVD; Fr. Yakobus Sanbiko, SVD; Fr. Rodel Abanto, SVD; Fr. Gil Dulay, SVD and Fr. Yohanes Bala, SVD. Other Religious men and women whose presence I appreciate very much too were: Br. Valentin Gruener, SVD, Br. Ephrem Ilogon, SVD, Sr. Emily Calixto, DSFS, Sr. Crispina, SSpS and Sr. Trinidad, SSpS. Also some of our Diocesan sister Auxiliaries have come too.  DZPA and Abra Today people were present too. All of them, all other guests, relatives and friends from the Maeng Tribe communities in and outside Luba and Tubo… Their presence made the event special to me and to my family.On the preceding evening a dinner (Palanos) was served at our mother house in Sabnangan (Omli) where all of us, the children of the Sagmayao Pati-Linday Baculi marriage were born and brought up. Fr. Manolito Baroña, SVD, the District Superior of Abra SVD District was among the first ones to arrive with our own SVD Service Office Staff Mr. Ronnie Centeno. Few minutes later, Fr. Edgardo Mendiguarin, SVD, Sr. Emily Calixto, DSFS, arrived. Soon after, Fr. Sanbiko Yakobus, SVD, Fr. Rodel Abanto, SVD, Fr. Yohanes Bala, SVD, Fr. Gil Dulay, SVD, Fr. Bernard Nzuli and other lay guests from Cagayan and Bangued arrived too. There was supposed to be a welcome program for the guests but due to unforeseen conflict of activities some of the supposedly presentations were waived for the following day. Right after the celebration of the Thanksgiving Mass, a cultural program followed at the place where similar program was held twenty five years ago when I had my first Thanksgiving Mass. I noticed that a big branch of the mango tree that used to provide huge shade no longer there. The different presentations made me realize that my own people (Luba and Tubo)are still very concious of their cultural heritage and they are preserving them well and at all cost. I felt proud being a Tinggian, a member of the Maeng Tribe.