Created by Mr. Jan Robin Rodriguez in February 2020, a Messenger chat group that was supposed to serve as a platform for updates and announcements regarding SNDMFI’s annual lenten pilgrimage became a sanctuary where friends and members of the foundation gather together in prayer.
Due to the pandemic, the annual pilgrimage did not push through. Social gatherings and celebrations were restricted. All were locked up in their respective residences as per the government’s mandate. But as the Filipino saying goes, “Kung gusto, maraming paraan. Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan.” As one family in this foundation, a pandemic cannot simply stop us.
In the meantime, the chat group became a platform for updates and announcements until March 24, 2020 when Roberto Villanueva initiated the praying of the Holy Rosary, which was an idea supported by SNdMFI President, Jose Edwin Maclang. Eventually, other members of the chat group consisted of Mrs. Cecille Guevara, Engr. Tina Maclang-Gonzales, Mr. Noel Flores, Mr. Erick Torralba, among others, also participated in the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary every six o’clock in the evening.
(Don B’s “6PM Guys!” daily text. A reminder for all the members to get ready for the 6PM recitation of the Holy Rosary.)
I can vividly remember that the praying of the Holy Rosary in the chat group started with just text messages until such time when beautiful prayer photo layouts with matching images of the Blessed Virgin Mary from her different titles were also shared.
It was Erick Torralba who always incorporated beautiful images of Our Lady in his Hail Mary prayers. On the one hand, Manny Castro always supplied us with beautiful images of either the saint of the day or some plants from his garden in Carcar City in Cebu added with an evening greeting. There were many times that we shared our food through photo documentations. After praying the Holy Rosary, we always greeted each other with pleasantries.
As Tina Gonzales said, “I remember during the early days of the group, we would celebrate birthdays by sending photos – usually ng food na associated sa birthday, balloons, may pa-fireworks pa!” Indeed, there were virtual celebrations that happened in the group. If social celebrations can not be done physically, there are online platforms or applications that can reunite people. Tina also pointed out that this humble Rosary chat group became a platform where many cordial relationships developed.
One of Erick Torralba’s Hail Mary Prayer photo layouts with matching beautiful portrait of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
A sweet evening greeting of Manny Castro with a photo of his beautiful plant from his garden and some added information.
Until today, the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary is still being done. It has been uninterrupted since March 2020. While this pandemic shattered many lives, this chat group remained intact through the passage and tests of time. It only proves that we still fly to the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary through the Holy Rosary, especially during this global health crisis. May our intentions be answered by the Lord through the intercession of Our Lady.
About the writer
Middle high school student at Immaculate Conception Shool for Boys; One of the 500 Young Missionaries of the Diocese of Malolos; An active parishoner; A devotee of Sto. Niño de Malolos; Contributor at SNdMFI official blog.