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Youth ministries to re-enact Christmas story through Panunuluyan

By Myrna S. Bermudo

Inspired by the accounts of Jesus Christ’s nativity in the gospels, the members of the St. Anne Parish Youth Ministry (PYM) in Magarao are all tied up. On December 24, at seven in the evening, they will present the Panunuluyan through a musical play inside the parish church.

The parish of St. Anne has been doing this since 2019. Their chosen theme for this year’s Panunuluyan is “Satuyang pangapudan, kita maging istaran kan mga nangangaipuhan”.

“This theme was chosen because of the generosity demonstrated by various individuals and organizations to help other people in this time of pandemic crisis, “ shared Marianne Lyn B. Elvira of PYM Magarao. “ With this activity we would like to inspire everyone, especially our kapwa- jovenes to embrace the joy of giving and loving despite the difficulties we are all facing every day. Isn’t this the true spirit of Christmas? Isn’t this the celebration which we, as Christians, need to practice in our daily lives?”

The Parish Youth Ministry of Saint Anthony of Padua Parish will also conduct a presentation entitled, “Panunuluyan 2022: Kuwento ng Pag-ibig at Pag-asa”, a theatrical performance along the streets of Camaligan to bestow the true essence of the birth of Christ. It will be performed on December 23, 6 pm at the Camaligan Event Center/Plaza and on December 24, 8: 30pm at the Parish Church of Saint Anthony of Padua.

Panunuluyan is a dramatization of the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They searched for shelter or a suitable place for Mary to give birth. Many innkeepers rejected them until they found a stable or a manger where Jesus was born.

In Luke’s gospel, this is the account of the nativity: “And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,  to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child,  and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,  because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2: 1-14)

Group photo of the cast of Panunuluyan in St. Anne Parish in Magarao. They will present the dramatization of Christ’s nativity inside the parish church on December 24 as the community awaits for the midnight mass. Around 50 members of the parish youth ministry and some volunteers are the involved in this year’s Panunuluyan including the actors and all who helped behind the scenes. PYM Magarao

In some parishes, the characters of Mary and Joseph would walk in the streets, knock at selected houses to beg for shelter, who rejects them, until they found a stable (at the church) where Mary will give birth. Families would often request that their homes be visited to represent the innkeepers who cannot provide lodging for the couple.Most of the dialogues are sung.

The Panunuluyan in Magarao, a musical presentation inside the parish church is produced, directed and portrayed by the parish youth ministry. This year, the youth in the town of Magarao, ages 18-25, were invited to join the cast and production staff. . Around fifty youth are involved including the actors and all who helped behind the scenes. They are all volunteer youth of Magarao, St. Anne Antioch Community and Parish Youth Ministry members.

“By engaging the youth, we want to encourage them to participate in church activities, build and strengthen their spiritual relationship with God, “ said Sofia Nicole C. Paaño (the director). “By presenting the Christmas story, the parish youth ministry would like the community to understand the true essence of Christmas and celebrate it with deeper meaning.”

Fr. Balbino Gumabao, Jr., the parish priest of Magarao Panunuluyan guides and oversees during practices. He also provided insights for the improvement of the musical presentation.

“It is an honor to be given the opportunity to portray one of the most significant figures in Christianity. It allows me to appreciate more the journey of Joseph and Mary in giving birth to Jesus Christmas. It also deepens my spiritual relationship with God. Mary was seen as a humble and obedient woman. Without any hesitation, she said “YES” to the calling and entrusted her life to God’s plan,” said Jobelle Riva (as Mary)

“For two years portraying Joseph, I had learned many lessons. The group helped me gain self-confidence. We were able to establish a connection like a family. Our relationships with each other became solid enough to empower other youth to serve others. I was also encouraged to live my life in accordance with His (GOD’s) teachings. I hope and pray that we use God’s gift of talents and wisdom in our own special ways and to serve other people, “ shared Kobe Lucero (as Joseph).

For the PYM of Camaligan, their Panunuluyan has three main objectives: “ To dramatize the journey of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus Christ; To provide an avenue for the youth to share and enhance their talents and to remind the audience that love and hope will prevail amidst adversaries,” said Angela Ojeda, member of the Youth Ministry in St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Camaligan. “Panunuluyan has been a yearly tradition for 22 years in the parish since 2000. Due to the pandemic, the play was done inside the church only. Now, it will be presented again on the streets in various places. Panunuluyan in Camaligan is composed of acting, singing, and dancing.”

Members of the youth ministry of Camaligan are the participants of Panunuluyan. To prepare for the Christmas tradition, they underwent youth formation.

“Gratitude goes to Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Mojica, PYM adviser, project heads and the PYM members for the all -out support in presenting this Christmas tradition, “ adds Ms. Ojeda.

(With Sofia Nicole C. Paaño- Director, Jobelle E. Riva as Mary and Marianne Lyn B. Elvira - Coordinator of PYM Magarao and Angela Ojeda of PYM Camaligan.)


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