Mary A. Faustino
I am proud to be part of St. Thomas Aquinas Church here in South Philadelphia. When my mom, brother and I moved here, we were close to our relatives here. My brother and I were baptized, First Holy Communion and Confirmation at Our Lady of Miraculous Medal, also called the Spanish Chapel (19th and Spring Garden) where a majority of Filipino families attended. Filipino families lived in the Point Breeze section of South Philadelphia. And usually received all Sacraments at the Spanish Chapel, at 19th and Spring Garden, and also the Filipino parties, dances at St. Peter’s at 5th and Girard Avenue. When Father Taraborelli requested that I be a Communion minister, it was such an honor, I was still an “old fashion” Catholic. Young ladies were not chosen to do minister duties I thank God when I pray, I was chosen.
I am also grateful that our St. Thomas Aquinas Church is so multicultural. What a great place to take part in the Roman Catholic Church, and at the same time get involved with all people that our God has created. The devotion that our parishioners have for our blessed Mother Mary and my favorite saints, in their language helps me understand God loves us no matter who we are. us no matter who we are.
My great grandfather is African American, from Virginia who married the daughter of an American Indian and Irish Captain, and moved here to Philadelphia in the 1980’s where they raised two girls, and three boys. My grandmother who I was named after, married, a Filipino from Luzon who was a merchant marine and had children, my mom Pacita, and my uncles, Antonio and Francisco Lagera. My mother was married to my Filipino father, Jose’ Faustino who gas Tagalog according to an arranged marriage planned by her parents. Jose’ and Pacita had two children, George Alcarez Faustino and Mary Agnes Faustino. Later, my mom would have a daughter, Francene Collins, my step sister.