Peace highlighted at Francisfest 2016

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The Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY) perform at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish in Makati City on Oct. 3, a special date for all Franciscans worldwide since it is the memorial of “Transitus” (or the passing) of St. Francis of Assisi, who is widely known for his prayer, “Lord, Make me a Channel of Your Peace.” (Photo: Martin Lopez)

MANILA, Oct. 7, 2016 – Filipino Franciscans reiterated the message of peace at the FrancisFest, a major fundraising event of San Antonio Parish for the benefit of various Franciscan projects and ministries, held at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish in Makati City on Oct. 3.

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace” is this year’s Francisfest theme. In his message, Fr. Reu Jose C. Galoy, OFM, said: “Our theme… is providentially chosen especially with what is happening around us.”

Galoy, parish priest at Santuario de San Antonio, acknowledged the seriousness of the country’s drug problem and the urgency to put an end to it, adding, however: “But, as Franciscans, we firmly believe that the end does not justify the means.”

Crossing boundaries

For Fr. Baltazar A. Obico, OFM, “Peace is the next word, aside from poverty, associated with St. Francis.” He even noted that St. Francis’ peace advocacy crosses the boundaries of cultures and religions.

Fr. Cielito R.Almazan, OFM, Minister Provincial of the Franciscan Province of San Pedro Bautista, cited an example of St. Francis’ creative ability to promote peace and reconciliation. He said: “The episode at the end of his life, when he reconciled the civil authority (podesta) and the Bishop of Assisi, comes to mind. He did this by singing his Canticle of Brother Sun, with the addition of a verse on forgiveness.”

He continued that “music is certainly a powerful force … for connecting people across time and space, inspiring social consciousness and change, or healing deep emotional wounds.”

40-man ensemble

The highlight of this year’s Francisfest is the concert of the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY), a 40-man ensemble, headed by Maestro Olivier Ochanine. The concert also marked the first soloist performance of OFY with a young pianist from Parañaque City, Brian Berino.

Ochanine has been the music director and principal conductor of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra since 2010, the nation’s leading orchestra, that recently performed at Carnegie hall in New York City. He is Ang Misyon’s Chief Conductor, leading OFY in its major performances as part of the group’s artistic social responsibility.

Francisfest is a celebration of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi held at the Santuario de San Antonio in Makati. Starting in October 1986 as a simple celebration with food booths around church ground, the event included the staging of a youth concert the following year as well as the awarding of special recognitions to parishioners with exceptional service to the Church.

In 1988, it became an annual fundraising event for the purpose of supporting its various outreach programs, the studies of seminarians at the Our Lady of the Angels Seminary, for and the repairs and improvement of Franciscan churches in Luzon. (Carl Jamie Simple S. Bordeos / CBCPNews)

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