A Blessed Monday
Note: I started this entry on Monday (June 30) but was only able to finish today (July 2) simply because I wasn’t in the usual blog writing mood and too exhausted with lots of things. Anyhow, here’s my one-of-a-kind entry about blessedness, inspiration and hope🙂
I was off from work again today (June 30) as I needed to attend one important event. I have reserved this day long time ago for that very special occasion. It’s wasn’t for me though… but for a very close friend who made my and a lot more other people’s Monday overly blessed.
June 30 marked a very important day for my good friend, Jhoen… or should I say, Reverend Jhoen. Today, Jhoen was ordained as a deacon… finally!
Just a backgrounder, I have known Jhoen, err Reverend pala (whew, will I ever get used of using this term???) since high school. Known him in 1987 and been friends since then (hmmm… parang close na close talaga kami, hehehe!). I’ve witnessed and known most of his endeavors, both religious and professional. There was even a time that we both served one youth ministry. He was still an aspirant that time while I was one of the youth leaders.
With all these stories, I am just glad that I have finally witnessed Jhoen in front of the altar, announced his vow to forever serve God’s entire Catholic community.
Attending Rev. Jhoen’s ordination was a bit of an effort for all of us Manilans as it was in San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Chuch in Poblacion, Mariveles, Bataan. Yup, you read it right… far far away land in Bataan! It was a tiring trip yet a very meaningful and memorable one.
As always, I tagged my Mom along. Rev. Jhoen actually invited her as well. We travelled with (read: nakisabay lang) my classmate’s parents as Nang, my other close HS friend, is in US. She just sent her parents to attend the ordination in her behalf. It was a drooling 4-hour travel. I was glad though that we made it ahead of time as I personally wanted to witness the entire ceremony.
I’m not new to Deaconate ordinations. I have witnessed and attended a lot of similar ceremonies of equally-close friends in the religious circle in my not-so-far-away past. But this ordination is a bit different. It’s a bit more personal for me.
The San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish, not to mention its parishioners, was completely dressed up for the occasion. Complete with band and banderitas, the entire place threw an atmosphere as if it’s the feast of their patron saint. Everybody can’t wait for the ceremony to start as it was a first time for the church to hold an ordination. I felt that each of the parishioners felt so overly blessed for witnessing and being a part of that momentous occasion.
Seeing Jhoen walk down the aisle (yep, parang wedding!) gave me goosebumps. It made me smile knowing that he was indeed on his way to become God’s chosen disciple.
The ceremony was officiated by no less than Balanga’s Bishop himself. Bishop Soc Villegas, D.D. It was a bit long… not like the usual mass that we attend every Sunday. Similar to that of weddings, Jhoen accepted the vows of a religious and God’s forever humble follower.
When Bishop Soc announced that Jhoen is alrealy part of the Sacred Order of Deacons, it was overwhelming. I saw people shed tears of happiness. I wasn’t that sure though if all those people were personally known to him but everyone was glad to see him take that serious leap. Nang’s mom, for one, cried all throughout the ceremony. She said she can feel what a mother should feel knowing that her child chose a special path of religious service. Mommy, on the other hand, was overly happy for Jhoen as she prayed hard to be well on that day to witness the ordination. Apparently, my Mom was so sick days before Jhoen’s grand day. Both my Mom and Nang’s mom were eager to personally greet and congratulate Jhoen.
So after the mass, we had one photo opportunity with the newly ordained Deacon:
And another one after the reception (yes, parang wedding talaga!)…
And to you my dear friend, Jhoen, congratulations for making the right decision. You’ve always known how much we all wanted to see you become a priest. This is just the beginning of a very challenging religious life. There’s another ordination coming up. We still hope to see you walk the aisle to priesthood. We’ll continue to pray to God to continuously grant you the strength and faith you need to be His humble servant… now and always!