PARAÑAQUE City, May 15, 2014— Underprivileged kids from Baclaran communities and from nearby Parañaque and Pasay are the stars of Baclaran Church’s Flores de María” (Flowers of Mary) celebration this month.
Children as young as six take part in the month-long activities, most notably, the praying of the Rosary, which most of them are encountering for the first time.
Dancing and singing also form part of the yearly Marian celebration.
National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help rector Rev. Fr. Victorino Cueto, C.Ss.R shared that the welfare of the youth is a great concern for them (Baclaran Redemptorists).
As part of its apostolate, the missionary Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer “reaches out to the youth, especially those at risk around the shrine [and] who are involved in drug addiction, juvenile delinquency, and other difficulties”.
Seeing these as an “ongoing challenge”, the Redemptorists strive to “become more connected to the complex and delicate demands of today’s youth… and to open more our community to young people”.
The shrine’s youth ministry “aims at channeling the energies of the youth towards productive and constructive activities for their own development and in service to others and to God.”
Together with the youth, the ministry intends to “create an environment where we can listen to and celebrate our common aspirations and dreams…Be able to… share their talents, giftedness and response to God’s call that they may give life and joy to the church and society, especially to the poor and the most abandoned”.
The “Flores de María” celebration (Flowers of Mary) is part of a Filipino May month tradition that dates backs hundreds of years. (Raymond A. Sebastián)