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AGW 2017: WALKING THE EXTRA MILE FOR LOVE!
Monday, September 25, 2017

It was a day of firsts for the 2017 ANCOP Global Walk in Metro Manila, held at the Quirino Grandstand on September 17. First, it was the first time that the AGW was kicked off at the stroke of midnight. The gates were opened for walk-in registrants at this time and at 2:00 AM, the first ever AGW Music Festroared off to a rousing start. The crowd enjoyed the performances of DJ Wacky, the Malachi Band, UPeepz, Sam Mangubat and YFC’s very own Liveloud.


It was also the first time Bernadette Sembrano, an ABS-CBN news anchor and former SFC member,came back to a community activity after a hiatus. She shared that she was inspired at seeing the huge crowd at the venue, everyone there putting their faith into action by sacrificing their sleep or getting up in the wee hours of the night to join the Walk.


Another first was the holding of a banchetto (Italian word meaning "feast") so that families who came to the Luneta very early could have breakfast there. Everything was an all-new experience. But more than the many firsts, what truly got everyone excited was the gun start at 4:45 AM signaling the start of the AGW. For everyone who braved the heat and the darkness of the early morning, the gun start was the symbol of their commitment to make each step count and to help fulfill the dreams of more than a thousand children.


Elsewhere in the Philippines and overseas, families also got up before sunrise to go to their respective walk points, walking the extra mile for love of ANCOP scholars in unison with the world. In his welcome exhortation, Bboy Arguelles, AGW 2017 Event Head and Sector Head for Metro Manila Central A, reminded the participants that the AGW is not just about the scholars nor about the walkers and partners, but primarily about sharing God’s love with one another.Quoting Scripture, Arguelles added: “If anyone presses you to go to a service for one mile, go two miles with him”.CFC ANCOP President Rudy Gaspillo also reminded the walkers that “Truly, Jesus is present in this advocacy, guiding everyone through.” He added, “I am happy to announce that 70% of the walkers here are from the younger generation, the future of CFC.” 


The CFC International Council led the estimated 50,000 walkers composed of members of CFC and its Family Ministries, ANCOP scholars, corporate partners, and private individuals at the starting gate. The long line of walkers weaved towards Roxas Blvd., all the way to the CCP Complex, and back again to the Quirino Grandstand in time for the Holy Mass at 6:30 AM. 


Those who did not feel physically equipped to finish either the three or the five-kilometer walk stayed at the Burnham Greens and were led in gentle Tai Chi exercises by Ric Villamiel of CFC Metro Manila West B. Fr. Jhonatan Letada, SVD, of the Parish of the Risen Christ, Balut, Tondo, Manila celebrated the Holy Mass with Fr. Paul Uwemedimo.


In his homily, Fr. Letada shared, “Ang inyong paglakad ng extra mile for love ay nagbibigay pagmamahal, buhay, at habag at malasakit sa ating mga kapatid na nangangailangan.” (Your walking an "extra mile for love" gives hope, life, and mercy and compassion for our brothers and sisters in need.)In his closing message, CFC Chairman Ermelo Villaroman, Jr. recalled his experience when he was still a student and how his parents became his inspiration towards achieving his goals. They served as his prayer warriors and guide until he acquired his first job. “I remember all these because I believe that the Lord is giving us (AGW) as a beautiful opportunity. Our walk will become the hope and the fulfillment of the plan of the Lord that will come to fruition in the lives of 9,000 scholars who will now be able to continue their education, simply because we walked today.”


Villaroman reiterated the message of Fr. Letada: “ANCOP Global Walk is an opportunity for us to be a gift to the Church and to be God’s answer to the cry of the poor.”

 

In a separate interview, Villaroman shared that he is one with the CFC community in prayer, stating, “My prayer is the same as the prayer of every CFC member throughout the world. First, this is a prayer of thanks, that you and I, all of us, are members of this community because even though we are all sinners, even if we have our weaknesses, the Lord allowed us to be part of the fullness of His mission for the family and for the poor. This mission will be fulfilled even without you, me or anyone of us here, but the Lord gave us this opportunity to be part of the joy of the victory of His work.Second, this is our prayer that we may share this gift to many families. The gift that our community gave us transformed our lives. We can share this gift with others, knowing that if we allow ourselves to be used by the Lord, to be a gift to others, this gift too can bring transformation to the lives of many families and, I hope, to the whole world. This will truly fulfill the vision of the Lord for us: to be families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth”.


The AGW ended with Kids Praise led by Jonathan Lloyd Polinar, fulltime pastoral worker for Kids for Christ. (Diana Mendoza and Andrelene Veloso)





 

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