Children consider monetary pledges, approval of visas ‘miracles’-A A +A
Monday, October 15, 2012
A WEEK ago, members of the Mandaue Children and Youth Chorus were still unsure about their trip to Rome for the canonization rites of Blessed Pedro Calungsod.
Still lacking P1.5 million, they prayed hard.
By Oct. 8, pledges from different individuals and companies started coming. Now, the choir is all set for their departure to Rome on Wednesday.
“It was a miracle,” said Dennis Sugarol, the choir’s musical director and conductor, in an interview yesterday.
Sugarol said they needed P3.7 million for the trip. To raise funds, the choir held concerts in malls and sold an album of songs that he arranged.
The approval of their visas last Thursday was “the final signal that we could go,” said Mary Rose Maghuyop, mother of two choir members, during the send-off mass yesterday.
“We attribute it to the intercession of Blessed Pedro Calungsod,” she said.
Jackie Sanchez, mother of a 16-year-old choir member, said they prayed hard to be able to raise enough money.
“At one point, we even thought of buying lotto tickets,” said Sanchez, who is one of the parents who will accompany the choir in Rome.
They made sacrifices to fulfill their children’s dream to sing during the canonization of the second Filipino saint, she said.
A send-off mass was held yesterday at the Blessed Pedro Calungsod Shrine for the 30 choir members and 18 accompanying adults. The choir sang during the mass.
In his homily, Father Renel Cabag, who is also the choir’s spiritual director, said: “Singing is a beautiful way of articulating the tenets of our faith.”
He urged the people to pray for the choir’s safe trip to Rome.
The singers, whose ages ranged from eight to 20 years old, are excited to perform at the St. Peter’s Basilica.
“We waited for several years. Finally, Blessed Pedro Calungsod will become a saint,” said Psalm Codilla, a 20-year-old member.
Cher Lozada, who at eight is the youngest member, said she is very happy to be a part of a historical event. The second grader has been a member of the choir since she was in kindergarten.
For 18-year-old Denise Villanueva, who has been a member since 2004, it is a great honor to sing during the canonization rites of the Visayan martyr.
“He is an example for all of us,” she said.
Formerly called the Mandaue School for the Arts Children’s Choir, the group received the Ani ng Dangal award last February from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts.
It has won several awards from competitions abroad, including two gold trophies at the recent Hong Kong International Children and Youth Chorale Competition.
In Rome, the choir will sing on three occasions: on the eve of the canonization, during vespers or evening prayers on Oct. 21, and at the Thanksgiving Mass on the next day.
The choir will sing songs dedicated to the Visayan saint, including “Among Pangamuyo,” a new composition of Msgr. Rudy Villanueva.
The delegation will leave Cebu at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Before returning to Cebu on Nov. 2, the choir will hold a concert in Austria. The concert will be hosted by the Filipino community and the University of Vienna, Sugarol said.
The choir, he said, will have their last rehearsal today.
After yesterday’s mass, the singers gathered near the church altar and listened to some instructions from Sugarol. Afterward, they bowed their heads, closed their eyes and prayed.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 15, 2012.