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Dream Paper for my Parish

Jesus my Wisdom in Envisioning St. Joseph the Worker Quasi-Parish of Punturin, Valenzuela City

Submitted by: Wylene Lim *************************************************** Fr. Rafael dela Cruz, SDB Professor

I. Title of the Paper JESUS MY WISDOM IN ENVISIONING ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER QUASI-PARISH OF PUNTURIN, VALENZUELA CITY II. Outline of the Paper I would like to start on thanking Jesus Christ who first called me to a friendship with Him and thus led me to ask what I can do for His Church. This intimate relationship also called me to ask for His wisdom in making this envisioning paper for my parish where He assigned me to belong. Any fault or inaccuracies found in this document is mine alone to blame. I am assimilating here the format of General Directory of Catechesis that starts and ends with the Bible verse that pertains to seeds. Our faith may be very much like the seeds discussed in Jesus parable and invites everyone to take part either to be the farmer who planted the seed or the kind of soil wherein those seeds of faith are placed. I also want to start with self-understanding of my role in St. Joseph the Worker Quasi-Parish (SJQP) as part of this community and what kind of work I and my co-parishioners should do in order to get closer to the Kingdom of God as described by Jesus. This dream paper proposes to discuss this envisioning of my local church in the following manner: A. Seeds of Gods Work (SJQP and my Background) B. Self-Understanding of my Role in the Local Church C. Vibrant Valenzuela and its Richness in Barangays Punturin, Lawang Bato and Bignay D. St. Joseph the Worker Quasi-Parish Current Set-Up E. St. Joseph the Worker Quasi-Parish Dream Set-Up F. Little Seeds of Hope (Our Community closer to Kingdom of God) A. Seeds of Gods Work Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which

grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times. (Mark 4:3-8) As a 20+ years parishioner of SJQP, I only responded to fully serving in the parish as a choir member only just these recent seven years. Before Fr. Arnel Alejandro (our presiding priest today), I can recall Fr. Jun who led the masses we attend. I just went to school and then work and not do anything about the parish just attending Sunday mass and nothing more. I was called by the Lord when I am already working as a young professional of three years. Back when I was a student, I only saw catechists and choir members as parish workers and servants. I am not familiar and or have limited knowledge with other organizations in the parish (maybe until now).

B. Self-Understanding of my Role in the Local Church Starting out then I asked myself what role I can do in helping my parish. Is being a choir member enough already? With the overwhelming population of the entire parishioner and the only religious our parish priest serving our parish, I also asked myself: Is the Lord calling me to serve as a religious person as well? Or maybe a missionary in foreign land?

Call as a Catechist After serving as a choir member for almost four years the Lord called me to be a catechist and preached the Gospel to the poor and so I responded and accepted the call to be a volunteer catechist at a nearby public school. The Lord called me to be a catechist through this verse from:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners (Isaiah 61:1)

I can still recall then the time that there was a mission-sending of catechists in the parish and we were the assigned choir then. I saw that they are dwindling in number and my heart was moved that they were small in number not like before. While looking at that rite, there is already an ongoing conversation between the Lord and me:

Me: Why only those who became catechist are only those senior citizens in the area? Lord: Who else will I call? Me: Would I be ok? Lord: If you would like to?

Mind you He did not force me! Since then, that small conversation led me to become a catechist through small steps. Every catechism class is an offering back to Him and continually asks for the help of Holy Spirit. Recalling the story today delighted me, because He invited me to share in His work. Since then, Ive formulated myself this life statement in order to align with Him and His Son:
To live a life fulfilling the great commission of Christ in love, hope, faith, trust and humility, particularly to youth and in living with my family, fellow brothers and sisters in the community and all people from all nations and of faith.

Call as a Laity I was empowered last Saturday (September 29, 2012) when I read PCP II on lay spirituality. The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II) is the local Catholic Churchs articulation of her mission according to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II). An article in the book emphasized that being a laity is a divine calling too! Not just religious and being those called to be in the third order such as brothers or sisters; see the article below:
Article 407 Foundation of the Lay Apostolate The Council gave a new perspective on the laity when it described the theological sacramental and ecclesial foundation of the Apostolate of the Laity. From the fact of their union with Christ the head, flows the laymens right and duty to be apostles. Inserted as they are in the Mystical Body of Christ by baptism and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit in confirmation, it is by the Lord himself that they are assigned to the apostolate. If they are consecrated a kingly priesthood and a holy nation, it is in order that they may in all their actions offer spiritual sacrifices and bear witness to Christ all the world over. Charity, which is, as it were, the soul of the whole apostolate, is given to them and nourished in them by the sacraments, the Eucharist above all.

