Unbound’s office building in Antipolo, Philippines.
A cake designed to look like the Unbound Antipolo office building.
As we reported in 2015, our program in Antipolo, Philippines, built a new office space and community center. The building project was a community effort, with fathers of sponsored children employed as construction workers, along with others from the local community, and several Antipolo alumni lent their expertise to the project.
The Unbound community in Antipolo recently held a celebration to bless the new building. Father Richard Magararu officiated the blessing, and several members from the community also offered their own prayers in Tagalog, the language spoken by many Filipinos.
Here are their prayers, along with an English translation.
Read the prayers
Mark, the father of a child sponsored through Unbound, works in his woodshop in Uganda.
On a sunny day in Uganda, Mark is hard at work in his backyard woodshop.
A self-employed carpenter for 31 years, Mark has had to jump a lot of hurdles to get his business — and his family — to the steady place they are now. His daughter, Veronika, is sponsored through Unbound and he attributes much of the family’s economic stability to her sponsorship.
An Unbound sponsor stands just outside a bamboo door of a small dwelling in a village in the central Philippines. She has traveled thousands of miles to be there after months of anticipation. Her sponsored child and his parents wait just inside the small house, smiling their welcome.
Feeling excited and nervous, the sponsor steps through the door and into the home, somehow knowing that her world is about to be forever changed.
On Dec. 8, Pope Francis stood outside an ancient set of doors in St. Peter’s Basilica, surrounded by hundreds of people. Performing a ritual dating back to the 14th century, the pope solemnly pushed the ornate doors open and walked through, officially inaugurating the Holy Year of Mercy.
This statue is one of the many life-size depictions of Christ displayed in the annual Lenten procession in San Mateo, Philippines.
Tristan John Cabrera, communications liaison for Unbound in the Philippines.
By Tristian John Cabrera, communications liaison for Unbound in the Philippines
Tristan John Cabrera is based out of our Quezon office. The Philippines is a predominately Catholic nation, and staff members from our Quezon office celebrate Lent together. Tristan offers his reflections on what Lent means in the Holy Year of Mercy.
For this Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has said, “Mercy is the heart of God. It must also be the heart of the members of the one great family of his children: a heart which beats all the more strongly wherever human dignity — as a reflection of the face of God in his creatures — is in play. Jesus tells us that love for others … is the yardstick by which God will judge our actions.”
By Larry Livingston, senior writer
In Catholic tradition, a holy year is a time of special prayer, pilgrimage and grace. They normally occur every 25 years, but there can be exceptions for special occasions.
2016 is one of those exceptional years, with Pope Francis proclaiming this The Holy Year of Mercy. During this time, the pope has invited not only Catholics but all people of goodwill to enter into deeper reflection on the concept of mercy.
So let’s reflect a bit, through the lens of Unbound.
By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor
Regina Mburu, Unbound’s communications liaison in Africa, captured this photo of Pope Francis as his motorcade headed to the Kangemi community.
A view of muddy paths in Kangemi shows the poor infrastructure, which is one of the challenges residents face.
Freedom from poverty. Fighting corruption. Unity between people of different cultures and religions. Having a reason to hope.
Unbound staffers addressed these and other topics on Pope Francis’ recent trip to Africa.
“The pope is characterized by acts of love and compassion toward the poor — often reaching out to them and signifying a new light and hope in life for them,” said Teddy Naluwu, coordinator of Unbound’s program in Kampala, Uganda. “This is the same purpose for which Unbound exists.
By Larry Livingston, senior writer/editor
A portrait of Archbishop Oscar Romero hangs in the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Savior in San Salvador, El Salvador, where Romero is buried.
Victor Mendez, a member of the accounting team in Unbound’s San Salvador office.
On May 23, the Roman Catholic Church will formally beatify Oscar Romero, the Salvadoran archbishop who was murdered in 1980. In Catholic tradition, beatification is the last and most significant step before canonization, the official recognition of a person as a saint.
But while Romero has yet to be officially canonized, as far as the people of El Salvador are concerned, his sainthood has never been in doubt. Since his assassination in1980, they have revered him, in a very personal way, as their patron saint and a martyr for the cause of the poor.
Victor Mendez, a member of the accounting team in Unbound’s San Salvador office, understands and shares in the joy with his fellow Salvadorans as they prepare to celebrate Romero’s beatification. As a member of a generation that grew up hearing stories of the martyred archbishop — and one who now works with those living in poverty — he appreciates the significance of this event for his people.
Victor sees the formal recognition of Romero as a Salvadoran success story.
Myrna Cado and Loretta Kline wait in the rain for Pope Francis’ closing Mass to start. Myrna is a community leader and the mother of a sponsored child. She lost three of her children in 2000 after her home was swept away in a flash flood.
By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor for Unbound
I witnessed generosity in abundance while in the Philippines for Pope Francis’ mid-January visit.
It was the kind of generosity in which people give, not from excess, but of themselves.
Pope Francis went to Tacloban to be with survivors of Typhoon Haiyan as another storm approached. I heard more than one person say how the gift of his presence gave them courage to face trials in their lives.
“He is one of us,” they said.
A picture Janelle Stamm took of Pope Francis at his inaugural Mass.
Janelle Stamm, accounting specialist for our office in Kansas City, was able to attend the installation Mass for Pope Francis with her daughter, Megan, as part of Megan’s high school senior class pilgrimage to Italy. Here are her thoughts on this historic occasion.
It’s been more than 40 hours since Papa Francesco was installed, and I’m just thrilled.
It. Was. Amazing.
Seeing the Pope up front, receiving communion blessed by him and sharing the entire experience with Megan is priceless.
After the Mass was over, the more than 40 participants on our pilgrimage swapped stories and pictures. Here is one of those stories along with the picture.
While waiting for the Pope to arrive, two of our high school senior girls, Kelsey and Virginia, met a couple who traveled from Argentina to Rome for the sole purpose to have their baby blessed. Kelsey and Virginia helped by handing the baby, named Joseph, to Papa Francesco.
The faith of this couple in Papa Francesco demonstrated by their sacrifice of time and money to travel all that way combined with the faith in others as they handed their baby over is humbling.
It has left a profound impact on all of us who have heard the story thus far and also contributes to my excitement about our new Pope.
Furthermore, it feels like Papa Francesco’s commitment to the poor aligns perfectly with CFCA’s mission. This alignment confirms my belief that the blessings I prayed for CFCA, our sponsors and our sponsored friends and families will be answered.