Posts Tagged ‘AFCC Global Tambayan’

What do you do to be involved in the community?

Define community!

Loosely defined, it may mean a group of people living in the same place or having particular characteristics in common. It may also mean a feeling of fellowship with others, with common interest and attitude that bind you together.

Thirteen years ago, I met a Dominican priest through Facebook. We met via UST.tv which is no longer in existence now. He saw that I am a friend of Lovell so he invited me to be a temporary admin of a Catholic page called Apostles Filipino Catholic Community which he put up. We personally met when he came back from Rome and had two meetings/ gatherings with some of our members at Bahay Dominiko. After a few months he made me a permanent admin. That started online communications with the group and when some of them came home for vacation, they came over to meet me. A whole day is not enough, we had repeated gatherings here at home. There were the crying sessions we had, some of them opening up with their family problems. Fr. Louie, our chief administrator was so happy about the turn -out of our membership through the page. He changed the name to The Filipino Catholic, we are three admins manning the site. We post daily Bible readings and masses online, reflections, inspirational quotes and some Catholic links which are helpful to our members. At present we have more than 133,000 members.

During the pandemic, the Society of St. Paul created an hour- online program called Sambuhay Interaktib which is aired live twice a week. It is still ongoing until now. One can participate through live discussions and comments. I used to share some of my reflections back then until I had this ear infection and I could no longer understand the three priests manning the program. Sometimes I could not understand everything. They create games, topics of the night and Bible quotes. Believe me, priests and seminarians are good singers too. Fr. Pao always called me their resident poet before. Met some of them last year, priests and seminarians both and we had a good exchange of thoughts and conversations mostly about books we have read. Eventually, we have this group on Facebook but it is private, by invites only and I am one of the admins too. I am enjoying posting there. Sometimes I share my earlier posts and some members asked me to keep sharing.

There you go, my Catholic community and I am happy about it.


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He stopped for a while

Hesitant to enter the door

He scanned the faces of the people inside

A slow smile hovering on his lips

This is it, he said.

Will I belong? he asked.

He was met by smiles

A round of applause

A pat on the shoulder

A hug for a greeting.

A warm embrace.

Welcome, they said

This is my family

My AFCC family, he thought.

He belonged, after all!

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Early this morning, I thought of  “Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” as the title for this blog. But that is not very original, don’t you think? I don’t want John Gray to sue me copying book titles for my blog. What brought this on, you ask?

I was watching another episode of  Kris Tv this morning (one of those times that I didn’t forget to switch on the TV) and their topic deals on differences about what else, men and women, boys and girls who form a relationship. What makes them tick?  An hour would not really be enough to tell and discuss the differences between a boy and a girl when it comes to relationships. Kris has the Us Girls Iya Villania, Angel Aquino and Cheska Garcia-Kramer as her guests, with Jimmy Bondoc and Kean Cipriano on the other side of the fence. Keano said he is apparently single (whatever that means) and Jimmy said he has a semi-serious relationship with a businesswoman. In Facebook, that reads, the relationship is quite, quite “complicated”.  The girls are into long-term relationship except for one who has just broken up with her guy this year.

Women could talk about accessories like shoes, bags, and dresses the whole day but men would rather focus on sports, watch Discovery Channel, and some DIY jobs that need to be done at home. When it comes to arguments, women always love to have the upper hand (in Tagalog, ayaw patalo) and the last say. With men, they discuss their problems with their buddies, say, high school friends instead of an outright confrontation  with the women in their lives. I guess, this is all subjective, not all men can downright share what’s bugging them with their buddies since they have this feeling of being called weak when they can’t face their problems  on their own.  Jimmy says, however, that you won’t even attempt to hide anything when you are with your true friends.  I agree to a certain extent but there are things that should be left alone with the couple to decide,(assuming that they are married) there are things that should and may remain private in the four walls of their homes. 

When is the right time to break up?  Should it always be the girl who should initiate it? In any relationship, when you feel that you are not growing as a person, when you feel that there is no more “me” inside you,  will it be time to say goodbye? This may be easier in a getting to know you stage or what they call the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. In marriage though, the ballgame is altogether different. You can’t just walk out on your husband or wife just because you had an argument, you can’t just walk out from your family just because you are no longer happy on where the relationship is going. In any break-up you realize too late what you’ve lost.

