February 25, 2024

My simple source of joy is my family.
Manong Franklin used to be a rectory boy and a sacristan in the 70s and 80s accompanying Fr. Mauricio Lidwino in the barangays for the sacraments. He is the fifth child of 13.
Manong Frank as he is fondly called, is an artist who had been saving my high school life art projects being an engineer. My older brothers too were artists. Being among the younger siblings, I combined their talents in my bucket.
He was a good boy until he was challenged and took liquor and gambling as his solutions.
He was confronted with crisis at work, family, relationship, faith, and direction especially when his first wife, Fidela died at an early age leaving him with their five children.
Many times, I and Fr. Benny called his attention to remind him about faith and life and his misbehaviors. He listened and even cried when we had heart-to-heart talks.
One time because of uncontrolled anger, he almost hit me but I did not hate him and I did not retaliate.
I continued to pray for him and loved him. Until he remarried to Freda Singlot, a widow. It was not an easy beginning.
I admire the children of both families for their patience, kindness, understanding, and selfless love to mend and to heal brokenness.
Then came the revival of the Couples for Christ (CFC) in Mountain Province spearheaded by Bro. Hernan Sausa and Sis. Haydee Capillo Sausa. They became friends and then manong Frank and manang Freda started to join the CFC sessions. God started to melt the heart of manong Frank for conversion.
Manong Frank testified, “Fr. Marcs is a staunch advocate against gambling. Every time I go with my friends to gamble, I am bothered but my appetite for gambling will push me. I tried to evade padi Marcs because of the reminders, until God supplied more people to change my evil ways, the CFC.”
Manong Frank started to give his time to the church again as pre-cana minister by giving family and marital sessions to couples preparing for the sacrament of marriage. He is now a staunch advocate against gambling. He experienced the chaos gambling gave him.
He started to give talks at CFC gatherings and is serving again during the holy mass.
I am happy about his daily conversion and his services to the family, Department of Public Works and Highways, and to the church.
Conversion is not a one day process. It is dynamic and it is by God’s grace. Conversion is a gift from God and we must receive it with joy.
I am so happy that being a younger brother, he respects me as a priest and serves when I celebrate the holy mass.
My priestly anniversary indeed was made more meaningful with mama Carol with me and my biological family who never tire being my support system.
I left a challenge to him, “Manong Frank I hope you will be generous with your time, talent, and treasure. Use them to encourage manong Hermie and manang Glo and as well manong Ferdz and manang Madz to also join CFC.”
That will be another source of joy and my joy when they become active in reaching out to other families to talk about the love of God at home. My source of joy is when I see my siblings serve in the church as music ministers, lectors, lay ministers, even as volunteer cooks, organizers, photographers, electricians, and sound system team.
To all gamblers who are trying to find meaning in life, leave gambling because it will not help you or your family. Leave alcoholism because it will not solve problems. Alcoholism is a face of selfishness that destroys life and family.
Gratitude too to CFC Mountain Province especially to Bro. Felix and Sis. Mary Falag-ey, Bro. Jun and Sis. Brenda Sarmiento, Bro. Chris and Sis. Bilma Fawayan Che-es, Bro. Manuel Andrada and wife, Bro. Dan Lucas and wife for the fraternal accompaniment.
Reach me at [email protected].