An intimate Christmas celebration was held on December 9, 2023, at the hall of the Don Bosco Parish in Vienna’s 10th District. Our Lady of Penafrancia Choir members gathered to celebrate the season. The event featured Filipino food, traditional Christmas carols, music, and dance.
A surprise visit from the president of the Bikol Society in Austria, Ms. Marizel Rojas, was one of the highlights of the get-together. Rojas expressed her gratitude to the group for their untiring service to the INA of the Bikolandia Region since they have accompanied the procession and Masses during the Feast of our Lady of Penafrancia in recent years.
Rojas likewise called on her fellow Bikolanos and supporters to move forward to promote and preserve our heritage so that our children and children can celebrate what makes us unique as a people in this country that we now call home.
Filipinos love giving as much as they love receiving gifts. Said to be hospitable and friendly, Filipinos like to express their gratitude by sharing their blessings with loved ones. In this regard, members of the choir made this gift-giving practice. Exchange gift giving, Monito Monita, is the Filipino version of Secret Santa. The members received small gifts from an anonymous choir member for a week. The anonymous gift giver was revealed during the get-together party.
Through the leadership of the choir’s conductress, Ms. Ophelia Magistrado, the Our Lady of Penafrancia Choir, has been actively serving in the Music Ministry of the Filipino Catholic chaplaincy in Vienna.
Christmas will always be especially meaningful for Filipinos. It is the time of year for sharing and giving, not only of gifts and material things but, more importantly, of one’s heart and self, as the world shares the universal message of hope, peace, and love.
- Hector Pascua
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