“I may not be a perfect servant of God, but I believe we should use the gifts He entrusted to us”: Nilo Lee Lastimosa Jr. whose lay apostolate work has been growing since forming a special relationship with Señor Santo Niño (Holy Child Jesus)
I grew up in a non-active Catholic family as a timid, shy, skinny lad back in Cebu, Philippines.
During my last year in High School, I began visiting the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño Church to offer special intentions to Señor Santo Niño (Holy Child Jesus), which led to the start of a special relationship. True enough, I experienced many answered prayers.
Santo Niño In Singapore
Fast forward…I started serving at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS) in 2008 as a Hospitality Minister and a year later, I started serving as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC). In 2014 Fr Charlie Oasan gave me the task of supporting a newly organised Community – Santo Niño de Cebu Group.
With the Group’s dedication and the blessing of Fr Greg (then parish priest of OLPS), we managed to successfully hold the first Fiesta Señor/Sinulog Celebration in Singapore in Jan 2015.
Fiesta Señor is one of the grandest religious festivals in the Philippines. This festival attracts about 5 million visitors annually in Cebu. You can imagine the joy of the devotees of Señor Santo Niño that such a vibrant and spirit filled event was brought o Singapore.
Since 2015, this celebration has been celebrated yearly at OLPS. And my lay apostolate work has been growing continuously too.
Servants of God
I may not be a perfect servant of God, knowing my sins may have blocked God’s plan in my life, but it does not block His love for me.
OLPS is my family’s spiritual source of God’s love; my three daughters completed their catechism journey, and my son is currently enrolled in the level 9 class there.
“Our loving God has been blessing me with a stable job, good education for my children and a better home here in Singapore.”
My wife, Abigail, and I served at the OLPS Mission Thrift Shop for two years on weekends. She also serves as a lector in the Filipino Eucharistic Masses. It is always uplifting to serve the parishioners and the Church.
With the current pandemic situation, our family continuously seeks avenues to serve through online platforms such as Zoom, Facebook Live, and StreamYard in community settings and gatherings.
Using the Gifts Entrusted to Us
I used to believe that I belonged among the anonymous crowd, praising and wondering about the omnipotent power of God.
Recalling the donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-40), I am very much aware that our God could have chosen a stallion over a donkey. With His favor and blessing, I believe we should use the gifts He entrusted to us, just like the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14–30).
When I offer my morning prayer, I always thank God for a new day and ask Him to create in me a clean heart so that my thoughts and actions will be guided by Him.
I am truly thankful for the special place I am given to serve God and the Church that He founded. I hope that I can share God’s greatness to a place according to His plan. I pray to our merciful and loving God to bless my attitudes:
- Not to think my service as an honor but a privilege
- Not to think of this service to rule others but an obligation to serve others.
- Not to be proud of this position but to be humble.
My prayer for the Catholic Church’s 200th anniversary
I pray for the Catholic Church to be a loving symbol of God’s reign here in Singapore and to the rest of the world, and that She will be a refuge of healing and the Ark that will bring all men to God.