I decided to celebrate my silver jubilee as priest on Dec. 4 for two reasons: Dec. 2 was a Saturday, making it inconvenient for my fellow diocesan priests to be present; and secondly, the Christian Brothers had their district assembly and chapter from Dec. 1-3 at Greenhills, and i wanted the Brothers, not only of Lipa but of the District, to be there.
But my siblings, including Inay, would not hear of this. so, we had a celebration at San Roque. I celebrated a Mass at the barangay chapel. My "faithful" community from Bolo West were among the first to be present in the chapel. The Young Men's Choir of Aplaya, Bauan, sang during the Mass. Danny was responsible for inviting the group, handled by Bobet Manalo of STC. Bobet was a former choir-member of Ms. Angelina Conti in Bauan High School.
After the Mass, we headed home to entertain guests, mainly our relatives from my mother and my late father's side.
Thanks to our family friend, the sister-and-brother tandem of Joseph and Fe Aguila of Bayanan, San Pascual, who gifted me with two -- yes, two -- pigs! We had an overflow of food, from lunch to merienda to supper in the evening. Tita Sabel and Tio Rodrigo insisted that we take the goat they were offering. Danny had this killed and cooked the night before the big day itself. A cousin brought a lechon; another a big basket of tilapia. Others came with various gifts of rice cake, bread, sweets and other food.
I have this picture taken with my first cousin, Maryson, whom I seldom meet as she stays in Pasig most of the time. This is Eric Cristal's auntie, the sister of his Mom Tessie. Eric's blog is :kiwinoy.blogspot.com!
The Dec. 2 affair was a virtual family reunion of the Castillos and the Dolors. My nephews and nieces were able to re-acquiant themselves with their cousins. I also had the change to re-bond with our cousins. they were very, very happy! Even my estranged sister-in-law, Cena, was reconciled with Inay and Ate Coring, and with everybody! This was her first time to set foot in the house after the falling out with Inay and company. This, for me, is one of the greatest gift that God gave me - and the family - during this silver jubilee of my priesthood. It was really a time of grace!