40 Years a Priest and Pitching for the Catholic Ministry for Deaf People (CMDP)

Forty years ago today I was ordained Jesuit priest by Terrence Cardinal Cooke in the Chapel of Fordham University, New York.  I said my first Mass with family and friends on the 77 floor of the UN Plaza Hotel in a suite that had been arranged by my sister, Cristina.  Fr. Joe O’Hare, S.J., preached the homily.

It has since been a fascinating journey of celebrating the sacraments of the Lord’s love and helping people hear God’s Word.  The journey has brought me to the urban poor of San Pedro Resettlement Area in Laguna, to Berchmanskolleg in Munich, Germany, to Jesuitenkolleg in Innsbruck, Austria,  to the students of Ateneo de Manila, to the urban poor of Commonwealth, Quezon City, to San Jose Seminary, to Loyola School of Theology, to the Ateneo de Naga University and now to Ateneo de Davao University.  Its most precious moments have been in the celebration of the Eucharist and in preaching the Word of God in the churches of Kristong Hari San Pedro and Commonwealth, in the chapels of San Jose Seminary and Loyola School of Theology, in the Church of Christ the King of Ateneo de Naga, in the Chapel of the Assumption of the Ateneo de Davao, and in intimate Masses with Jesuit communities and with my mother, my father, and my family. For all these blessings, I am profoundly grateful.

Among the special privileges of my life has been to celebrate Mass for the Catholic Ministry for the Deaf (CMDP) now in Quezon City.  Two decades ago, when the deaf ministry was still under Jaime Cardinal Sin, Jandi Arboleda asked me to be a caretaker for this organization while he went for higher studies abroad.  It was only supposed to have been for a year or so.  But I have been on its board ever since, serving as its Chair till four years ago when we all agreed that it would be better if its bishop, Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao, would chair the ministry.  Happily, he agreed.  Today the CMDP continues to provide religious education for the deaf in public schools.  It labors so that the deaf too may hear and understand the Word of God.  To the extent that its resources allow, it provides the deaf scholarships, counseling, and helps them in situations of abuse.

Throughout these years, I have always marveled how God sustains the CMDP through benefactors, big and small.  Today, the CMDP urgently needs funds.  So I asked my sister, Cristina, to please help. With Bishop Ongtioco, Cristina is now organizing a fundraiser featuring the Manila premiere of “The Wong Kids in The Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!” by American Korean Lloyd Suh in the small theatre of CCP on Thursday Sept 15.  “The Wong Kids…” is described by the New York Times as “exuberantly imaginative…embeds its messages in fun, and its insistence on being extraordinary proves the upside of standing out.” While it was written for young audiences, adults will also relate to many themes in found in its story.  Tickets are now available.

Your generous financial support will not just allow CMDP to continue its work for the Deaf; you will also be among the first in the country to watch “The Wong Kids…” directed by Ma-Yi’s Founder/Director Ralph Peña. Or you can underwrite a special child to attend a performance, which will be translated by the signing students of St. Benilde College.

For more information on this event, including tax exemption for your donation, please contact Tootsie de los Santos or Angie Tan at 738-2385 or at 09175127704. You may also email  cmdp_89@yahoo.com.

Please help us help CMDP. Help the deaf hear God’s Word of love!

About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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