Unli-Lugaw, Unli-Photo Ops and Unli-Love as Fr. Jun Turns 40

Many people say that “Life begins at 40.” Greenbelt Chapel Chaplain Fr. Jun Sescon somehow agrees. “Forty,” he mused during his birthday celebration on Saturday, April 21, at the Greenbelt Chapel with the Greenbelt Servants and staff, “ is a number that symbolizes preparation.”

Yes, the number “40” appears in the Bible numerous times. Noah’s Ark roamed the earth 40 days and 40 nights as floodwaters swept the earth. The Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land. Jesus fasted and prayed in the desert for 40 days before beginning His public ministry. He also stayed with His disciples 40 days after His resurrection before He ascended into heaven.

Just a little more than a month ago, Fr. Jun celebrated seven years as chaplain of Greenbelt Chapel. “Seven,” he told the servants, “is the symbol of fullness.”

So, as Fr. Jun turned 40 on his seventh year as chaplain, the Greenbelt servants also turned out in great numbers on April 21 after the 6:00 p.m. Mass to greet their beloved chaplain a “Happy Birthday.” (Fr. Jun’s birthday actually falls on April 20, but he chose the celebration to be held the following day.)

The April 21 celebration was emceed by husband-and-wife Tommy and Flor Del Mar, members of the Lectors and Commentators group. After the opening invocation, the servants were regaled with a dance number by members of the Emmanuel Charismatic Community. This was followed by two Audio-Visual Presentations (AVPs) prepared by the IT Group. The first AVP showed a photo gallery of Fr. Jun’s seven-year chaplaincy in Greenbelt interspersed by greetings from the different service groups. The second AVP showed greetings by fellow priests.

Then came the lugaw-fest. The members of the Greeters and Collectors brought the steaming, hot lugaw as well as tokwa’t baboy, kakanin and juice drinks. As the servants had their fill of the simple meal, Tommy and Flor dished out a few raffle items and some trivia questions. The servants learned some interesting trivia that evening. For example, did you know that Fr. Jun’s blood type is O? Or that his shoe size (European measurement) is 41?

After the lugaw meal came the candlelight mini-procession. Forty servants held a lighted candle each and marched towards the birthday cake. Then, Fr. Jun had to blow each candle one after another.

The celebration had so much love and fun that Fr. Jun, when asked to give a few words, could only summarize everything in one word – “Overwhelmed!” Fr. Jun felt overwhelmed and humbled by the spontaneous outpouring of love and happiness by the Greenbelt Chapel servants that evening.

“We’re all in this together,” Fr. Jun told the servants, “We will all journey together. We will all reach our goals together.”

The program formally ended with a closing prayer led by F. Erwin de la Cruz. But even as the program came to a close, servants still lined up to greet Fr. Jun and to have a photo op with him. In an evening where the number “40” was heard over and over again, everything else cannot be counted. In other words, unli! Unli-lugaw; Unli-fun; Unli-photo ops; Unli-love.

Happy 40th birthday, Fr. Jun! May you continue to be a channel of God’s unli-blessings to us!

- by Mario Ampil

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