500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines: From the Perspective of a Father

As we celebrate 500 years of Christianity, I pray that every parent will be aware of their responsibility to do what they can so that their children become more responsible and mature Christians.

500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines

From the Perspective of a Father

Bernie

by Bernie Durangparang

Mission Promotion Team

 

I was born in Oslob, in the southern part of Cebu. I grew up with devout Catholic parents, aunties, uncles and grandparents. My father died when I was still three years old. So, my mother took over the role of both father and mother. It's still fresh in my mind how my mother brought us up to be God-fearing children. She taught us how to pray. At a young age my mother would always want us to join her in her night prayers. And so, we would never miss praying the rosary and doing novenas with her almost every night before bed time. Almost every Sunday, my mother would bring us to the Parish Church located at the centre of our town to hear mass. Our home was quite a distance from the town centre and at that time transportation was very limited - no jeepneys or motorcycle taxis- only very infrequent buses. Since we lived in a barrio up in the mountains (around four or five kilometres away from the highway) we needed to walk down to the highway, which took more than 30 minutes. We usually got up at 2:30am and then walked to the highway to catch the first bus in order to attend the mass. Because I woke up early, I would end up sleeping during the entire mass!

After completing my primary years, I left my home town and went to Ozamiz, Mindanao to continue my studies. I stayed at the Columban house while doing my studies. During my first year in high school my teachers and classmates would ask me if I was a Muslim. As a kind young, innocent and new kid in town, I would reply with total honesty that I am a Christian and was baptised a Catholic. And I would add that my ancestors were also all Christians and devout Catholics. Apparently, they thought that I was a Muslim because my family name sounded like a Muslim family name.

My mother had a great influence on my faith as a Catholic since childhood and I am forever grateful for that. I am also grateful for living with the Columban priests during my studies; they also guided me on the right way. Now, as a father it is now my responsibility to also teach my children what I have learned from my mother. We also pray together as a family. I teach them to be God-fearing and be participative in church activities as they are now responsible enough to take on roles in the parish. Two of my children, the twin boys, are active altar servers now.  Like my mother who always encouraged us to be active in church, I am also doing the same with my kids

Bernie 2

Twin sons of Bernie (left & right) after serving Mass

at Senior Santiago Apostol Church, Ozamiz City 

As we celebrate 500 years of Christianity, I pray that every parent will be aware of their responsibility to do what they can so that their children become more responsible and mature Christians. Our church now is different from the church years ago. Our children now are different from the children of the previous generations. Raising our children to become good Christians today is quite challenging. That is why my responsibility as a father plays a vital role in inculcating in my children the Christian values that I have in me. I am confident within myself that I can be a guide and a light to them to help them stay on the right path always. You become confident within yourself that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, (Romans 2:19).