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Young Knight in the Philippines

The Church in the Philippines, whose population is more than 80 percent Catholic, faces a number of challenges, from evangelical sects to the forces of secularism. Among the strong organizations supporting the Church is the Knights of Columbus, which was founded in the Philippines in 1905, and now has more than 260,000 members in the southeast Asian country.

Representative of the younger generation in the Philippines is Gari M. San Sebastian, who is 33 years old and a manager for the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines (KCFAPI), which offers insurance to members and their families. San Sebastian is married 12 years to his wife, Lea, and they have three children. He was among those greeting Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson when he visited the 8th K of C Philippine National Convention in Cebu City.

Fathers for Good asked San Sebastian about his work and life of faith.

Fathers for Good: How did you get involved in the Knights and come to your current position?

San Sebastian: My family is active in our parish and community and a friend invited me to become a Knight. I voluntarily applied in KCFAPI when I heard there was a vacancy for the position.  

FFG: Talk briefly about the goal and mission of KCFAPI

San Sebastian: KCFAPI is committed to providing optimum fraternal benefits to all Knights of Columbus members in the Philippines and their immediate families. We competently provide financial protection and security for families, as we strive to achieve continuous growth, stability and efficient professional service. Fully aware of our moral and social responsibility as a Catholic organization, we contribute to Knights of Columbus membership development and also to serving the communities where we live, in accordance with four cardinal principles of the Order – charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism.

FFG: How do you and your wife seek to pass the faith on to your children?

San Sebastian: Our children are raised in the Catholic teachings and practices. We participate in church activities and Filipino Catholic traditions. The children are enrolled in Catholic schools but most of all, we live by example to them. Putting daily chores and work as a way of praising and evangelizing the teachings of Christ.

FFG: What are some issues that fathers face in the Philippines and how does the Knights of Columbus help address these issues?

San Sebastian: The family is the basic unit of the society, destroy the family and we destroy a nation. The father as the head of the family should be the protector and defender of our Catholic faith, and that should begin the home. There are anti-life and anti-family campaigns that all Catholics face in the Philippines like abortion, contraceptives, divorce, same-sex marriage and other challenges. The Knights of Columbus, as the strong right hand of the Catholic Church, should stand and defend our faith by being vigilant with these issues. Activities like the “Walk for Life” or the counterpart of “March for Life” are visible proof of what we stand and fight for. Through our Catholic media, which the Knights of Columbus supports, the public is made aware of the implications of these issues. It is through education and media campaigns that Knights of Columbus helps our nation.