Maybe I already know this truth before; but you know when you are going to a religious institution like here in Don Bosco Center of Studies where you see every Saturday an overwhelming number of priests, nuns, brothers and sisters who are very charming and always invites you to go to their institutions, etc. one cant help but ask am I also called to be a

religious? I would like to say that the Holy Spirit led me to encounter the assurance that I am on the right path as a lay and through Christifideles Laici that says about what I am experiencing:
At the same time, the Synod has pointed out that the post-conciliar path of the lay faithful has not been without its difficulties and dangers. In particular, two temptations can be cited which they have not always known how to avoid: the temptation of being so strongly interested in Church services and tasks that some fail to become actively engaged in their responsibilities in the professional, social, cultural and political world; and the temptation of legitimizing the unwarranted separation of faith from life, that is, a separation of the Gospel's acceptance from the actual living of the Gospel in various situations in the world. (CL,2)

Ecclesia in Asia cleared to me on other hand that I can also be a missionary in where I am right now:
By the grace and call of Baptism and Confirmation, all lay people are missionaries, and the arena of their missionary work is the vast and complex worlds of politics, economics, industry, education, media, science, technology, arts and sport. (Ecclesia in Asia,45)

Only here in our country, left and right there is need for catechist like me and with somehow bit knowledge in Church Documents (many thanks to my patient DBCS professors!); I got invited to serve with the urban poor youth of BCDA Taguig City and families of prisoners in Muntinlupa City. Through them and with my experience as a catechist and with a lot of prayer I tweaked my life statement to this:
To live a life fulfilling the Great Commission and Good News of Christ in love, hope, faith, trust and humility, particularly to youth, poor, prisoners and in living with my family, fellow brothers and sisters in the community and all people from all nations and of faith.

Now that I know my key role in the Whole Church, let me now take you to the abundance of the community where I belong C. Vibrant Valenzuela and its Richness in Barangays Punturin, Lawang Bato, and Bignay Named after Dr. Pio Valenzuela the man who played a key role in the Philippine Revolution during 1896, Valenzuela City is now a major commercial and industrial center in Northern Metro Manila with several types of businesses, from large manufacturing plants to small- and mediumsized enterprises. With one of the youngest public official in the country, Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian and Valenzuelanos made its way to making Valenzuela City among the 2011 Most Business Friendly City by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. This flourishing flow of businesses makes us a destination for people to come into our area. Thus, livelihood of the people is mostly workers of these companies.

St. Joseph the Worker Quasi-Parish (SJQP) is a budding community in the heart of three barangays that it serve (many thanks to Valenzuela website for the following information at this link

Barangay Punturin Named after its hilly landscape, it is believed that "nuno sa punso" and "lamang-lupa" or earth elementals live in this region. Used to be farmlands, some famous landmarks include, WL Food Products and Motor Star. They celebrate fiesta every first of May. Famous delicacies include kuchinta, bibingka, puto or sweet rice desserts. An estimated 14,322 residents live in Punturin in this 162.20 square hectare barangay. Barangay Lawang Bato The name "Lawang Bato" came from the once rocky land where the barangay once stood. Today, the area is alive with an abundance of residents living in the area. Their fiesta falls every Easter Sunday. The barangay is also often referred to as the site where of COMPAC, a former police block. It is also home to the Bisita Brgy. Hall and the Bisita Chapel. Barangay Bignay Named after the multitude of bignay trees that used to populate the area, Brgy. Bignay celebrates the fiesta of Our Lady of Lourdes every February 11. Bignay Elementary School, Bignay National High School, Divine Mercy Academy and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church are some of the known establishments and sights in the barangay. D. St. Joseph the Worker Quasi-Parish Current Set-Up SJQP parishioners consist of old residents that have flourishing businesses out of their farmlands and new residents that are workers of nearby factories in the area. The parishioners of SJQP are generous enough to lend their resources may it be in talent, time and money. A parishioner donated her large vacant lot in order to have the new church constructed. All the other parishioners followed through and gave all what they can give as well in building a new church. For 15 years now this is still the project in our parish but times change and challenge comes.

