"Stories of Deaf Benildeans and Friends as they journey forward and face challenges, fulfill commitments, enjoy adventures, celebrate triumphs and live meaningful lives for self, others and God! "

Monday, November 24, 2008

San Isidro Parish Welcomes the SDEAS Deaf Community

For the first time interpreted masses were held at the San Isidro Parish in Taft Avenue Pasay City last October 21, 2007. And thru the efforts of students of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (DLS-CSB SDEAS) these interpreted masses continue to this day. The second year Deaf students (E2A and E2B) under Ms. Maria Teresa Buenaventura’s RECONSE (Religion and Contemporary Search for the Self) classes have taken the responsibility of organizing and coordinating this effort.

The interpreted mass every Sunday, 8:45 -10 am continues to accommodate SDEAS Deaf students, alumni, faculty and even some friends from CAP College, School for the Deaf. Ma. Teresa Buenaventura says the idea behind these efforts is to make Sunday church services accessible to those living near the Taft Ave. area. Ms. Tess urged her Deaf students to help build the Deaf community by serving their spiritual needs. Mam Tess is also a volunteer.

The students organize and coordinate all the requirements for the interpreted masses. What used to be a big dream continues to come true.

SDEAS faculty members turned church outreach volunteers like Ms. Noemi Lacambacal, Ms. Nicky Perez, Ms. Agnes Canayon, Ms. Rubylee De Castro, Mr. John Baliza and Mr. Leo Cabasag serve as sign language interpreters while Deaf Faith Formator Mr. John Paolo Trinidad serve as reader.

The parents are also helping, one of the parents donated a reading stand (the parent is actually this writer’s mom). Another parent (Mrs. de Leon) donated “reserved” signages for Deaf mass goers. This project falls within the La Sallian Ministry for the Deaf (LMPD). The first celebrator of the interpreted masses at San Isidro was Fr. Job Padayattil from India.

Below is the interview I have made with Fr. Job :

Ana: Was this your first time to see a Deaf community?

Fr. Job: I have met many deaf people before. But I am meeting Deaf people as a community for the first time. Even though I had seen a Deaf community near De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, when I became the celebrant for your masses, I felt how spiritually very enriching to see your participation in mass. Always the community had been an inspiration for me. How you face the challenges in your life is quite amazing.

Ana: How did you feel when you see the Deaf community every Sunday during the mass?

Fr. Job: Dear Deaf friends, I am very happy to see you for my mass. You fill my heart with joy. I really see your enthusiasm and your deep faith. Many who have all blessings do not realize the value of the blessings they have. I know all of you realize the value of all the blessings you have as you lack one blessing of hearing. But you are only physically deaf. You are all spiritually able to hear. Many people in the world can physically hear, but are spiritually deaf. It is better to spiritually able to hear than, being only able to hear physically and spiritually deaf.

God will certainly reward you for your spiritual hearing (hearing Jesus' inner voice, talking to you.) I hope all of you can hear it. That is why you are an inspiration for me. The way you read, sing (through sign language) ... all really touches me. I know you are inspiring all other churchgoers there. Your smiles, genuine love etc... are so visible to me. God loves you all. I too love you all. God loves you more than other people, because He has preferential option for the less fortunate (in your case, as you are not fortunate to hear). He loves you always. He will guide you and all of you will achieve much blessings just because you are faithful to Him. That is why I say "You are an inspiration! Please continue to be inspiring others to Love God".

Ana: What do you wish for the Deaf community?

Fr. Job: I wish for the Deaf community to love each other in the community. Support each other. You can understand each other better than anyone else. And I know all of you have inner pains. Some may have sadness and anger because of the condition. I pray for them to heal that pain and they are able to overcome all obstacles. Some may have already accepted it as a God's gift.

I believe even your deafness is a God's gift to you. Accept it as his gift and Thank Jesus for being Deaf. There is a plan for God, making you deaf... we do not know it yet! but God will reveal to you "why" later. Keep praising him, keep thanking him, believe in God. Second, would be to believe in your self. When God does not give certain gift, he compensates it by giving other gifts. God has compensated you with other gifts.

I don’t know what they are. You have to find them out and improve them. You have many gifts and talents. You can be more loving, more sympathetic... to suffering humanity.....by sharing the gifts which God has given you. And I believe that some of you will be great and famous one day. And some of you will touch the hearts of many. And you are already inspiring many. I am also proud of you, how you could defeat the obstacles which were on your way and you were able to manage well and have good achievements.

Ana: Thank you very much for your kind words.

Fr. Job: You are welcome and God bless you always.

(Ana Arce)

Monday, November 17, 2008