President Aquino with the sisters from the Daughters of Charity during the 3rd Death Anniversary Mass of President Cory Aquino. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Aug 1 (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III led the Aquino and Cojuangco clans in commemorating the third death anniversary of his late mother and former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino who is buried, together with husband and former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque on Wednesday.

The President joined his sisters: Maria Elena, Aurora Corazon, Victoria Eliza, and Kristina Bernadette, their respective families and some 50 of their closest family and friends in a mass for the late President which was officiated by Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ.

President Aquino’s official family represented by Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Energy Secretary Jose Almendras, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman, Transportation and Communication Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin were also present for the holy mass.

In his homily, Fr. Arevalo said the commemoration of the death anniversary of the Philippines’ democracy icon was not just a gathering of friends and family but a chance to pray that we, as Filipinos, be given the same selfless love of country that the former President and Senator had.

He said this commemoration may just afford all of us, through the intercession of Senator Benigno and President Cory, a chance to enkindle within us “a little bit of the love that they had for our country and our people, not for themselves.”

“So I think our coming together is not an empty ceremony. It’s a lighting of the fire again; it’s an enkindling of the fire in our own hearts that we ask that through their prayers, now that they are with the Lord, they may light up a fire in our hearts and give us something: a little bit of the love that they had for our country and our people, not for themselves,” Fr. Arevalo said.

“For themselves, it was a total gift that’s why we honor them; that’s why our country will honor them for many, many years to come. And we pray at this mass this morning that something of that passion, something of that love may enter into us. That it may not be just a question of words, it may be in some way really and truly also the giving of our lives,” he added.

Former President Corazon Aquino passed away on August 1, 2009 after a battle with colon cancer.  (MNS)