Sto Nino Mother’s Day Event 18 May 2013
Good afternoon and welcome to the 3rd annual Sto Nino Mother’s Day celebration. Although, this is a special celebration with a focus on mothers, we have invited ladies and even the families to come together and join us for this celebration.
Every year we endeavour to have different themes for this gathering. Three questions that I was asked in the past two year events:
1st: What is the purpose of the celebration?
2nd: What do you hope to achieve?
3rd: Milestones on these celebrations
The Sto Nino Devotees group has been in existence for the last 19 years. Our activities range from weekly religious devotions in church and weekly household visitations thru the pilgrimage of a blessed statue of Sto Nino provided by the Sto Nino Trust. We now have 16 area coordinators spread across Auckland and as far as Tauranga and Invercargill and we are working on engaging devotees in Christchurch and Wellington.
These gatherings, although religious in nature, is where our outreach to communities began. Our outreach involve assistance and guidance to new migrants, especially families, our assistance to the sick and the elderly and partnership with government programmes, especially programmes for the youth.
On top of these religious gatherings, we have a created an opportunity where families can gather together for special events that give recognition to the contribution of the parents, fathers and mothers, not only in building their own families but also in helping build better communities. Thus, we have Mother’s Day celebration in May and Father’s Day celebration in September. However, we do not stop there. We also have an event which highlights our young achievers. In this event, we introduce new skills that most of the young people have not experienced but for some it is an opportunity for them to enhance their existing skills. All these celebrations are geared towards bringing families together.
In this age and time where both mothers and fathers have to find gainful employment due to economic reasons, we believe that organizing these family gatherings can help parents realize that they to make time to set things aside and reflect on what they have accomplished for their families and how the young people can appreciate their hard work. This has given an inspiration to younger couples.
I have been observing closely these family celebrations which we started 3 years ago, I feel that we should broaden our outreach to those who do not have families here in NZ. Thus from next year, the May celebrations will involve all women, younger ladies and the not-so-young and the September celebrations will involve all men, not just fathers, but all men, the young and the “matured”, so to say, in our communities.
And we have opened this to all other cultures, not just Filipinos.
May I share with you some feedback\comments on the past two year’s family and youth celebrations:
From mothers and their families (post mother’s day event):
- “I never thought that my husband and my family have greatly treasured all the things I have done for the family.”
- “Although she does not have a family here, she has become a mother to many in the communities.”
- “Our mother was widowed since we were still at a very young age. We can never thank her enough for bringing us up because she provided all the love, care, protection and livelihood that mostly both father and mother do together.”
From fathers and their families (post father’s day event):
- “Thank you for providing a place and time for us to publicly recognize and appreciate all that our father has done for us and for the community he is involved in.”
- “Very uplifting and entertaining.”
From young people (post youth day celebrations):
- “ Thank you for giving us a chance to share our life experiences with other young people in the communities”. (youth speakers)
- “You gave us a chance to appreciate the upbringing that our family has provided for us.”
May we continue to appreciate and recognize each and member of our family and be an inspiration to young families in our midst.
May God bless us all.