Azucena Magana, or Zena, 29, was born in Makati, and raised in Pasig and in Mandaluyong, where she lives today. She has three siblings and she is the youngest.
She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at the St. Paul University in Manila in March 2007.
Zena said her family seldom went to church. In those rare moments, she remembers that her eldest sister, Gigi, was the one who took her to church.
I went to Doña Pilar C. Gonzaga Elementary School in Mandaluyong City. Parish church workers came to our class, giving short talks about God. They also invited us to volunteer for parish activities. I have to admit I only joined to get extra points in school, just a favor.
While I got the idea that going to Mass every Sunday was a Catholic obligation, I didn’t take it seriously because my family was also lax about it. If Ate Gigi would take me with her, then I’d go. If not, Sunday was spent playing,working on my school assignments or projects, or shopping in malls.
My perspective changed when I entered college. I went to a Catholic
university as a working student where Ate Gigi also worked. There I was surrounded by priests and nuns, got exposed to noon Masses, frequent recollections, and retreats. I discovered the beauty and rudiments of my Catholic faith. I found spiritual awakening and my faith started to deepen. I learned to love praying the Holy Rosary, which I now do every night.
Finding the Feast
I would see my friends posting about The Feast on Facebook and I got curious about it. I mentioned this to my good friend and colleague at St. Paul’s, Myrlinda Rose Ngo. She is an active member of the The Feast Bay Area’s Awesome Kids Ministry. So I asked her to take me to The Feast.
I will never forget the day I first visited The Feast at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) because it was my birthday– October 23, 2012. I was going through challenges in life back then and was craving for spiritual growth. I felt uplifted after. Despite that, it took two years before I could go back.
In 2014, wanting to learn sign language, I enrolled at the College of St. Benilde and took up a one-year course on Filipino Sign Language (FSL). One time, there was this event in school called Sing It with Signs. As I was really interested in sign language, I attended the affair, along with some classmates. This is where I met Miss Naty Natividad, coordinator of the Deaf Life Skills Development Program. After the session, she approached us and invited us to practise sign language at The Feast.
In my desire to improve my signing skills, I did not hesitate to accept Miss Naty’s invitation.
Back at The Feast, I had a good time because I found a place where I could enhance my signing skills.
Yes, I must admit that at first, my only purpose in attending the prayer gathering was to improve my skills. But, as time went by, my purpose changed. As I got immersed in my service, I began to love attending the Mass and listening to the talks. I also realized and remembered why I studied FSL in the first place -– not for my own sake, but really to help the deaf.
Now, it warms my heart that I am contributing to the spreading of the Gospel and bringing more people closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Back to The Church
I now always look forward to the Mass and receive God’s message for me and to learn something new about God’s word and our faith. I am now a regular churchgoer on Sundays. I may not have a perfect attendance but I try as much as possible to go every Sunday. In a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I would rate myself as 7.
I also make it a point to go to Confession every year before a retreat.
I now have a closer relationship with God and my faith in Him grows deeper and stronger every day.