Pusher for Christ

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By Luci Lizares

www.winners

Thursday, April 3, 2014


AS YOU ride down our streets, you might chance upon a pair of wheelchairs walking through our highways. These four men in yellow shirts are the PUSHER for Christ.

The two sitting in the wheelchairs are members of Association of Persons with Disability, while the other two pushing the wheelchairs are members of the Philippine Blind Union.

A Church group was organized from recruitments of these two groups in 2008 known as PUSHER for Christ. The acronym PUSHER means Peace, Unity, Sanctification, Holiness, Environment, Rehabilitation.

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In 2010, they went beyond their regular apostolates and decided to go on a Crusade, with the theme, “Called to be saints, sent forth as heroes.” And this crusade commences on Ash Wednesday from the Cathedral of Iloilo walking to the different parishes of the diocese by foot and then crossing over to Bacolod by ferry.

This year is their fifth crusade and so far, they have reached all the parishes that belong to the Diocese of Bacolod in the south from Bago to La Carlota and yesterday they walked northbound with the first destination in the parish of Talisay, to end in Victorias.

The crusade culminates on Palm Sunday in our Bacolod Cathedral. For the 40 days of Lent, these disabled men will walk for Christ with nothing but only their message of God’s peace, unity sanctification, holiness and environmental rehabilitation.

The four men who are on this crusade of penitence and prayer for the Church and for truth are Johnkin Lamboso, a polio victim, with Melvin Braza, who is blind, as one tandem; and the other pair is Jody Gallenero who is likewise blind, with Wilfredo Carabaosa, who is disabled because of polio.

To Johnkin, he has been searching for God and he is elated that as they go from place to place, even priests are touched with this crusade that they are doing. He feels blest to be used by God as an instrument of His peace and love.
Melvin says he feels the nearness of God’s presence as they go on their pilgrimage from parish to parish. Under the heat of the sun with just water to nourish them, he is overjoyed with the gift of fellowship he shares with his co-pilgrims and the welcoming reception that they receive. Despite the grueling walk and tiredness, they gain strength in prayer and push on to accomplish their calling.

Jody has one child and has been doing this crusade for the past two years. He says he is very much inspired by the people’s reception of them.

Wilfredo, who is single, has been walking from Iloilo to Bacolod for 4 ½
years. Why 4 ½? I ask. Sometimes there are impediments along the way, he replied, which required him not to pursue the journey. However, he has seen and felt that walking this distance has affected the lives of many people which encouraged him to keep on returning every year to fulfill this pilgrimage.

This endeavor is supported by the Archbishop of Jaro as well as the Bishop of Bacolod. They find lodging in the different parishes which they say have been most generous in providing them with accommodation and food. I was talking to them while they were having breakfast at the Sacred Heart Seminary and they did not want to stuff themselves because being too full will not make them agile for the walk.

The lame leading the blind and the blind pushing the lame— what could be a more inspirational scene to see in this Season of Lent. We see sacrifice and penance in order to evangelize God’s word of love and mercy! May we be likewise inspired what these men are doing to bring God closer to themselves and the parishes and people they visit and touch.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 03, 2014.

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