Ateneo Grade School Thanksgiving Mass 2010

On March 19, 2010, Feast of St. Joseph, the entire Middle School of the Ateneo Grade School, the graduating batch of 2010, school officials and personnel, as well as parents, came together for a thanksgiving mass at 7:30am at the Blue Eagle Gym. It was an apt way to express the Ateneo Grade school community's gratitude for all the blessings received, as well as for the challenges hurdled during the entire school year 2009-2010.

The mass had this year's graduating batch as honorees. Fr. Rivera, SJ, officiated during the Holy Eucharist, celebrated in Filipino. Students from Grade 7 did the readings and the leading of the singing for the responsorial psalm. The mass was solemn and was followed by the pabaon (gift for someone who is going away) and habilin (words of wisdom for those who will be staying behind in the Grade School) for Grades 7 and 6, respectively. My son Adi, who is graduating from Grade 7 in a few days, received a rosary and a touching letter from his Grade 6 counterpart. On his end, he also had to do a letter (his habilin) for his Grade 6 counterpart.

Fr. Rivera, in his homily, spoke about the graduating students being thankful for the eight years that they spent in the Ateneo Grade School. Thankful for lessons and skills learned, friendships formed, and for the help and guidance extended by everybody to the boys so that they could make it to and through Grade 7. Parents who worked hard so they could send their children to the Ateneo. Teachers who patiently taught their students their lessons. All personnel in the Ateneo community who all did their respective work so that our boys can focus on their studies.

A highlight of the proceedings was the Grade 7 boys' song of thanksgiving. I, for one, was intrigued by the fact that the boys were practicing for the Thanksgiving Mass for several days. I asked my son what they were practicing and he said that they were going to do a song with movement. After one or two days of practice, I asked my son whether he knew the song and the movements already and he said: "Kinda..." OC mother that I am, I asked: "What do you mean kinda? Baka mamaya, during the thanksgiving mass, everyone will be doing the movement and then you will be sticking out like a sore thumb moving in a different direction..." To which my son replied: "Well, mom, we are supposed to go in different directions..."

The song they performed was A Time to Fly. It was amazing how 12 sections of about 40 boys each moved in unison (and sometimes, in different directions when the choreography called for it) after practicing for a total of about 20 hours probably. Our boys looked so dapper and grown up in their barong tagalog and as I watched my son with his batchmates, I suddenly realized how time does fly. I remembered Adi's first day in Prep and how his dad and I trailed his Ateneo school bus eight years ago and how now it is time for him to fly to high school.

It was a joy and an inspiration to watch the boys perform their thanksgiving song, a practice which I hope the Ateneo Grade School will continue in the coming years. While my ears did not perfectly catch all the lyrics, I knew my heart understood as tears welled in my eyes and started to fall. To this day, I do not know if I felt that way because I realized that my son was old or because I realized that I was older too. For the benefit of all who may not have caught all the lyrics as well, here they are, courtesy of my son Adi:

"The time has come when we can fly
And spread our wings against the sky.
There's a new world where we will try
To live full lives as time goes by.

Indeed we've grown through all these years
Now we are strong, we have no fears.
The facts of life, we've learned to face
To make us lead in life's tough race.

We owe our growth to all of you
To God and to Ateneo
To be responsible leaders
Is our way of saying thank you."

Indeed, they have grown. Indeed, we wish that as they grow older, they will be responsible people. It will be their way of saying thank you. To their parents who sent them to the Ateneo. To the Ateneo who have taught them their lessons and have helped the parents instill the proper values. To God, Who has given them every good thing.

We hope to share the video with you here. My favorite parts are the start, the formation of the cross, when they turn around to say thank you towards the end, and when they all wave with a smile. For as the boys waved and smiled to say goodbye to the Ateneo Grade School, I saw the image of the little boys from Prep -- an image which I know and I am sure will forever be etched in each parent's heart.

To view our photos taken during the Thanksgiving Mass, please visit: www.viloria.net

[By Angelica Viloria | Sunday, March 21, 2010]


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