Last year, myusefultips.com featured NYC's annual feast day celebrations in honor of the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Manaog.
Two days ago, the image of Our Lady of Manaoag was formally enshrined at St. Lucy's Church in Manhattan, just in time for its annual feast day celebration. The said event was highlighted by a concelebrated mass, the May flower offering and the enshrinement itself. Rev. Msgr. Oscar A. Aquino, JCD was the main celebrant with Rev. Fr. Roland Mactal, O.P ., and Rev. Fr. Lito Cabatuan as co-celebrants. Fr. Mactal is currently the chaplain of the shrine of Our Lady in Manaoag, Pangasinan, Philippines. Fr. Mactal's homily centered on the importance of catholic faith regardless of where a person is located and the vital role played by Our Lady in our day-to-day lives.
Dr. Alejandro Alino, MD and Mrs. Nelly Alino were this year's hermano and hermana, respectively. Before the mass, a procession was conducted within the church and among the devotees who took part were about 50 sponsors and patrons who were generous enough to share their time, talent and treasure to make this year's event a success.
The liturgical music was provided by the Himig at Alay Music Ministry of Our Lady of Snows, few members of which come from other NYC-based choir groups. Our friend P. Dancel directed it and likewise made arrangements for some of the music pieces for piano and violin. Just like last year, Mr. Bob Kennaway rendered his version of “Hail Holy Queen” and a sax instrumentalist serenaded his version of the traditional song, “Ave Maria”.
The event was spearheaded by Our Lady of Manaoag Society of America (OLMSA), with its President Nida Cortez acting as the busy host for the day, from being an emcee down to supervising the small details of the gathering. Ms. Cortez encouraged everyone to visit Our Lady of Manaoag, while they are in the Big Apple. A reception and entertainment followed at the church social hall, with Mr. Rene Ballenas taking charge and making sure that everyone enjoyed the merry making. Incidentally, Nida Cortez and Rene Ballenas presently hold positions in the Philippine Indepence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI), an organization overseeing activities for Philippines' independence day in NYC.
Myusefultips.com was fortunate to witness the said event and the author of this article was privileged to be part of this meaningful endeavor.
In the U.S., block or street parties are normally held either during spring or fall seasons of the year. Block parties are undertaken primarily to give the community of a particular neighborhood a chance to be together and get acquainted of their respective culture and tradition. In NYC, it is observed that in a specific neighborhood for instance, people from all walks of life get together in a non-political event setting and socialize among themselves, an opportunity to gain new friends and raise public's awareness of how diverse the community is.
Our parish community held a block party for its parishioners and friends last week with rides, games, beer garden, food, entertainment and music for all. It was like a mini-international heritage day, as people from all walks of life came, to show case their native food, culture and traditions from their countries of origin. We all know that NYC has amazing community, just like our parish, composed of migrants from all corners of the globe. Everyone was cooperative and excited to prepare for the party and some of them donated food to share and sell them at a discount, proceeds of which accrued to the parish for worthy causes. While the weather during the day was erratic, warm and sunny day in the morning, with scattered rain showers in the late afternoon, overall it was a success. There were some entertainment, a music band, a choir and some folk dances for the crowd to see.
Take a peek of what our parish offered in the party.
It was fortunate that Harold Camping's rapture prophecy which fell on the same day didn't come true. Otherwise, there could have been no party at all! Only God knows when is Judgment Day, right folks? The only judgment which came after the event was that your poor blogger friend didn't win the raffle prize, a brand new IPAD 2, which would have been useful in her blogging activities. (sigh!)
By the way the light dance, according to the audience was superb, classy and exquisite!!! Hooray guys!!!
Perhaps, majority of us must have heard about the parable of the prodigal son. It was about a father's unwavering support for his wayward son, no matter how long it took for the latter to come to realization that he got lost and had to return home. The said father and son story was published many centuries ago and it was reported in a form of an allegory. It didn't actually happen but what is ironic about it is that after many centuries have passed, almost all of us have a so-called black sheep in the family, like that of the prodigal son. It could happen to either one of us, our brothers or sisters or perhaps the only son or daughter in the family.
With all the enjoyment and the pleasures in life these days, it may be observed that in all parts of the globe, there were and there are factual incidents regarding children giving headaches to their parents, so to speak, due to wrong values (e.g. disobedience and stubbornness), leading to the parents life of sorrows and sufferings. One example is this real story below which I would like to share with you.
Let's call the child “Nieves” for confidentiality. Nieves is the only child of a middle-class senior loving couple living in suburbs. Being the only child, the couple was able to give her all the comforts in life since childhood until she reached her teenage years. She was sent to high standing reputable schools, from grade school to college life. The couple never missed the opportunity to be good parents to her as far as discipline is concerned. However, in her teens, everything turned upside down. Nieves was already problematic, she showed tantrums whenever her parents couldn't deliver the material things she wants. She would squander all the money intended for her tuition fees and allowances to partying, clubbing and experimenting on illegal drugs with her female and male friends. To make the story short, the young lady obviously wasn't able to finish her schooling and to make matters worse she got pregnant which made her parents very frustrated. She was a pain in the neck especially to her father who has already given up on her as he became so ill and that he could no longer sustain the day to day living of the family. Subsequently, the father died due to lingering illness, leaving her mom to look after her.
