Parish promotes market, prison Masses
The St. Martin of Tours Parish in Bocaue holds Masses at the Bocaue Public Market every first Sunday of the month. ST. MARTIN OF TOURS PARISH
By Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban
April 10, 2018
St. Martin of Tours Parish – Diocesan Shrine of Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa (SMTP) in this town is heeding Pope Francis’ call to go to “the peripheries” by launching a program for spiritual needs of parishioners in challenging settings.
Since September of last year, SMTP’s pastoral council launched “Sambayanan, Magsimba tayo sa Palengke” (People, let us attend Church in the Market). These Masses are held every early morning on first Sundays of the month at the Bocaue Public Market.
According to SMTP parochial vicar Fr. Daniel Coronel, “We conducted these Masses in the market to let the people there to know that they are important to the Church. We know that they are unable to go to Masses in the parish every Sunday because they need to be in their workplaces to have a living.”
He added: “Indeed, it was really difficult at first. Preparations were needed and a proper space in the venue was set for the Masses. Yet with the efforts of the market vendors themselves, they are now the ones finding people to come and even serve during the Masses.”
Also held by the parish every first Monday of the month are prison Masses held at Bocaue Municipal Jail.
“This program was held in previous years by the parish priests. However, we opted to really intensify it by means of encouraging the prison warden and the inmates themselves to be one with God through the celebration of the Holy Eucharist,” explained the priest.
According to him, the parish also wanted to assure the imprisoned that they are “not left behind among the sons and daughters of God.”
“Above everything else, we are there to let them feel that they hold on the Jesus, not the prison bars they are in; that it is Jesus who will truly set them free,” added Coronel.
Bringing others closer to Christ
These Mass programs for the less fortunate are a blessing for the parish community, according to the priest, since “it is an opportunity for the parishioners themselves to give importance to people who have less.”
He noted that it is in this realization that the parish community in Bocaue is striving to “bring other people closer to Jesus through the efforts being done to get them more involved in the Church.”
Despite the difficulties of conducting the Masses, he said, “We do hope and pray that the faithful will truly appreciate the need to help their less fortunate brothers and sisters to feel Christ’s presence in their lives.”