WHILE degrees are acquired through academic studies, raising a family is never taught in school, much less rearing successful, productive children.
Who would ever think families with more than three children will succeed in sending their entire brood to school while molding them to be responsible members of society? Apparently, faith and hard work are key
Ten families from all over the country, which achieved something unthinkable for a lot of households, were recognized at the SMX Convention Center in an event organized by the Marriage Encounter Foundation of the Philippines and the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life with some 3,500 people from religious and Catholic communities present.
Serving amid trials
Coming from Calbayog City in Samar, James Jaboya earns his keep as choir-member and guitarist at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. He is visually-impaired and constantly needs a travel companion. They have three children who are all active in church organizations.
Despite the challenges of raising a family, he succeeded because of his wife Virginia who works as lector and choir member. The couple said it is faith that has brought them closer.
Last June, their son Rady was diagnosed with kidney problems and required medical attention in Manila. The priests in the diocese pooled resources to fund the family’s trip to Manila. A relative offered them a place to stay while Rady regularly underwent testing and treatment at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute.
Despite difficulties, the Jaboya family has remained steadfast in their faith.
Over in Baguio City is the Martin Family, composed of Paul, an electrician, Delia, a public school teacher, and their ten children, two of whom entered the religious life.
His parents’ ‘deep faith’
In the face of their own challenges, Paul is an active member of the Knights of Columbus while Delia belongs to the Catholic Women’s League, is a lector, and takes charge of flower arrangements in their church.
Their eldest is a 32-year old accomplished professional. The couple’s eldest son is now known in the community as Fr. Dexter. During the awarding ceremonies, he recalled witnessing his parents’ “deep faith” in God. Another Martin, Sr. Marie now serves in a religious community in Cavite.
The youngest, now 10-years old attends school with four elder siblings.
One thing is certain, the Martin Family will prove naysayers wrong because not all big families are destined for miserable poverty.
Family life in Basilan
Imagine how a couple with 11 children manage to survive in a far-away city called Lamitan in Basilan Province. This is the story of Mario and Hilaria Villas.
With all the trying circumstances faced by Mario as head of the family, he still performs the role of president of San Guillermo Chapel while his better half Hilaria is assistant to the parish priest of Sta. Clara in Alusugan, Lamitan City. She leads the Block Rosary movement in the parish and serves as a catechist every Wednesday.
Come to think of it, the family lives in a place where there’s no water supply and the children have to gather firewood. They also earn their keep by tending the farm animals Bishop Martin Jumoad of the Prelature of Isabela de Basilan entrusted to them.
In previous interviews, the couple said the most difficult situations for them is whenever a family member get sick and the family would need to muster its resources for hospital bills and medicine. Without fail, family and friends have always provided timely assistance – something the couple call “blessings.”
They attend Sunday Mass together with all the children, who are members of different parish-based organizations. These families are walking proof that parents’ living example transforms and molds children into God-fearing and responsible members of society.
Looking at the faith experience of these three and seven other families, one learns how simple living, undying love for family members, unwavering faith in God, and sheer hard work make a great difference in community and in society. (Melo M. Acuña / CBCPNews)
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