Accustomed to city life and always in the company of happy-go-lucky friends, Nieves easily wins friends especially with men. It was during this time that she bore another child and finally another three with different fathers and all out of wedlock. The irresponsible fathers of her children left her with no alimony to speak of , leaving her with five kids to support by herself. All these times, the mother of Nieves acted as both her father and mother and that of her 5 youngsters. Even with kids in tow, Nieves maintained her escapades at a certain level, and her mother while continuously reminding of her responsibilities, would refrain from further discourse about the matter so as to avoid arguments and making Nieves upset. Instead, she was always there on her side, and tried to understand the situation. Their neighbors had even advised the mother to leave Nieves but she couldn't because it was more agonizing for her to leave her daughter and grand children in such a miserable state.
Apart from being the homekeeper, Nieves mother had to accept additional odd jobs (e.g. washing clothes, etc.) to continue their daily living, She actually became the breadwinner of the family, in her late 60's. Nieves was a little help but it was not just enough, she was not used to a life of misery.
One time, Nieves candidly told her Mom she's leaving them to seek for a job with a promise to be back as soon as she's able to save money for their needs. While for the neighbors the said move could have been the most appropriate and should have been done by Nieves long time ago, it was not the same case as her Mother's. That moment was the saddest part of Nieves' mother's life as it seemed to her that the probability for Nieves to be back that soon could be remote, knowing her. She was truly concerned of the plight of her daughter, even at that time.
Several months have passed, still no word from Nieves. Now, three years later, and still the mother has not heard any news from her. The mother, in her daughter's stead, had been lovingly and painstakingly taking care of her grandchildren sans the moral and financial support from her own treasured daughter. She endured the many hardships and the struggles in order to provide them with at least some food to eat. Frail and sickly, the mother with the help of the the kids (the youngest of them is 5 yrs. old) are now dependent on the kind assistance from her neighbors, by doing some errands and other menial tasks for other people. When asked by the social worker if she has at least a tiny grudge on her daughter, she said nothing. Rather, she told her that having Nieves is the biggest happiness in her entire life. Her love for her daughter never falters and it's still there, embedded in her heart. She's going to wait for her for the rest of her life, God willing, as she really believes that someday Nieves will come back to them someday, with a renewed heart.
Not all parents are blessed with wonderful doting children. But all parents, in their right minds, would always want the best for their children. Our parents, especially our mothers serve as light to us, they mold and sharpen us to be better persons.
Humans as we are, however, we encounter shortcomings and failings in life. It is for us to formulate our own strategies on how to have a better family life. We are responsible for what we are, for what we do. But, it's not too late yet to rectify the said shortcomings and to reconcile again with our loved ones.
For Nieves, if you happen to read this blog, I hope and pray, you will have the heart and the conscience to be more sensitive to other people's needs, especially that of your mother and five children. They need you especially during these moments of your mother's life. Don't wait for the time that it would be too late for you to see your loved ones still full of life. Just like the father of the prodigal son, surely your mother and children would welcome you wholeheartedly with open arms!
Below are mother's day cards designed by the awesome kids in one of the schools, here at NYC. To all mothers and grandmothers in the world, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY !!!
For my Mom who is in heaven now, Happy Mother's Day to you Inay!
Hey look at this, one 10-yr. old child even wrapped his own designed card for his mom with a paper. Such a very thoughtful and resourceful child. He wants the best for his mom! Such lucky mom!
In a metropolis like NYC, fashion is inevitably observed especially to majority in the younger work force and the teens and tweens. The tri-media advertising massive campaign effectively put a pressure to some of these groups to dress up in a certain way and in line with each one's standards. However, for avid fashion lovers, even without the tri-media influence, dressing up is simply part of their day to day life, it's like a norm to them. They themselves do have a certain degree of power, they sometimes serve as the trendsetters, as a matter of fact, even fashion designers would get ideas from what they see from them. But even with that kind of scenario, these people would still go out of their way just to check on the latest craze in fashion mags and runways. These are the type of people who simply enjoy to fashion themselves, seeing on what to wear everyday, and are always on the hunt for something novel.
While it is true that being fashionable can be applicable to all people from all walks of life, regardless of age, etc., no one can deny the fact that the young ones are more excited and aggressive in so far as updating their looks are concerned.
Based on a sample survey conducted on the subject, the following are some of the rationale which to me seem to be intriguing yet practical on why the relatively young people would like to dress up, regardless of the occasion:
1.For love of fashion and trends
Isn't it interesting that there are people who would really shout out to the whole world to advocate for fashion? Yes, these are some who do feel proud about their style, and would even blog or write about it, perhaps in social network sites, journals or slum books, that is if they don't own a web place. Fashion lovers are more artistic and at the same time overcautious on what they wear, even if they'll merely buy something at a near by grocery store. They simply love to dress up for no reason at all.
