Pastoral Ministry: Journey and Blessings by Sister Adelfa Mahilum
Reflecting on my ministry as pastoral worker, I always savor different experiences being with the people and in different situations. Every day is always a new beginning and a blessing. I always feel blessed having been given a chance to share my knowledge with the people with whom I minister. I am blessed because in the ordinariness and simplicity of daily living, I feel inner joy and peace in serving God’s people. Every situation I encounter has given me the strength and the courage to face the reality of life and inspire me to render more loving service in response to the needs of the people. I feel that serving them is where God wants me to experience the real Kingdom of God where there is giving and sharing which nourishes my spiritual life.
My present ministry as pastoral worker has a wide coverage of work. I am not only serving in the parish, but also in the vicariate of San Luis Obispo that has six parishes. I head the Parish service commission, the Vicariate Biblical Apostolate, Health Desk Commission at both the Parish and vicariate level, and serve as Family and Life program coordinator. Working with the people in these different areas helps me to develop and nourish my gifts in building good relationships with them.
Seeing the situation of the people in the villages or MSK (Munting Sambayanang Kristiyano/ Basic Ecclesial Communities) in the mountain, I found that the major problem is caused by poverty, financial unstable, homeless, victims of injustices and oppression and they cannot afford hospitalization for those who are sick; many children are malnourished. Confronted with this reality I asked myself how could I help them. Then I realized it would be good to open a Botika ng MSK (MSK Pharmacy). We built a small wellness center within the parish compound through the cooperation of the parish health desk and the service commission with the approval of our parish priest Father Israel Gabriel. I am very thankful and treasure the support of our sisters both in the US and in the Philippines through the Justice and Peace Fund. It is also through the initiative of Sister Gloria Ibalio who donated boxes of medicine to us so we can start our Botika ng MSK (MSK Pharmacy).
In my journey with the people what struck me most was their willingness, their openness, and the pureness of their hearts. In spite of the hard life they face each day they never forget to smile, to participate, and to appreciate life. I found that in spite of the harsh situation they are in, their faith is strong and they have trust in the providence of God. In my daily or weekly visit in their places they are very excited and eager to listen especially during the time I give seminars on health and bible sharing based on the Gospel values. They feel that Jesus is alive and real in their lives. They are hopeful that in sharing their struggles they will be able to tell about their plight to those who can help them.
In doing my daily task in my own little way, I am grateful to God for giving me this opportunity to share and be part of the lives and the struggle of these people. I believe and feel that I am walking with Jesus and Jesus is always with us. All my experiences are integrated in my prayer life and service. Most important is that I have grown in my appreciation of the gifts and the love of God to respond to His call to continue the Mission of Jesus in this very challenging world. I continue serving and follow Jesus in ministering to God’s people in the spirit of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.