“You are rich of Christ” – Arch. Garcera

By: Vea Haren B. Mayuga

July 26, 2019, the anticipated pastoral visit of Most Reverent Archbishop Gilbert Garcera transpired at Our Lady of Caysasay Academy at the school grounds in which he was heartily welcomed by students and faculty staff of the school.

Prior the aforementioned big event, OLCA organized a massive preparation for the awaited coming of the head of the Archdiocese of Lipa, Most Rev. Archbishop Garcera, and students and teachers set forth collaborative hands to arrive in the best output for the occasion and better establish a hospitable ambience for the venerable visitors whom they look forward to meet. Practices for the dance animation were perfected and song and dance numbers to be presented were at utmost polishing as part of their vigorous preparation for the event.

On the 26th of July 2019, the pastoral visit of Archbishop Garcera occurred. Students gathered at the school grounds, anticipating the coming of archbishop. Most Rev. Archbishop Gilbert Garcera approached the school at around 8:00 in the morning where he was welcomed by OLCAns from ECEd to Senior High School, holding their papal flags, waving them as he headed towards the front seats made ready for his utmost reverence. Together with him are the revered, Fr. Eugene Dominic Ichinova, Fr. Carlo Magno Ilagan, Fr. Philip Abasco, Sr. Beth Quinto and Mrs. Virginia I. Estacio. With his valued presence, OLCAns showcased a dance animation of the song “Shout for Joy” which was followed by the doxology led by Mrs. Maricel Anuran and Sir Armyr Encarnacion. A welcoming remarks was addressed by the Integrated School Principal, Mrs. Virginia I. Estacio that extends gratification and appreciation for the visitation of the archbishop and acknowledgement for the presence of the respected people with him. For further outward acknowledgement for his presence, a “papuri” was presented by Lloyd Luis Malabanan, from Grade 8 - St. Lorenzo, delivering a piece that praises the great influence of archbishop to the youth. The event was even filled with an uprising thrill with the presentation of a cultural dance performed by selected junior and senior high school students. Right after the performance, the floor was all served for Archbishop Garcera for his message for everybody. He first recognized his accompanied visitors and Fr. Odong Dimaapi, who is to be the next parish priest to be hailed in Septemper 1, 2019. His message was enveloped with a word of gratitude to OLCAns and staffs and to the school principal for the vigorous welcoming and which even more touched the hearts of OLCAns was his appreciation of two things (contained in his message), first, was the welcoming itself where OLCAns were able to present for him, considering the limited space the school has, which according to him, “you made resources out of the littleness you have”. Next was the dance prod where stated in his speech, this speaks about the culture of Batangas and the untarnished flourishing of the EL PASUBAT Festival held yearly in Taal. This communicates the richness in their culture. This summarizes what the school asks of him, the kind of air he would breathe into OLCA. And such air is joy that he wills to extend for the students. He even explained in his speech that behind all the richness they possess in terms of culture and infrastructure such as the Basilica, the source of all richness is Jesus. And that he advocates to bring an air that makes people realize that God never gets ashamed of us being His children despite our sinfulness. He endeavored to ultimately bring up every single faith into a way for life discernment. He accentuated on the difference of pride and modesty and that Catholic Education is an instrument to life with Jesus without pride. Humility and gratitude were two important values he inculcated to young minds in his speaking of his words of wisdom.

As the program approached the end, everybody was invited to recite the prayer to St. Gertrude the Great for the souls in purgatory. It was followed then by a message from Fr. Odong Dimaapi, the incoming parish priest in which he even shared an inspiring story about a priest named Fr. Raul Rodriguez who was a graduate from OLCA in his elementary years, that during his years in the school, he greatly aspired for priesthood in his life, and years then, he became successful enough to fulfill his long-time will. Furthermore, names of the students who were given the privilege to join the archbishop in his snacks were mentioned and called on by the archbishop himself. And lastly, to terminate the program, the school hymn, “OLCA Hymn” was sung by all a loud and clear with all the sense of pride and vigor.