Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dear Pope Francis

I never thought that one day I would have the courage to write a letter to the Holy Father, not even in my wildest dreams. I maybe nearing 47 years old but life has a strange way of touching one's dormant practice of faith, making you believe that there is still hope in this ever changing and crazy world.

You see the reason why I took the chance of writing you is because my 17 year old son chose to become a volunteer as a crowd control on your last mass at Quirino Grandstand here in Manila.I was kind of hesitant because I know that the university where he goes to will not be liable for any unexpected negative incident that may happen during the event. Being young and carefree, my son may not be fully aware of this so I fully explained to him of the consequences of his decision. We live roughly 15 kilometers away from Quirino Grandstand and with the millions of people who want to see you and hear your Mass for the last time in the country, the means to get there will definitely not be walk in the park. However you do not get the chance of serving the country as a crowd control together with other volunteers just to make sure the Papal visit remain as peaceful as it has always been each and every time the Holy Father visits the country.

I am a Mom of seven, all of them teens and three having special needs. They used to be kids but now most of them are kids at heart which is a good thing. Positivism sure is a great help in raising kids nowadays. With all this rise in technology, everything happens so fast and a lot of people seem to have forgotten to appreciate the little things. Before it was enough that you eat three times a day, have a home or a place to stay yet still  find the time to connect and smell the flowers and take care of the environment.Nowadays almost everybody is in a hurry and you have no choice but to adapt. I am saying this because time flew so fast. The last time we had a Papal visit was in 1995, the year when my third daughter was born. I did not know that after 19 years the Holy Father would visit the country again where my son,now in college was asked to volunteer on his last day of stay. And through the years a lot of things had happened that changed how I see religion and practiced my faith.

I used to be a devout and practicing Catholic.I heard Mass, prayed the Novena, attended pilgrimages, processions and sung in the choir. I come from a family of gifted musicians and singers who served and sang during Masses.However when I started having kids, I rarely had the time to hear Mass especially when I decided to work in the evenings in the call center industry. I tried. However I ended up snoring or falling asleep which I find insulting each time I was in church. And so I did the next best thing which was to pray. Everywhere. At any given point or day. Wherever or whatever I am doing. Before going to work and on my way home, when I am in doubt, worried and helpless and sometimes before I start my day. All my kids are aware that I am no longer a practicing Catholic but I always remind them to always pray. When they go to school and while on their way home especially during bad weather, to pray for one another and hope that things will become better.

A colleague of mine asked the other day if I am religious. I told her that I used to but a lot of things have changed through the years. Information has a way of opening our eyes making us aware that nothing is perfect even the Catholic Church. I added that personal pain and loss has a way of teaching you that there are some people who will never change despite how many Masses they have heard  or prayers they have uttered in this lifetime. My kids know all this too well because there was a tragic point in our lives when we lost our home which was followed by the unexpected death of my brother. They maybe connected or not but what hurts the most was the pain was caused by a blood relative and his children who had been backstabbing us from the time my parents got married yet these people go to church, hear Masses, prayed the Novenas and proclaimed their faith without any tinge of regret of what they have caused. It would have been easier to wallow in anger and hate but my Mom told me that I was not raised to have a cold blooded heart. It maybe hard at first but the fact remains that time will heal all wounds. I am not going to admit that it did. It is a long process and deciding to veer away from this pretentious relatives of mine helped a lot. Prayers and realizing that people do not change in the course of one lifetime also helped a lot in that very evasive thing called forgiveness.
It is almost half past midnight, Manila time. Thirty minutes from now, my son will be leaving. He and his schoolmates are expected to be at the University at 2am to prepare for the big day. Before today, I told my son stories of how I used to be a devout Catholic and what made that change through the years. I told him that religion and faith are very personal things and it is not right to judge others because they do it differently. I also asked him to pass this letter if possible to any Swiss Guard if in case you get to roam the Grandstand as he told me they will be stationed near where the Mass will be heard together with other students of different Universities, Colleges and volunteers who wanted to share their time and service for the Papal visit.

See you later Son.

Bless all of my children. Their names are Sam,Kyle,Kookie, Selena, Scott, Sidney and Red. They signify the seven colors of the rainbow which everybody long to look for after the  storm. They are the ones who keep me going and helped me realize that this world can be a better place if seen in the eyes of a child. Bless my 80 year old Mom who has always been a strong source of inspiration and foundation of faith and my reclusive husband who sees faith differently but still believes in the common good of mankind. Do include the other members of my family and relatives especially those who have cause me so much pain. As for the many people that I have met whose lives and stories had touched me in so may ways especially those that I have never seen for many years.

Continue to bless our country,its leaders especially the common people.Just like the Catholic Church, our government system is filled with corruption and treachery rooted from the early days where the victims have always been its people who are less fortunate. Not every one of us are aware of our rights and at times we just let things be and raise our hearts to the Heavens because being pro active on certain things often times take years to get heard of and justified.

 I hope that you get to read my letter. I know you receive tons of letters everyday and sometimes I wonder how you get to unselfishly pray for all of us. I also realized that writing this letter and letting my son become a volunteer and serve for more than 12 hours despite warnings of rains during the event that faith, just like the Catholic Church is like having  an imperfect father or mother  yet who will always be there to accept you each and every time you chose to return back home.

Thank you for visiting us and for everything that you do.


Sarah Mallari Bucu