AT LONG LAST, Ate Marivic’s brainchild saw its fruition that hot Saturday afternoon at SM’s The Block Cinema 3. I rode with Kuya Arnel and Ate Relly, their three daughters and Ate Gel and arrived at the venue with a good hour to spare. When we got there, the AMQAH usherettes (Ate Bubbles and Marivic, Sis Irene and UtoLiza) were serious ladies seated in a row seeing to it that the theatergoers got back the worth of their patronage of the Montfortian fund-raiser (they were soon joined by Sis Ofel). I saw Kuya Jaja and his family ahead of the queue that soon lengthened even as I took pictures of the enlarging sea of humanity.
It didn’t take long for the line of people to make a U-turn (U was how Kuya Noel described the place where he left Ate Malou and Cai; Pat and her beau caught up shortly) and stand parallel to where we were talking. The screening time was moved from 2:30 to 3:30 pm so the air warmed with tension. One such unease was demonstrated by a man who asked why it was taking so long for them to be let in. Either he didn’t know the reset or no one apologized for it but his disappointment was the only fly in the ointment. Generally, the familiar, friendly faces, just by seeing the proponents of the project, were excited enough to be just there responding to a good call, albeit apparently mindless of the worthy watch that the movie was going to be, based on word on the street.
I saw Frs. Arnel, Sherwin and Richard (whom I kissed the hands of) and Brothers Brian and Jason (whom I asked to join our photo op) among the people waiting in line with the others, like their mission’s discipline inculcated in them. The SM usherettes shortly started letting the long line in.
At 3:30, Sis Ana Marie started to call the shots (she who came all the way from a facilitating session in Parañaque). She welcomed the multitude (329 tickets sold) with profuse gratitude, segued into the opening prayer, introduced UtoLiza who briefly explained that the proceeds of the ticket sales were going to the many outreach projects of the Montfortian missionary community and begged the audience’s indulgence of a film on St. Louis-Marie de Montfort, patron of the congregation.
It was heartening to see, on top of the list of sponsors who gave the project a generous boost, Ate Amy. She may have insisted anonymity, as is her proclivity, but her fellow pilgrims must have preferred to honor her heart behind her back.
After the film, Fr. Richard took the microphone and briefly walked them through the 35 years that the Montfortian mission has been active in the Philippines, how many comprise their community, where the missions and missionaries are distributed and their concentrated aim of renewing Christian life in the country, similar to what their counterparts do in other countries.
After several trailers, the awaited “Avengers: End Game” began. I won’t be a spoiler by telling you how it unfolded and ended. The movie more than spoke for itself. I just thank God it was applauded. Kind of like one time long ago when my plane landed at NAIA from overseas and all my fellow OFWs clapped and cheered. You get the drift.
Foot(pun intended)note: The adrenaline from the Avengers’ valor and values was such an intense inspiration my trek from The Block to Philcoa was a walk in the park.