In the year 2009, our community experienced many new settlers coming from another district to settle in our area because of the expansion of the nearby North Luzon Expressway. It made us no

choice but to welcome them. Soon after, many crimes and gang-related events are reported that makes all the old as well as new residents in the area restless. SJQP is in the midst of a growing but changing community. It needs to change also in order to respond to these challenges. Building up the church in order to provide big and wide space for its parishioners is one area but we also need to read the other needs as well of the community. But sadly, SJQP and its active parishioners cannot do it alone; it needs more parish workers both religious and lay to get the job done. Parish Pastoral Council I never enjoyed going to Parish Pastoral Council meetings! I saw one and dont one to join another! But now that I have this dream paper, it looks like I have to set aside that disdain. Sorry for the choice of words and exclamation points but because the kind of the people in that meeting does not interest me so much, they are so full of their own motives, old, rich and influential people rubbing elbows with our priest, I did not see myself being part of that until now. I asked my co-catechist and our area coordinator Merly Balgos for the current set-up of SJQP:

Fr. Arnel Alejandro/ Bro. Julian Pacheco Chairman/ Co-Chairman

Meets every 2nd Wednesday of the month/ Has direct contact with Fr. Arnel Alejandro

PPC (Parish Pastoral Council)

SPPC (Sub-Parishes)

Area Coordinators (President of Homeowners' Association)

Presidents of Different Parish Organizations

Knights of Columbus

Northville 1

Lawang Bato Bignay SPPC (SubParishes) Sta. Rita Langka

Area Coordinators (President of Homeowners' Ass.)

A.P. (Apostolado ng Panalangin) LeCom (Lectors/ Commentators)

Lawang Bato

Northville 2

Punturin Choir

Phase 3

Presidents of Diff. Parish Organizations

Bignay Paska (Katekesis) Phase 4 El Shaddai

Phase 4

Phase 5
Knights of Altar

Phase 6

Legion of Mary

The Parish Pastoral Council and active parishioners are also the same set of people that have many businesses and or a close relative of public officials in the area. It is also not a surprise that some of the people handling posts have more than one position or key role in the organizational chart shown above. This cycle of motivated interests makes the participative element of SJQP successful especially in fund-raising activities in building up our church institutionally.

In regards with formation programs of SJQP, PREX (Parish Renewal Experience) is already introduced two years ago. But now another PREX session is still pending. Lenten Recollections are also another transformation program made available to SJQP parishioners.

In terms of the involvement of the youth, they are only limited in choir membership, lecturers and commentators, Knights of the Altar and Legion of Mary. With much gratefulness to Gods provision from all barangays SJQP is at the service of, there is now a total of almost 100-150 youth gladly responding. This lively response from the youth is an evidence of growing faith of the community either they saw it from their own families or the people they encounter with makes me want to see SJQP in its church as communion element that can be a window to more future parish involvement. There is also a number of parishioners (neighborhoods) who assimilates Basic Ecclesial Community experience that meets regularly though they are still informal and still not acknowledged by SJQP as legitimate parish organization such as: Block Rosary (in Phase 6) that has group sharing after the service, Marriage Encounter (in Bignay) that has cell group for couples, and Bibliorasal (in Lawang Bato) that conducts bible study sharing with prayer. E. St. Joseph the Worker Quasi-Parish Dream Set-Up Based on PCP IIs description of Church as a community of disciples (Arts.87-144) there are still elements not fully animated in SJQP. The following is a proposed action points on how to achieve the other elements: 1) Deepening the faith of youth servants of SJQP through a bible study program

Circumstances invite us to make special mention of the young. Their increasing number and growing presence in society and likewise the problems assailing them should awaken in every one the desire to offer them with zeal and intelligence the Gospel ideal as something to be known and lived. 1

