A moment of renewal, recovery with Fr. Jun

OPINION
By SUSAN PALMES-DENNIS
January 24, 2020

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AMID my convalescence,  I managed to attend  the Anointing of the Sick officiated by Rev. Father Jun Balsamo, SSJV last week.

The activity was attended by members and friends of Thrive CDO, a group of breast cancer survivors and patients organized by Karen Lluch years ago.  The group had since grown big through the years.

Last week was my first time to attend the anointing but I know it is one of the Blessed Sacraments of the Catholic church and as a graduate of a Catholic school, I used to know it as the holy unction.

Am not sure if there was a change of name or whether it is still the same. The anointing of the sick is a Catholic Church sacrament administered to ailing or aging Catholics and the administering priests use holy water and holy oil and offer prayers for them.

I get goosebumps recalling the sins of parents and grandparents mentioned in a prayer during one service and the prayer of forgiveness is offered to clean the family of sins committed by one of their own.

During these prayers, I close my eyes and shut off all noise as I concentrate my mind to recall all possible sins I may have committed as well as those committed by my family so I can ask forgiveness from the Lord.

I especially think about my paternal grandfather Felix Quilang Naelga because I recalled opening the old jar where he placed a banana inside without permission. The prayers would last two hours with signs of crosses made in every prayer.

I’ve never been sprinkled with a lot of holy water in my whole life except that one time.
The administering priest would then give the blessing by making the sign of the cross with holy oil on the foreheads, eyes, lips, nose, chest and feet of the faithful.

By administering the holy oil on the nose, the priest said the faithful would be able to smell the perceived fragrance of the Lord as well as see with their eyes the Lord’s grandeur despite our predicament.

Last week’s anointing of the sick was special and meaningful for the 10 of us members of Thrive CDO in attendance plus the members of Chona Hay’s family who hosted the activity.

I see it in their faces and it was especially meaningful for Chona’s sister Emma who has a second bout with cancer and for another sister.

I posted pictures of the activity in my Facebook page and Dr. Manny Jaudian, Phd and a former dean of Cagayan de Oro College-Phinma’s College of Criminology saw the photos and immediately tecognized Father Jun Balsamo as a former student.

It turned out that the good priest now heads the Ministry of Deliverance and Exorcism of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.

Father Balsamo told us that any Catholic family should instill in their members the value of prayers in their daily lives and should not allow mobile devices like cell phones to dictate on their routines.

It was really an inspiring time with the priest and I look forward to meeting him again.
And I came to know that Father Balsamo is from Baluarte, Tagoloan town in Misamis Oriental where I was born amd raised. Pure coincidence I must say.  Rev.Fr.Roberto Dela Cuesta Balsamo,SSJV is the son of Roberto Balsamo,Sr. and Ursula Dela Cuesta Balsamo

Good luck Father Jun in your ministry which I know to be more relevant in these troubling times.

**************

Still talking about churches, I am very pleased to notice that my temporary church,  the St. Francis Xavier Parish Uptown Church is slowly taking shape.

Since my husband Ronnie and I visit the Philippines twice a year, the St. Francis Xavier Parish Uptown Church had been my spiritual anchor.  For sometime now I didn’t understand why construction on the church had been slow when I believe that it is surrounded by moneyed, generous parishioners.

Last Christmas season I saw this generosity in action with the parishioners sharing their blessings. Way to go Most Reverend Father J
Julius Clavero,SSJV  you are fortunate that you have able parishioners like Dr. Dures Tagayuna and retired Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Evelyn Gamotin Nery volunteering for the church.

Let this church withstand the test of time and I am humbled to have helped it a little. (For comments and questions email me at susanap.dennis@yahoo.com)


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