Philippine Independence Day celebrations in New Zealand start with one prayer for the Nation
As a fitting start to the series of celebrations for the 116th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence in New Zealand, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez and the officers and staff of the Embassy of the Philippines in Wellington organized an inter-faith Prayer for the Nation at the “Ang Bahay” (Philippine Embassy Residence) on 06 June 2012. Religious leaders and representatives from Filipino organizations attended the “Day of Prayer in Celebration of the 116th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Philippine Independence Day” to pray for the Philippines and the Filipino people.
The Worship Team, namely Ms. Melody Pagalilawan, Mr. Robert Ty, Ms. Meia Lopez and Ms. Kathy Lopez, led in the singing of the Philippine and New Zealand national anthems. Ms. Pagalilawan and Mr. Ty rendered the opening songs “The Prayer” and “Potter’s Hand”. Minister and Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa offered the opening prayer and Reverend Bernard Espiritu, SVD, of MissioNZ, Providing for the Pontifical Mission Societies, delivered an inspirational message.
Starting with a Child’s prayer, the Filipino community members, religious leaders from New Zealand and friends led prayers for the 116th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence and the activities lined up for the celebration, instilling Greater Sense of Nationalism and Love of Country, Blessings upon the President, Leaders and Officials of the Philippines and Thanksgiving for the Positive Developments and Economic Gains of the Philippines, the 47th Anniversary of the Philippine– NZ Diplomatic Relations, Philippine Embassy Personnel in New Zealand, Projects and Activities, Filipino Community, Migrants and Workers, for their Services and Contributions to National Development and Progress in New Zealand and the Philippines, Protection of the Philippines Against Terrorism, Maritime Disputes, Epidemics and other Diseases, Financial Crisis and Natural Disasters and Calamities, World Peace and Unity of All Religious Sectors and Congregations Around the World, Enhancement of Moral Recovery and Integrity, Promoting Peace and Unity in the Philippines, Promotion of Interests and Welfare of Overseas Filipino Migrant Workers and the Filipino Community in New Zealand, Peace, Progress and Prosperity of New Zealand, the Governor General, Prime Minister and government officials and Spread of the Gospel/ Word of GOD.
Special song numbers entitled “He Who Begun a Good Work in You” by Ms. Kathy Lopez and “Because He Lives” by Ms. Melody Pagalilawan were presented. Community Closing Songs “Isang Lahi, Isang Musika” and “Shout to the Lord” were led by the Worship Team.
Pastor Hamish Thomson, Senior Pastor of The Abundant Life Centre led the closing prayer. An enjoyable fellowship dinner followed amidst the Filipino ambience of the “Ang Bahay” where all the guests felt very much at home as they kicked off the celebrations of the Philippines’ national birthday in June 2014. Filipinos and foreign friends alike thoroughly enjoyed Filipino home-made cuisine, such as Minestrone Soup, Beef with Mushroom, Tofu with Vegetables in Teriyaki Sauce, Fish Cake with Cucumber Sidings, Chicken with Pineapple, Chunky Fruits with Nata de Coco and Sans Rival.