|2005 Miss International turned actress Precious Lara Quigaman as Miriam with the young JP.|
Christmas is all about hope and sharing. It is the season of joy and of course, for most hard-working office employees, the month of December is also the time when the much awaited 13th month pay or bonus will be given. You must have received your so-called Christmas bonus pay by the time you read this. But have you ever thought of sharing to the unfortunate ones? Sharing isn’t beyond one’s means. One doesn’t need to be rich in order to share. You could share your time and talent and make a big difference.
An old friend of mine invited me for the Caritas Manila advocacy film showing at San Carlos Seminary Auditorium last week. The 32-minute short film titled Merry Christmas ‘Nay was written and directed by Kaye Jimenez and produced by Caritas Manila and Morning Star Productions. It clearly sends the message of Caritas’ advocacy for education but more than that it delivers the message that the reason for the season is God.
|We all love Christmas, don't we?|
“Paborito ko talaga ang Pasko, tuwing Pasko Masaya,” says 12-year-old John Paul or JP, played by a newcomer named Jason Ariel, at the opening of the film. The first line of the short film is in contrast against JP’s physical stance—dirty and hungry. But the movie in its entirety presents itself through a simple narrative with an impact among its audience—touching their hearts.
Merry Christmas ‘Nay tells the poignant story that involves Miriam, Father Joseph and JP. Miriam (played by 2005 Miss International turned actress, Precious Lara Quigaman) is a stay-in janitress at the Holy Infant Academy. Nothing much is said about her except that she’s dedicated to her job and that she’s deaf and mute. Father Joseph, whose character is brilliantly portrayed by theater veteran Tommy Abuel, is the in-house priest of the parochial school who also teaches values education to the pupils. Just like Miriam, he lives in the school compound. JP is the child Miriam had adopted after his own parents left him as a newborn baby in a manger with the life-size figures of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. He was christened as John Paul because of Miriam’s devotion to Pope John Paul II, whose picture she always carries in her purse.
|Theater veteran Tommy Abuel as Father Joseph.|
|Newbie Jason Ariel as JP.|
Every year, Miriam excitedly brings out all the characters of the nativity from the storeroom of the church. With love in her heart and great respect, she decorates the manger. And since JP came into her life, she had also passed on the said tradition to him. I won’t be saying much of the spoiler here so I would strongly suggest that you see the film yourself. Everything ran smoothly until a family tragedy happened that had left JP (now a grade 6 scholar) depressed. He finds temporary solace in the company of other street children. Destiny has its way to find those who seemed to have lost their way; JP returned to the classroom to see his teacher, Father Joseph it is a scene that will surely remind one of The Prodigal Son.
Merry Christmas ‘Nay—the first film project of Caritas Manila and also its first Internet-Based advocacy drives home the point that education is important to help one to achieve one’s dreams. The need to educate oneself is the strong foundation in building a better future.
If you think this movie is preachy, think again. It presents opportunities for people if we are kind enough to share our blessings. Father Joseph repeatedly said in the film this quote: “Kapag may nagsarang pinto, may bintanang mabubuksan,” It is the guiding principle that the movie is saying. It is the moral that brings JP back into the right tracks and finding his own strengths.
Kaye, also the executive producer of Merry Christmas ‘Nay through the kindhearted people, sends 3,000 scholars to college and vocational schools. Caritas Manila has a program called Youth Servant Leadership and Education Program (YSLEP) –and they are aiming to send 10,000 poor but deserving students back to school in the year 2012. YSLEP isn’t just a simple scholarship program. YSLEP is Caritas Manila’s integrated youth development program that develops the youth’s potential in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitude to train them to become leaders. YSLEP utilizes trainings and formations that emphasize academic excellence and leadership while cultivating moral integrity and social commitment to the poor.
|Caritas Manila Executive Director Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual|
Helping and sharing isn’t beyond our means. You can help Caritas Manila to shape more leaders and uplift more scholars! Give them a call +632 5639309 or donate through their website www.caritasmanila.org.ph, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by at their office Caritas Manila 2002 Jesus St. Pandacan, Manila, Philippines.
This holiday, log on to www.caritasmanila.org.ph and watch this heart-warming film with your family. Merry Christmas ‘Nay will surely touch your hearts the same way it had touched mine.