Grace Subia,24, youngest in her family, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, major in Economics, at the Central Luzon State University in Nueva Ecija.
She works as a Quality Assurance officer in a business process outsourcing (BPO) company in Metro Manila where she also lives.
Like her siblings, parents, and grandparents, Grace was baptized in a non-Catholic church. But, as she grew older and got exposed to other faiths, she had a change of heart.
I remember religiously attending church with my family in my younger days. We were close to God as we perceived Him to be. We prayed a lot as a family. At a young age, I learned to worship God and see Him as our Great Provider.
But one thing I didn’t like about our church, the crowd was composed mostly of old people singing old, sleepy songs.
I guess that’s the reason my siblings later got baptized in other religions. I remember when I was in high school, my older sister Susan tagged me along to the service of the church she had joined. I liked the service because of the lively music and young audience. I kept attending with Susan. I wanted to convert but some circumstances hindered me.
In college, I attended a Christian church and became an active member.
Then, there came a time I got exposed to the Catholic rites, one of which was the Simbang Gabi. My Catholic friends invited me to attend and out of curiosity, I went. But, I didn’t know what the rites were for, didn’t understand a thing.
After graduating from college, I found a job in Metro Manila in July 2012. At work, my supervisor invited me to attend a Christian church and I went with her every Sunday. But, when I left this job, I stopped going to this church.
Finding The Feast
In October 2013, I joined another office. There, I met Ms. Ereen Biong, who became my team leader. She talked about The Feast being held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and right away, she invited me to attend. I said yes, as I was really looking for a church. On the Sunday I was going for the first time, it rained hard. I was tempted not to go and just stay home. But, wanting to keep my word with Ms. Ereen, I went with three other colleagues.
Am I glad I did. It was my first time to step into the PICC. Awesome. And so was The Feast. I loved the music, it was lively. During the Mass, I well understood the priest’s homily, and I was touched by his message.
I didn’t know Bro. Bo Sanchez but I liked what he preached. He asked, “How can you be saved?”
I realized I didn’t know how. So, I listened to him attentively as he spoke about God’s love and mercy for us. That I need not do a thing to earn His love. Amazing!
After the session, first-time attendees like me were given a copy of the Novena to God’s Love where you are supposed to write down your dreams or petitions to God. The first dream I wrote was that I may consistently attend The Feast. And from that day on, I’ve only missed a couple. I don’t mind going alone because my Sunday is incomplete if I don’t make it to The Feast.
Attending this weekly prayer gathering has made me a better person. People close to me say they see changes in me. One who knows me well says I’m not sassy anymore and that I’ve become patient with people.
I would say I’m also bolder in my dreams now. And now, I know how to handle my finances. I have savings and investments. I have learned to appreciate simple things in life like my being under Ms. Ereen who invited me to this prayer meeting. I feel so blessed by her presence in my life. She also taught me to see how God reveals Himself in every circumstance in my life.
One example was my trip to Kuala Lumpur in April 2016 for a convention organized by the insurance company where I work part-time. My team went ahead of me and I followed. It was my first trip alone outside the country so I was a bit apprehensive.
But I believe God made sure I was taken care of. At the airport, I met Jervin Santos and his wife who kindly gave me a ride to my hotel. I found out later what great convenience the couple gave me. I had planned to just take the train. But if I did, I would have had to walk a great distance, with my luggage in tow, from the train station to my hotel. But, God sent His angels for my ease.
After that incident, I’ve learned to stop being a worry wart and allow God to do what I can’t do for myself.
Also, I am now more grateful with what I have— like the time I spend with my family and friends.
Speaking of simple things, one time, I wished to have my own rosary beads. The very next day, my friend Leah gave me one. But I didn’t know how to use it. So, I asked that God send me someone to teach me.
Last summer, on my way back from Kuala Lumpur, I met this gentleman at the airport who happened to be taking the same plane I was riding on. He helped put up my bags in the luggage compartment. We got into small talk and I found out we were in the same insurance company. What’s more, he attends Feast PICC.
Long story short, he is now my boyfriend. He’s a Catholic and he taught me how to pray the Rosary.
Joining The Church
I came to appreciate the Catholic Faith more because of The Feast. At the God Exposed series in 2014, I understood that the Sign of the Cross meant honoring God for He died on the Cross for us. I came to know about Mama Mary and the saints, too. That they serve as models of virtues, of righteous living. That Catholics do not worship the saints, but they respect the statues and images, like we cherish photos of our loved ones.
From Fr. Alex Balatbat, one of the regular priests at The Feast, I learned about the importance of the Holy Communion. That what the Eucharist offers is the Body and Blood of Jesus and He is giving Himself to me. So who was I not to receive Him?
After learning about all these, I started to make the Sign of the Cross during the Mass, and when I prayed before and after meals. And then I desired to become a Catholic.
I asked my parents’ permission that I be baptized a Catholic and they gave me their blessings. I already asked Miss Ereen to be my godmother. As of this writing, I am waiting to get started with my Catechism class so I could receive the rites of Baptism and Confirmation and finally become a true blue Catholic.