Thursday, February 28, 2013

On a pilgrimage. Involve yourself! Part 2

I guess an adventure is just real life in HD. Though I had this strange habit of mixing real life with adventure. 


Tita Zeny arrived in our room at around 12.08 in the moarnin'! I woke up when she entered the room, which was just about right because I forgot to turn off my iPod. 

Yesterday morning, we all woke up at around 4.30 am. Now, we were at a slower pace. 5.30 am. Morning adoration was at 7.00 am. 

Whoa there! 

And since I vowed to go all HHHAAARDCOOORE and take a bath with cold water, I dived in third. (I wish to remind you that Tagaytay is so high up in a mountain that taking a bath with cold water is not an option to everyone else.) This morning was totally different, though, because my veins and fingernails were all blue to the core. (So this is what dying feels like...) 

This morning was everything but great because I accidentally fell asleep during adoration. (Oh, Father, I am so sorry, I swear...) And when everyone stood up, I was all "What's going on... what..." That's not the first time I fell asleep during a session, though. Hopefully, it won't happen again. 

This day, Sunday, was a sort of finalization of everything we gleaned so far on this trip. It also meant that everyone else was going home by nightfall. 

This morning, we had the obligatory photo-op! 


Look at those smiles... 

It was also during this morning that we were introduced and presented the parish slogan/battle cry of the year. 

"Taga-Transfi tayo! Taos, Lubos, Para sa Diyos!"

It sounds so pleasant and... catchy. This is what the EXECOM meeting was about: formulating a battle cry for the parish. We were all asked to embrace the phrase, absorb it until it was etched into our hearts. 

"Gawan na ng t-shirt yan!" was the phrase of the day. Well, my phrase of the day. 

This day was spent making brand-new, never-before-seen plans for the parish. It was at that day that Jet gave birth to the most splendid idea ever. 

The Transfiguration of Christ New Media TeamIt was the perfect blending of social media and the church, along with all its ministries. It was a whole new ministry waiting to happen! And I was a part of it! Just the thought of us working on this sent chills down my spine. Even the adults agreed with our propaganda, which Jet affectionately called VIRAL EVANGELIZATION. I have to commend him for his quick mind and organization skills. 

Just picturing in our heads how the ministry's gonna be... It's gonna be so much fun. And Jet presented it so seamlessly! Well, it did take him a while to get everything out in the clear, but it was nice to know that the idea was green-lighted! All we need is an audience with Father Joel and... 


We did a special giving-of-blessings dance as our final activity and were asked to sign a huge sheet of paper. Of course, I was crying that time. The activity marked the end of our planning session, which turned out to be more of team-building and goal-setting contrast to what we all thought that we we're gonna do. 

We had a holy mass afterwards, and just like the gospel was written just for us, it was about The Transfiguration of Christ

Yes. Perfect. 

Father Joel admitted that he was never good with words of appreciation and we were all fine with that. It was at these rare moments that we see more of who he is and even though he may not say it that much, he has always appreciated, appreciates, and will appreciate his parish and its workers. Of course I cried at that part, too. (I never really did stop crying until the end of the mass. Gah.) 


And the fact that Father Joel would go so far to allow us to hug him and, well, kiss him...

That was something. 

Something I'll probably never forget. 

For one last time, during the giving of the sign of peace, we were all asked to go around hug everyone! Oh my, could you imagine me, though, being hugged by everyone, eyes all red... They said that it was a sign that I really did enjoy my stay and that I really do love our parish.

And I do. I do love our parish. Very, very much. 

In fact, this great love for my parish scares me so much because I've involved myself deeper than I thought I could. Even deeper than my father! I expect him to talk about it someday, but maybe that day isn't here yet. Maybe I'm not there yet. 

We had our final dinner as a whole parish afterwards, in which Father Joel's final announcement to all of us was "Wag muna kayo agad umalis dahil may pa-ice cream pa si Brother Ferdy." ("Don't leave so soon because Brother Ferdy has ice cream for everyone.") It turns out, Father Joel was the one who chose the ice cream flavors, which all happened to be Arce Dairy Fruit Ice Cream! 


The people really did expect me to jump on the ice cream once they were out, and believe it or not, I did. The strawberry ice cream was SOOOO GOOD, I SWEAR! Nothing like the other strawberry ice cream I tasted! How do I say it... It tasted so... smooth! 

