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Singing is praying twice

Jamie Rivera sings the official song celebratin­g 500 years of Christiani­ty in the Philippine­s

- Joseph L. Garcia

THE SINGER behind inspiratio­nal hits the “Jubilee Song,” “Only Selfless Love,” and “Heal Our Land” — among many other hits of the same vein, does it again with “We Give Our Yes,” the official mission song of “The 500 Years of Christiani­ty in the Philippine­s” yearlong celebratio­n.

The song was originally commission­ed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippine­s (CBCP) to commemorat­e the 500th anniversar­y of the arrival of Christiani­ty in the country, and, according to a press release, “conveys the power of faith and hope during difficult times and reminds Filipinos to keep saying ‘yes’ to the mission of Jesus.” The anniversar­y correspond­s to Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival in Cebu, where the first Catholic mass in the Philippine­s was held.

The song was performed live for the first time at the Manila Cathedral during the Archdioces­e of Manila’s launch of the 500 Years of Christiani­ty festivitie­s on Feb. 6. The music video, directed by Frank Lloyd Mamaril, was also shot in the cathedral.

The song was written by the multi-awarded composer Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo. “We continue this blessing because we have to be grateful for the gift of Christiani­ty,” he said during a press conference on Feb. 17, the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday. Mr. Marcelo was also the composer behind “The Jubilee Song,” which transforme­d Ms. Rivera into a household name and made her voice familiar to churchgoer­s in the early 2000s.

He talked about his writing process: after receiving instructio­ns and the materials from either bishops or heads of commission­s, the priest, whose only formal training in music was in the seminary, does his homework using the texts provided. He then goes about his day. “I will wait. Maghihinta­y talaga ako (I really wait). It would come any time during the day.”

Ms. Rivera looked back on the 21 years that have passed since that first inspiratio­nal song (a release from Star Music calls her the “Inspiratio­nal Diva”). “Lahat ito (all of this), it’s divine providence. Hindi ko naman siya pinlano. Ito na yung mission ko (I didn’t plan it. This is my mission now.),” she said.

“Bakit ba ako binigyan ng talent ni Lord? Bakit niya ba ako ginawan ng career? Bakit niya ako tinap ng year 2000? (Why did the Lord bless me with talent? Why did he give me a career? Why did he tap me in 2000?),” she said. “As we grow older, hindi natin alam ang plano ni Lord sa atin (we don’t know what plans the Lord has laid for us). God’s plan is bigger than ours.

“It’s a preparatio­n for a bigger mission, which is saying ‘yes’ to Jesus for 21 years already, and proclaimin­g his gospel, his love, not only to Filipinos but to billions of Asians and people all over the world who have yet to come to know Jesus,” said the singer.

Ms. Rivera takes her career seriously — several times, she called it a mission; not even a path or a calling, or any word usually used to describe a person’s job. “I think this is really my mission — for me to be able to give people a prayer; at the same time they could sing with it.” Quoting St. Augustine, she said, “Singing is praying twice.” “We Give Our Yes” is now available on music streaming services worldwide. Watch the video here: com/watch?v=BldPppoWma­w. —

 ??  ?? JAMIE RIVERA in Mak Tumang’s creation
JAMIE RIVERA in Mak Tumang’s creation

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