In the Eucharistic celebration today which is dedicated to the departed loved ones and which also marks the start of the second half of the term, the mass main presider, Fr. Sonny Arevalo of the Society of Don Bosco (SDB), emphasized the essence of “merong forever” the among the members of the Junior High School community.
Speaking the language of the millennials, Fr. Arevalo used the highly debatable generic “merong forever” to refer to the “love of God” for the people in the context of the Catholic Church’s celebration of All Saint’ and All Souls’ Day.
He asked the community, while everyone’s eyes are closed, to imagine what it is like to be inside a sepulcher or to be six feet under the ground. He said, “In this dark, lonely, lifeless world of the dead, the light that may shine inside is the love of God which is ‘forever’. God’s love is forever.”
Fr. Arevalo further demonstrated “merong forever” in his personal encounters with several faithful in the former parish he was missioned to: an elderly couple wanting their vacant grave built next to each other to be blessed even before they die; a woman advanced in age whose husband had died a month after they got married decided not marry for the second time, but will wait to be welcomed in the afterlife by her husband.
In the mass, a symbolic box wrapped in purple cloth was placed near the altar. The box contains the names of the departed loved ones of the Ateneo de Naga JHS community members offered through the annual Philippine Jesuit Aid Association (PJAA) Drive.
The Ateneo de Naga Pacol Campus is under the parochial jurisdiction of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Carolina, Naga City. The said parish is under the administration of the Don Bosco fathers; that is why not only Jesuit priests say mass for the school.
Towards the end of Fr. Arevalo’s homily, he emphasized the importance of St. Paul’s theological stronghold – faith, hope, and love. He said, “We may lose our faith among the people and in God; we may lose hope in the better and brighter future; but love remains forever because God is love; and He is pure love.”