Denelyn Loterte, 28, single, lives in Antipolo City.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Technical Teacher Education degree, major in English. And for a while, she taught English in grade school and high school.
But Denelyn loves public speaking and writing. So she would have time for these activities, she prayed for a home-based job with higher pay. Some 30 days after she filed her resignation, she found a home-based job.
Denelyn also went through a phase of searching for a church service where she could really feel God. It took a while for this prayer to be answered.
‘Is This What God Wants?’
I belong to a Catholic family. We attended Mass only on occasions like birthdays, Christmas, Palm Sunday, and Easter. And when we did attend, we left even before the priest gave his final blessing.
I have been to various religious groups seeking for something. I could not figure it out before, but deep down in my heart, I knew there was more into this life.
A friend invited me to attend a non-Chritian service and I attended just to please her.
I also attended various Christian services, enjoying the lively praise and worship songs, but still feeling disconnected to God throughout the talks.
I remember, I first felt connected with God when I was in fourth year high school. I attended a leadership seminar held by the Alagad ni Maria, a community of priests whose apostolate is evangelizing the youth through Samahang Likha Para sa Kabataan ng Ating Bayan (SLK). It was the first time I really felt close to Jesus. I also learned to revere the Blessed Virgin Mary and to pray the Rosary.
One time, I attended a Christian service. To my dismay, the pastor degraded Mama Mary asking why Catholics adored her when she was just a mere human being. I thought the preaching was divisive.
In my mind, I asked, “Is this what God wants? Is this what Jesus teaches? Pitting religious groups against each other?”
I went home with a heavy heart and did not go back to that group.
I then asked God, “Is there a Catholic group that has Mass, talks, and lively worship?”
Finding The Feast
One Sunday morning, at 8 a.m., I turned on the television to look for an anime or any good TV program.
I happened to go to IBC 13 and saw a young preacher speaking. His words were so kind and gentle, yet so powerful, I wanted to hear more. I then learned that the preacher was Bro. Bo Sanchez, and the prayer gathering was called The Feast being held live at the Philippine International Convention Centre (PICC). The time for the second session was flashed on screen.
I was like, “I am attending!”
I jumped off my seat, took a bath, and dressed up.
I texted friends and asked for directions to PICC. I received text messages from my friends giving me two directions. I decided to follow the first instruction— go to Taft via MRT. But instead of riding in a jeepney, from there, I took a taxi to PICC. Easy right?
I felt so welcomed and so loved at The Feast. In the first few months that I was attending the gathering, I always found myself crying.The talks were like really intended for me. I remember I prayed for a Catholic fellowship similar to the non-Catholic services, and I realized, The Feast was the answer to my prayer. I knew then I no longer needed to go and search for other religious groups —because I found all that I had been looking for at The Feast.
I have been attending The Feast since 2011. I served at the Training Ministry and when it was reorganized as the Formation Ministry, I also volunteered as a servant there. I also served with Campus Missions, but I had to quit as I got busy at work and other training courses that I had to attend.
My friends in the ministries and I formed a small group like the Light Group and we now meet to discuss our reflections on The Feast talks, share our concerns, and pray for each other.
Back to the Church
In my heart, I know now that the Catholic Faith reflects Jesus’ teaching of acceptance and belongingness. The Catholic Church may not be perfect— as all human beings who are part of the Church are not perfect— but I feel at home when I am in a Catholic church.
Most of the priests I know do not condemn other religious sects. Sometimes, I am even surprised to witness their love for others regardless of their religious orientation.
I love being Catholic especially now that we have Pope Francis who is showing us Catholics how to be really Christ-like.
I do believe in God now not because the Church or other people told me to do so. I believe now because I believe. I’ve experienced God’s love and mercy in my life and no matter what others may say about my Faith, I will just smile and be patient with them. Because I understand them. God has been patient with me in my times of wandering, seeking, questioning Him, until I found the answer. I know they will, too. So who am I to judge them?
Right now, I am contemplating on what vocation to choose—entering a religious life, single blessedness, or the married life.
I am attending Mass in my parish church and I stay in the adoration chapel more often now, to listen to God’s directions for me.