2.For beauty and self-satisfaction
Some young people, especially the ladies, indicate that wearing something chic and classy would make them beautiful, at least from the outside appearance. They said that they feel more beautiful and satisfied if they're in their best attire. This is quite true because when I see someone even not endowed with the beauty of “Cleopatra”, but wears something that fits her to a “T”, I would compliment her, “Wow, you look pretty in there”! For the rich and famous, they can afford to be glamorous and gorgeous by wearing designer made clothes from the showrooms such as that of Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent or Pucci. But even if one is on a budget, he or she can still find ways on how to style minus the branded items. Definitely, it would make the person simply enjoy how fashion makes him/her feel.
3. For self-morale and confidence boosting
There are younger generations who would opt to dress up in order to level up their morale and confidence. One young college intern in a non profit org. mentioned that apart from being smart and pretty, the fact that she has decided to wear something decent, a pair of semi-formal business suit, added to her confidence to speak up and market herself to the interviewer, which made her in and be part of the team. When someone dresses up properly for any occasion, there is such a feeling which overpowers one's shyness, thus enabling him/her to even stand straighter and be confident of herself.
4. For fun and art sake
As mentioned in my previous blogs, fashion is more of an art than a science. There are some girls who just love to experiment on things like which color would match their shoes and accessories for a particular gathering. This is especially true to the fashionistas who are on a budget. They'll make use of what's available in their existing wardrobe. They become creative as a result of which and that's precisely the essence of fashion. In that way, they are able to express themselves by the clothes they wear on how they feel at that particular moment , thus confirming what experts in the field often said, that fashion is self-expression.
5. For attraction (normally from opposite sex), and for flaunting
The naughtier young ladies would dress up either to attract guys or show off of what they wear, particularly if they have an hour-glass figure and dangerous curves to boot. These are the type who are not afraid to flaunt and would want others to notice them. They want to be different, stand out as “la crème de la creme” in the crowd and they feel happy and satisfied in what they do.
I see nothing wrong in dressing up, actually it's fun and exciting. As I said before, as long as you dress appropriately, feel confident about yourself, act professionally (whether as job searcher or university student), then you're setting up yourself for success.
Incidentally, here are some styles for hip young professionals and teens and tweens. These are arranged by June, a fashion lover and hopefully a budding fashion designer.
So, how about you guys and dolls? Speak and share what's in your mind! What do you think of the write-up? What about the styles? Did you like it?
Each of us is endowed with unique capabilities, gifts and talents. The difference would be on how we unleash and use the said talents. Normally, these talents are innate in us, it comes naturally and since it is a gift that is bestowed on us by God, regardless of our beliefs, we're supposed to hone and give it back to glorify Him and eventually share the same with others through various ways.
Having a good singing voice is one of the many natural attributes given us. By singing, you get to learn to speak to people, be it in small or large crowds, entertain them, gain new friends, admirers or even your own fans if you're in the entertainment business. However, there are other singers, despite of lack of formal education in music, are called to serve God by becoming a composer or arranger of spiritual songs, a preacher thru Gospel songs, a parish musical director, a choir head or simply a member. Talent in singing and other related field in music (e.g. playing musical instruments) are gifts to us which can be applied in church related activities and if we have these, we should be grateful and generous enough to share the same as not everyone is gifted with such a natural treasure. Just like any talent, each one has to develop, sharpen and partake it with everyone to make it more purposeful. As mentioned in myusefultips previous blog on choir organization, singing God's praises in any forum be it in the liturgy or in other spiritual group gatherings, is likened to praying twice especially if you sing the said songs from the heart.
There are only a few of versatile song writers and singers of spiritual songs throughout the world who have been blessed to be able to inspire people, particular the young ones, either to do the same thing as they do or just bring them closer to the Lord .
One example is Mr. Steve Angrisano, an American who has been very dynamic and mobile from the time he was laden with such a responsibility to proclaim God's words through his songs and by singing the same and other liturgical songs. The same is true with Mr. Arnel de Pano (not the other “Arnel” of Journey!), a Filipino who writes and sings for the LORD as well. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Arnel Pineda, also a Filipino. I admire him as well for being such a total performer. For those who doesn't know Arnel Pineda as of yet, the guy is the lead vocalist of the famous American rock band “Journey”.
I was fortunate to attend two separate concerts and witness the performances of Msrrs. Angrisano and de Pano here in NYC and yep, they do possess good vocals . Both of these guys are veteran song writers and articulate as well. They both exude happy and pleasing personalities, reflective of their love for the Lord. Two of the more popular songs of Steve Angrisano which I've heard in church are “Go Make a Difference” and “Sweet Redeemer” (one of my favorites). For Arnel de Pano, he was able to compose and arrange a beautiful song, “Lead Me Lord”, which is popular for some choir groups, and some other equally magnificent pieces.
The photos below may not do justice to their songs but the message they would like to convey to us makes it more substantial. These guys indeed utilized their talents the right way! The real Maestros!