Baguio City — A member couple of the seminary’s Family Apostolate Program renewed their marriage vows on the occasion of their 35th wedding anniversary at the seminary chapel last Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019.
Mr. and Mrs. James and Fanny Abad reiterated their love and commitment for each other before God, family members, and friends during the 3 PM mass officiated by the priest-in-charge of the Family Apostolate, Fr. Ralph Laureen S. Ciceron, OAR, at the Nuestra Señora del Pilar chapel.
“There were many challenges in our marriage these past 35 years,” said Mrs. Abad, who bore her husband four sons, all grownups now. “But we keep Christ the center of our marriage and our family, and so we are able to make it through.”
Proof of their Christ-centeredness was that four other priests concelebrated in the holy mass, including two of their foster sons in the Family Apostolate Program: Fr. Hector Gonzales, OAR who gave the homily, and Fr. Frederick Galwagao, who presided the renewal of marital vows.
Fr. Galwagao, who is now a diocesan priest serving in the parish of Mayoyao in Ifugao, expressed his gratitude to his foster parents while he was still a seminarian at Casiciaco for “being there always for me.”
“I was sent out of Casiciaco. I felt lost. I was lost. But they were there for me, encouraging me to seek my path back to the Lord. And so here I am, sharing in their joys in this milestone moment in their married life, giving testimony that vocation to the priesthood or religious life is very much nurtured and nourished in the healthy environment of a loving, Christian family,” Fr. Galwagao said.
The Abad couple first joined Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary’s Family Apostolate Program in 2003. They already have at least four foster sons who are now priests in the religious and diocesan ways of life.
Aside from Fr. Gonzales and Fr. Galwago, the other two are Fr. Elpedio Sarita, OAR who is now a missionary in Africa, and Fr. Norman Ezequiel Abello who is now a member of the Order of St. Augustine and is currently assigned in Spain.
Rev. Jovy Gallego, OAR, will soon be added to this list as he is due for priestly ordination this coming December 7, 2019.
Established in the year 2000, the Family Apostolate Program is designed to place every seminarian of Casiciaco in a Christian family setting, the “domestic church”, and so help the seminarian grow in his social and cultural dimensions, and clarify and enrich his vocation.
This year’s Family Apostolate Program has 17 member families which cater to Casiciaco’s 74 seminarians from all over the country.
Photo caption: Mr. and Mrs. James Abad with their seminarian foster sons. Photo courtesy of Fray Jovy Gallego, OAR.