Antonio Calonge III, Nio to friends, 33, married, holds a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education degree, major in History, from the University of Sto. Tomas.
He teaches Values Education in a Junior High School.
He is also an entrepreneur and lay preacher, and author of Ma’am May I Go Out? Practical Lessons I Learned Outside the Classrooms published by Shep-herd’s Voice Publications Inc.
He lives in Marikina City.
My MOM tried to make attending the Holy Mass as a regular Sunday habit for my sisters and me that we may be spiritually nourished. She also encouraged us to join the parish choir and the Legion of Mary— but to no avail.
For the longest time, I was described by an uncle as a “practical Christian”.
I was a practical Christian who did not hear Mass regularly, who recognized a Supreme Being, but not Jesus as a personal Lord and Saviour. I was a Christian who needed to be dragged down just to take a bath and go to church on a Sunday.
It would be worse if a basketball game that fea-tures my favorite team, Ginebra, would fall on a Sun-day.
My phase as “practical Christian” went into a serious plunge when I was in college. College life was like being “free” after a long time under my parents’ watch. In college, they say, “You own your life…” You can decide to come to class or not. You can decide who your friends will be. You can decide what groups or organizations to belong to.
What made things more complicated was when I joined a leftist youth organization where I was intro-duced to the ideologies of Socialism and Communism. I was introduced to philosophers, economists, and leaders such as John Stuart Mill (utilitarianism), and prominent socialists such as Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Jose Ma. Sison. These became the anchors of my line of thinking.
God the Father, Jesus, can never be found in my mind and in my heart. The Holy Spirit did not exist for me.
I believed, as Karl Marx said, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions… It is the opium of the people.” Religion stops people from working on their own and just depend on God as the source of their freedom from the ”oppressors.”
I also explored non-Catholic religions. I attended services of the Jehova’s Witness and the Methodists, and some Bible Study sessions. I also watched Eli Soriano’s television shows.
Finding The Feast
I have a college batchmate by the name of JC Liberian, who happens to be a preacher at The Feast.
JC and I were both Student Council officers and we were part of rival political parties. After college, we kept in touch via Facebook.
In 2009, JC sent me an FB message, inviting me to attend The Feast.
At first I declined. But after so many invites from JC, I gave in and gave The Feast a try. I attended my first Feast in 2010, at the Valle Verde Country Club ,where Bro. Bo was main speaker.
I was overwhelmed by the entire Feast event. — ushers and greeters warmly, sincerely welcoming me, the exhilarating worship songs, and the mind-blowing talks. I never thought that this kind of event was available not only in Born Again services, but also in the Catholic Church.
I’ve been attending The Feast for six years now. Right now I am serving at The Feast as an alternate preacher, worship leader, Campus Life ambassador (Campus Missions). I am also a contributor for Kerygma and FiSH magazines.
Back to the Church
Before my “conversion” back to the Catholic Church, I was looking and searching for the true reli-gion that I could be a part of.
Attending The Feast and becoming part of the Light of Jesus Family allowed me to appreciate the Catholic Faith even more. I studied more about the Catholic Faith and I was able to know and understand that it is the one true Church, founded by Jesus Himself. From St. Peter to Pope Francis, the teachings and the traditions, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Faith is such a complete package that I have ceased from searching for other religions, now and forever.