A child is born again in poverty

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The Christmas story of Baby Elias

By Sister Mary Angela Perez, RSM
For the Umatuna Si Yu’os

have been to many December 8 processions as a student, teacher and administrator of our Catholic schools in our Archdiocese. This year, as Dec. 8 was again approaching, I contemplated on whether to walk the procession once again being fully aware of my advancement in age and the physical limitations I now experience.

This year’s procession, however, stood out as the warmest of them all and confirmed my decision to walk the procession route.

Toward the end of the long procession, the students and faculty of the Academy of Our Lady of Guam and I saw others pass us along the route. We encountered a man walking with a cane. I asked him if he was going to make it. With humor, he said that he wanted to run ahead of everyone, but he was not allowed.

We then noticed a couple of women pushing strollers. One of the strollers had a tiny baby in it. I asked the woman with the baby the age of the baby. She replied, “two weeks three days.” She probably saw my facial expression because I was thinking, “If she is the mother, how is she able to walk this long procession?”

The mom, Sharon Santos, shared that she was walking the procession because her baby was sickly.

Moved by her love for her child and her faith in Santa Marian Kamalen and her son Jesus Christ, I asked her, “What’s wrong with the baby?” She replied that the baby was born with two holes in his heart.

“Does he have insurance?” I asked. She then answered, “Yes, but we still need help.”

So, I introduced the baby to some Academy seniors who were walking with me in the procession and said to them, “Let’s do something for this baby.” I then thought of Academy’s Christmas program scheduled for that same week and how we could help the baby, little Elias Jude. I asked the mother if she would like her baby to play the part of Baby Jesus in our tableau of the manger scene. We would then ask for donations from the audience.

Sharon was extremely grateful and elated at the idea of being a part of our Christmas program. The mother mentioned that her baby had been due on December 25 but arrived in this world early.

Academy’s Christmas program, “Heaven’s Child” by Pepper Choplin, was held on December 9, 2016 at the school auditorium. During my opening remarks prior to the show, I shared about meeting “Baby Elias” at the Dec. 8 procession. Fortunately, our Christmas program is our gift to our parents and there is no charge to attend. Hence, my invitation to donate to Baby Elias was very much welcomed by all.

Under the direction of Mrs. Nina Terlaje, Academy’s class of 2020 sang with angelic voices and narrated the story of Jesus. Baby Jesus was vulnerable, born in poverty. We were blessed to cross paths with a Baby Elias who was also vulnerable since birth and whose family is struggling to afford his health needs.

Our Jesus today, Elias Jude, was our gift to share. The beautiful singing, the scriptural and prayerful narrating of the life of Jesus, and the story of Elias captured the hearts of those present.

By night’s end, we were able to collect $1,376.62 to help Baby Elias. Days after the show, we continue to receive calls and inquiries on Baby Elias and how and where could donations be made to his cause.

I share this story in hopes that this Christmas, you will connect your Christmas experience with Baby Elias and make a donation to help him and his parents.

If you would like to help, please call the Academy of Our Lady of Guam at 477-8203 during the holiday season on how you can donate or how to be put in touch with Joshua and Sharon Santos, Baby Elias’ family to share your Christmas blessing.

Merry Christmas and may you find peace, love, and joy this blessed New Year.