July 22, 2024

“Be present to your family, O Lord, we pray, and graciously ensure those you have endowed with the grace of faith an eternal share in the resurrection of your only begotten Son.”
This prayer affirms the believing family and the assurance of resurrection.
In life and in our faith, we are rest assured of God’s presence especially when our life and faith are tested by sickness, death, helplessness, persecutions, rejection, and mockery.
The Acts of the Apostles narrates, “There broke out severe persecution of the church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him. Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the church; entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment.” (Acts 8: 1b-8)
There was once a man in Sagada, Mountain Province who became a follower of Jesus. He was a real Christian who lived his faith and brought people close to the church and to God.
He was christened as Pablo Luminio alias “Chuarcho.” He lived a righteous and pious life in the village. He taught his family the importance of faith through prayer and good deeds. He imbibed to his family the value of the Holy Eucharist.
“Adiak mangmangan ingan awaday si Chuarcho!” (I will not eat until Chuarcho is around.) This is the line of his wife, baket Stephania, manifesting intimacy in its truest sense.
Every time this line is heard in Sagada, the Luminio couple is remembered.
Col. Gayapon Luminio Terrado said, “Please quote my ina Stephania and ama Pablo when you borrow the line. That’s their line as a loving couple.”
Lakay Chuarcho was an active parishioner in Kilong, Sagada. At 87 years old, he was an inspiration to his family, barangay and the church. His presence during the holy mass was more than words and actions.
He affirmed my priesthood through his constant presence. After the Sunday mass, he never missed to sit with me at the dining table and just listen. He will sip coffee with me and tried to make his presence felt.
His presence spelled strong support and profound respect. He affirmed faith and tried to emphasize that as believers of Christ, it must be seen in our life even in our culture.
The death of lakay Chuarcho is a loss of the church and the community but I strongly believe he is a gain in heaven.
The Luminio family has been a big source of strength in my six years stay in Sagada amidst all the persecutions, rejections and mockery for my being an advocate of justice and peace by campaigning against gambling, illegal drugs, alcoholism, gossip, cultural oppression and cultural discrimination, insurgency, and corruption.
I have experienced culture as an oppressor of faith. As a priest, I cannot tolerate such.
Lakay Chuarcho was there to affirm that we need to correct the abuses done in the culture and the culture being the culprit of abuse to the faith. This is unbelievable. But it’s reality. People are just silent about it because of the fear imposed to them by cultural authorities.
I thank lakay Chuarcho for affirming the spiritual responsibility of a priest and his moral responsibility to the community, the church, and culture.
I also thank lakay Chuarcho’s family especially Gaudencia Luminio Guitelen and her husband, Kalti, for the services rendered to the church, ading Tannao and ading Gayapon, and the Luminio family for always lifting me up in my down moments.
Lakay Chuarcho bade goodbye to his family and friends. He was buried on April 25 in Kilong.
I am sure he is now with lakay James Domanog, Jr. pleading to the Lord for Sagada Catholic Mission to mature in their faith by becoming active parishioners in words and actions.
Thank you lakay Chuarcho for the strong support and for letting me feel that the church is not alone in her moral advocacies.
Reach me at [email protected].