As a youth catechist and first called as a choir member, my first focus is on deepening of faith of my fellow youth servants in the parish. Through a Bible-study program that aims to provide formation for them and aims to bring them into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ that they can recognize that they have a mission (Matthew 28: 18-20). The youth of today either serving in the parish or not is more than ever looking in ways how to define themselves. Especially in this time that most are in the rebellious stage and there is a need to define them out of the noise; there is also a need for them to look up to someone and that someone is none other than Jesus Christ Himself whom is proposed to them. This project can be collaborated by our parish priest Fr. Arnel Alejandro and by different parish organizations particularly Paska (the catechetical arm of the parish). But unfortunately, this has been overlooked in order to respond to the need of reaching catechetical programs first at the four (4) public schools nearby. With this, I am hoping to achieve the community in mission element of the church. In the hopes that the youth already recognized their mission to evangelize they can now do this starting in their families and hopefully a more welcoming attitude towards formation programs of the parish 2) Formation programs through livelihood and value-formation seminars of parish leaders and all its laity parishioners
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? Yes, Lord, he said, you know that I love you.Jesus said, Feed my lambs.Again Jesus said, Simon son of John, do you love me?He answered, Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. Jesus said, Take care of my sheep. The third time he said to him, Simon son of John, do you love me? Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, Do you love me? He said, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said, Feed my sheep.2

As mentioned earlier, there is a collective attitude of the group to not go to formation activities of the parish as evidenced in its parish officers. This Bible verse reminds us that

Pope John Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi (8 December, 1975). (Pasay City: St. Pauls Publication,


John 21:15-17.

all of us need to have an ongoing formation. The PREX program is already started and continuing it would have its benefits to the parishioners. Not only those who are already serving the parish for the longest time but as well as those that are newly serving. Emphasis is also on inviting all active and non-active parishioners to be welcome in these formation programs of SJQP. So as not only the rich have access but as well as the new settlers that can be considered poor in the area. This may be an ambitious project as this could entail a lot of costs. This now focuses on building up its people as its new church. All the resources especially talents that can be shared to the SJQP community are to be welcome. SJQP, even with its hesitation has to also embrace the help here of government officials as partners in fulfillment of this project. Holistic programs that can empower its people like leadership and livelihood seminars where value-formation and stewardship in the light of Christian faith can also be introduced. With this, I am hoping to achieve the church of the poor element of the church.
The Church of the Poor is one that will be in solidarity with the poor. The Church of the Poor is one where the entire community of disciples especially the rich and better off sectors of the community and its leaders and pastors, will have such a love of preference for the poor 3

If the SJQP parishioners are already empowered why there is still a need for formation of BEC? 3) Formation of Basic Ecclesial Communities or BEC As mentioned earlier, there are already non-legitimate organizations of the parish that are present in neighborhoods forming themselves that are BEC-like. This affirms the need of the parishioners to have an environment where they can grow in their faith and as well as be a witness to the community or group one belongs. Here, SJQP can acknowledge this need by calling on these people who already organized themselves and ask them to help in the formation of BEC in the parish.
A true People of God in the Philippines, this Church must be a fully participating community of faith rooted in Christ and immersed in the life of the Filipino people, a servant Church in solidarity with Filipino concerns.

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (20 January17 February, 1991). (Pasay City: Paulines Publishing, 1992),130,134. Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (20 January17 February, 1991). (Pasay City: Paulines Publishing, 1992),191.


Can I use this article of PCP II as a proposed mission statement of SJQP in building up BEC? I continue to hope and pray that I would be a part of the committee that will fulfill this promise. With this, I am hoping to achieve the basic ecclesial community element of the church incorporated in SJQP through a proposed dream set-up below:
Fr. Arnel Alejandro/ Bro. Julian Pacheco Chairman/ Co-Chairman

PPC (Parish Pastoral Council)

SPPC (Sub-Parishes)

Area Coordinators (President of Homeowners' Association)

Presidents of Different Parish Organizations

BEC Coordinators


In order to achieve this, it can be observed that all present SJQP organizations would be also asked to help form BEC. Hopefully, through the Holy Spirit this would come into perfection of fully renewed evangelizers and evangelized people of God. F. Little Seeds of Hope (Our Community closer to Kingdom of God) Recalling back, it is really a slow process for even an individual such as my self to act on the call of God to be one with His Son in this mission. How much more a community? The Lord is and still makes me experience this is possible in the trans-parochial community where I belong Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon Makati branch and hope to if not duplicate makes small steps in achieving this dream for SJQP parish as well. But will a dream of one person makes a difference? I would like to say so. The gift of life of one person that saved us all is a great hope- Jesus Christ!
This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grainfirst the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.

Mark 4:26-29.