MANILA, Oct. 12, 2016 – Contrary to the conventional belief that big families are bound to remain improverished, the Marriage Encounter Foundation of the Philippines discovered the exact opposite during their search for the outstanding families of the Philippines, many of which happen to have broods of more than 5.
MEFP president Robert N. Aventajado said he and his group were pleasantly surprised to know of families with up to eleven children doing well and being active in the life of the Church through various activities.
In an exclusive interview, the former cabinet secretary said the Martin family from Baguio City, for example, is composed of Paul, an electrician and Delia, a public school teacher, and 10 children.
Families of service
“They have a priest and a nun as part of their ‘big’ family with three others working either as teachers or office staff,” he said, adding five others are still in senior high school and elementary grades.
Part of the MEFP’s requirements for the nominees include that the family should spend substantial time involved in parish activities. It is interesting to note Paul is with the Knights of Columbus, into the burial ministry, and does repairs and maintenance of electrical installations at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Tublay, Benguet.
Delia is a lector, offerer, and helps in the floral arrangements and cleaning of the church. Fr. Dexter works as parish administrator, while Sr. Marie Christine teaches and leads the music ministry in Silang, Cavite. Younger family members are into the youth ministry, parish choir and are active altar servers and cleaners.
Meanwhile, the Rivera couple from Pasig City have 6 children. Baldemor, the head of the family works as ambulant vendor selling bananacue, fishballs, squidballs, and other streetfood, while Mary Jane works as massage therapist.
Families to emulate
“What is remarkable in the Rivera family is the fact all the children attend school, while they spend weekends at the Sto. Tomas De Villanueva parish in Manggahan, Pasig City,” shared Aventajado.
While Baldemor and Mary Jane are both active in the family life ministry, their children serve either as members of the choir, collectors or lectors. Baldemor is a lay minister.
From the Diocese of Legazpi is the Cardano Family, composed of Higino, an electric repairman and Lani, a self-employed mother of 6 daughters, who all attend school.
Coming from a modest home in Barangay Bacolod, Tabaco City, the family is involved in the Neo-Catechumenal Way. A PPCRV volunteer, Lani is also vice-chairperson of the Barangay Pastoral Council.
Their daughters form part of the parish youth commission, ministry of lectors and commentators, and the children’s choir.
Aventajado said the Peligro family from the Diocese of Tagbilaran provides another inspiring example because Ruben, now 39-years old, act as an all-around utility man, while his wife, Rhoda, is a full-fledged homemaker attending to the needs of their 7 children who all attend school.
Ruben shares his time as cluster leader of the parish-based Basic Ecclesial Community, Pre-Cana lecturer, Marriage Enrichment leader. He is also part of the Family and Life staff. Their children are into the youth ministry and Student Catholic Action.
These families will be recognized and awarded plaques of appreciation for being model families despite the fact they are not as prominent as the more affluent families, they were able to maintain their dignity and dedication to each other and keep their faith in God.
Other winners come from the Archdiocese of Davao, Cotabato, Dioceses of San Jose de Antique, Calbayog, Malaybalay, and Tagbilaran.
He added the project would not have been possible without the help of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, chaired by Daet Bishop Gilbert Garcera, and bishops throughout the country. According to Aventajado, the various Marriage Encounter chapters also helped in the search,
The awarding ceremonies for the country’s ten outstanding families will be held on Sunday, Oct. 23,2016 at the SMX Center, Mall of Asia Complex. (Melo M. Acuña / CBCPNews)