What we truly celebrate on the first of January.

For our 2017 New Year’s Mass, we trooped to the Shrine of the Divine Word. As blessed as I felt, thankful enough for being in the company of my daughters this New Year’s Day, I did receive a most wondrous of homilies from a missionary priest.

He said that there was a common factor among the Archbishops of New York, Archbishop of Chicago, and Archbishop of Los Angeles, they all in agreement that the Filipino is the new chosen people set to bring our faith into the corners of the world. Why? Because the Filipino fill the churches come Mass time.

Once, when this same priest was studying French, he was summoned by his teacher who resided on the third floor of a building. He was made to witness an empty promenade, vacant for many decades, until the Filipino set foot in France, and filled the cobblestones with devotees wanting to hear Mass.

Yes, the faith of the Filipino is formidable as a rock. Sent on a diaspora to many corners of the world, the Filipino, specifically the Filipino mothers, or the women who worked, initially as domestic helps and caregivers, nurses or entertainers, artists, etcetera, when faced with hardship and trouble, turn to faith and cling to that hope, that God will ease the difficulties that beset their situations. Thus, the churches filled with black-haired Filipinos.

Further, what is most unusual in the Filipino is their utmost devotion to the Blessed Mother. How the Filipino pay Her with most high regard, calling Her Mama Mary, like She is their very own Mother.

Yes, the Filipino is a chosen race, chosen to bring to the world the love of family, the devotion to mother, and the deep faith that transcends trials.

Then the missionary priest asked us to kneel, to give honor to that Mother called Mary and Her Child Jesus, with Joseph by Their side, because They set the example of FAMILY, that which binds the Filipino, that which the Filipino lives for.

The missionary priest said that after the Mass, he would have to make his own journey home, because his own mother makes a head count, and the priest is always late, for her Mano Po, Inay blessing.

That is what we celebrate today, the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

Of course, this blog is a short summation of that doctrinal homily, I just hope that we know why we celebrate today.

For my own Mommy, I miss you. And Lola Naty and Lola Oda, too.

President Aquino made his mark for greatness.

There’s a thought that must be taken. I have kept quiet for a while.

Mary Jane Veloso’s dire situation reminded of a time not long ago, in Singapore, about a housekeeper called Flor Contemplacion, left to hang in the gallows, when a tobacco sporting President by the name of Ramos. flew away, and did not help the lowly maid.

When Mary Jane’s fate was sealed, I took a deep breath, and knew that only prayers can make a miracle. But as I prayed, what unfolded before my very eyes was simply incredible. I saw the image of PNoy going through that one last ditch effort to save Mary Jane. To him, it was personal.

He attended to the matter hands on. President begging another to defer execution pending review? No, that does not happen. That is tantamount to doubting the better judgment of another. But he did. He spoke to the press as naturally, verbalizing an idea as his mind conceives it, till a phone call interrupts him, that one important call that spelled, right that very second, that an understanding has dawned. Mary Jane was more important alive than dead.

Presidents, like all others, come and go. Great leaders etch their marks in history. not because of how great a change they have contributed to the development and progress of their country, albeit that matters, but to what he has done to the least of his people.

President Benigno Aquino III, you have just done that. You have made your mark.

For greatness.