Trees of the Lord, Bless the Lord!

       In response to the call of Pope Francis to take care of our common home, in his encyclical “Laudato si’,” the Association of Past Pupils of the FMA – Philippines joined other ecology advocates in reforestation efforts.

       Last October 25, 2015, a total of 31 volunteers, including the novices and five FMA, went to plant trees at the Malabanban Watershed in San Pablo City, Laguna. This mountain has been an important water source for the city for a little over a hundred years. It is thus important and necessary to keep its forests replete with trees, whose roots help hold water.

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Before the activity, Mr. Alejo Genove, the brother of one of the Sisters and a staunch ecological advocate, with his staff, met the group at the San Pablo Water District to brief them on the territorial beauty of the watershed and the surrounding seven lakes, which are among the tourist attractions of the province of Laguna.

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The majority of the group was able to conquer the more than 1,500 cemented steps leading up  the mountain to plant their tree seedlings along the way.

With Mr. Genove as their guide, the volunteers also had the joy of visiting three of the seven lakes after the tree planting activity.

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Tree Planting 2015

Tree Planting 2015

FMA@60. You are invited!

FMA@60

Easter 2015

2015 Easter

photocredit: landscapehdwalls.com

Lenten Recollection 2015

Lenten Recollection 2015

N.O.T.A. Bene: A Benefit Concert for the “Bahay na Pangarap”

10985539_10153102044419294_7101199973520354775_nLast February 7, 2015, the first of a series of FMA concerts  jointly organized by the Past Pupils and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the St. Mary Mazzarello Philippine-PNG Province was held at Don Bosco School, Manila as part of efforts to  raise funds to build the “Bahay na Pangarap,” our dream home for elderly and/or sick FMA .

The concert, entitled “N.O.T.A. Bene (Nuns of the Above),” is a sweet rendezvous of secular and divine music beautifully arranged in a creative blend of reminiscent throwbacks and current hit songs.  It is composed of two parts with a brief intermission. The performers were all FMA coming from the different communities of the Province.  One of the highlights that surprised the audience was the special number by Sr. Gloria Agagon, when she rocked the stage with her imitation of Elvis Presley’s hit song, “Rock Around The Clock.”  A cheering crowd of approximately a thousand enjoyed the  evening of magical music, fun and reunion.

Towards the end of the concert, the assembly spent a few moments of silent prayer for the 44 elite police officers  who died recently in the  clash between the government forces and the Muslim rebels in southern Philippines, endangering  the ongoing peace process.

The concert also became  a venue for reunion of young people and adults who have frequented the FMA schools and communities.

The evening ended with the “Salve Regina” and the blessing of families led by the provincial superior, Sr. Sarah Garcia, before the finale.

Due to popular demand,  two more concerts will be staged on March 7, 2015 in Canlubang, Laguna and on March 21 in Mabalacat, Pampanga, places south and north of  Manila respectively.

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These concerts are being staged as part of the “Bahay na Pangarap” project  launched  by the FMA Past Pupils during the grand homecoming of past pupils in 2011.   Two others concerts were previously held  in 2012 and 2013, and with other smaller fund-raising activities, the Past Pupils  Association hopes to express the gratitude of all past pupils and to really be of help to the Sisters in building this home for their elderly Sisters.

Medical Mission 2014

Medical Mission 2014

A Gift for Marabut’s Schoolchildren

Osmena National High SchoolSchool has started, or is about to start, in many places in the Philippines. The young people of the towns and villages where Yolanda struck are eager to go back to school, but their schools still bear the scars of the tragedy, if any structures are still standing, and if they have tents and sheds to serve as classrooms, they don’t have notebooks to write on, or pens to write with. The FMA of the Philippine Province have adopted a community – Marabut, Samar – for the rehabilitation phase of its relief operations. Can we past pupils help Marabut’s children continue schooling – and keep hope burning? Each set of school supplies costs P300, but we can give whatever our hearts tell us to. (We are encouraged to give donations in cash more than in kind because of the difficulty of transporting goods.) There’s also a group of high school students in Marabut who are asking for pocket dictionaries and scientific calculators – “Kahit used na po…” – for their own use in school. Contact 7145937 or 09279640551 or ppfmaph@gmail.com so we can arrange how to get your gifts to the young people of Marabut before June 19. Thank you for following your heart!

Salesian Family Day: Strenna 2013

Strenna 2013

Come Home: A Lenten Recollection

Come Home: A Lenten Recollection

Why do we come home?  Why are airports, bus terminals and seaports busiest when Christmas holidays, Holy Week and long weekend are fast approaching? Traffic in major cities are crazy. Everybody has a destination called home. Why do we come home?

Like our desire to be with our family, relatives and friends to celebrate and create great memories during special occasions, we come home because of our love for family. Our family molded us to have an origin that oftentimes lead us to focus when paths are leading to nowhere. They are our laughter and tears that made us human. They are home.

Our encounters with the Salesian Sisters bring us to experience a home away from home. They are our hands and shoulders that made us feel at home.  They too are home.

Last March 24, 2013, the Past Pupils of the FMA Philippine Federation had a Lenten Recollection at Casa Maria Immaculata Aspirantate in Canlubang, Laguna with Sr. Teresita Saludares, FMA as the speaker. 42 past pupils from different FMA communities attended.

The Lenten Recollection was an experience of coming home because of the desire to have a date with the Lord and rekindle memories that made us at home.  The majority felt the need of coming home because of one’s longing for the Lord and one’s desire to be with family again.

The joy of coming home again is a foretaste of our final homecoming with the Lord. The Lenten Season reminds us of life’s essentials and the Easter Season deepens our experience of joy for coming home again.  May each of us always find time to come home again for home is truly where the heart is.