Sheryll Joy F. Viguilla, 32, was born in Manila and now lives in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. She graduated from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila with a Bachelor’s degree, major in Mass Communication. She works at GMA 7 as associate producer for the morning show, Unang Hirit.
Shelly is the second in a brood of four. She says she’s blessed to have devout Catholic parents. She was brought up in a wonderful family, a family she wouldn’t trade for the world.
She went to a Catholic school for primary education Still, she came to a point in life when she questioned the need to go to church and hear Mass.
FROM Kinder 1 to Grade 6 I attended Mass every Sunday in church, and every first Friday of the month in school. We also had monthly confessions, daily school prayers. Every October, we prayed the Rosary daily. I went through the motions of these religious rituals because we were required to do them.
One thing I liked about the Mass was singing from the book of praise. Other than that, I’d just come and go from one Mass to another, leaving without remembering receiving any spiritual nourishment.
For college, I went to a state university, where there was no requirement to hear Mass or pray the Rosary. So, I felt liberated from what I felt then was simply my Catholic obligation.
In school, I didn’t cheat, I had clean fun. I was a good girl— or so I thought.
My mom, however, constantly reminded me to go to Mass. So I just had to go to church— occasionally.
I finished college in 2010 and landed a job at GMA-7— my dream studio.
Busy with work, I just didn’t have time to go to church anymore.
Okay, honest, I didn’t give time for church. But my mom, bless her, didn’t stop encouraging me to attend Mass. She often reminded me how God had been so faithful to me— giving me a comfortable life, a happy family.
She would say, “How can you not spend an hour with Him, to thank Him?”
I didn’t listen. I went my own ways.
In 2011, I often travelled with my friends at work—two of them members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo.
One time, we went to Bohol. On Day 1, we planned to visit tourist spots, of course. But these two opted to miss the day tour just so they could attend the Iglesia service.
With raised eyebrows, the rest of us asked, “Why come all the way down to a beautiful place and miss out on the tour? Weren’t we here to have a good time and enjoy?”
In another travel spree, this time in Hong Kong, our two Iglesia friends again demonstrated their faith. Dead tired from the day tour, we all slept late and simply stayed in bed the next morning. But these girls woke up early, took a shower, and went to church.
I was impressed and inspired. I also felt kind of guilty that I neglected going to my church. So, from then on, I made an effort to attend Mass. To lighten up the burden, I met up with my Catholic high school friends and we agreed to hear Mass together. There were many Sundays that I was successful. But then there were days when I felt lazy to go. And sadly, on busy weekends, going to Mass wasn’t my priority.
Finding The Feast
Fast forward to 2014. By this time, Grace, my best friend since grade school, has been regularly attending The Feast with her husband Zandro.
One time, Grace and Zandro, along with my parents, were going to attend a Marriage Encounter in Tagaytay. I asked if I could go with them. But Grace told that the seminar was only for married couples.
I insisted but it got me nowhere. After that, I thought nothing of it.
Then, a few months after, Grace called me up about this retreat for singles called LoveLife. She suggested I go. I wasn’t keen on joining but I tried to register. Unfortunately, there was no more slot in the batch I was signing in.
“Maybe next time,” I thought.
Then, sometime later, a friend from work, Athena, tagged me on Facebook about a LoveLife retreat sponsored by the Singles Ministry of Feast Bay Area. It turned out to be the same retreat Grace told me about. So I tried signing up again, and this time, I got in.
The talks in the retreat made me realize who God really is, why He created me, how He has never abandoned me— even as I had been unfaithful to Him.
Finally, my mom’s words sunk in. I realized indeed, how blessed I am, for God has given me a loving and wonderful family, my dream job, and all the comforts in life.
During the time for prayer and reflection, I really felt God’s Presence, His warm embrace simply reducing me to tears.
The retreat was held on a Saturday. Before it ended, the leaders invited us to join The Feast the following day. I attended.
That was in July 2014. Since then, my Sundays have never been the same.
Because of the retreat, I met friends I now consider dear to me -–my big sisters in Christ who are journeying with me in my faith walk. They’re like God’s gift to me and I thank Him for bringing us together.
Back in the Church
Today, I travel all the way from Bulacan to Pasay City to attend Feast Bay Area which includes the Mass. For me, that’s a feat because a few years back, I couldn’t attend Mass in our parish church which was just several steps away from our house.
Now, when I go on weekend vacation out of town, one of the things I first ask from the concierge in the resort hotel I am staying in is the location of the nearest Catholic church. I don’t want to miss out on a chance to offer my thanksgiving and listen to His word for me in the Mass.
I never imagined myself doing production work for the Lord but that’s been part of my Sunday life for almost a year now.
My routine goes like this: With my soul sisters, I attend the the first session of Feast Bay Area at 8:00 a.m. led by Bro. Bo Sanchez. And then, I help out in the 11:30 a.m. session led by Bro. Migs Ramirez.
That way, I get blessed as an attendee during the first session and I am blessing others as I serve during the Singles session.
My love tank is overflowing with the amazing love and goodness of the Lord. He never stopped looking after me and calling me to be back to His loving arms. I am truly grateful to the people who were instrumental in my journey and to the people at The Feast who are God’s blessing to me
Sometimes, I wish I found my Feast family sooner. But as the saying goes, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. God has always been with me but I didn’t realize this until The Feast opened my mind and heart so that I’ve been able to let Him come into my life.