CEBU CITY—A total of ninety (90) mothers who all belong to the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish-Recoletos in Cebu City are now members of this newly-formed community called Christian Mothers of St. Monica.
The Community is first of its kind in Asia and in the country.
By far this is one of the two groups (the other one is at Our Lady of Consolation Parish in Miranila, Quezon City, launched just last October 28, 2018) existing in the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno since this was introduced in mid-2017 during the visit of Fray Raul Buhay, OAR, General Councilor of the Order of Augustinian Recollects based in Rome.
“In less than a year since Fr. Raul visited the parish and introduced this program to the Parish Pastoral Council officers and members, we were able to launch our own,” Fray Nelson Plohimon, parochial vicar said. “Fr. Raul encouraged the PPC, the Parish Priest, and the Parochial Vicar to facilitate the formation of this said program.”
The Community of Christian Mothers of St. Monica is a Catholic organization of Christian mothers recognized by ecclesiastical authority founded by Fray Lorenzo Infante, OAR at the St. Rita Parish in Madrid, Spain in 1987.
It was the main purpose of Father Infante that these associated mothers pray to keep alive the faith of their own children and those of others, for the return to the faith of those who lost it, and to pray that the children, firm in faith, may transmit it to others.
When asked how, for his part, he started it in Cebu City, Fray Plohimon narrated: “Knowing that the very common problems in the family nowadays is the lack of discipline and respect of the children to their parents, I decided to take the initiative of gathering first the mothers who are members of the PPC, Chapel leaders, and of other mandated organizations for a follow-up orientation about the program.”
“In response, many mothers wanted to join the group,” he said.
According to the booklet introducing this association, the group is named after St. Monica because she is a model of a Christian wife and mother, who with her unlimited patience, and her constant prayer, from the firmness of her faith, managed to convert her husband and take his son, St. Augustine, to get to know Christ, be baptized, and live the Gospel.
The Statutes of the said Community make it clear that every woman with faith, or particularly, every mother with faith, can become a member. She may be single, but for as long as she is ready to accept the commitment asked of her to pray for the faith of her children everyday, she can join the group.
This Community continues to grow internationally. From Spain, it has spread to the rest of Europe (Hungary, England), North America (Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, El Salvador), South America (Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil), and Asia—particularly in the Philippines!
Last August 27, 2018, on the occasion of the Feast of St. Monica, the Cebu Community of Christian Mothers of St. Monica was launched. But Fray Plohimon noted that, a week earlier than this fiesta, he had already met the group and the choirs to preside the election of their officers.
In the parlance of this Community, a “choir” is a small group composed of up to 7 mothers. Once a member is amenable to the demands of the Community, she is asked to gather six more mothers.
The Statutes further expound: “It is not about how many they are, but for a good organization it has been considered convenient to limit the number of the members of each Choir to 7 and give them a name of an Augustinian saint.”
The launching in Cebu during St. Monica’s feast was well participated. The members who were around 50 joined in the procession of the two images of the mother and son, St. Monica and St. Augustine. The mothers also made their promise to pray for their children and all other children every day, and to attend the group gathering every 27th of the month.
Barely two months after that historic launching in Asia and the Philippines, the members have already grown to 90. Fray Plohimon remained optimistic even as the Community pledged to recruit more prayer warriors: “With the help of St. Monica, we hope and pray that the Lord Jesus will help us and guide us to be more willing to serve and pray for all children.”