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Build My Church: God`s Marching Order
“To hear the voice of God in one’s life, one needs to open his heart to surprise, otherwise, one can start fleeing from God.” - Pope Francis

God calls each of us for His divine purpose, and it is only by His grace can we respond to His calling. The Lord uses us in His ways that simply flow, to accomplish His divine plan through us and for us.

God Intervenes
Such was how the BUILD MY CHURCH program came about. Different persons of the same faith, each with the same vision of having a decent and respectable place of worship, that is worthy of our God, crossed each other’s’ paths. Divine intervention staged the foundation of this BMC program, as the miracle unfolded in our lives.

God Speaks Thru Haggai
A brother in the CFC community heard and heeded God’s call. Through his exposure with the different chapels where CLPs were conducted, a brother, Pete Aventajado saw the sorry state of our supposedly “Place of Worship”. Having served as Palawan Provincial Head for three years, he was deeply bothered and perplexed about the existing conditions of the House of God. 

Dilapidated walls & facade that could barely support torn down roofs, either made of pawid (dried palm leaves) or rusted corrugated GI sheets and roughly-finished concrete floors—dirt floors for some, were the common “features” of God’s house in his area of service. It dawned on him that we were busy tending to our own houses while we take for granted the house of our Lord, which deserves all the splendor, beauty and majesty befitting our God. A spark continually ignites in his heart... something must be done.

God Prepares Us For His Mission
God called me in a similar manner, as I was tasked to help our parish in rebuilding one of our chapels which was relocated due to reblocking, which a process the government usually does to correct placement of illegally built structures along public roads. The said chapel was similar to what Pete had seen, rusty roofs and grilles, cracked plaster walls with its concrete cross chipped, awaiting to crumble anytime. I, together with my husband Lito Santos, have served the mission areas at Laura and Payatas, QC. since 1996 (year we graduated from CLP). We have been used to seeing run- down chapels where CLPs and other activities of CFC were being held. I too, felt a tug in my heart every time we, as a couple, served in these chapels—the supposedly “sacred & dignified” place where we worship and commune with our God. I felt helpless during those times not knowing what I could do to correct those situations. Little did I know that God had listened to my frustrations and given me an opportunity much later to be assigned the task of rebuilding our own chapel within the scope of our parish to make things right for the House of God—a house that is decent, respectable and conducive place of worship that is appropriate for our God. That chapel is named Our Lady Of Fatima.

God Calls Everyone For His Mission
The same circumstances and situations led one to the other, the same vision of uplifting the existing conditions of our places of worship made the sparks in our hearts ignite for a common purpose and mission. Such were the ways where God calls us. There are no coincidences in one’s life, especially if it is God’s plan. God’s calling was very clear... GOD wants us to rebuild His house, a place worthy of Him—the King of Kings!

God Brings All Willing Together For His Mission
Soon after, some CFC leaders were consulted and the vision of having a decent and dignified place of worship for our God started its course. Pete spearheaded the program, scouting for chapels that need renovation, refurbishing and rehabilitation, to be the “pilot” project, without even a name for the said program. But what’s in a “NAME” to start with, as long as the vision was very clear - REBUILD THE HOUSE OF THE LORD. The vision and passion coupled with faith & trust in the Lord were all that matters.

God Reveals His Mission
Located on a side street along Batasan Road, the Our Lady of Fatima Chapel was a case of reblocking by the Quezon City government. Its original site was built on a government property, among the residential structures, that gave way for a new alley.

The House of God was very typical of the chapels we see on depressed communities—dilapidated and torn-down. Built and maintained through the meager funds from Mass collections and donations from kind-hearted parishioners in the area, it can only do so much. As long as it served its function of accommodating the people who gather for worshipping our Lord—a roof over their heads; walls and doors usually made of grilles, with the least cost possible, thus sacrificing an edifice of beauty and majesty which the Lord our God deserves.

God Shows Us The Way
With its “shell” structure already done and no funds at all to continue the construction, I was resigned to the idea that it would just be another case of the “typical chapel”—just an enclosure for worshipping our God. Timely was the “program”, by which Pete was called by the Lord. God led him to this lowly chapel, amongst the few others he visited, and with much discernment, his search for the pilot project has finally ended. The vision of having a chapel worthy of our God finally came into a reality, as donations in cash and in kind from members of CFC from different sectors started pouring in. Set your mind for what is “BEST” for the Lord—huwag mong tipirin si Lord (don’t be stingy with God) as Pete would say, because He deserves the best, after all, this is the House of God. With all his eagerness and passion, Pete made me realize that God answers our prayers in His appointed time, never early and never too late, and that miracles do happen. The Lord made sure that the Our Lady of Fatima Chapel, the pilot project, would not be just another case of a “typical chapel” because He had specifically called Bro Pete to build His Church as was written in the scriptures: “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:17-18). Truly, a divine promise from our God.

God Explains The Mission He Gives Us
“BUILD MY CHURCH”, a very appropriate name for the CFC’s new program. Simple, yet very clear. It elevates a new standard in the physical dimension of our faith as it completes our mission in Couples for Christ—Building the Church of the Home, and Building the Church of the Poor. BMC strengthens our vision of families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth, as we take part in rebuilding the physical structure into a place of worship that is respectable and dignified, a worthy House of our God.

God Blesses The Work When We Do His Mission
As Christians, we need to be our brothers’ keeper even in the practice of our faith and be a blessing to others. The help we did in sharing our time, talent and treasures in rebuilding the pilot project, the Our Lady of Fatima Chapel, made a big difference in the lives of the parishioners. It gave them a sense of belonging and pride, every time they heard Mass.

The number of churchgoers doubled even if the area was reduced by half its original size. So inspired was our parish priest and our Bishop that they have made known their plans for other chapel projects that we can consider to rebuild. I could not recall a better time than this when our relationship with our clergy was at its best because of the completion of this project. Indeed, the Lord blesses our CFC community when we obey Him and involve ourselves in programs that will glorify Him. What a great opportunity to share our blessings and be in solidarity with our less fortunate brothers and sisters, with whom we share our faith and love for Christ. Being a part of this Build My Church program gave me a new sense of purpose and meaning in my spiritual and Christian life. Let us all be a part of BMC, rebuilding a chapel that is beautiful and majestic- worthy of our God. May its beauty and majesty lead us to a glimpse of heaven and own special place prepared for us, by God. (Jhojo Santos)
Added on Tuesday, September 2, 2014


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