By Nenette Pecaña

The desire to serve God in my own little way was etched in my heart for a long time but the how, when and where was a big question mark.

I know that God had been whispering time and again to “Come follow me”. But there were flimsy excuses like being an office worker earning a living, being a housekeeper for my beloved husband and three wonderful children, taking care of a bed-ridden mother, being there (as needed) for my three brothers and only sister and their families, attending parties, and a lot more. I do love God (by being good towards my neighbors and friends) but serving Him with all my might was simply put on hold.

One fine morning, after the Mass, I bumped into my friend and neighbor Flor Casao, and she invited me to join the Mother Butler Group (MBG) of our parish, the Jesus the Divine Healer Parish in Tahanan Village (Paranaque City, Philippines). I readily said “YES” but the implication of that reply sank into me later on, for I was filled with apprehensions and insecurities.

Am I worthy? I have sinned many times, confessed, and slid back like a vicious cycle. Am I capable? This was a new task unlike what I had been doing for 42 years in Philippine Airlines (PAL). Can I be as committed as I should be? I believe that with God’s grace, I could, but still I was very conscious of what others might say. Indeed, it was an unnecessary worry until I realized that God is not after my ability or capability but rather my availability. Putting my performance on a scale of 1 to 10 may probably be based on human standards but only God knows what is in everyone’s heart and mind.

Saying “YES” meant putting it off for a year or so because in a month’s time, my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer and I told him “Dad, together let’s give it a good fight, with God at the center!” He replied, “I am expecting the worst but hoping for the best.” True to my word, I never left his side until his blessed homecoming on March 30, 2009.

The one-year period of mourning ended and from my black and white mourning clothes, I now wear the beige MBG uniform not only because it is a must, but more importantly because of what it stands for - a sincere desire to serve God wholeheartedly.

As far as I know, the MBG takes care of our Lord in the altar, prepares the things to be used for the Eucharistic and other liturgical celebrations. Chit Rafols, our soft- spoken and patient MBG President gave me an overview of my role as MBG member. I was perhaps the newest member but the oldest and one whose mobility is limited due to knee injury. The duties and responsibilities of an MBG member are far from easy. It is an important job to take care of the House of God and every minutest detail should ideally be done as perfectly as possible. Personal relationships with the ladies in the MBG are something to reckon with! Aside from the manual work, it is also a struggle to love and understand one another since we have our own unique personalities. By so doing, the spirit of camaraderie comes into fore.

My Mass buddies for Tuesdays and Thursdays are Betsy Gangan and Ana Valera, respectively. They are both very supportive. When I arrive at 5:30 a.m., the preparation of the altar is almost done. The members of my “change linen” team, Odette Sacaben, Enya Ereneta and Zeny Palmes, are very efficient and considerate also.

Meeting all the MBG members on my very first monthly meeting was a great pleasure. I saw familiar faces and made new acquaintances as well. In the business portion of the meeting, everyone was given the chance to speak their minds. Issues were vocalized by the members in different strokes (assertively or gently) but at the end of the day, all that was said was for the service of the Lord. What is important is to have a listening ear and to obey changes in policies.

We also have fun and fellowship together. Birthday celebrants for the month are prayed over, after which we partake of the delicious food brought by the celebrants. We go on pilgrimages that are solemn and well-planned.

I thank the MBG for welcoming me into their fold and I shall continue to serve the Lord here for as long as I can. To my colleagues in the MBG, let’s keep up the good work!

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