The Fil-Am Club Story
The Fil-Am Club of Holy Name arguably has the largest number of members serving the Holy Name ministries with about 90 members and more than 60 supporters/friends from Holy Name Parish and other parishes in San Francisco, San Mateo and Alameda Counties, creating a great network of connections in our community of faith.
It started in the late 1960s when a group of Filipino parishioners came together in Holy Name of Jesus Parish. They eventually formed an organization and sought approval of its intention to become a part of the parish in September 1979 as a fundraising and social club, and Monsignor William Flanagan, Pastor at that time, gave his blessing. The Fil-Am Club has since then been involved non-stop in serving the Parish. Two of the founders, Pablo Magat and George Ramirez, are still active members involved in the organization as advisors.
Who are the Fil-Am Club Members?
The Fil-Am Club has evolved through the years into becoming one of the most active lay ministries and source of church volunteers in Holy Name Parish. Many members serve Holy Name of Jesus Church, ranging from Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, Lay Canossians, Environmental Committee, choir members, Sacristans/Sextons, altar servers, ushers to volunteers serving in multiple ministries in the Parish. The members and supporting friends of the Fil-Am Club are ever present at the parish events either as donors, attendees and/or volunteers.
Its membership is not limited to people of Filipino descent. The main pre-requisite is to embody the spirit of “bayanihan” – a Filipino term meaning “a sense of community” – coupled with love of serving the Church.
Also, as the Philippine population crosses over many racial boundaries, the Fil-Am Club, led by its current president who has served the longest term, Lito Coloma, started accepting non-Filipino members in 2006.
The Fil-Am Club has been for the longest time the host and coordinator of Holy Name’s celebration of Christ the King, held yearly on the last Sunday of November. Its main reception organizers are, Tony and Linda Sideco, recently awarded a Certificate of Recognition for their community service by the City of San Francisco during Philippine American History month in October 2012.
The Fil-Am Club introduced the Misa de Gallo (or Simbang Gabi) in 2003 after a petition started by Fr. Jess Labor, and later on carried into fruition by Sr. Cristina Ovejera, was approved by Fr. Donald D’Angelo. This 9day series of daily Masses in Advent, a 500-year old Philippine religious tradition brought to the US by Filipino Catholics, has become an annual event in Holy Name Parish. The Misa de Gallo is co-chaired by novena organizers Carmen Palarca and Mila Palarca. It also coincides with the traditional Christmas caroling fundraiser led by Fil-Am Club Music Director, Rose Co.
2007 marked the birth of Philippine Heritage Month celebrated in June to commemorate both Philippine Independence Day on June 12 and the birth anniversary of the Philippines’ National Hero, Jose Rizal, born on June 19, 1861.
In 2009, the Fil-Am Club declared San Lorenzo de Ruiz of Manila, the first Filipino to be canonized, as its patron saint and started celebrating the feast day of this saint annually in the month of September and a 9-month novena devotion from January through September has been implemented as a start-up in its monthly meetings. San Lorenzo is the patron saint of overseas workers, altar servers and those who serve the Church.
The Fil-Am Club Mission
The Fil-Am Club has come a long way from its early objectives to foster mutual interests of its members, achieve for them a common identity and awareness, and to promote and participate in all activities within the Parish. It has also done numerous fundraisers from the start to benefit the school and parish. It also supports other parish fundraisers, special events and annual parish festivals including providing organizers and manpower, as well as sponsors.
Although it still carries out these objectives, it has expanded its scope to include community services on a wider scale, as in providing support or donations to victims of calamities, praying as a group for the sick or departed, or hosting public service seminars or workshops dealing with health, social issues and culture. Though one thing has not changed and that is the sharing of joys and hope and being there for each other regardless of differences. From the beginning through the grand finale of life, the Fil-Am Club is ever present as a family should be.
Its motto, “One Body, One Spirit” is its way of saying “Welcome to the Fil-Am Club Family!”