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Jerome is one of the youngest Parish Pastoral Council President that we know.  At a young age and being influenced by his family, he has been serving the church and giving his all.  This is why we picked Jerome to be our featured missionary this week.  Read on to know his story.

Tell us about yourself and your journey of knowing Christ

I grew up with my grandparents, specifically with Lola Naty (Natividad Ticatic), who is a known prayer leader in the community.

Unlike with other kids, my interests and activities were always church related. Being with my grandparents, I grew up hearing and knowing how difficult life due to poverty.  Considering that they have 12 children and also their own needs, my grandparents were still able to help and assist other families in the community – because they felt that even with little resources, they are still blessed to give.  They don’t want to see others suffering and they always find something to share.  These mindset and principle have influenced my way of life anchored from sharing yourself to others as Jesus have offered His life to save us.

My lola Naty has inculcated in me the value of being a Christian, how it can change and make your life more meaningful.

At the age of 10, I was able to establish a group among classmates  who visits and clean the church once a week after school.  I joined the Knights of the altar at the age of 12 and continue serving even after graduating from college. I led the AKOMIC (altar knights of Mary Immaculate Conception), joined the youth choir, and led the parish youth council as president until am 25. I continue to guide both the AKOMIC and PYM as adviser and coordinator until I was appointed to become part of the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) at the age of 30, making me the youngest PPC in archdiocese of LIPA then.

I still serve as the PPC up to the present day.

What or who made you decide to be a missionary?
Can you share to us your journey of becoming a missionary?

It’s a series of different events and occasions in my life that made we want to become a missionary.  With the life that I have, what I see around me, and what I wish the community would be in the future pushed me more. One event is  when I met other young missionaries in WYD 2013 in Brazil.  It made me realize that if they can share something of themselves, I also can.

I really wanted to help hone the values, competencies and talents of the young people for they will be leading the community and the church. Believing that if everyone will grow in faith  and passing on that faith and values of sharing goodness, selfishness and poverty will be eliminated.

What makes you feel like a child?

Travelling to a new place and visiting a church new to me.  Also. being with my childhood friends.

What are your simple joys?

Eating chocolates, drinking coffee and meeting new people (sharing stories and eating with them).

In your missionary adventure, what were your joys, struggles, challenges and even difficulties?

I love meeting and knowing people who share the same joys and values that I have. That’s why, I always make time to attend WYD, NYD and other youth gatherings.

One of my struggles is meeting people who doubted your intentions and thinking that it is too good to be true. Another is changing people’s mindset that goodness is still a choice and it is possible to make their life meaningful by being happy of the simple joys instead of the material things the world can offer.

Before, many are doubting my capabilities because of my age. Generally, people in the community are not used to being led by younger individuals and  I have to always prove my worth, competencies and my intentions.  Those are my challenges

How do you define joy?

Joy is making yourself and people around you happy. Making people around you feel loved and important is pure happiness.

 In who and what you are now, what are your other dreams or do you still have anything you want to achieve?

I dream to establish a Youth Center that would help young people in dealing with their challenges and difficulties in the archdiocese. Mental health is no longer an idea it’s a reality and a major cause of anxiety, depression, suicide incidents, etc.

What is your message to young people who are now feeling lost, who are still finding their purpose, who doesn’t know what to do with their lives?

Define first  what makes you happy.  Your happiness should not be dependent from what makes others happy but what is really inside their hearts and what God is calling them to be.  You should remember that being happy is a choice.  From knowing that, you can define your purpose. One’s purpose should benefit and impact not just him or herself but the people surrounding them.

What is your message to young people who wanted to serve but do not know how?

You can never start without starting.  Start small, start wherever you are. If needed, ask the people around you and make a way to start serving. It’s only then that you can find the happiness of sharing goodness and that is priceless.

If you have a favorite Bible verse,  what is it and why.

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. (Psalm 112:5)