In its inaugural year, the San Jose Filipino Ministry is on a roll welcoming the holidays with two main events this year – an Advent Retreat and “Paskuhan ng Pamilyang Pilipino.”

The Advent Retreat with Bishop Timothy Freyer was held on Saturday, Dec. 4 at St. Pius Church Parish Hall in Buena Park. Some 200 Filipino faithful from Orange County and neighboring cities attended the retreat which was followed by a Mass celebrated by the bishop.

Bishop Freyer began his talk with a history of the coming of Christianity to the Philippines 500 years ago in 1521. This is an event that Filipinos all over the world are celebrating this year, and in Orange County this big anniversary celebration at the Christ Cathedral on June 25, 2021 attended by more than 2,000 guests, was sponsored by the SJFM. He also talked about the gift that Christianity brought which is the Good News of our salvation and God’s never-ending love for mankind which is so great that He sent to the world His only begotten Son who died on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for our redemption.

Bishop Freyer also spoke on a variety of topics such as evangelization and the gift of the sacraments particularly the sacrament of reconciliation and anointing of the sick. We were reminded that Jesus Christ came in humble beginnings as a babe in a manger. We were also reminded to be prepared for His second coming as well.

“I found this Advent recollection very uplifting and appropriate for our preparation for the coming of our Savior,” remarked Liz Juan, a parishioner from Holy Family in Artesia, after hearing the Bishop speak at the retreat.

The SJFM’s second holiday event, “Paskuhan ng Pamilyang Pilipino,” was held on Friday, Dec. 10 at St. Irenaeus Church Parish Hall in City of Cypress. “Paskuhan” from the word “Pasko” (Pascua), roughly means “gathering for Christmas.” It is the ministry’s first attempt at a diocesan-wide Christmas event aimed at bringing together Filipinos from parishes all over the Diocese of Orange in one big celebration. Paskuhan began with the Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Binh Nguyen, Pastor of St. Ireneaus. He commended the SJFM for its goal of unification of Filipinos in the Diocese of Orange. After Mass, festivities were held in the Parish Hall which featured achoir caroling contest, giving of gifts to children (“mano po” pamasko for kids), vocal solo from a young singing talent, a short video clip of Filipino artists singing Christmas carols, community singing and a free raffle drawing. A light food fare of pancit, empanada, fruit and coffee was served to some 180 guests in attendance. A modest but good start, according to Fr. Anthony Bautista from Alagad in Maria, the congregation of priests behind the establishment of the SJFM.

Paskuhan program emcee Rico Lagman gave a brief background on the founding and organization of the San Jose Filipino Ministry. The newest ministryunder the Ethnic Ministries of the Diocese of Orange, the San Jose Filipino Ministry was officially established and recognized by the Diocese on June 1, 2021. It was named in honor of St. Joseph, whose jubilee year we celebrated in 2021. The SJFM’s mission is to assist in the spiritual growth, provide resources and help enrich the faith, culture and tradition of Filipinos and Filipino- Americans in the Diocese of Orange. Its vision is to unite and bring together all Filipinos and Filipino Americans to live as witness of the Good News with faith, hope and charity. For more information on the SJFM and its programs, please visit www.dosjfm.org