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Camins-Conti and her Passion in Music

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SYDNEY, Australia—Beyond Philippine waters, one hears of the music of Norma Camins-Conti, a Zamboangueña under whose tutelage thousands of students from various schools in Ciudad Latina de Asia have been blessed with a taste of her passion in music, her way of disciplining followers of St. Cecilia, her compassion for young learners, and her love for teaching.

‘Thank God, it’s Friday!’—one would have aptly exclaimed this, as it was on the Friday before the canonization of Saint Pedro Calungsod, that she composed with ease the Hymn for the Philippines’ second saint in the Roman Catholic faith.

I am happy that my daughter, Deorenzie Frances, took the time to write about the song in The PhilSouth Angle.  She asked me earlier if I knew the composer, and I said, ‘I do.  I am not particularly close to her, but she has a lovely and highly intelligent daughter I once interviewed.’  Prof. Camins-Conti, noted for her compassionate heart, shared what inspired her to write the song that filled the halls of a Sunday mass the day Saint Pedro Calungsod was canonized, with six others.

“The life of Pedro Calungsod is very similar to that of our young boys and girls who are so faithful in going to Saturday practice of our choir, so zealous to do their ordinary work to serve God in their way.  It inspired me as I am inspired by what I see in the children and the youth in our parishes who are so devoted in doing their share in whatever capacity—be they youth leaders, choir members, ‘sacristan’, squires, knights, church helpers, cleaners.  May there be more like them,” she said.

“Pedro Calungsod was hacked to death at the age believed to be 17 years only, while assisting a Jesuit priest to convert natives in Guam.  In 2001, a woman who died of heart attack lived again after the doctor prayed for help to Calungsod.  Testimony of this in 2002 was made part of the reason why he is going to be canonized a saint,” Camins-Conti said.

The hymn, reflective of the lady composer's passion in music (a Camins-Conti trademark), goes:  "To you, San Pedro Calungsod, young martyr of our homeland/ The grace of faith God gave to you was never in vain.// A worthy model for the young to follow your example/ You left your fam'ly and all behind to serve the Mission, truly.//

Despite the hard life you endured/ and helped the priests to spread God's Word, / Young missionary, you remained so brave/ and faithful to the end.//

San Pedro Calungsod, / we pray that like you through our daily words and actions / People may come to know and believe in our Lord Jesus Christ.//

San Pedro Calungsod, San Pedro Calungsod/ We thank the Lord for giving you to us and to the world/
San Pedro Calungsod, San Pedro Calungsod/ A missionary, young and loyal to our Faith/ You are now a saint!// (Frencie Carreon, La Chica Viajera, for Zamboanga Today)

By Frencie Carreon




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