I was one of the lucky ones who stayed behind, by accident, really, because I really thought that all of us would stay until Monday. Out of the 50+ participants, only a handful of us remained. There was me, Tita Zita (Who stayed behind for my sake because, dear Lord, I honestly don't know anyone else), Tita Aida, Lolo Mike, Father Joel and some others, along with the seminarians. 

Imagine our surprise when Father Joel told us to prepare because we were gonna have pizza!! 

PIZZA!! 

We were told to bond with the seminarians, who also happened to be Father Joel's mini-family of sorts, because in all honesty, I've never seen Father smile--

Well, I've seen him smile lots of times, but I can tell that this was different. In the end, they abandoned the idea of a pizza night out and instead had KARAOKE NIGHT. 

KARAOKE NIGHT! 

By the time we were all gathered in the dining hall, I was on my second song and Jet was lining up his songs. If anyone were to be crowned Karaoke King of the Night, it's Jet. To keep everyone merry and happy, the guys even bought a few beers, red wine and Cali, along with some chips to snack on. 

Everything about that night was absolutely fun! I spent most of the night conversing with the ever-quiet Lawrence and we had quite an animated conversation going on. (When I serve at Transfi, which I call "big church", I call him "that intimidating sacristan" because he is! Who would've thought that a 14 year-old could have that much insight on life?) Tita Zita commented that when they saw us talking, he looked much older and, well, mature. (He's pretty mature for his age, though. It matches his appearance. Just right.) 

I think I sang four songs before finally handing it over to everyone else. The rest of the night was spent convincing Father Joel to sing something for all of us, as well as Father convincing Tita Zita to sing for everyone. 

I had two cans of Cali at that time and was fighting the urge to go to the bathroom every five minutes. 

Oh, that night was absolutely fun. I have no pictures to show you how much fun we had, but perhaps it's something I'll keep with me. It was around quarter to 12 in the morning when everyone finally got tired. (And maybe it was because Tita Aida was a tad bit tipsy. Hihi.) 

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Tita Zita and I woke up a bit later than everyone else. We had our alarms set at 5.00 am but we both sat back and said one more hour wouldn't hurt. 

Then I woke up at 6.30. Whoa. I charged into the cold water for one last time. 

We had breakfast later than everyone else because we woke up later. (Eggs for breakfast!) Father Joel was joking about staying in the seminary for a month while the Father Rector of the seminary would be our acting parish priest. The first ones to complain were the seminarians. Tehe. 

After breakfast, one of the seminarians, Kuya Renz, became our tour guide and led us to the beautiful SVD Tagaytay. It turns out that their seminary was their home and SVD was their school. Within SVD were more seminarians from different seminaries, so it was like they were in a "normal" college environment. He said that they had intramurals and activities similar to "normal" colleges. 

The church was beautiful as well! Wide and tall with canopies and stained-glass windows... 


How do I put it into words, this feeling of wonder and amazement? It's just too much! 

Obligatory photo-op before we go on our way! 

I told the seminarians that once they become priests, they should preside a mass at Transfi. Hopefully, they will. Oh, wait. I know they will! 

Then we were off! Off to the most intriguing place and occasion ever... The Mariapolis Peace Open City. 

The event was AMAZING! 

And... and to think that there was a place where everyone, people of all kinds of religions, could come together as one community... It's amazing. 

I remembered talking to Lawrence about this, saying that I really shouldn't have been there, but he simply told me, "It's the will of God that you're here." 

And you know what? I believed him. 

I want to be a part of this... this beautiful movement where all they had to do was love one another... 

Love one another as I have loved you. 

The day was super fun as well. At first I was about to join a workshop for Altar Servers, which was originally Lawrence's idea, but was suddenly transferred to another workshop. So I was Tito Pol and we were in a voters' knowledge kind of workshop. 

And Father Joel was no where in sight for most of the time! 

It made me wonder where Father Joel could be at such a time, where all of us were enjoying and he was no where to be found. 

But I think the reason why we were there is because... We should have fun. Maybe Father  Joel wasn't around so that we could go around as much as we wanted? Oh, well, there's no confirming that statement, but one thing is for sure, we all had a great day.


Obligatory, well, no, not really... Photo-op! 

I have no idea how to end such a long post, but maybe this will be just right. It was something I typed last 24, before we were on our way to the Open City.

I can't do much recollection. All I know is that the past four days have been such a pleasant and enjoyable blessing for me.

I feel like I'm really doing something right.

Hopefully next year, I'll be here again. Right now, I'm eagerly waiting. 

~tony

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