August 23, 2014 at Millwoods Park, Edmonton, Alberta
Even with a slight chill in the early morning hours, the sky eventually opened up with bright blue clouds and warm sun rays to welcome the 11th Edmonton ANCOP Walk at the Millwoods Park last Saturday, August 23, 2014.
ANCOP (short for ANswering the Cry Of the Poor), is the ministry of Couples For Christ that answers one of CFC’s 2 pronged mission: Building the Church of the Poor. By raising funds to help build decent housing or sponsor a child’s education, ANCOP has brought awareness to the marginalized in the Philippines, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and India. The annual ANCOP Walk attracted some 300 plus walkers from every age range, who either registered online or walked into the Millwoods Park. Clad with the ANCOP Jade colored T Shirt for the year, they walked side by side with other members of the Family ministries of the community : ie. Kids for Christ (KFC), Youth for Christ (YFC), Singles for Christ (SFC), Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD), Servants of the Lord (SOLD) and Migrant Workers (MWM).
The enthusiastic emcees were Katrina Cerin and Kleah Zara , both active members of SFC and YFC respectively. They, as well as another YFC member, Arvin John Amo, shared their humbling experiences during their respective immersion in ANCOP- sponsored communities in the Philippines. It is a credit to their immersion that ANCOP’s credibility is intact. Every year, more and more YFC and SFC members are encouraged to see and experience for themselves, the fruits of their fundraising campaign in the communities they helped build.
Edmonton Area Director, Manny Cerin, kicked off the festivities with his welcome remarks. Apart from announcing that the 11Th Annual ANCOP walk was officially open, he also thanked the crowd for helping CFC build homes and communities; for helping send children to school. More than the financial aid, he thanked everyone for helping restore the lives and restore the dignity of the poor.
It was the turn of the new ANCOP chair, Don Villaflor, to thank the crowd for their unwavering support. Their generous contribution has built over 2,500 homes and sent over 2,000 children to school. The walk is global and that particular day, the same ANCOP Walk was happening in 13 other cities including Calgary, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Ottawa and Victoria. The week before, August 16, Winnipeg had over 600 walkers and raised over $60,000.00. The day after, August 24, ANCOP Walks are scheduled in Toronto, Regina, Vancouver, Saskatoon and Yellowknife. Every year, Edmonton’s goal is to raise enough money for the building of at least 10 homes equivalent to $30,000. Currently, the cost to build a home is $3,000 and for child sponsorship is $384 a year or $32 a month.
The crowd then burst into applause as Father Jim Corrigan greeted everyone with his Tagalog “Magandang Umaga po sa inyong lahat” (Good Morning to all of you) and his “Pagpalain nawa kayo ng Diyos” (May God bless you). He blessed the young people who have been witnessed to, by their parents and thanked CFC for their service and their love for the poor. He ended his short blessing with a caution: “We are blessed as Catholics. As such, we have a responsibility to share our blessings. I am grateful to witness WITH you. “
Some safety tips and precautions were covered by North Chapter Head, Eva Aquino before some stretching exercises were led by YFC’s Carlo Cortez and Monica Cerin.
Then, it was on to at least 2 laps of the whole 4 hectare lot of Millwoods Park amidst a rollicking send off by the CFC Music Ministry. They belted out songs of praise and worship while awaiting the return of more than 300 walkers. The walkers carried their banners and cut outs of various ANCOP projects’ slogans.
With more energy to burn, YFC members showed off their award winning dance number which won in the recent National YFC Conference Competition at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Not to be outdone, CFC members followed it up with their own “Rise Up”, the welcome dance in the recent CFC Regional Conference held in Edmonton in July 2014.
As a fitting gesture of gratitude, the National Director of CFC Canada, Greg Parillas, thanked one of ANCOP’s major sponsors since 2011, Dolce Vita Homes. This year alone, Dolce Vita Homes donated $5,000 to ANCOP. Mr. Maurizio Naccarato, VP for Sales and Marketing of Dolce vita Homes, came and joined the walk together with his wife Bettina Alba, daughter Elisha Naccarato and grandson Xavier Sarmiento. After learning that a house will cost $3,000 to build, Mr. Naccarato was so touched that he promptly added $1,000 to make sure that the initial $5,000 donation would be able to build 2 homes.
To recap the day’s efforts, Greg Parillas also reported that the initial accounting showed that around $28,000.00 in registration fees and donations was collected so far, assuring us of 93% achievement of this year’s goal. Knowing our fundraising history in Edmonton, we are truly well on our way to achieving 100% by year end. Most importantly is the fact that we are truly answering the cry of the poor first as acknowledged by now Saint, (Pope) John the XX111 in Vatican II. “Building the church of the poor is not optional but essential in one’s faith life and renewal of the Church.”
For further information about the ANCOP Walk, please visit its website at: www.ancopcanada.ca. Or call the following in Edmonton for immediate assistance: Don Villaflor at (780) 508-6758 or Manny Cerin at (780) 951-6152.
This article compiled & written by:
Rey and Marizza Diaz, CFC Head of the Migrant Workers Office in Edmonton, Alberta