Click here for a short video of Anna.
|Anna with the youth of St. Peter Parish|
|St Peter Parish: Shrine of Leaders|
Early this year, Anna spearheaded the candle making livelihood project of the parish. She related how it all began. “From the very start, Fr. Tony Labiao empowered me to choose my ministry. I chose to work on the Social Service and Development Ministry (SSDM) and Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) Ministry. I was involved with the parish feeding program, pastoral care for women and children, and its livelihood projects. I became more involved with SSDM when Tito Donald (Donald Geocaniga) invited me to help him present the livelihood budget to the Parish which I gladly accepted. Tito Donald knew that I had always been interested with livelihood projects. And since he has 21 years of business experience and also in livelihood projects, I look up to him for direction and advice for my ministry. We have disagreements and misunderstandings due to language limitations and cultural differences but we always agree that what we do is for God.”
The candle making project started as an idea from St. Peter Parish priest Fr Tony Labiao who saw that while there were many candles being sold in the church, not one actually came as a product of a parish project. There was a great potential in candle making which could be a source of additional income for families and a venue for values formation. Anna took on herself the responsibility of doing the ground works for the project. With seventy five thousand pesos (P75,000) capital coming from the parish, Anna started working. Thirty five thousand pesos (P35,000) was used for the purchase of supplies, materials and equipment and for training for the candle making project; P5,000 was set aside for the values formation seminar-workshop; and the remaining P35,000 for the upcoming basahan making project.
One of the challenges that Anna faced while starting the candle making project was when two mothers left the program. They had very clear reason then. One was preparing to go abroad and was often absent from work. The other one wanted other jobs that will bring in more income to her family. They were not in line with the mission and vision of the parish livelihood project and the holistic development of its members. She admitted that there were some misunderstandings between her and the mothers due to language barriers and Anna’s communication skills. At first, Anna felt guilty. This made her sit back and reflect on the experience. And because of this experience, she learned one valuable Filipino trait which is patience. Now she is finding ways to better communicate her mind without hurting anyone. She believes that the whole process made her a better leader, a better person.
|Columban Lay Missionaries|
by Marivic H. Mercene
CLM Staff Member