Christmas season – the most wonderful time of the year. A season of giving, loving and sharing arrives which reminds people to celebrate the birth of the Holy Child Jesus. True giving comes from the same place inside a person as deepest happiness.
The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu (BMSN) through the Creative Arts Ministry celebrated the spirit of Christmas by bringing joy to the children from the mountainous barangays of Sibacan and Nangka, Danao City, Cebu last December 17.
Headed by the Spiritual Director Rev. Fr. Genesis P. Labana, OSA, the activity gathered nearly 200 children through the help of the teachers from the school and Miss Marivel Villanueva, a former scholar of the Basilica Children’s Welfare Foundation and a teacher of both schools.
“Lipay kaayo ko kay deep inside akong plan kay if dato pa lang ko ako nang buhaton, tagaan sila kung unsay kinahanglan. Di man ko ka affrod so ang akoa usually ang akong mahatagan ra is akoa rang estudyante. Tagaan nako sila kung unsa akong makaya. Like pag last September kay nanghatag kog mga tsinelas pero para rasad sa akong mga estudyante pero maluoy sad bitaw ko sa uban mag tan-aw pero di man sad nako ma afford ang tanan”, Villanueva expressed. (I was so happy because deep inside if I am only rich; my plan is to give them what they need but I cannot afford. Usually, I can only give to my students like last September I gave them slippers but only for my own class because I cannot afford for everyone.)
The event started with a lunch for the kids followed by various parlor games. Parents and teachers of the school were happy seeing the children enjoying the activities. Teachers were forever grateful for having such a momentous event.
Cheryl Hiyas, School Head of Bernardo Enriquez Elementary School, expressed her gratitude to Fr. Genesis and to the rest of the team who made the outreach program possible.
“Dako pud kaayo ko’g pasalamat sa Ginoo nga gihimo mong instrumento para mapadala og mapaabot diri sa amoa ang inyohang kadasig og gasa ilabi na sa mga kabataan. Kabalo ko nga dili ni nila makalimtan and hopefully nga dili ma stop ang inyohang program ug hinaot mas mo daghan pa ang inyong matagaan sa umaabot pang panahon. Thank you Fr. Gen sa imong dakong gugma sa mga kabataan og sa mga ginikanan.” Hiyas said.
(I am very grateful to God for making all of you an instrument to share with us your enthusiasm and blessings, especially to our youth. I know that they will never forget this experience. I hope that your program will flourish and continue to share your blessings to more people in the years to come. Thank you Fr. Gen for your great love for the youth and also to their parents.)
Mhelds Parags, School Head of Sibacan Elementary School, also expressed her gratitude to the Basilica.
“Words are not enough to explain how thankful we are chosen as your recipient. Parents, Barangay Officials & Teaching Staff gave thanks to all the staffs in Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. Being a good samaritan gives joy to everyone. Keep it up. God loves cheerful giver. Thank you for being a good samaritan to Sibacan Elementary School.” Parags said.
To complete the program, bundles of joy were distributed to the children. The event ended with one of the main highlight of the activity- the giving of the image of the Holy Child Señor Santo Niño for the two schools to promote and propagate the devotion of the Santo Nino de Cebu in these mountainous areas located at the city of Danao.
Creative Arts Ministry of Basilica Sto Niño aims to foster strong faith of the people living in remote areas amidst their situation.
In this season of giving, it has been manifested through the guidance of the Holy Child Santo Niño that faith is still being practiced, shared and lived by people- may it be the youth, elderly, religious, etc.
For the people of Sibacan and Nangka, hope for them is the Holy Child. No matter how hard it is to live in mountainous areas, these people especially the children are the living proof of strong faith that one can surpass every challenge they meet.
“Have faith , hope and dream because I know God will provide for those who will not quit”, Parags’ added.
The event was made possible through the help of the donors and benefactors of the Basilica Minore del Sto Niño de Cebu. /Carmelle Ferrater, USJ-R Communication Intern