A young student gets some face paint at one of the fun booths at the College of the Holy Spirit Manila during the “Paskong Kapatiran.” [Photo credit: Mark Vertido]
MANILA, Dec. 16, 2013—A Catholic school demonstrated the universality of the Christmas spirit by having an inter-faith Christmas with Muslim and Christian brethren.
Last December 12, the College of the Holy Spirit Manila (CHSM) invited nearly 200 grade six pupils from nearby Geronimo Santiago Elementary School (GSES), which has a big population of Muslim pupils, to a half-day celebration called “Paskong Kapatiran”.
After an inter-faith prayer from Christians and Muslims, each GSES pupil met his or her “foster” CHSM brother or sister.
According to Jeff Vito, Campus and Community Involvement Officer of CHSM, the “Paskong Kapatiran” program, which has been ongoing for the past 7 years, began at the “height of terrorism and violence in Mindanao” in 2006.
“We have started this program to build a strong relationship with Muslims so that we can start living peacefully with each other,” she explained.
The program, a celebration of Christmas to strengthen the bond of friendship between and among Muslims, Christians and the CHSM community, is also part of the Human Rights and Community Involvement Month celebration “to cultivate the Filipino culture of caring, sharing and ‘bayanihan’” and to deepen the CHSM community’s commitment to Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC).
‘Paskong Kapatiran’ is usually celebrated on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion, according to Vito, because it is an important date for the college, since it is the foundation day of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit.
The day was big fun for everyone as GSES students presented a Muslim dance and a modern pop dance, while CHSM students showcased excerpts from the musicales Oliver Twist, Grease, and The Sound of Music.
After the opening program, the four academic departments, the high school, and the faculty set up educational, health, fun and food booths for the pupils.
At the end of the affair, GSES pupils were given school supply packs. According to Ms. Vito, giving school supplies tends to motivate the pupils to continue their studies and “aim high”.
The theme of this year’s Paskong Kapatiran, “Alab ng Pagbibigayan sa Isang Daang Taon ng CHSM”, highlights CHSM’s centennial foundation celebration this year. [Mark Vertido/Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]