Urban poor kids join 29th annual ‘Panunuluyan’
A total of 350 urban poor children marched in a beat of joyous Christmas songs from Plaza Roma, Intramuros, to Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila covered court Friday for the 29th annual Panunuluyan.
The Panunuluyan re-enacts the search of Joseph and Mary for a shelter where the child Jesus might be born.
Tina Jurado, Urban Poor Associates (UPA) community organizer, said, “We see this event in the light of the urban poor children search for homes, peace and a decent life.”
Panunuluyan’s 2015 theme is “Minsan si Hesus ay Naging Bata (Jesus once was a child). The group believes that the genuine spirit of Christmas can be found in the children—they are our little Jesus— hence they must be given care and love,” Jurado said.
She added, “The theme also asked us to let the little child in all of us free to where we can find simple joy in sharing and true happiness in God’s presence.”
The holy mass was officiated by Caritas Internationalis President and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle concelebrated by Fr. Robert Reyes at 9:30 a.m.
Cardinal Tagle in his homily said, “Society must help in giving education, love, nutrition, care and an environment suitable for children. Let us remember that Jesus once was a child and these children are his friends, brothers and sisters.”
The Cardinal blessed 350 white balloons where children wrote their rights, hopes and dreams.
Fr. Reyes, the running priest and UPA spiritual adviser, said children are beautiful because they reflect the truth and truth is beautiful. ”Let us look at children again as we look at Christ child and realize that the world without truth is ugly. A world without truth is violent and aggressive. A world without truth is selfish. And that is why Jesus during Christmas and each day of the year reminds adults, unless you become little children you will not enter the kingdom of God.”
After the Mass, the covered court was transformed into a playing area, where it has photo-booth, face paint booth, food booth and gift packs booth.
Mary joy Delotavo, a 10-year-old urban poor child, was so happy that she was one of the chosen kids from Estero de San Miguel Legarda that was part of the annual Panunuluyan. She was told by the elderly of estero that she will be attending a Mass for children, so when she saw that there were games and food, her smile is all over her face
Joy Silverio, a mother of three from Juan De Moriones, Binondo, brought her 7-month-old baby and 4-year-old Angeline to take part in Panunuluyan celebration. She said Angeline was so excited when she learned that they will be given free decent meals for the day.
In parting, Denis Murphy said, “urban poor children face terrible problems such as violence, eviction, homelessness, lack of opportunity and hunger. This Panunuluyan is a reminder that we must take care of them. They can only be the future of the country if they are able to harness their best potentials.”
The event was sponsored by the Urban Poor Associates (UPA), Community Organizers Multiversity (COM), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA).
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