We have hit our red mark again! We have by now incurred a 14 thousand deficit and every week it is growing despite the fact that we have already slashed off some of the pages of this paper, from ten pages to eight. There are two reasons for this. One is the fact that for two Sundays because of the typhoon and the flood in September and October of last year we have not received a substantial amount to help defray the cost of printing and paper. Last September during the flood our second collection did not come even near the two thousand mark. And during the typhoon Pepang last October we only received two to four hundred pesos which we did not even bother to count. And yet we have come out with two issues on a calamity we never foresaw or wished for. Every issue costs us 8,500 pesos. And since we depend solely on our second collections, our expenses piled up to 17,000 pesos with no one to shoulder the cost of the two issues because of the two calamities. Now we are left with an ever widening deficit despite the fact that we have second collections during the Aguinaldo masses.
Another reason is the fact that we are loosing the support of our loyal benefactors who made monthly pledges years ago for our weekly paper. For two years we have depended less and less from them for the reason that our second collections increased quite dramatically from the usual average of 3,000 pesos to 5,500, sometimes even reaching the six thousand peso mark. We could have done well despite the weakening support of our monthly pledges, but due to these unforeseen calamities we are again back on the brink.
I have been editor of this paper for the past three years. And through all those years I have learned so many lessons that will make my priesthood livable for the rest of my life. The first lesson I learned which was never taught to me in the seminary is the fact that God and his people will never abandon a good cause. Through the ups and downs of life God sends people, sometimes those you least expect, showing up on your door one day and hand you on a silver platter more than you ask or ever imagine. When a door closes He opens another. And He does not give us a cross too heavy for us to bear. I still maintain this kind of trust and I am happy and secure in this thought.
Second lesson which I have learned is that in life we have to learn to ask. “Seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.” I came to this parish with so many baggages on my back. For one I thought I have everything, your know-it-all problem-solver, troubleshooter fresh from the seminary and filled with youthful idealism. This is one good attitude I thought I have. They called it confidence then.
One thing, however, was wrong. It was not real. I was not your know it all. With the circumstances I was exposed I became so small even to my own estimation. It was humiliating. I was even afraid to ask for help for fear that I will be rejected and people might perceive my weakness. This fear brought more problems. But then I realized that Life has made us imperfect. We are not self-contained individuals with all the tools for life in our hands. But they are within reach. We have only to accept the reality that we need each other, we need a community, we could not do without the people’s help. And I realized that that help is just an asking away. And so I asked for help, I knocked on doors, I sought . . . and I found.
Now I am repeating the same process of seeking, and knocking on the doors of generous hearts. I am repeating the same call but with a more confident voice, “Please help, Candle Light, your parish weekly paper.”