QUEZON CITY – Coming full circle, an ANCOP scholar alumnus, who had recently been ordained a priest, presided over the ANCOP Global Walk (AGW) Mass on November 18 at the Quezon Memorial Circle for an estimated 4,000+ AGW2023 walkers.
“God is so good…It was my dream to celebrate the Mass at the AGW…God gave me that blessing, that of presiding over the Mass today,” shared Fr. Rommel Brebano, Diocesan BEC Coordinator and Parochial Vicar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Caloocan.
From walker to Mass presider
Clearly emotional, Fr. Brebano, who started out in CFC – Youth for Christ (CFC-YFC) before becoming an ANCOP sponsored student, said he fondly remembers how his YFC coordinators would fetch him early in the morning for the AGW. He was still a seminarian at the time. Ordained in 2022, he noted how things have changed. “Today, I was fetched from my parish to offer Mass [at the AGW].”
Fr. Brebano said offering Mass at the AGW allowed him to reflect on his own journey. “I like looking back on how God has pieced my vocation story together.” He shared how ANCOP helped him through tough times. “Honestly, when I was still in the seminary, there was a time I was so down because of my financial struggles, but because of ANCOP, God showed me a light of hope,” he explained. The priest thanked the community for 20 years of being in CFC-YFC and 6 years of being an ANCOP scholar. “You gave me the grace of hope…You are a grace to our scholars, who surely through your goodness felt God’s goodness,” added Fr. Brebano.
Speaking on behalf of other ANCOP scholars and alumni, Fr. Brebano said, “I feel as if thank you …[is not enough]. Allow me to use the word we use in Bicol. Dios mabalos—May God repay you. For sure, what you gave us are also graces you received from God.”
After the Mass, AGW walkers stayed on the listen to inspirational messages on the theme “Arise. Go. Walk!” AGW 2023 event head Dennis Añover shared his own personal story of how his relatively comfortable life growing up led him to apathy towards the suffering of poor Filipinos. For him, God in His mercy is giving CFC the privilege of being able to share. “…Out of His goodness, He placed me in a position to be able to extend a helping hand to others. It is not through any merit of my own or—if you think about it—even that of my family, but only through the pure grace of God,” added the lawyer and long-time ANCOP donor.
Exhorting AGW supporters from the various Metro Manila sectors, he said the AGW is not just about raising funds but about God’s love for us. “ANCOP is never just about fundraising…It is always personal,” he explained.
Loving the poor = loving Christ
Meanwhile, for ANCOP Chairman and President Rudy Gaspillo and his wife Indette, the AGW was a good chance to remind AGW participants about Jesus’ command to “feed [His] sheep.” The couple stressed that to look after the needs of the poor is to love Christ Himself.
After testimonies from a CFC family serving in ANCOP, an ANCOP contractor-turned-donor and an ANCOP scholar from Daet, Camarines Norte, the event ended with fireworks.
Kicking off at 3:30PM, the AGW2023 featured various booths at the QMC grounds, like the Live Catholic booth and the “Give a Book, Get a Book” booth where walkers could donate their pre-loved books and exchange them for books they would like to take home.