PASAY City, Oct. 25, 2016 – Going head to head with the conventional wisdom that having more children means lesser disposable income for the family, a bishop told some 3,500 people gathered at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia on Sunday, Oct. 23 that children are parents’ true riches.
“Your children are gifts from God… [They are] your wealth, the wealth of the Church, and the wealth of the nation,” CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life chairman Bishop Gilbert Garcera told attendees of the Search for the Outstanding Families of the Philippines 2016 organized by Marriage Encounter Foundation of the Philippines (MEFP).
The prelate added: “[They are] blessings that we nurture.”
‘Joy of love’
Directly addressing the 10 Filipino families to be recognized, Garcera said despite their poverty, their large families have committed to serving God by actively participating in the life of their parishes as lectors, choir members, collectors, Eucharistic ministers, and the like.
“You have showed us that despite being big families, you did it all with the the help of God. I thank you all,” he said during a Eucharistic celebration to formally open the event.
According to the bishop, children are proof of “the joy of love.”
“It’s so wonderful to love… And your children are the fruits of [this] love,” said Garcera in Filipino, noting how the awardees did not turn to abortion when their families started to grow.
The prelate, who also heads the Diocese of Daet in Bicol, mentioned how Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation on married love, Amoris Laetitia, called attention to the reality that many parents seem to have lost concern for their children.
“With you, it’s different, you loved [them],” said Garcera.
Families called to mission
Citing the celebration of World Mission Sunday, he also called on the families present to be “a field hospital.”
“Today is World Mission Sunday… Tell the world there is God. Tell the world that He is the Giver of Life.”
“Pray for people… Help them… And help other people who are in irregular marriages, incomplete marriages, according to Pope Francis.”
Various lay organizations supported the search by shouldering the transportation and accommodation expenses of the winners, the couples, and all their children.
According to MEFP chair couple Roberto and Tinnette Aventajado, these organizations include Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals for the Gavileno Family of Cotabato, Couples for Christ for the 12-member Martin Family of Baguio City, Spirit of Love Catholic Community for the Fantonial Family from Malaybalay composed of 12 members, Ligaya ng Panginoon for the Peligro Family composed of 12 from Tagbilaran, Focolare for the Abacajen Family composed of seven from San Jose de Antique, Catholic Women’s League for the Jaboyan Family composed of eigth persons from Calbayog, Family Renewal Movement for the eight-member Cardano Family from Legazpi City, Alliance for the Family Foundation/MEFP East Cluster for the nine-member Pastera Family from Davao and Carol Foundation/Buklod 1 ME Community for the 13-member Villas Family of Isabela de Basilan. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCPNews)