PASAY City, June 10, 2014—Like the 80 or so percent of the Filipino population, broadcast journalist Mariz Umali is a baptized Catholic.
But unlike most Filipino Catholics, she takes her faith to heart – proudly.
On June 7, she was brave enough to stand on the SMX stage to tell the assembled faithful at the New Evangelization Conference (NEC 2014) 7 that she is a proud daughter of the Church.
“I am Catholic …and I am proud,” she declared amid the deafening applause of the crowd composed mainly of young professionals in their 20s and early 30s.
Umali, who works for GMA 7’s news and public affairs department, credits her successful career to God, whom she said blesses her with everything that she is and has.
Growing up in a devout household, she shared that since childhood, she has always been exposed to a life of daily prayer, regular Sunday mass, confessions, feast-day processions, and similar religious observances expected of a Catholic.
Her parish church, that of Sacred Heart in Kamuning, Quezon City is a mute witness to her and her family’s deep piety.
Umali thanked her parents for raising the family in holy fear of the Lord. She rejoices that not one of her siblings have been “led astray”.
“We’re all professionals and have secure jobs,” she said.
She kept her religious habits even when she was already studying at the University of the Philippines (UP), where temptations left and right are likely to be the ruin of those faint of will.
When she was no longer happy being a pre-med student, she left it up to God to determine the path she was to take.
‘Sign from heaven’
A sign from heaven, she said, found her applying for a broadcast communications course. The rest is GMA history.
While Umali had been in four relationships before marrying her colleague Raffy Tima, she said she can boast that she marched down the aisle unblemished.
“They were asking me for something which was unthinkable of me to give…I’d rather lose them than lose what I have vowed to give only to the man I will marry,” Umali shared in Filipino.
She reasoned that she could not give her boyfriends what only a lawful husband has a right to. (Raymond A. Sebastián)