Valuing sacrament of marriage
“Thus says the Lord: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the Earth, making it fertile and fruitful.” (Isaiah 55:10)
Our faith to be fruitful must be rooted in the Word of God incarnated into actions. Let us see the Basic Ecclesial Community of Kilong Catholic Mission in Sagada, Mountain Province and the strong woman who courted her husband to make their marriage Christian and their relationship to go beyond civil marriage.
Melvin and Chona were married civilly many years ago. In 2018, I met them because of the baptism of their children. I learned that they were not married in church. I convinced them to wed in church but circumstances did not permit until time went by so fast.
The pandemic gave birth to many issues, problems, and deep painful realizations.
During the quarantine days, the church did not waste her time. The Mission Pastoral Council of Kilong Catholic Mission received an inspiration to do family apostolate. They started to list couples deprived of the sacrament of marriage. They visited them and encouraged them for the sacrament. In more than a month, they were able to visit neighboring families and in God’s grace, they were able to convince Melvin and Chona. Learning about the story, I did justice to their effort. I called the couple for interrogation, catechism, and counseling.
I felt the warm welcome of the Tetep-an Sur community when I got into the house for the wedding rites. I felt the sincerity and overflowing joy of Melvin dressed in his favorite blue polo and Chona in her ethnic attire. I felt God in everyone inside the house. During the wedding, I cannot control my emotions. I was teary eyed to start my homily. I was overjoyed.
Their grade 4 daughter Sony who patiently completed her music lessons at the church played the keyboard for the songs in the liturgy. Liturgical music served its purpose to make the liturgy alive and solemn and it disposed the congregation to profound prayer.
Tetep-an Sur and Tetep-an Norte barangays have no Catholic chapels so we celebrated the wedding in the house. But we long to have a chapel for the two barangays. I hope a family will donate a lot for a small chapel. There is a big need to build a chapel for the children and senior citizens in Tetep-an. I hope too that the couple will be instrumental in initiating the project.
If the community is proactive, it will surely be productive in watering the seeds of faith.
On the occasion of the Cordillera Day, two hearts were tied by God in the sacrament of matrimony. The wedding is memorable on my part because it was the first wedding I presided in my years as a priest to coincide with Cordillera Day, the first wedding I did in Barangay Tetep-an, and the first mass I did as well in the barangay in my two years in Sagada.
It was a simple ceremony but loaded with beautiful memories, sincere and lovely people, and the grace of God. Due to health protocols, I did not announce the “Kiss the bride.”
I trust that the new Christian couple will be an inspiration to other couples who did not yet receive Jesus in the sacrament of marriage.
Melvin set a good example to the community. His position as the punong barangay will give a stronger impact and will serve as an authority and inspiration.
The pandemic did not stop Cordillerans from celebrating its founding day.
This year, Mountain Province hosted the Cordillera Day celebration but Covid-19 modified its celebration to virtual.
For the celebration, Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr. has requested to me to compose a theme song for this year. I thought the work will be kept for next year but he called my attention to use it in the virtual celebration. It is a humble contribution but I trust it helped color the celebration, virtual it maybe.
I share the lyrics of the song. You can find its music video on my Facebook account.
Cordillera naidaklan ka nga ili, Natan-ok ka ken napintaska
Ugali ken pammati nagkaykaysa agserbida a silaw iti panagdalyasatmi.
Dong dong ay salidumay
Nabaknangka ti kultura, inayan ti nagana.
Dong dong ay, salidumay.
Ingawisan nan amin, entako et da angnen.
Isunga Kabunyan bumadangka. Mentayaw ya mengangsa, insagni, menday-engka.
Sha’s ikan di iCordillera.
Agrag-o ka Cordillera! Agkaykaysa Cordillera!
Sirmata ti autonomia!
Reach me at [email protected] or at 0905-165-3669.