FMA@60 : Forever A Gift and A Grace
Grandiosely beautiful and meaningful are words apt to describe the FMA@60 celebration at the Araneta Coliseum last November 30, 2015. The festive Salesian Family spirit was undeniably felt that day as about 12,000 members of the Salesian Family and guests from various religious congregations and institutions, came to celebrate a milestone in the history of the FMA Philippines-PNG.
With about 45 priests (Salesians of Don Bosco and other diocesan and religious priests) headed by Bishop Patricio Buzon, SDB, DD, Bishop of Kabankalan, Negros Occidental and the beautiful liturgy prepared by Sr. Melanie Pilar, FMA, Sr. Mariel De Mata, FMA and team, the Eucharistic celebration was indeed teeming with gratitude to God for the gift of the FMA Philippines-PNG. It was even made more solemn with the awe-inspiring musical accompaniment of the 60 members of Grupo 20/21 Concert Orchestra under conductor Josefino “Chino” Toledo and sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. William & Milagros How and family.
Break after the Mass was made festive with the musical rendition of Banda Kawayan Pilipinas of Mr. Fred Calabig and the Banda Kawayan of Mary Help of Christians College, Canlubang. During break, the guests were treated to a walk down memory lane with a beautiful and historical exhibit carefully prepared by Sr. Evelyn Lacsa, FMA and Sr. Phebe Lacse, FMA and edited by Sr. Rachel Melissa Flor, FMA, Sr. Alicia Fulgencio, FMA and Sr. Ann Lyn Rose Magno, FMA. Launching of the coffee table book was done after the break by Sr. Florita Dimayuga, FMA (editor) afterwhich, she and Sr. Theda dela Rosa, FMA (lay out and photographs) were offered bouquets as the Province’s way of saying thank you to them for the great work they had done and the precious legacy they had gifted the Province.
Sr. Ma. Victoria Sta. Ana, FMA, Executive Director of the Laura Vicuña Foundation, introduced the host of the event, owner of the Araneta Coliseum and an incorporator of the Laura Vicuña Foundation - Mrs. Judy Araneta Roxas, who took off time from her very busy schedule to welcome everyone to the famous venue of grand shows.
Sr. Mabel Pilar, FMA, Provincial Superior of FMA Philippines-PNG, warmly welcomed everyone to the momentous and grace-filled event made possible through the concerted efforts of the FMA educating communities and the kindness of benefactors and sponsors. The much awaited concert proper followed Sr. Mabel’s welcome with the selected members of the FMA educating communities’ magnificent rendition of the Magnificat under the ultimate FMA musical conductor, Sr. Cynthia Calabig, FMA. The Magnificat was a very fitting tribute to the Blessed Mother Mary, who, for the past 60 years, had truly been mother, guide, help and protectress of every member of the FMA educating communities. Claps and shrieks were often heard from the audience not only because talents of the different members of the FMA educating communities were showcased but meaningful performances were presented which everyone can relate to. The audience gamely danced, grooved, joined the singing and spontaneously waved their lights and banners as they enjoyed the event. The concert was the acknowledgment of the FMA Philippines-PNG benefactors and the Laura Vicuña Foundation Board of Trustees who had untiringly supported the mission and endeavors of the Province. Sr. Maria Josefina Carrasco, FMA (vice provincial), called the awardees onstage while the past and present Provincials: Sr. Felicidad Boado, FMA; Sr. Celia Tacujan, FMA; Sr. Alicia Fulgencio, FMA; Sr. Sarah Garcia, FMA and Sr. Mabel Pilar, FMA presented them with the Papal Blessing. Sr. Anna Maria Mattiussi, FMA (first Provincial Superior of the “S. Maria D. Mazzarelllo” Province (Philippines), sent a letter (read by Sr. Sarah Garcia, FMA) greeting everyone and thanking the benefactors for their generous support. The concert ended with the educating communities of Mary Help of Christians School Mabalacat and Mary Our Help Technical Institute for Women Pampanga’s impressive choreography of the FMA@60 theme song: 60 is 1 composed by Sr. Rachel Melissa Flor, FMA (provincial secretary).
The celebration was amazing and grace-filled because of the presence of each one and the love and hard work put into the preparation of the whole day activity.
A great thanks for the formidable work and undaunting commitment of the concert team (Sr. Mabel Pilar, FMA; Sr. Maria Josefina Carrasco, FMA; Sr. Nora Hernandez, FMA; Sr. Cynthia Calabig, FMA; Sr. Josephine Garza, FMA; Sr. Analyn Guerrero, FMA and Sr. Ann Lyn Rose Magno, FMA) who conceptualized and actualized the concert. Thanks too to the Primavera Events Company of Mickey Perz and Gee Ann Ibrahin who were tasked to help the FMA Philippines-PNG come up with an impressive, substantial and worth-seeing production.
FMA@60 video (from cgfma.org)