So yesterday was a landmark birthday, my 70th. It was spent in the loving company of family. At the end of the day, Msgr. Pagulayan, whom we endearingly call Peggy, came and gave us this most beautiful present. It is a print of Murillo’s Holy Family in Nazareth. Monsignor Peggy says that he thinks of our family whenever he sees this painting, which he brought home from his visit at the Prado Museum in Spain.
Peggy was the officiating priest at our wedding. He has been most religious in greeting us on our wedding anniversary. He has never forgotten. Not once. I often kid him, “Do you remember it is our anniversary because it is Nora Aunor’s birthday? Or, you know it is Nora’s birthday because it is our anniversary.
Ours has been a most blessed marriage. We have had our own share of trials and troubles. But still in all, we have been richly blessed like the Holy Family in Nazareth. We have been blessed not by one son but three wonderful boys, now men, who have given undreamt of life and color to our marriage. Knowing how weak and flawed and fragile we both are, Anabelle and I that the blessings of our marriage and family are totally undeserved. If our efforts were the only inputs, there is no way we could have expected the kind of outputs we have achieved. The only other input that made all of these possible is God’s grace, which has been poured on us so abundantly through no merit of our own but most probably through the prayers of friends like Monsignor Peggy.
Indeed he is one of several religious-friends who I believed have been praying unceasingly for Anabelle and me and our family. Aside from Peggy, I remember . . . .
Sr. Mary Angeline. Tessa was a dear friend from Xavier School. She died a few ago in the odor of her sanctity. She was a living saint and I know we were constantly in her prayers.
Brother Louis Tremblay. Anabelle was one of her favorites in Xavier School. Because Anabelle loved me, Brother Tremblay also loved me. He is so much like Saint Joseph. He shows his sanctity through the physical and manual labor he doesm in which he excels.
Fr. Terry Katigbak. He did not let go and set forth on his eternal voyage until Anabelle came to visit him. On his desk, when he was assigned in Sacred Heart School in Cebu, was just one favorite photo on display. It was the picture of our family. I loved to imagine we were also always in his prayers.
Fr. Carlos Abesamis. He taught me about real prayer. He was a consistent presence in our family. he’d be gone for long periods but he would always show up consistently. He prays deeps and I am sure we were also always in his prayers.
Sr. Mary Cordis. Bebet is a dear friend who is a pink sister. I used to jokingly tell others that she entered the nunnery because I married Anabelle. But cloistered as she is, she is attuned to what is happening in the world. I know in my heart that we are also constantly in her prayers.
Sr. Bubbles Bandojo. She is one sister that our sons were very close to growing up. She used to teach with Anabelle in the Ateneo Grade School. When she entered the Cenacle, our family remained close to her so that when we were living near their community, we always joined them for their Christmas and Easter vigils.
Sr. Cora Dangalio. The self-proclimed Tita-madre of my sons. She would sneak into out condo in Xavierville to pray over the then baby Macky. And what a fine man he has turned out to be.
Thank you for life.
Thank you for the 70 years.
Thank you for love.
Thank you for family.
Thank you for friends.
Thank you for the prayers.