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New Evangelization in Action

Over a decade ago, a born- again group called Church Simplified started an interactive Stations of the Cross called “The Pathway” at Bonifacio High Street in BGC, Taguig. The group described themselves as a church community composed of people from various backgrounds wrestling with the questions of faith in God and the essence of what it means to be part of the church. 


The exhibit was a refreshing approach to depict an event that is the very substance of our Christian faith journey in this modern world. It was very artistic and quite poetic yet simple to understand and the experiential actions accompanying each station were very touching and reflective, providing participants with a deeper insight on what really happened during the Passion and Death of our Lord.

 

Their sequence though was different from our own Catholic sequence so we decided to replicate the ex-hibit the Catholic way as a project of CFC Youth for Christ and Kids for Christ in Santa Maria Della Strada (SMDS) Parish. At that time, we were in charge of these family ministries. We asked Singles for Christ and Handmaids of the Lord to write, from their hearts, their own interpretations of the 14 stations. Final edits were done by a youth leader, Abby Juan.

 

We followed the presentation format of the BGC exhibit though it was much simpler because of the limited funds we had managed to raise from friends. The exhibit was set up at Balara Playground Park; we were apprehensive that the SMDS parish priest might not want us to hold it at the church grounds because of the impression that it was too ‘different’ from the traditional Way of the Cross. Our initial fears and doubts about mounting the exhibit proved unfounded as it was well received by all those who came. 


Many exhibit goers left the site teary eyed, making the Youth for Christ members emotional themselves from the positive affirmation. Many years later we had a chance to bring the exhibit to Ateneo Grade School as a project of our Kids for Christ Club. To our delight, the AGS administration gladly supported and funded it. It was the first time this was being done in AGS and the enthusiastic response from the administration, faculty, staff and students was well worth the effort to ‘evangelize’ a school already steeped in Ignatian spirituality. 


The effort did not stop there. Hearing of the many good reviews from those who saw it at the AGS, the SMDS PPC invited us to set it up at the church grounds. It was a new experience for the parishioners and many were moved and so inspired that the donation box set up at the 14th station was quickly filled up. 


These efforts were wonderful opportunities for us to share our Christian space with others of different beliefs and practices. From these experiences, it is obvious that there is a common denominator that propels everyone, irregardless of religious affiliations, to do significant faith actions. Indeed there is much to learn from each other without the adversarial elements that bring debate and heated dis-cussions. By choosing to engage, learn and practice our faith, our own Catholic faith was deepened and enriched.


One of our personally supported advocacies, Natural Family Planning - Responsible Parenthood, has banded together many Catholic groups like Catholic Women’s League(CWL), Bishops’ Businessmen’s Conference (BBC), Assisi Development Foundation, Caritas Manila, Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, Dioceses of Cubao and Novaliches, National Sandigan Foundation, JJCICSI, etc, and has formed a Convenor Group headed by John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues and Santa Maria Della Strada Parish’s Family and Life Ministry. Its aim is to spread the Natural Family Planning and Responsible Parenthood advocacy mindful that majority of child-bearing Filipino Catholics practice artificial forms of birth control and alarmed that we in the church, who should know better, are doing nothing about it. The advocacy seeks therefore to educate the Catholic faithful that there is an alternative way to plan the family according to the teachings of the Catholic Church.One of our co-workers in the Information and Dissemination working group, which we headed, is a pastor of Victory Church, a born again group that shares the same belief in Natural Family Planning as the only Christian way for family planning. 


In pursuit of the group’s aims, we launched an interactive exhibit called ‘Via Vitae - Binhi ng Buhay’ at the opening of the 2015 CBCP Conference at Pius Center under the auspices and support of Cardinal Tagle. We sought the assistance of CFC and HOLD volunteers in the conceptualization, planning and execution of the project.The NFP theme/ jingle was composed by the lady pas-tor of Victory Emlyn Santos. Musical presentation was arranged by Cecille de Joya of HOLD. Many Muslims and born again Christian groups helped in setting this up as a shared advocacy.


Many bishops, inspired by the exhibit, were moved to action, eventually forming NFP RP working groups in their own areas through the inspiration of Cardinal Chito Tagle, Abp Tony Ledesma, Bp Antonio Tobias, Bp Broderick Pabillo to name a few. With this initiative, inspite of still remaining differences, everyone banded together to take positive actions for a common belief.(Art & Elvie Zuniga, North B)

Added on Monday, February 19, 2018


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