Thank You, Papa Mons

I can't remember well but I think it was on 2001 when I first began my ministry as a member of the youth commission in the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi. I remember, the first activity I took part in in the parish is a dance number with the officers for the birthday of our newly-appointed parish priest, Monsignor Eppie Castro. How fast time flies that 12 years had passed and tomorrow, he's leaving Meycauayan for Paombong in Northern Bulacan.

To be honest, I feel really sad with this departure. Everybody knows I can't handle goodbyes that well. Papa Mons (as we all call him) has been one of the closest priests in my heart simply because he had become a good father figure for all of us in the church. Of course, he's far from being perfect. We all have what we have to dislike about him, but no one can say that we didn't appreciate him.

What makes Papa Mons a really memorable person is that he had played a great role in honing my faith as a church leader. It is under his administration that I had developed myself into someone who goes to church for service. More than the chocolates and treats, it is his being fun to be with and approachable that probably grounded me in this situation. I wonder how my faith would be now if he wasn't a part of it.

That is why as he departs for St. James the Apostle Parish in Paombong, Bulacan tomorrow, I pray that he'll have a great time there. Together with Fr. Sasi, I hope that God gives them both the strength to lead a new community to a stronger faith. I really pray that the people there will treat them with respect and understanding just like how we did in Meycauayan. I hope the parishioners will cooperate with them with everything.

And as both are getting old already, I just pray that they always be kept safe from harm. I know Mama Mary will guide them all the time, though.

It's a very fruitful and exciting 12 years with Papa Mons, and as sad as it is that we have to part, I know that someday, we'll see each other soon. Meycauayan is not too far from Paombong, especially with the existence of NLEX, hehe.

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