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Maximilian ministry expo 2021: Showcasing talents and missionary works

On Palm Sunday, Mar. 28, 2021, the Social Action Arm of the Archdiocese of Caceres that renders pastoral services to members of the Church behind bars will officially open its First Maximilian Ministry Expo 2021.

Pontifical blessing to participants will be bestowed by Caceres Archbishop Rolando Octavus Joven Tria Tirona, OCD,DD for the week - long event at the Immaculate Conception Parish (ICP) Patio. The theme of the event highlights the words of Jesus: I was in prison and you visited Me (Mt. 25:36).

Three-fold objectives of the expo are : to strengthen public awareness on programs and activities , showcase and help market livelihood products of Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) from four jail facilities namely: Tinangis Provincial Jail, BJMP Iriga, BJPM Tigaon ,BJMP Naga; and generate income to support programs and services of the Prison Ministry.

While PDL are behind bars, they never stop engaging with the things and activities that will make them become a better and renewed person prior to their reintegration to society. Part of the empowerment strategies are skills training and enhancement programs by various GOs and NGOs wherein making various products boost their confidence, enhance artistic ability and skills, help augment income while they are still under custody and awaiting trial.

Providentially, branding a new name Maximilian Ministry derived from the Prison Patron, Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, who lived a heroic life as a missioner was suggested and voted upon by members last Valentine’s Day, February 14 at the Mary Co-Redemptrix Parish, over Caceres Commission on Prison Welfare (CCPW) for easy recall .

Walking through the ICP grounds is an exhibition on the life of St Maximilian Maria Kolbe.Biographical information on his childhood, as Franciscan Friar, establishment of the Militia Immaculata, publications to promote devotion to the Immaculate, Mission in Asia, return to Poland, imprisonment/death at Auschwitz and Canonization.

St. Maximilian is the Patron Saint of prisoners, the chemically addicted, journalists, families, the pro-life movement and those with eating disorders. Saint Pope John Paul II proclaimed him “Martyr of Charity and Patron Saint of our Difficult Age in his Canonization.”

The chronology of events of the Ministry, faith-based programs and activities, Vision-Mission, photo gallery and selected handwritten testimonies/real-life stories of men and women deprived of liberty will be featured in the exhibit with their consent that inspires and touches the heart.

The Naga City government generously assisted the Ministry by lending sound system, tents for participating exhibitors, LED equipment and overhead monitor that will feature activities, video clips, testimonies, products, donors/ sponsors, interviews and programs as well as assistance in tarpaulin and other printing works.

Equally helpful are officials and employees of DTI-Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion by digitally promoting in their social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter said activity as well as in helping market the products of inmates and other religious collaborators to expand their market presence in the borderless online marketplace.

Religious and novelty products of cooperators viz: Fazenda Da Ezperanca/Living Hope Group, Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate/ Radio Caritas, Pauline Publishing, Sisters of the Little Mission for the Deaf of the Joseph Gualandi School for Hearing Impaired, Inc., Caceres Renewal Communities and Visio knight Multimedia were likewise welcomed. Their participation in the event fosters values of inclusion, support, innovation, mutual respect and collaboration among religious and lay.

Rev. Fr. Domingo R. Florida, ICP parish priest, Rev. Fr. Anthony B. Sargento, Fr. Gerome Pelagio, jail officers, focal persons in the four jail units, PNP – Naga, Confradia De San Jose Media, sponsors, and donors, GoldPrint Publishing, Kuya Gerald, ICP employees, seminarians, and youth volunteers extended assistance in the preparation and in the duration of the expo activities. Multisectoral support which is the heart of this event inspires and empowers each one to participate, care and engage decisively to help transcend thrusts of the Maximilian Ministry.

May this great “martyr of charity”, true priest and victim of Christ, remind and inspire us to that love which “true friendship” with Christ demands, perfect love which removes all fear and hatred to carry out our mission and to share our gifts to humanity. May we consecrate our lives, families and Nation to the Blessed Virgin Mary and share in his passion, determination and faithfulness to witnessing our faith far and wide, St Maximilian Maria Kolbe, Pray for us!

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