We have these posts and comments at our AFCC Tambayan group. Some of our members are single men and women in their early thirties. Some of them are looking for serious relationships. Everyone is playing cupid and matchmaker and one of them started calling me Ninang Arlene with Fr. Louie as their Ninong and officiating priest, if ever.  We had some good laughs about it all.   All is fair in love so they say, what’s stopping you guys? We might witness the first ever love team in our group one of these days.

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July is definitely fading into oblivion.  It’s a nice start to have August 01 falling on a Monday. No, this is not my usual, “goodbye July, hello August” blog.  There were a lot of things that happened yesterday and my thoughts keep on nagging me to write about them.

Hello AFCC friends! I really could not describe the happiness I felt seeing some of you yesterday. Thank you for gracing us with your gift of presence, cherishing and enjoying the day with Fr. Louie and me for our very first AFCC gathering in the Philippines.  I appreciate it a lot that you were not deterred by the heavy rains just to be with us.

When I think  of the earlier months I spent with the Apostles Filipino Catholic Community, I feel a sense of awe and wonder that it evolved from a simple Catholic group to something truly inspirational and uplifting.  The members’ involvement became somewhat personal in nature when  Fr. Louie  created the AFCC Global Tambayan page where they could post at their hearts’ content about anything “under the Catholic sun” (it’s how Fr. Louie puts it). It’s an offshoot from the more formal set-up of the AFCC main site.  It has evolved into something where we are now one big happy family.

Friends at AFCC, it is so amazing to see you share your thoughts with us, share a little of your life with us and even sometimes your heartaches too. It is so amazing to see you being very enthusiastic about most of the topics we share on the site. And it is even more amazing to see some of you contributing your own talents and gift of gab, even to the point of creating games and making interesting posts that keep the Tambayan page alive. And meeting some of you yesterday really made my day complete. And as I’ve said in my welcome remarks, yesterday’s event was a culmination of our wish to see each other personally.  It was a lovely  and enriching experience for me.  Compared to a well-executed plan, it was just like a blue-print before but the reality of seeing you made it a truly “certified true copy”.

I didn’t have much time to take photos of the event but thanks for those who brought their own camera and shared the pictures with us. It’s lovely to see us on cam, all smiles – a picture of happy togetherness. Here are some of the photos I picked from Eva, Paul, Reymon and Tere’s albums. Thank you very much. I took the liberty of downloading some of them for this blog.

Here’s a casual pose while waiting for the rest of the members to arrive.  Tere (in white shirt) was our secretary for the day, taking down notes at the start of the gathering but quickly lost it when Fr. Louie started the games. Paul, our talented and resident painter/artist at AFCC. He was so generous in taking videos and pictures of us while we were at our best laughing our hearts out with the rest of the group. Lilet, in green shirt  who was so generous with bringing a bag full of rosaries to distribute to everyone. I think it was  Aehvz who took this shot.

That’s our friend and mentor Fr. Louie Coronel, OP – the indefatigable and creative priest who is behind the success of the AFCC online and AFCC Global Tambayan. We are so lucky to attend this intimate communion with God. Lovely homily, great insight Father. Thank you very much.

Our group shot at the lovely conference room of Bahay Dominiko. Notice the smiles of everyone. It’s a nice proof that we enjoyed every minute bonding with each other.

We had our lunch at KFC. Happy moments, lovely day to cherish. Thanks Reymon and Aehvz  for the yummy KFC chicken.

With Paul, Fr. Louie and Reymon

Those two pencil sketches were our gifts from Paul, our talented artist. I could not thank you enough Paul for the lovely sketch of my favorite Pope.  Aren’t we lucky, having you around in our group? I cried seeing those lovely works of art.

“Halos isang oras na pagpapaalam” . We just could not get enough, you see, it took us almost an hour to say goodbye to each other.

 The boys in our group – from left to right: Fr. Louie, OP, Noel, Clemen, Matt, Reymon and Gian.

Another group shot before we go. This was taken at the lovely garden of Bahay Dominiko. At the back, left to right: Joan, Lilet, Fr. Louie, OP, Noel, Clemen, Matt and Reymon. In front: Aevz, Tere, me and Gian.

Charlene brought the whole family. It was lovely sharing and laughing with all of you. I could not describe how truly happy I was having you all around. We  are one big happy family. I really hope, we’ll have another chance to meet each other again in a future gathering.  My big thanks to my co-admin Jlyn de Guzman Bengala and to Fr.Tacky, OFM, our AFCC Spiritual Director in  Rome  for the lovely messages you sent us.

More days of happy togetherness. God bless us all!

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