Mikko Aniel, 21, or Mikko for short, hails from Lopez, Quezon. He graduated from the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP)-Manila with Bachelor of Science degree, major in Information Technology.
Mikko is now based in Manila and works as an associate account manager for NetSuite Inc., a software company.
Mikko grew up thinking Mass is boring and a Sunday obligation that was difficult to comply with.

His Story

I was not the religious type. At home, we prayed together, but I went to church only on special occasions, which was fine with me because I found listening to sermons boring.

I reasoned there were more important things to do than spend an hour in church. I saw the Mass as an unnecessary ritual, a burden for Catholics.

I went to college in Manila and I would go to Mass on my own volition. I went only when it was convenient and when I needed favors.

But because of my tight class schedule, I found it challenging to go on Sundays. Then, there were times when I wanted to go but there wouldn’t be a friend to go with. Then, I would think I had a strong relationship with God anyway, so I didn’t need to go to church. I didn’t need to hear Mass.

Finding The Feast

In 2012, I felt my life was in disarray. I experienced challenges in life. I began to see myself as a big failure.

Why not, when I started getting low grades in school. I couldn’t fulfill my duties as a student leader. And my relationships were failing.

One day, my friend Manelyn Alura invited me to attend Feast Manila. In July of the same year, I agreed to go.

The moment I stepped inside the theater, I knew I had stumbled into something beautiful, the beginning of something spectacular — my journey with the Lord.

I thought to myself, this indeed is the happiest place on Earth! I got a sense that it was a place where broken hearts get healed. That moment, I felt that God was giving me a second chance. He is, after all, the God of second chances.

I am glad that He touched my heart and opened my eyes that day. I’m thankful He led me to The Feast. Now, I have lots of friends in my new faith community. Friends I met in the Lovelife retreat, in my Light Group (LG), who journey with me in my faith walk. I’m glad to be part of this LG that celebrates life. We meet every week to pray, share how God’s Word apply in our daily grind.

Back to the Church

This indeed is the happiest place on Earth!

Through my constant attendance at The Feast, I now see the Mass differently. I am like a child called to dinner, to dine with the Father and to receive sacramental nourishment for me to be spiritually healthy.

I now believe that attending the Mass is not an obligation but it is for my spiritual sustenance. It is my way of saying, “Lord, you are my top priority. You first.”

For me, going to Mass is the best way to remember the One who laid down His life so that I may have eternal life. Sunday is now the oasis of my week to get recharged, be nourished, and feel my deep connection to the Father.