Monday, November 15, 2010

Bakit Ka Nga Ba Nag-Sakristan?

"Bakit Ka Nga Ba Nag-Sakristan?"
Bro. Mark Philipp Mencias, RN

June 10, 1995, Saturday, 5:00 PM, my schoolmates dragged me to San Roque Parish Church for some unknown recruitment. They said that joining this "so-called" group will make me famous. I really had no idea why on earth was I sitting there wating for my turn to be "PROCESSED". Actually, I never dreamed of becoming an altar server. However, back then, becoming an acolyte was more than a privilege. It was a stage, a form of leverage to catapult oneself to stardom. The title "sacristan" entailed prestige amongst my peers. Though I was hesitant, I still gave it a shot to join the dashing and swash-buckling "Knights of the Altar". I was not expecting that I will pass the interview part nor was I hopeful but for some strange luck I passed and was admitted. Though dubious about my length of stay in the organization, I never expected that it will leave its imprint on me.

To be honest, I was never a big fan of our alb and surplice. I despise the fact that I am supposed to wear those vestments in front of people and pretend that I am a "good boy" because in reality I was never a good boy. I often broke rules and caused mayhem when I was a junior member. I spent hours playing counter strike in our computer shop and I never took Bible sharing seriously during our meetings. Although I was a bit of an anti-social, my older brothers in the ministry never lost hope that I will someday change. I never sought for our officers attention, but they never forgot to share some "thoughts of wisdom" like "Napakakulit mo Mencias! Ang sarap mong kutusan ng maraming beses sa noo!" or "Parati ka na lang hindi pwede mag-serve, e nakikita kitang naglalaro lang ng computer!" However, they never lost hope that I will someday change. And they were wrong to hope at all. I remained "makulit" and "pasaway" until one day an older brother told me, "Ok ka naman Mencias. Makulit ka lang talaga tsaka madalas ayaw mong sumunod. Gusto mo lang talagang maging masaya at kakaiba ang stay mo dito sa KOA. Pero hindi naman yun yung dahilan kung bakit nandito ka pa rin di ba? Kasi kung ayaw mo talaga dito [at maging sakristan], matagal ka ng umalis? Bakit ka nga ba nag-sakristan?" That really struck a nerve in me.

"Bakit ka nga ba nag-sakristan? Bakit mo gustong mag-sakristan?" This were the same questions that most aspiring altar servers have to answer in their interview. Surprisingly, these same questions are what altar servers should frequently ask themselves. Questions which have no definite answer unless one allows time to make him realize the value of becoming an altar server.

Becoming an altar server are more than prestige and privilege. It is a process of change by allowing an invisible hand to mold you to the person God wants you to be. Take the story of the apostle Matthew as an example. He was despised because he was a wretched tax collector. However, he simply listened to Jesus and allowed his master to renew him to become his disciple. In the process he became a witness to Christ's greatness as an evangelist. Or even Paul who was a murderer and persecutor of Christians until he got his ass kicked so hard that he saw a vision of the Lord on his way to Damascus. The succeeding events resulted to his conversion and he utterly became an apostle to the Gentiles. The same premise can be assumed for the process of change for altar servers. God draws to Him even the most sinful and hated people so that He can change them into His likeness. However, one must humble himself to accept his own short-comings and flaws in order for change to set in. Also, a listening ear will help in acquiring good attitudes and retaining them. Furthermore, one must unlearn the bad attitudes, learn good ones and try to relearn them so that the good attitudes remain intact. Moreover, we must be patient that change for the better takes some time. We cannot change ourselves nor other people in a blink of an eye. It is a process so have the patience to persevere even if it seems that there was very little change that transpired. The fruits of our labor will soon manifest as long as we keep on trying our best.

I realized that I was drawn to the idea of allowing myself to be renewed. I know for a fact that I was a mischievous kid and was very aware of it but I never wanted to carry that attitude as I grow up. I didn't knew exactly what to do to rid myself off of my mischievousness so I simply allowed God to change me. Some changes were terribly difficult and some were very easy. Nonetheless, I think I changed a lot.

So, 14 years after that question was asked of me, I think I already have an answer. I think I will say "Para tumino at magbago ako sa tulong ni Bro!" It sounds ridiculous but as I have said it is a process. It takes time to change. I want to become a good person than I was the day before yesterday and I am more than willing to surrender myself to God to be molded into a human being worthy before Him.


Reposted through the permission of Mark Journel Quero, administrator of the website of
San Roque Cathedral - Ministry of Altar Servers
Diocese of Caloocan

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