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Abandoned man’s story inspires communion song

JUST A THOUGHT: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

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COMMUNION SONG: Back home in Batangas, Roman Catholics have a favourite communion song.

It goes this way: ‘Hiram sa Diyos ang ating buhay, Ikaw at ako’y tanging handog lamang…’

Sunday after Sunday during mass, as the faithful line up to receive Holy Communion, the strains of this wonderful song fill the air. Its melody is beautiful, its lyrics meaningful. But, who wrote this song?

Entitled “Sino Ako,” the song created a minor controversy some years back when Fr. Sonny Ramirez, OP, recorded it and used it as the title of his own album done in cassette tape. People thought “Sino Ako” was a composition by the celebrity priest.

Not so, it turned out. “Sino Ako” was written by Fr. Jose S. Castaneda, a Bicolano and former assistant parish priest in Batangas City.

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A MAN ABANDONED: Fr. Joe wrote the song in 1981 after a personal encounter with a man, who was down with a terminal liver ailment. It happened during a visit at a government hospital in Lucena City.

The man, abandoned by his wife and children, begged for financial assistance from strangers. Moved by what he heard and saw, Fr. Joe couldn’t get the scene off his mind even as he tried to sleep that night.

Waking up at dawn, he started putting down his experience in writing. Words gushed forth like rain.

The beautiful melody came in a jiffy. It took less than an hour for Fr. Joe to complete both lyrics and melody of Sino Ako.

Came the first light of morning, the priest was already performing his composition during mass. The song points to love as man’s true purpose for living.

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COMPETING WITH IMELDA PAPIN: Fr. Joe is a singer-composer at heart. As a high school student in his hometown Buhi, Camarines Sur, he joined amateur singing contests, held both in and out of town.

On some occasions, he would compete note for note with another amateur, who was to rise years later as a musical star. Her name was Imelda Papin.

Sino Ako is but one of more than a hundred compositions the humble, unassuming priest has ‘fathered.’ The song is a cut from his album, Dahil May Buhay (1982).

Fr. Joe has released two other albums: “Kung Nagkulang Man” (1995) and “Isang Landas” (1997). (NESTOR CUARTERO)

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